Unit 28-LO2 Assess the skills and capabilities required and how these might be acquired or developed

Course: Pearson BTEC Levels 4 and 5 Higher Nationals in Business

There are many skills and capabilities required for new ventures and it’s hard to be good in everything. What is more important is to find a way of effectively doing tasks that the person isn’t good at. Below are some common roles when launching a new venture, what skills these entail, and how they may be acquired, developed, or improved.

Entrepreneur – drive vision, set goals, motivate team

– strategic thinking

– problem solving

– planning and organizing activities (which generally includes prioritizing)

– persuasive communication skills

– the ability to withstand uncertainty while balancing focus on short term operations with long term objectives

– strong work ethic/discipline

– determination not easily discouraged from goal achievement

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– decision making  (which may require accountability and the ability to problem solve)

– creativity

– effective time management; recognizing priorities  and taking action to achieve them

– customer relationship skills  (communication, empathy, trust developing skills) which include responsiveness to customers’ needs and feedback.

Understanding and acquiring skills and capabilities:

##Identifying the necessary skills and capabilities required.

For any new venture, there are three key skills needed to ensure success, and they are very different from the skills required to build an existing venture.

The three most important ones are strategy development, marketing, and operational excellence.

A company needs a game plan before it is launched. Marketing a brand new company is where you need expertise in product branding and differentiation. Operational excellence means being able to ensure that you have the systems in place for repeatable efficiency with low-cost execution – so you can scale up without becoming inefficient or costly while still maintaining your principles (assuming there’s some value proposition).

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The company’s management team, either individually or as a group working together with outside consultants or mentors, needs to work on these early on.

The importance of building credibility in a start-up venture, addressing risk factors, and responding to change.

There are many reasons why it is important to build credibility in your start-up venture. It helps encourage innovation and growth within your company through an atmosphere of trust.

One way to establish this trust is by having a consistent brand image and communicating this consistently with all audiences, understanding the risks involved with changes to your product or service, and being open to change before success has been achieved.

Credibility takes time but it will be worth the effort as you advance in our business world!

The concept of ‘Bootstrapping’: making use of free or low-cost sources of resources and skills, leasing, and renting.

‘Bootstrapping’ is a slang term for self-employment or small business ownership, typically set up with limited start-up capital. The term comes from the phrase to “pull oneself up by one’s bootstraps.”

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Bootstrappers might use free or low-cost sources of resources and skills, lease equipment instead of purchasing it, and rent office space rather than purchasing their own property. Financial institutions are often reluctant to lend money to bootstrapped enterprises; successful bootstrap ventures may eventually become viable candidates for financial support once they have grown enough.

There are many reasons why people decide on starting a company without external investment.

One reason could be that startups are perceived as risky investments where few investors will want to take a risk on an unproven idea, product, or service. Small and agile businesses that are funded internally by the founders can often be turned into larger companies with greatly reduced risk and time to profitability when compared to externally funded startups.

An entrepreneur usually will not use ‘bootstrapping’ as a long-term strategy in building a startup company; at some point venture capitalists (VCs) and/or angel investors are likely to become involved as the company expands and begins hiring more employees.

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Bootstrap is great for the owner/founders of the business because it allows them full control of their newfound enterprise. Bootstrapping may seem like a daunting task but there are many ways that one can accomplish this goal.

Low cost/free marketing and promotion.

One of the biggest challenges for small businesses is marketing and promotion. This can be difficult because it often entails a large expense upfront or ongoing costs that are hard to budget.

The good news is there are many low-cost/free ways to market and promote your business. In this blog post, I’ll share some ideas you might not have thought about before so you can start building your marketing strategy now!

The principles of the ‘Lean Start-up’ method.

A recent study found that startups are more than twice as likely to succeed if they follow the principles of the “Lean Start-up” method. This is because it reduces time, cost, and risk.

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The principles include:

1) Build a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) and get feedback from potential customers early on in order to identify what features have demand.

2) Prototype often with an emphasis on speed instead of perfection, which will help avoid costly mistakes later down the road.

3) Be flexible enough to pivot when needed so you can adjust your product or service based on customer feedback.

4) Do not let your team become too big or too specialized; teams should be cross-functional and work collaboratively instead.

5) Make sure everyone is empowered and given the creative freedom to solve problems as they see fit, which will help foster innovation.

6) If you want to develop your idea into a business, be prepared to fail fast, pivot often, create teams that are small and flexible enough to adapt quickly to changing conditions while remaining nimble enough to respond rapidly with new ideas.

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These principles of “Lean Start-up” focus on creating prototypes early in the process, getting customer feedback, learning from mistakes but never asking for permission along the way; these are all things we have learned and practiced through our experiences working together. Most importantly having fun doing it!

The importance of networks:

The importance of networks to new ventures as a source of ‘social capital that can bring access to knowledge, resources, advice, and opportunity”.

Networks play a key role in the success of any new venture. In fact, as many as 85% of all successful startups are reliant on networks for their initial funding and more than 70% rely on these same networks to expand into other markets.

Networking is an integral part of entrepreneurship, which can bring access to knowledge, resources, advice, and opportunity.  It is through these networks that entrepreneurs are able to acquire contacts, experience, and other resources required for launching a new venture.

Networks are also vital in providing support for the owners of the new venture as they navigate the tricky business of starting up their first business both emotionally and financially.

Consideration of both formal and informal networks.

An informal network is a social system based upon the non-binding personal connections which exist through social interactions, as opposed to actions that are directed by a central command or authority. An informal network can arise out of one individual’s relationships with family and friends.

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A formal network is a social system in which there are clearly defined roles delineating each person’s position within this specific hierarchy. It is very often centralized and top-down, according to rules imposed on its members from higher positions in the hierarchy of power/authority.

For example, an office workplace typically has both formal and informal networks within it – senior management may have more power than managers do, but they may also be more accessible as people who spent their whole lives working their way up a ladder versus managers who may have been selected more for their skills and potential than seniority in the organization.

Assessing and developing personal networks and the strength of weak ties.

One of the best ways I know is to first, make a list of your current and former colleagues, friends, and family members who you think could be a good connection for you in order from strongest to weakest. Make sure at least one person on this list is outside your network (friends or family).

Next, ask each one of these people if they would introduce you to three other people that might help with getting their needs met in this process. Once they respond, jot down the name of these two individuals that have been introduced.

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It’s also important to be forward with your contacts if you don’t declare asking them for favors upfront- send an introductory email letting them know what it is you’re looking for and offering something of value in return.

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