Talks Entrepreneurship Where It's Not So Simple
Reed is taking the case for entrepreneurship into some former Soviet
nations only recently touched by the free-market approach. And she's
bringing back some important lessons for students in the form of
textbook case studies.
last fall in Yerevan, Armenia, on strategic planning and entrepreneurship.
Her audience was a group of professionals in the process of privatizing
companies in the former Soviet nation. One of their goals was to
keep young people from leaving the country. This spring, she visited
Kharvov, Ukraine, and Kiev, Russia, to lecture on the same topics.
She returns to Armenia this fall.
business professor, who teaches entrepreneurship and economics,
stresses strategic planning and the value of competition. She shares
a five-step plan for helping businesses develop in former Soviet
She tells audiences
to (1) identify the business and the product or service, (2) identify
customers and competition, (3) plan a marketing strategy using "the
four Ps"-product, place, price and promotion, (4) identify
management team members and their expertise and (5) project revenues
and expenses to see if the venture is viable.
While the plan
is simple and direct, it's not always easy to implement in areas
dominated until recently by the Soviet approach.
things like marketing research and customer service issues that
most Americans have some knowledge of are unknown to many businesses
in the former Soviet Union countries," she said.
there are keenly interested in establishing sound businesses, but
they still face restraints, she said.
has been the inability of their governments to act quickly enough
in establishing laws to assist new businesses," she said. "An
example of this is the absence of contract law and bankruptcy law
in the Czech Republic until recently."
Too, she added,
national banks are just now being privatized, making it difficult
for businesses to secure a checking account, much less a loan.
debilitating problem is the lack of sound ethics as guiding principles
in decision making," she reported. "Most entrepreneurs
believe it isn"t in one's best interest to try to live by the
golden rule when no one else is."
Reed has traveled
extensively studying European businesses, including spending a sabbatical
in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in the spring of 2000. Her research has
produced at least five case studies that have made their way into
U.S. textbooks and journals.
authors love international cases," said Reed. "They want
their students to understand the struggles of going from a Soviet-based
economy to a free-market economy."
requires months to complete. After an initial examination, she will
pursue a complete study of a business case if it deals with a central
problem, if it provides educational content and "if it's not
boring to students."
interested in studying how businesses would cope with the change
to a free market during a trip to Germany 11 years ago, not long
after the fall of Communism. Since 1997, she has presented case
studies at such meetings as the International Decision Sciences
Institute in Athens, Greece, and the North American Case Research
European case studies are finding their way into American business
textbooks and journals.