The current global trend emphasises that in an organisation, whether it is a non-profit making organisation or a profit making corporate every member must be an entrepreneur if the company needs to have a competitive edge over its rivals. Having entrepreneurial skills is essential for any key personnel in an organisation. Entrepreneurial skills may include ability to initiate solutions, being able to come up with new innovations. These innovations may be in the form of products or processes. This may also include the ability to cut down costs, ability to motivate other people and the ability to lead, plan and control programmes and projects. Entrepreneurship also involves goal setting and being result-driven. However, the main focus of enterprising is in the ability to generate funds or obtain assets. The current emphasis is that every senior personnel in a profit-orientated organisation must be an entrepreneur. Board members, shareholders, the owner, senior executives and managers at all levels in a corporation must be entrepreneurs, if the company has to maximise on its dividends. It is on this basis that the study of entrepreneurship is important to all level of staff. Internal development programs could also be instituted to capacitate all senior personnel with entrepreneurial skills. Related to entrepreneurship is the ability to organise and run successful projects.
This discussion will first of all focus on the qualities and attributes of successful entrepreneurs. It will then focus on a form of entrepreneurship that involves capital creation through the setting up of a revolving fund. After looking at the definition , the writer will move on to the purpose of the revolving fund, then to the scope of the fund followed by a few examples from around the world and a comprehensive example of how a similar fund was set up at Chipinge Banana Company. The phases of initiating, developing and creating a viable fund shall be discussed later on. Basically this discussion shall focus on the practical aspect of creating a fund and running it, than focusing much on the theoretical side of establishing and maintaining a fund. The writer, who is a Human Resources Manager at Chipinge Banana Company, is the architect of the establishment and success of the fund. The documents that form part of this discussion have been created by the writer.
Entrepreneurship is undertaken by entrepreneurs. In most cases the success of a business depends on the capability of the owner or the manager or both. Most of the qualities needed for successful entrepreneurship must be learned. Despite any huge cash injection many businesses fail because the leaders lack some essential characteristics and attitudes that are vital for successful entrepreneurial drives. If a business is to be co-owned or co-run there is need for training of the involved personnel on the vital attributes needed. Entrepreneurial skills can also be learnt at Universities and colleges. Without these aspects many would be entrepreneurs won't make it. The first and foremost aspect is that of innovation. An entrepreneur must learn new ways of doing things. They must come up with new ways of solving problems. If someone follows the exact footsteps of other successful business people without the skill to initiate things, such a person will certainly fail. Anne Pratt in Succeed (2004:7) says, "Entrepreneurs are always looking for new ways to do things." Anne Pratt herself is a successful business person.
The other important attribute is to have determination. Determination is the willingness to achieve what you have set yourself to achieve, almost at all cost. Without a strong will power a person can not succeed in business. Anne Pratt in Succeed (2004:7) adds, "The successful entrepreneur and executive needs determination, drive, high levels of energy and a strong 'can do attitude.'" So it is worthwhile to note that, it is not the capital involved only that determines if someone becomes a successful entrepreneur. Attitude is also important to succeed. Bragan (2009) points out that for someone to be a successful entrepreneur he must possess certain fundamental skills, attitudes and principles. At Chipinge Banana Company we initiated some training courses and seminars to train our revolving fund personnel on the need to have the proper attitude and to be able to make use of our core values. Determination can be strengthening among team members by constantly having review meetings on what we would have set ourselves to achieve. The other issue that keeps all of us focused is the use of set targets. Every month we give ourselves clear targets to meet by the end of the month. These targets are aligned to our vision and mission as well as our aims and objectives. Each subcommittee has its own targets as well. For an example a Fundraising committee sets targets, such as raising $200.00 per month. Each of the subcommittees report on how far they would have achieved their targets every month. So there is a drive from each committee to meet set targets. It applies the same that if you run your own business as an individual it is necessary to set targets which you set yourself to reach as per the target period.
The other essential facet is self willingness to achieve. You must have a strong belief that you will achieve what you have set yourself to conquer. Bragan (2009) comments that the conviction to achieve success in itself is essential to any would be entrepreneur. To ensure that you have the strong guts to achieve your goals education is essential. In most cases individual involve themselves in businesses in which they have prior knowledge about. No wonder why if parents run a restaurant, the children who wish to run a restaurant in the future succeed. A son of a carpenter can also become a successful carpenter. The point here is the son of a carpenter has a lot of knowledge of carpentry. He does not want to venture into plumping where he does not have the required knowledge. Another example of the need to have a strong knowledge base is on consultancy. A Human Resources Manager starts a consultancy firm in human resources field, a lawyer starts his consultancy in legal issues, and same applies to police officer who starts his own security firm. Why? The simple reason is that these people have ample knowledge in that area, and naturally they develop a strong' can do attitude.' The need for education in business field is therefore necessary. Anne Pratt Succeed (2004:7) says," a core belief in you and in the business you work is vital. When you love something, you are really devoted to it- it no longer feels like hard work."
