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Essay: Entrepreneurs Attract 1st Customers: 3 Lessons From Airbnb, Uber & Etsy

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  • Published: 1 April 2019*
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  • Tags: Airbnb essays Uber essays

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Who is an entrepreneur?

“(Someone) who started a new business where there was not before” (Bin Shmailan, 2016). An entrepreneur is a person who engages in starting a new business from the very beginning. Taking in consideration all the risks and efforts required in order for the company to get popular and gain a profit from the innovative products it will provide to the public. As a new idea, it cannot be an existing business inherited by another person or being a partner in the board of directors. It is up to the entrepreneur to find a way to obtain the initial capital to start the company and manage it since then. Also, he is the person in charge of everything within the company, nevertheless, there have been plenty of technological advancements that help the entrepreneur reduce the number of responsibilities and fulfill them in a shorter period of time. Even though the entrepreneur is the person calling the shots, he needs personal or employees in charge of every department needed under his supervision (Seth, 2017). There is no stated age in which a person can become an entrepreneur, but there is the fact that it takes time to learn and create a new business that will prosper.

What are the main principles for entrepreneurs?

According to Novellus, there are some principles or keys to becoming a successful entrepreneur. The person needs to maintain an organized schedule detailing every duty that he will need to accomplish during the day. It is very common for businesses to experience obstacles daily. These matters are unpredictable and most of the time unstoppable. People normally tend to get nervous whenever a problem arises, instead the entrepreneur needs to stay calm and try to find a solution to resolve the issue. Without the customers, the company cannot survive, which is why it is extremely important to invest time to know the customer and interact with him/her to learn what are their needs because the principle goal is to satisfy the customers. In addition, interacting with the customer is a good way of marketing. The business needs publicity for people to be informed that the company is ready for operation. If people are not aware that the business exists there will be no business at all. Being one’s supervisor enables the individual to take any number of breaks as wanted. In other cases, the person focuses only on planning strategies rather than getting out of the office and start carrying out the plan in mind.  At the same time, the entrepreneur needs to assign each of the employees a task in order to only focused in the most important job. The person needs to know that one does not get to success just waiting for it to arrive. There has to be a lot effort put into the company. This does not mean that the one should stop a daily routine and dedicate 100 percent of the time to the business. It is not healthy to do this and it will only make the situation worse. This is a reason most of the companies fail and why there has to be a detachment from work to rest and spend some time with friends and family. Everyone enjoys a break to relax and be with their loved ones. The individual can also count on them to talk about the business to come up with new ideas, to solve problems, or just to clear his mind. The person needs to take advantage of all the advancements that have been created until today so that the amount of work can decrease providing the opportunity to perform better and obtain more beneficial results. These are a couple of tips entrepreneurs can follow, yet depending on each business situations might change over time.

Why people become entrepreneurs? Compare characteristics

Becoming an entrepreneur is not easy nor simple. As mentioned previously, there are quite some ideas the individual has to take in consideration while being an entrepreneur, but there are also a number of reasons why someone would like be become an entrepreneur in the first place.  The most important reason is to gain more money. As an entrepreneur, the individual has the opportunity to work hard in order to get a higher salary than the rest. Others decide to engage on this type of business due to unemployment, whether they got fired from a former job, they simply have not had luck finding a suitable work, or at that moment the employment does not provide enough money to live.

Besides wealth, people are inclined to emerge as an entrepreneur for the reason that a relative is one, so in a way their lifestyle is similar to that of an entrepreneur making it easier for the individual to become one. Even though family play an important role in a person’s education, the individual undergoes many experiences in life that affect the decision of wanting to be an entrepreneur or not. In this century, people care to much about social ranks in society, therefore they become entrepreneurs with the mentality that entrepreneurs are high raked within a community. Independence is another value that people like to administer and by being one’s own manager the person doesn’t need to worry about depending on instructions given by others.

How entrepreneurs attract their 1st customers? 3 Lessons

Blanding talks about Prof. Thales Teixeira, a professor from Harvard Business School, who analyzed three major companies, Airbnb, Uber, and Etsy. These are two-sided platforms that connect people who need a service to other people who can offer a service. Teixeira states “It’s the classic chicken-and-egg problem. You can’t have one without the other. As a small (starting) company you cannot afford to focus on both with the same amount of effort. You may need to prioritize one side” (Blanding, 2016). Which means that either the customer or the service should come first and according to Teixeira these platforms focused on the service more than they focused on the customers, from where we can learn three lessons. The first lesson is to “think like a customer”. An entrepreneur needs to ask himself “What do I want as a customer?”. There should be a good that customers can take advantage on, otherwise the customers will not exist. The second lesson is “create a better experience”. As the world is changing people also like to change with it. Moreover, people demand that changes are made for their own benefit causing the business or idea to adapt to those claims. These requests can either assist the person to have a more comfortable service or may help others to economize when using the it. The third lesson is “sequencing is everything”, meaning that it is not enough to simply offer the service, it is necessary to research where and when is the best opportunity to launch the platform, and according to Teixeira this is in “situations of high demand and low supply” (Blanding, 2016). After the business has a large number of customers, it is necessary to maintain and increase that number by promoting the idea via ads or multimedia in order for other people to be transformed into customers. This is a process that business owners need to maintain with the purpose of notify the public that they can count on the service provided.

Example: What was the story behind Airbnb before it got famous and why?

As recorded on a podcast from How I Built This with Guy Raz, he and the founders of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk, tell the story of how the Airbnb platform obtained its popularity. “Today is normal to live in other people’s home” Gebbia affirmed. At the beginning, Joe and Brian were living and working in San Francisco. One day they received a letter from their landlord which said that their rent had increase. Joe remembered that one day he met a person who did not had a place to stay so he offered his Airbed in his living room. Right away he thought he was crazy by inviting a stranger to his house, but everything went well. From this life experience, he came up with the idea of creating a website that allowed people to rent apartments, so planned to use it during a period in which hotels rooms were not enough to host people that arrived there for fairs or events. The website was called “Airbednbreakfast.com”. Joe contacted his former roommate Nathan, who is an Engineer, to help him systemize the website to offer better options for customers. Now they had a team and the idea to start engaging in this new business. After launching the new version of the website during another event they learned that it was awkward for people to exchange cash in person, so they implemented the option to pay with credit cards. People began to call not only for business trips, but also for personal or family trips.

In 2008, former president Barak Obama, was going to give a speech during his candidacy where the amount of people attending was way higher than the amount of rooms available. This was the perfect opportunity to relaunch the website, and they did. Following this success, Joe and Brian met with more than ten investors, unfortunately none of them had the courage to invest in this idea, they all had the stranger-danger mentality. They realized that this website was not generating any profit and for this reason they came up with different idea: selling cereal. Their new creation was a cereal box that was able to be sold at 40 dollars a box, earning a profit of 20 thousand dollars, which they would now invest on the Airbnb website. They managed to settle an interview with another investor called Paul Gram, who believed their website can be a success only for the fact that they were able to sell cereal boxes for 40 dollars a box. They continued to work on the website and relaunched it in New York after realizing it is an international destination. Despite this being true, the pictures posted on the website did not attract the public’s attention. To solve this problem, they flew to New York and hired a professional photographer to take nicer pictures that the one’s posted on the website.

The couldn’t believe that by the end of the week their fees doubled because of the new pictures that captured the public’s attention. Now the world is ready for Airbnb and since then it is bigger than any hotel chain around the world. Airbnb is entrepreneurship, but hotels is just a business idea.

One example are college students that live under a budget. Airbnb give them the opportunity to go on a trip with friends without spending too much money in hotels.

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