Someone asked me the other day what makes entrepreneurs different from the rest of us.
I think it’s in how entrepreneurs see the world. Where most of us might see a challenge or a problem, entrepreneurs see an opportunity. And when most of us may just assume the current way of doing things is acceptable, an entrepreneur will see a better way.
We try to teach students of entrepreneurship to develop skills in opportunity recognition — to develop a mindset of “What if we did this?” That ability is what seems to set successful entrepreneurs apart. (more…)
Marketing is a fascinating discipline for anyone interested in human behavior.
That’s because solid market research is built on a knowledge of how and where we live our lives, why we do what we do and how the changes in the world around us affect our habits and desires.
Market research also includes studying the various trends we observe in our world, as well as an evaluation of the business opportunities within those trends. One of the pioneers in this work was John Naismith who, in 1982, published Megatrends, and was one of the first predictors of the transition of the industrial economy to an information economy.
Today’s research in this discipline focuses more on what author Mark J. Penn calls “microtrends” in his new book by the same name. According to Penn, today’s world is broken into smaller subgroups of people engaged in similar behaviors, which results in smaller â€“ or “micro” trends that are not as obvious, but every bit as powerful as the larger, more homogenous trends of the 1980s and 1990s. (more…)
As a kid, one of my favorite things was to attend area auctions with my dad. My mom worked on weekends, so we had lots of time to knock around at estate sales in the area. We went as much for the entertainment as we did to find bargains. But we found a few.
One of my favorites was an old oak pump organ. We bought it at a farm sale outside Rocheport. It was in bad shape. It certainly didn’t play. The bellows were shot, and the oak frame was covered in several layers of black varnish. It was held together by mud dauber nests. Still, I had recently learned a bit about playing the piano, and I wanted that organ. The auctioneer and my dad were glad to agree on a price of $6.
During the following late summer and fall, my dad and I spent nearly every weekend working on the organ. We had the bellows rebuilt, we totally dismantled the frame, stripped it and refinished it and topped it all off with new red carpet for the pedals and new red satin behind the oak filigree on the headboard. By the time the weather turned cold that year, we had uncovered a lovely work of art that is still among my most treasured possessions.
Ever since that fall, the world of auctions has fascinated me. I recently indulged that fascination by attending a couple of estate auctions in the area. Because of my current work and my personal interest in marketing, I watched the events from a slightly different perspective than I had years ago. And I got curious about the profession of auctioneering. So I did some research that I found both interesting and surprising. (more…)