Hi readers, welcome to my fourth blog about Entrepreneurship and Networks!
For this blog, I interviewed two entrepreneurs, one female and one male, and talked to them about their networking behavior. I did this on the basis of a survey, which our lecturers made for us.
The female entrepreneur I interviewed is 49 years of age and has her own company which mainly helps people with marketing, communication and interim management. The male entrepreneur I interviewed is 29 years of age and both founded and (co-)owned a couple of companies in the past and now has his own investment and management company, which he uses to help start-up companies with potential.
Both of them stated that they do a lot with networking and trying to enrich their network. They seemed very proactive to me and during the interview, both of them confirmed that. The female entrepreneur mentioned that her biggest challenge was to find which way of networking actually worked best for her, since she used a lot of networking methods I discussed with her. She told me that talking to people face-to-face and giving them her business card is what she mostly does, but she also likes social media as a means of staying in contact with existing network relations. However, when I asked her a question about blogging and internet forums as a means of networking, she explained that that just wasn’t her style.
As for the male entrepreneur, he told me that his biggest challenge was to contact bigger companies in order to get resources. He still struggled with finding the best way of doing this. This is why he often both attends and organizes conventions. During our conversation, he stressed that in order to make every relationship in your network work, is to make sure everyone has the same expectations in the relationship.
After the interview, I saw a lot of similarities in both networking behaviors. Probably the biggest difference between the two was in tie exploiting (using your network to get resources), since the male entrepreneur did that a little more. However, I think that this might be due to the differences between the two companies, rather than differences in male-female networking behavior.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog and hopefully you will read my next week’s blog as well! 🙂
This week we had to invite two entrepreneurs and with the help of a survey get to understand their network behaviour better. The male entrepreneur I invited was 23 years old. He, together with his partner have a company which makes unique jackets. The female entrepreneur I invited was 41 years old and has a company making ceramics and teaching how to make it. Both companies are still in a start-up stage, which makes it more interesting to see the difference between how male and female differ in networking behaviour.
Interestingly enough the results of the survey indicate a very similar approach to networking. The biggest difference is that my male entrepreneur does more in tie bonding than my female entrepreneur and with knowledge sharing this is the other way around. The difference is not huge though and could have to do with still being in the start-up phase. They did however say that these two are the most important to them right now and it is a challenge as they want to build up a bigger network in order to make themselves known out in the world. Both entrepreneurs not yet seem to pay a lot of attention to directed organizing and undirected signalling. Again this probably has to do with their start-up situation and will increase over time. They would want to improve on this later, the issue they have is time. It already takes a lot of your time to just have your own business and doing these things, like organizing conventions, would take even more.
Both entrepreneurs have interesting businesses and it is interesting to see how they use their network in their start-ups. I do think that when their networks grow bigger this survey will change a lot, since they get to know more of the right people to get resources from along the way.
See you next week,
Joep van Gelder
Entrepreneurship and Networks
For this week’s blog, we had to interview both a male and female entrepreneur. The former of these two was no problem for me, as I know many. The latter, however, was more of a problem. Therefore, I decided to ask around at the field hockey club this Sunday. That’s how I found my female respondent. She owns a workshop business. The male respondent has a sole proprietorship and works as a project manager in several IT projects.
The comparison of these two entrepreneurs speaks in favor of the male entrepreneur when it comes to networking. It is clearly visible that he scores better on seven out of eight dimensions. This difference in networking style may be explained by the goals of their businesses. For the male entrepreneur, his business is to create a living. For the female entrepreneur, the business is a secondary activity alongside her study. Furthermore, there is a difference in the amount of persons involved in the business. The female operates together with two other students, whilst the male entrepreneur has a sole proprietorship as mentioned earlier. The woman, however, did not state that her business partners are involved in networking more actively. She acknowledged that they do not do a lot of networking, but this is due to fear of making it their primary activity and not finishing their study. The female entrepreneur stated that she might continue her business after her study, but considered it somewhat unlikely. It is therefore that she is not necessarily planning on improving the scores for the dimensions. The male entrepreneur scores high on many aspects and he is very successful. Accordingly, he does not see real challenges. Neither writing blogs, nor organizing exhibitions and conventions are considered to pay more attention to. This is because they are not likely to make the business more successful. Furthermore, time also forms an obstacle.
For this week’s blog I invited two entrepreneurs, male and female, for an interview. According to the theory we discussed during last week’s lecture, there is both a feminine and masculine way of networking. In this blog I will introduce the two entrepreneurs, compare them and try to link them to the theory.
The male entrepreneur I interviewed is in his mid-twenties and already started multiple businesses. He now owns a business that helps innovative companies to get more innovative by the use of nanotechnology.
The female entrepreneur is still in the start-up phase. She is in her early twenties and calls herself a social entrepreneur. She connects fair-trade and sustainable shops with a gift card. It is like a fashion check, but only for fair-trade goods.
