The New Entrepreneur
History moves in a spiral; one returns to the preceding position, but on a higher level, and by a corkscrew-like path.
We are again entering an era in which emphasis will be on entrepreneurship. However, it will not be an entrepreneurship of a century ago, that is, the ability of a single man to organize a business he himself could run, control, embrace. It will rather be the ability to create and direct an organization for the new. We need men and women whop can build a new structure of entrepreneurship on the managerial foundations laid these last eighty years. History, it has often been observed, moves in a spiral; one returns to the preceding position, or to the preceding problem, but on a higher level, and by a corkscrew-like path. In this fashion we are going to return to entrepreneurship on a path that led out fro a lower level, that of the single entrepreneur, to the manager, and now back, though upward, to entrepreneurship again. The businessperson will have to acquire a number of new abilities, all of them entrepreneurial in nature, but all of them to be exercised in and through a managerial organization.
Information on Cost and Value
We cannot achieve results until we have information on cost and value.
Basic structural information is focused upon the value that is created for customers and the resources used to do so. The concepts and tools of accounting are now in the throes of its most fundamental change. The new accounting tools are not just different views of recording transactions but represent different concepts of what business is and what results are. So even the executive far removed from any work in accounting, such as a research manager in a development laboratory, needs to understand the basic theory and concepts represented by these changes in accounting. These new concepts and tools include: activity-based costing, priceled costing, economic-chain costing, economic value added, and bench-marking.
Activity-based costing reports all the costs of a product or service until the customer actually buys the product, and provides the foundation for integrating cost and value into one analysis.
The problem is not with technology. It is with mentality.
Traditionally, Western companies have started with costs, put a desired profit margin on top, and arrived at a price. This is cost-led pricing. In price-led costing, the price the customer is willing to pay determines allowable costs, beginning with design costs and ending with service costs. Marketing provides information on the price the customer is willing to pay for the value the product or service provides.
A cross-functional team starts its analysis of costs by taking this price as a given. The team then subtracts the profit required to compensate the enterprise for capital investment and risk, and arrives at an allowable cost for a product or service. Then it proceeds to make the tradeoffs between the utility provided by a product and allowable cost. Under price-led costing, the entire economic framework focuses upon creating value for the customer and meeting cost targets while earning the necessary rate of return on investment.
Turbulent Times Ahead
It turbulent times, the first task of management is to make sure of the institution’s capacity to survive a blow.
In turbulent times, the first task of management is to make sure of the institution’s capacity for survival, to make sure of its structural strengths, of its capacity for survival, to make sure of its structural strengths, of its capacity to survive a blow, to adapt to sudden change, and to avail itself of new opportunities. Turbulence, by definition, is irregular, nonlinear, erratic. But its underlying causes can be analyzed, predicted, managed.
But its underlying should – and can 0 – manage is the single most important new reality underlying a great deal of the turbulence around: the sea-change in population structure and population dynamics, and especially the shift in population structure and population dynamics in the developed countries of the West and Japan. These shifts are already changing the modes of economic integration throughout the world. They are likely to lead to a new “transnational confederation” based on production sharing and market control, replacing in many areas the old “multinational corporation” based on financial control. They are creating new consumer markets and realigning existing old consumer markets. They are drastically changing the labor force to the point where there will only be “labor forces,” each with different expectations and different characteristics. They will force us to abandon altogether the concept of “fixed retirement age.” And they will create a new demand on management – as well as a new opportunity – to make organized plans for redundancy.