The proliferation of businesses in the world has been informed by the desire to satisfy specific human needs which range from food to clothing. However, entrepreneurship has gained traction in recent years since entrepreneurs seek to engage in commercial activity in a different manner. Fundamentally, the said businessmen are driven by the desire to solve human problems, while making a profit, unlike conventional business people that view commerce in abstract terms. The interview with Eric Koger, a founding member of Modcloth, held at the company's headquarter in San Francisco was critical to gain deeper insight into the world of entrepreneurship.
To begin with, the entrepreneur Eric Koger intimated that one must be able to spot opportunities in areas that are not obvious to the average businessman which will lead to the development of a niche product. Most importantly, the entrepreneur should seek to offer solutions to problems that afflict people to benefit from the commercial venture (Bula, 2012). Koger was able to identify a business vacuum in the clothing sector and invested in the industry through Modcloth. The employment of e-commerce presented an opportunity that he and other entrepreneurs exploited since the platforms enhance the convenience of customers.
Interestingly, the business executive claimed that one must possess innate attributes that include having a passion for business. Further, one must not be risk averse since many startups fail in the initial stages which require an individual that can withstand such challenges. Koger claims that the business was challenging during the initial phase, but the business person was able to persevere. Moreover, the entrepreneur contended that the business skills currently employed in the store were honed during his childhood and during the period when he used to engage in small business ventures. Consequently, the decision to participate in entrepreneurial activity was ingrained early in life.
The business venture was recognized through a chance moment that generated the idea which was later operationalized. Specifically, the businessman was frustrated at the lack of effective clothing websites when shopping for apparels that led to the creation of the business concept (ModCloth, 2018). The evaluation process was an essential part of establishing the business which included analysis of the company's viability. The entrepreneur stated that market assessment is an important variable that should be undertaken carefully to ensure the enterprise results in tangible impact. Personally, Koger asserted that the company's management contracted a consultancy firm to engage in the external analysis of the operating environment. The external environment is critical to the success of any business, especially, economic, technological and legal facets.
Being familiar with a business concept is essential since it enables one to refine the idea into a fully-fledged entity. Again, Koger claimed that one could use the personal experience to mitigate any challenges that will occur in the future. The information can be used to develop strategies to guide the implementation of the business plan. Fortunately, the entrepreneur claims that he was aware of the technology which was instrumental in setting up the business. In fact, he was a central player in the formulation of the company's website which led to the increase in sales.
The businessperson informed me that he was forced to abandon other business ventures due to lack of finance to implement the main idea of Modcloth. Further, the plans were not adequately informed by entrepreneurial principles that include solving business needs which made it impossible to attract any funding from capital ventures. Again, other commitments that include school conspired to spend enough time needed to nurture a business which is critical in the initial stages. Therefore, Koger chose to ignore the enterprises to focus on more viable plans in future.
According to the entrepreneur, the company was initially formed using limited funds sourced from the pioneer members. However, it was able to attract seed money which was used to arrange critical infrastructure that include physical stores (ModCloth, 2018). As a result, the company has acquired capital from other entities that comprise companies interested in buying shares.
Naturally, I was interested in knowing who has been the most significant source of assistance with the entrepreneur intimating that he played a lead role but the development of the business was a concerted effort. The business executive was mandated with creating the information technology platform that is the backbone of the organization since customers frequent the site for transactions. Nonetheless, other partners had unique contributions which show that the establishment of the enterprise was a joint effort.
The presence of obstacles in any business is typical for the company facing challenges. Towards this end, Koger claimed that the company suffered barriers of entry challenges from established players in the sector which was overcome by being persistent. Initially, capital was also a problem since it was difficult to convince seed angels on the viability of the project, but the issue was finally overcome. The startup had to overcome teething challenges, especially the ones that revolve around management since most of the pioneer members had limited administrative knowledge. Koger informed me that sourcing for markets was also daunting considering that many established stores were reluctant on partnering with the new entity. The whole exercise yielded useful information which the entrepreneur has used to improve the business.
Further, marketing is another element that should be constant since it determines the bottom line in any commercial undertaking. The employment of technology in the management of the company is central since it enables the stakeholders to share information resulting in high efficiency. The use of monitoring and quality management tools allows stakeholders to evaluate the performance of the firm that detects any anomaly early enough, for example, SWOT and PESTLE analysis. In relation, the establishment of systems is critical since it leads to prudent corporate governance in line with best industry practices. The business has adopted an upward trajectory growth, resulting in improved sales and revenue generation.
The entrepreneur has informed me that the venture has imparted him to useful lessons on management and general business tactics. The initial challenges have also sharpened his skills in business. Nonetheless, Kroger posits that he would use another approach while setting up his shop to avoid the initial problems faced when establishing the company. Towards this end, Koger would change the management structure since the current model is slow in decision making, considering the number of partners involved. Outlining business goals early enough is a crucial step since it enables the owners to align resources with the stated aims of the company. Finally, seeking advice from established players is essential since they provide the mentorship required to nurture the business to fruition.
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