Accountability is a necessary attribute to any aspiring entrepreneur. Every business person must be accountable to the stakeholders he deals with. What ever you do must be logical, transparent and explainable. On top of this there is a need to build trust .The use of funds must be well planned. Business operations must be clear. Points of sale must be known. All your business partners must be clear of your intentions and operations. Anne Pratt in Succeed (2004:7) says," Accountability is always a key factor. To be successful you have to be accountable to the stakeholders." At Chipinge Banana Company research, honest, surveys and taking note of feedbacks from the workers has been vital. Monthly income statements are done. Income and expenditure accounts are done. The feed back is given to all employees on the challenges and successes the fund has faced. This makes the whole running of the fund accountable.
For a business to prosper there is need for effective total quality management. This calls for the proper handling of all stakeholders; these could be clients, employees and suppliers. Our main customer in this case, at Chipinge Banana Company is the people who contribute their monthly subscription- all the employees and management. On this issue Anne Pratt in Succeed (2004:7) says, "First is the customer satisfaction, then the employee satisfaction and finally the cash flow." But as with regards to many businesses that is not the order of preference in need satisfaction level. Most people put cash flow on the greatest aspect to concentrate on and not the customer. The business person in this regard is more concerned on the return to his investment. This is a concept we focused mainly on in our running of the revolving fund... Our main priority ever was on our cash flow. The satisfaction of the customer used to come second.
In order to succeed in business Anne Pratt in Succeed (2004) emphasized the vital importance of self-renewal. She emphasized on the need for the entrepreneur to be teachable. The entrepreneur must be willing to learn from others. This may include attending seminars and workshop on business topic discussions. Attending business expos would be necessary. Another way to achieve self-renewal is taking business courses. With so many universities that offer distance learning doing business courses will assist. To seek advice could also help. Assistance and be sought from consulting firms. Anne Pratt in Succeed (2004:7) adds, "We have to renew ourselves emotionally, mentally, physically, even spiritually. Without continuous renewal we become stale."
Networking is vital in entrepreneurship. Social networks assist people to get advice from others. In business you come across some challenges. When you have other people, especially those who are also in business, then it is easy to consult them for advice. Apart from business relationships, people can also become friends and acquaintances; and in time of stresses one can get assistance. You can interrelate with your customers or suppliers on a social level. However it is important to note that you must not force yourself to have social relationships with all the people you do business with. Singer and Helferich (2008:2) say," social network analysis can help managers build better connections between support groups and their customers. In the social net work view, performance is a result of not just individual capabilities but of the relationships among people and the ways in which they bring their collective resources to bear upon the organ's goals." By collective resources, this could involve business advice and ideas. Such net works will assist people to acquire diversity of knowledge that can assist businesses to be effective and efficient. This view is supported by Anne Pratt in Succeed (2004:8) who says, "We also need social support net works, people with whom we can share our hopes, goals and issues in our lines." Pratt is not talking about just friendships, but social interaction as related to business adventures... She adds," it's good to have others around you who know more about their sections of the business than you do."At Chipinge Banana Company, as it relates to our revolving fund we have managed to establish business partnerships. What we did was to identify suppliers of goods from whom we could constantly get our supplies. This worked because at a certain time when we do not have cash these suppliers sell to us their products on credit. We established our client bases as well. We sell our products to a number of customers and give them good offers. This worked very well with our garden produces.
Moreover an entrepreneur must develop a global focus, no matter how small or big his business is. It is wise to adopt some globally tested ways of doing business. It maybe as it relates to customers, suppliers, accounting procedures, borrowing of funds among other issues. By global focus it means aligning our business practices, ethics, and values to what is internationally acceptable. An example of alignment is on the creation and use of core values. According to Gatrell (2006) conditions that lead to successful entrepreneurship have no geographical barriers; they apply in varied economic situations. (2006) At Chipinge Banana Company, before we resumed our revolving fund operations we identified core values that would bind all of us in our operations and even ways of doing things. We emphasize such values during our meetings, and where one of our members seems to have flouted those values we remind that person of the need to stick to our values and tell him of the importance of having those values. These values definitely are applicable globally and are essential to any business practices. We identified our core values as, "open communication, trust and honest, transparency, professionalism, accountability, diligence and commitment, team work, partnership and de-rolling." The idea is that most of these values are regarded and applied internationally and they assist to regulate the way we do our business on a day-to-day basis. One value I need to expand on is that of partnership and de-rolling. By de-rolling we mean that once we are in the Revolving Fund business we have to cast of our roles which we have in the company aside. In the revolving fund committee there are people who are managers in the company, there are supervisors, and there are forepersons, drivers and general hand for example. So when we come to the Revolving Fund business those positions are no longer applicable. We all need to assume that we are playing a similar or equal role. What the manager and what the general hand say must be weighed on the basis of weight, not of who you are in the company. Other ways in which we applied a global focus is through the use of a clear business plan with clear vision and mission. These are all written down. Anne Pratt in Succeed (2004:8) says, "Today the business leader needs to think globally and align the business accordingly. He or she has to always be asking what impact global events and global competition are having on the business and where we can compete." Whatever business you are you may need to make use of the current global trends.