Entrepreneurship in a co-operative


Upon completion of this module the reader will know and understand the following:

  1. What is entrepreneurship?
  2. What are the characteristics of an entrepreneur?
  3. What can make a co-operative fail?

Basics

 Preparation

Materials for Download 

External Resources

How to do it

What is entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship is the capacity and willingness to develop, organise and manage a business venture along with all its risks in order to make it financially viable. Using resources to maximise the productivity and success rate of the venture

What are the characteristics of an entrepreneur?

  • Clear Vision – Successful entrepreneurs can visualize how they want their future to unfold. They hold a clear picture of what direction they want their company to take and possess a plan to guide it from conception to realization.
  • A vital step in determining whether you are suitable to an entrepreneurial lifestyle is your ability to clearly communicate the dreams and aspirations you have for your company.
  • Entrepreneurs are self starters and must be able to work long hours.
  • When an entrepreneur starts the business he must stay motivated at all times, by reminding him/herself of the end result, the vision.
  • It is important that the entrepreneur makes sound decisions; it is always good to have thinking partners that can assist with decision making.
  • Intense commitment
  • Must be hard working
  • Disciplined – do not get distracted with hindrances and challenges
  • Perseverance – Continue with what you are doing no matter what comes your way
  • Integrity – Always be honest and truthful in your business practices
  • Confidence – You do not doubt whether you will be successful and you are not afraid to take risks
  • You are able to adapt to your environment
  • Failure is only a tool for learning
  • Open Minded – Entrepreneurs realize that every event and situation is a business opportunity. Ideas are constantly being generated about workflows and efficiency, people skills and potential new businesses. They have the ability to look at everything around them and focus it toward their goals.
  • Competitive – Many companies are formed because an entrepreneur knows that they can do a job better than another. They need to win at the sports they play and need to win at the businesses that they create. An entrepreneur will highlight their own company’s track record of success.
  • As an entrepreneur, the main quality you must possess is the burning desire to start that dream business. Running a small business isn’t for the ambivalent, the indifferent, or the faint of heart.
  • You have to really, really want to be your own boss, transform your dream into reality, or market your product or service. Look inside yourself and ask yourself if you have that drive.
  • Creativity – One facet of creativity is being able to make connections between seemingly unrelated events or situations. Entrepreneurs often come up with solutions which are the synthesis of other items. They will repurpose products to market them to new industries.
  • Strong people skills – The entrepreneur has strong communication skills to sell the product and motivate employees. Most successful entrepreneurs know how to motivate their employees so the business grows overall. They are very good at highlighting the benefits of any situation and coaching others to their success.
  • Strong work ethic – The successful entrepreneur will often be the first person to arrive at the office and the last one to leave. They will come in on their days off to make sure that an outcome meets their expectations. Their mind is constantly on their work, whether they are in or out of the workplace.
  • Passion – Passion is the most important trait of the successful entrepreneur. They genuinely love their work. They are willing to put in those extra hours to make the business succeed because there is a joy their business gives which goes beyond the money. The successful entrepreneur will always be reading and researching ways to make the business better.
  • Good Health – A series of interviews were conducted with distinguished entrepreneurs and they were asked what characteristics they felt were essential to success as an entrepreneur. Good health was a characteristic mentioned by every entrepreneur interviewed.
  • Entrepreneurs are physically resilient and in good health. They can work for extended periods of time, and while they are in the process of building their business, they refuse to get sick.
  • Realistic – Expectations of a quick buck or rapid ascension to the top of a market are usually misguided. While there is nothing wrong with having grand aspirations for your company (Yes, entrepreneurs should be visionaries), a good entrepreneur can distinguish between dreams and reality.
  • Problem-solver – Entrepreneurs need to be either very capable people or have the know-how to find the right help (at the right price). They should be ingenious problem solvers, individuals who can resolve issues quickly and efficiently.
  • Okay with no wage at the end of the month – Entrepreneurial opportunities carry more risks than the conventional corporate job. And, for most, there is no regular paycheck (at least not in the early days), and the matter of finding customers and financing are also of concern. If you’re not prepared to live with uncertainty, this is probably not the right career choice.

What can make a co-operative fail?

  • Entrepreneurial qualities are very important in a co-operative. These are qualities that can be learnt if members do not have it. Teambuilding and training are powerful tools to assist co-operative members to acquire these characteristics and traits. Many co-operatives fail because members do not understand the values that they should have in order to succeed. These values form part of the broader principles of co-operatives
  • The co-operative is managed by the Directors, they are not the employers of the rest of the members but rather the management team that ensures all of the members are adequately capacitated to fulfil their function
  • An overzealous and over ambitious board is detrimental to the success of the co-operative
  • Members should not assume responsibility of tasks that does not belong to them, because they think that the person responsible is not competent
  • Laziness
  • Mismanagement of finances is the biggest reason for the failure of co-operative or insufficient internal financial controls
  • Failure is also due to Directors not being informed about their roles and responsibilities and they lack the skills to oversee the various activities of the co-operative.
  • The absence of a business plan – how can the co-operative monitor its progress or planning without a business plan – it is like walking in the dark.
  • Inadequate control of stock, production and distribution
  • Bad credit control – Too many credit customers that fails to pay on due dates
  • Too many loans and no repayments
  • Too rapid expansion of activities


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