The businessman and the entrepreneur: A fable: help me with the ending

Mark was itching to start a new company. It took him over 15 years to establish his business and it was a great success from his perspective. Starting at a small retail outlet reselling home essentials, with a very modest $7500 inventory investment, he had grown it to over $7.5 Million in annual revenues. Now 15 stores adorned with every possible home furnishing accessory, dotted 12 cities in the county he was born and raised. It was a tough road and he learned many lessons. Not to mention he made a lot of good friends in banking, accounting, retail and local government. He employed over 100 people (mostly women) in his business, provided them good benefits and was respected as a pioneer among active retail promotion strategies. His business by most measures was doing very well.

Perusing through the Bay area parenting magazine while helping his 8 year old with writing homework, he could not help but notice the number of help wanted ads for local nurses. An opportunity?

Quick call to his accountant might be in order? 9% margins; which were 3% better than his peers and competitors suggested to him some calculated risk taking is required. He requested and paid for a good local jobs analysis, spend trend report, demographic profile report (indicating how many senior citizens were to settle in his county in the next 10-15 years), market availability and pricing analysis and a list of top 25 local county hospitals.

She had enough of it. For the 19th time that week, Susan responded to the thank you for your job application email with large frustration writ on her face. Its only Thursday and I am up to 20 rejects, she muttered to no one in particular. The tabby only moved her eyebrow as if to indicate that should be sufficient to appease her roommate. The M mark on the cat’s forehead looked like it stood for mockery. Susan contemplated going down to pick up the mail, when it occurred to her that she had not watered the plants for that week. Am I losing it she wondered? It was over 8 weeks since she was laid off from her administrator’s position at the county library.

The shrill ring on the phone startled the tabby cat. Susan picked it up. The voice on the other side asked her if she’d be interested in “getting some literature” on the latest nursing programs since it was the career opportunity of a lifetime. For the 11th time she hung up saying no, making a mental note to register for the DNC list by days end. It then struck her, how many people had called her over the last week asking to enroll for their nursing program.

Getting online she identified the number of her “virtual friends” who were all looking for a position to be close to 15. Sensing an opportunity she called St. Stephens to ask them about the number of open nurse positions.

Gratified that it was significant, she decided it was time for Susan Associates to make a headway into the nursing recruiting business and placed calls into 4 of her friends to try and get them to sign up for nurse training as a part time vocation. 90+ calls ensued in the next 15 days, some positive but mostly rejections. Undeterred she kept making calls and adding to her virtual “will call you back to keep in touch” friends, actively seeking part-time nurses.

1. So, 5 year’s later, who succeeds in having a nurse recruitment business? Is it Mark the experienced businessman or Susan the fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pantsuits entrepreneur?

2. How important is it for the entrepreneur to do the detailed analysis and segmentation of the market potential than to “just do it”.

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