Do you believe that a venture needs to be non-for-profit in order to make a high positive impact in the world? Or it is this irrelevant?
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The historical boom of "Tiendas" in Colombia is not about them selling "cheap" - being such a "humble" format one might think that this is the driver of their success, but it is not - they are certainly NOT cheap. The format is simply a natural response to a market reality: in Colombia 6 out of 10 people earn/are paid daily. Yes, every day they manage to earn something (formally or informally) and every day they buy their food for the next day and somehow manage to save/reserve a piece of the daily money for their other expenses. Who will go then with 5 (or way less) USD to a supermarket, where just taking a bus will probably cost you 1 USD? Almost nobody ... so people go to their "tienda" and buy, close to home, whatever they need.
Now, the essence of my post is not about the "tiendas" - although I love marketing I am certainly not a guru in the "tienda phenomenon". The essence of my post is about how the "tiendas" are evolving from a "subsistence venture" to a higher impact venture.
On the conference it was said that one of the main reasons (if not the main) for the format to evolve into a more professional, structured and customer-friendly one, was the fact the the children of "tenderos" (the owners of the tiendas) did not want to become "tenderos". Even if through the "tienda" business their parents were able to raise them and give them in many cases even university education, they expected an "upgraded" version of the business.
So, these children that, as said, had the chance to access to education started to become the new generation of "Tienda" Entrepreneurs, evolving the "Tienda" format into the "Superette" format. A "Superette" is the upgraded version of the "Tienda", which as first sight might just look as a "small" supermarket (a mini-market) but yet conserving the convenience (location-wise) of the "Tienda".
There are additional other reasons why the new format also worked quite well for a "Tienda" family. The first one is related to security. An old format "Tienda" offered way less security for owners in terms of robbery from customers, but also from burglars. In the new format given its structure they can have professional watchmen and other complementary systems (cameras, sensors, etc.) that can help them be more aware. The second reason why the new format also worked quite well is related to "quality of life" of the entrepreneur. It`s been always said that for the business to work, a "Tendero" had to be present at the shop 24/7. It is clear that (for a "Tienda" or for any other business) an Entrepreneur has to be immerse in the business - this leading role should not be eliminated. However, with the new format more systems and competent people have the potential to be considered, so that the "Tendero" does not have to be there to do every delivery and count every penny.
This is my "page" as a sample.
Clearly, the aim is not to win this, but might be worth YOU entrepreneurs join and see what happens!!
We do not have to choose between inspired employees and sizable profits - in fact inspired employees help make sizable profits.
This class has been by far one of my favourites of the past years!
They were so smart! I bet money that from this group at leat 5 or 6 students can become sucessful entrepreneurs when they grow up. I was really suprised during our last class, where we developed few advanced -decision making process case studies- with the level of thought process stduents put into it. Never underestimate the power of child`s mind!
Recently, rehearsing for the GMAT (yes! I will present it for the 3rd time! Outstanding, isn`t it) I came across with a reading comprehension passage that explained a study of two researchers and authors called Robert Goffee and Richard Scase. I never heard of them before (have you?), but one of their studies on female entrepreneurship called so much my attention, that I couldn`t help googling as much as I could about them and their work.
There are few ideas resulting of their research that called tremendously my attention. Why? It is not that their “discoveries” appeared surprising to me, one could have also concluded them by looking around with a bit of detail, but still - the concreteness of the way they presented their conclusions in such a structured manner, putting empirical assumptions I personally have always had into formal papers, is what made me really like their work. Well, let`s go to the point, what is Goffee & Scase`s work all about?
1- First, they concluded that women become entrepreneurs as a means to overcome not only unfair, discriminatory selection criteria (such as age, previous experience, and of course, gender), but also as a means to overcome subordination. Simple: If I start my own business, nobody will judge my capacity to run it and I will be my own boss!
