Over the past two decades, numerous attempts have been made to determine the characteristics that define high-growth firms and how these characteristics can be replicated amongst a broader group of entrepreneurs. Storey’s (1994) finding that real employment growth was created by a small number of high-growth firms has concentrated the minds of researchers and policy-makers alike to seek to identify the key entrepreneurial skills that needed to be developed by growth-orientated entrepreneurs.
Following the extensive review of the literature undertaken for this review, the following are the principal entrepreneurial skills that need to be developed amongst growth orientated entrepreneurs:
Customer-Orientated – Entrepreneurs must be committed to creating customer value through the provision of innovative products / services;
Strategic Development – Entrepreneurs should learn how to select from a number of market strategies that can influence their chances of success (e.g. Choice of Market, Customer Driven, Constantly Innovate, Differentiation/Focus, Highest Quality, Exporting);
Financial Management – Entrepreneurs must learn the skills required to access additional venture capital (e.g. how to structure a proposal);
Human Resource Management – Entrepreneurs need to understand and appreciate the need to enhance the HR practices of the firm and to offer financial incentives to employees (share the rewards).
But the development of these skills is not enough in themselves because the following conditions must exist if any progress is to be achieved: The entrepreneur must be motivated to grow the business;
Peer-to-peer mentoring from successful entrepreneurs is a critical element of any training programme (mentors must also be motivated to work in this role);Entrepreneurs must be provided with increased access to networks, finance and international markets. Possibly the strongest finding to come from the review of existing programmes is the role of mentoring and how the mentors must be people who have already achieved success within the field identified by the growth-orientated entrepreneur. This person has the experience and access to networks that enables to growth-orientated entrepreneur to expand their horizons. The mentor also acts as a role model and reinforces the belief of what ambitions can be achieved.
Mind Magic has based it’s business service offering on these research findings in the South African context. The South African government has various incentives to stimulate new venture creation. We have geared our business development services to ensure that emerging entrepreneurs get the requisite support to make their business a success.