First crucial steps in the entrepreneur’s journey

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(first published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Business Friday, April 15, 2016)

By Arturo L. Tolentino

(A book review of

Entrepreneurship Study and Practice

By Paz H. Diaz and Herminia R. Fajardo

Published by the Small Enterprises Research and Development Foundation

2016)

 

Entrepreneurship Study and Practice runs through the gamut of the entrepreneurship process at business start-up stage. It takes the reader to a journey of self-assessment, opportunity identification, preparation of start-up strategies and plans to the  setting-up the business venture, running the business, survival and growth, and even up to voluntary or involuntary business closure.

Rightly so, the focus is on small to medium business entrepreneurship which predominates and forms the backbone of the economy (although at times micro, subsistence “enterprise,” e.g. street vending, and self-employment are mentioned).

Entrepreneurs are a very heterogeneous group and the demands of different business types, business environments and business models are equally varied. Constant assessment of fit is necessary as the “one size fits all” tag will not apply.

The book is thus spot-on when it provides wide-ranging materials for introspection, enabling the reader to ask questions as to his own readiness to embark on the entrepreneurship path, at once challenging and demanding and potentially very rewarding.  The young business aspirant, particularly, has to ascertain not only his or her technical preparedness before taking “the plunge,” but also in terms of having (or not having) the required entrepreneurial values, attitudes, and personal competencies.

The authors devote the better part of the book to the nitty-gritty of starting a small business –which some say is the essence of entrepreneurship. There are useful detailed guidelines and some decision tools to use at each step in the process of setting–up and operationalizing the business venture.

Over-all, the book is a comprehensive overview of entrepreneurship and a good introduction to starting a business. It will serve well as a framework for workshops, seminars and training programs on specific aspects of entrepreneurship.

For aspiring entrepreneurs on self-study mode, the materials presented are good take-off points for delving deeper into issues that they find very relevant to their particular needs and concerns as they go through the entrepreneurship process, tapping outside requisite expertise as necessary.

The publisher SERDEF will do well to quickly follow up the volume with a sequel – one which will take the readers further into the entrepreneurial journey they may have  begun to embark, way beyond the set-up and initial operation stage.  Here, the scenario would find the owner-manager constantly applying the entrepreneurial processes to ensuring the viability and growth of the business. This is important, given the very dynamic and turbulent business environment where, to ensure the viability of the business, the entrepreneur must constantly go through , or iterate, the entrepreneurship process within an on-going concern.

The sequel will be a  “manage your own business” or “improve your business” material as distinct from the “start your business” resource that Entrepreneurship Study and Practice essentially is.

The follow-up publication can also discuss some very important issues and concepts introduced by the book that need further elaboration and study. Terms and concepts such as enterprise culture, sustainable development, stakeholders, value chain, and corporate social responsibility bear significantly on entrepreneurship and need to be clarified and concretized thru simple examples and concise case illustrations.

Entrepreneurs need to be introduced early on to the important issues of economic, social and ecological sustainability, and other societal expectations on enterprises. One such issue is social responsibility to the internal society of the enterprise: its workers and employees, managers and rank and file alike. Good human resource management and fair labor practices are increasingly recognized as contributory to business success.

 

(The author worked with the International Labour Organization (ILO) Geneva as Head, Management and Corporate Citizenship Section, Job Creation and Enterprise Development Branch.

 

For inquiries about the book, please call SERDEF at Tel. 355-5348   or 355-5529 or email serdef1976@serdef.org.)

 

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