2- Goffee & Scase classify women Entrepreneurs into 4 main types.
a. The first type is called “INNOVATIVE ENTREPRENEURS”, these are women that mainly started a business to challenge conventional assumptions about the social position of women. They want to prove through their own (success) case that work or professional development is more important than conventional female roles. These Entrepreneurs want to fulfill professional ambitions in their own companies that previous roles as employees did not allow them to.
b. The second type of Women Entrepreneurs is called “RADICALS-PROPIETORS”. These girls are active in economic and political ventures that strongly promote female issues. They do not care as much for profit-making (without saying that their business are not profitable) as “INNOVATIVE ENTREPRENEURS”, their motivation is to advocate for the long term development of women interests.
c. The third category is called “CONVENTIONALS”. These women, who are also not attached to traditional female roles, differ from “INNOVATIVE ENTREPRENEURS” in the fact that they do not necessarily present resentment about limited career opportunities in previous jobs. In fact, they might have exercised secondary jobs in the past and they might have changed from job several times. To me (Oriana) this is the category that I understood the less, I mean, for me “CONVENTIONALS” are “INNOVATIVE ENTREPRENEURS without resentment” who had less job stability in the past.
d. The final type is called “DOMESTICS”. These women, even if self-employed and entrepreneurs, see their businesses as secondary to their roles as mothers and wives, for instance. Having their own company offers opportunities for self-fulfillment and autonomy, however subordinated to their personal obligations.
I am a freak of classifications, that`s maybe one of the reasons why I loved Goffee & Scase conclusions. All types are fascinating on their own, and I know real women in my close circle of influence that fall into each of those categories. I think I personally am a “CONVENTIONAL” with some influence of RADICALS-PROPIETOR”. “DOMESTICS” are not bad at all, in the end, work-life balance is not only important, but sustainable.
So, what type are you? Do you know an impressive role model that fall into one of these four types?
Yesterday, the host of the breakfast was María Isabel Nieto and the talk promised to be about her career change from the public to the private sector ... María Isabel had been a politician since she started her professional career, holding several positions in different regional and national terms, being one of the last ones, Vice Minister of Interior. Since 6 months or so, she`s the Director of Government & Industry Issues of Bavaria-SAB Miller in Colombia.
Some interesting quotes I could rescue from the talk (from the host as from the assistants), regarding the differences between the public & private sector, were:
“In the private sector if you are (a) good (professional), you are indentified, nurtured and developed into a leader… if you are (a) bad (one), you are fired. Show me performance! That`s not the case in the public sector. The public sector has employees by profession. Meritocracy still seems to have a long way to go”
“The word accountability doesn´t seem to exist in the public sector. In the public sector at times the person takes priority over the function”
“In the private sector you earn better”
“In the private sector you have access to top class sources of information to support the decision making process (name it Mc Kinsey or the world guru in certain topic), in the public one, Google and your own criteria (whichever it is) is your best support”
“To make/pass a law, doesn´t mean that you change a reality. In the public sector the game is about being (or seeming?) different … every politician wants to propose a different way to do something. In the private sector “continuity is king”. You achieve when you execute and finnish, not when you propose and start.”
Some of the previous comments might be farfetched and certainly there must be amazing professionals working in the public sector trying to make a change in Colombia … but still there is a high amount of truth. Sad, very sad news.
From a Talent Development perspective another issue discussed was the fact that the first bosses that a junior professional has, tend to mark (for good of bad) the kind of professional this person becomes. I personally agree with that. 100 % indeed. Few young professionals that were at the talk, reinforced this, telling how uninspiring it was to, instead of seeing a good role model or a real coach, to see people that they could not understand how they made it to their position (and how have they actually stayed there!). Are we sending young professionals to the public sector to commit a professional suicide? Scary, very scary news.
It was a very entertaining breakfast. One point though I made in the end, was the fact that we were generalizing way too much when we talked about “private sector”. The perceived “best practices” named before, in my opinion reflected the reality of the big, consolidated, and especially multinational private companies. What about the entrepreneurs? What about the social sector? I can confidently say they are in a dangerous grey zone between seeming more public sector than private sector. And here is where I feel happy to work for Endeavor. Bottom-line, what we do is pulling entrepreneurs away from management mediocrity and making them think big, giving them tools that, if well executed, can bring them faster to the achievement of their goals, but more than that, to become a role role model for fellow entrepreneurs that are just starting its journey.