October 26 2010 Tuesday

Entrepreneurs and their Social Networks

At last, I have completed my research thesis for the graduate study at Management Engineering. Yesterday, the board decided I am done and able to graduate finally :)

My thesis was to investigate the interaction between entrepreneurship and individual's social network. Thanks to entrepreneurs I have interviewed, we have built a complete model that interacts with different steps in a classical IT business formation process.

Interestingly, the personal characteristics (risk-taking capability, ambition, vision, etc.) are not very effective for the classical approach (excluding risky venture organizations). However, parents influence the individual's attitudes towards standard occupational competences. Parents that are not entrepreneur unwittengly coach their children as a conservative businessman. Even so, these people may decide changing their paths for a more risky career in self-employment for a little marginal gain of income just because of several 'irrational' reasons.

On the other hand, we have found that social networks provide important resources and oppurtunities for entrepreneurs at the start-up phase. Most of people are using their last employers or former business partners as initial customers. In IT business, family network is not a powerful source. It is also interesting that when small business owners don't have enough resources or capabilities for sales/marketing workforce, social interactions help them establishing effective sales networks for new oppurtunities.

Blogs and other social media tools also facilitate these interactions with their inexpensiveness and ease of use. User groups, software summits and LCTY-like activities are important places where social network activities are very active. In niche markets (like Lotus Software), small social groups such as people worked together in a large team for a long time provide important asset for the individual.

The moral of the story is: "Emphasize your social network with tools whatever you have. Keep your business contacts alive if you have any agendas to have self-employement for the future."

Now it's time to rewrite the thesis as an article ready to be published...
Serdar Basegmez   |   October 26 2010 09:15:00 AM   |    Blog  Personal    |  
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