If we compare the results of the questionnaire we see that the female entrepreneur only scores higher at two dimensions. In terms of the prestigious tie seeking the female entrepreneur states that she looks for status, potential value and social position. The male entrepreneur scores lower at this point. I think this can be related to the phase in which both companies are. The male entrepreneur is doing business for a longer time and already developed more than one company. The female entrepreneur is still starting-up. She is now focussing on relationships that can help her further and is therefore looking for higher status relationships. According to the theory this is a more masculine way of networking. The female entrepreneur also scores higher at categorizing behaviour. This can be both feminine and masculine in nature. Females are more systematically and ordered than men are. On the other hand it is said that men are more likely to analyse whether the relationship is valuable or not.
The male entrepreneur scores higher at every other dimension. Especially at knowledge sharing. This is due to the type of business he is in. He gives advice on an extremely difficult topic, so sharing knowledge is necessary.
When it comes to entrepreneurial events. The female entrepreneur scores very low. She mentioned that there isn’t such a thing for the type of sector she is in. I also asked if she would prefer a female event instead of a normal one, but she said that she don’t want to be a typical female entrepreneur!
Here I am again writing about my internship at Enactus. So this week we are still trying to gather information regarding food waste and the possibilities for us to get misshaped fruit and vegetables. After we’ve called so many farmers and farmer stores, we came to the conclusion that most of the farmers actually don’t have so much food waste because they are already using it for products. So we tried to change our strategy a little bit.
We went out to our local farmers and asked from where they get their fruit and vegetables. Most of them referred us to Food Center Amsterdam (FCA), also known as De Kweker. FCA is the biggest wholesale food market in the region of Amsterdam. They supply most of the super markets and greengroceries in the area. After some research we found out that every Monday they purchase their products from farmers all over the country and Sunday they probably have all the leftovers. So we decided to go and visit this Food Center next week and figure out what they do with the leftovers. In this way we are trying to move our supplier from the initial farmer to the biggest wholesale food market of the region. Maybe we could arrange something with them and finally start our enterprise, because it’s the obstacle of finding a supplier of ‘food waste’ which is still holding us back from starting.
Furthermore we’re going to try to contact wholesales like the Makro, Hanos and Sligro Ven, which could possibly also be suppliers since they probably dump all their leftovers somewhere at the end of the week.
We hope that our visit to the Food Center Amsterdam finally will break the ice!
Thank you for reading. See you next week!
Hello again! For this week’s assignment I invited two entrepreneurs – one male, 29 years and a professional website designer and one female, 52 years and owner of a clothing boutique – for a short interview about their networking behavior. By using a questionnaire I investigated their networking behavior and in this blog I will briefly discuss and compare them.
From the results is clear that the male entrepreneur almost scores higher at every dimension of social networking behavior. While interviewing the 29-old website designer, I noticed that he’s always consciously trying to enlarge his network and thereby creating more clients and sometimes employees. He scored the best on prestigious tie seeking which is definitely in line with his way networking behavior because when I asked him about this topic specifically he stressed out that he actually 70% of the time is trying to search for prestigious entrepreneurs/clients/employees or whatsoever. He’s convinced that this will have a positive effect on his enterprise, which indeed is the case since he nowadays is a highly recognized website designer. The dimensions that challenged the male entrepreneurs the most were categorizing behavior and directed organizing. He actually don’t think that categorizing behavior is necessary and is not planning to put much effort in it to improve it. However, he finds directed organizing very important and he already knew from himself that he has a hard time improving it because he’s used to get into contact with new relationships through the internet and not really go out to conventions or exhibitions about entrepreneurship. He will try however to change this in the future.
The female entrepreneur on the contrary, just concentrates on her clothing boutique and hopes for customers to walk her store in. She never really stood by the fact of networking. When the income of her store decreased, her daughter opened a website and Facebook page for her, which dragged some new customers. She actually has problems with every dimension because she’s not used to actively enlarge her network. After the interview, she told me that she will try to improve her network skills in the hope she would improve her business outcomes.
In my case the male entrepreneur was much more active in networking than the female entrepreneur, but of course it doesn’t always has to be this way.
Thanks for reading!
This week we had been working according to our schedule, we are making quite some progress. We are working on 3 parts of our marketing model this week. These parts are: Interest, Conviction and Desire.
This is one of the most challenging stages in this marketing model. You’ve got the attention of a chunk of your target audience, but can you engage with them enough so that they’ll want to spend their precious time understanding your message in more detail?
Gaining the entrepreneurs’ interest is a deeper process than grabbing their attention as described last week. They will give you a little more time to do it, but you as a company must stay focused on their needs. This means helping them to pick out the messages that are relevant to them quickly. So use bullets and subheadings, and break up the text to make your points stand out. Not only presenting your USP’s.
The idea of conviction is that before you get to a final purchase action or agreement, a cognitive state of understanding the value is needed that matches the emotional state of desire. This takes some time but is really beneficial.
The Interest and Desire parts of our marketing model go hand-in-hand: As you’re building the entrepreneurs’ interest, you also need to help them understand how what you’re offering as a company can help them in a real way. The main way of doing this is by appealing to their personal needs and wants. Explain to entrepreneurs what’s in it for them.
Next week we will be meeting at SEEDS to present our progress and discuss any questions and feedfack our contact person has for us.