A successful entrepreneur is one who has a set of key skills, attributes and behaviours. Key skills include exhibiting flexibility and leading the company through good and bad phases; monitoring performance routinely and taking corrective actions to ensure that all activities are directed at achieving the strategic objectives; maintaining a pool of talented and focussed employees; and increasing competence by staying updated on latest developments in the market (Aileron, 2013). Key attributes include persistent determination to achieve success; ability to drive ingenuity in the company; not succumbing to pressures and discarding their points of view; being intuitive about the future developments; having a positive persona; and being open to new challenges (Goltz, 2012). Key behaviours include exuding positive energy and self-driven approach towards work, taking accountability of the company’s activities, commanding workforce of the company and handling critical situations effectively (University of Surrey, n.d.).
The key skills, attributes and behaviours are must-haves for every entrepreneur in today’s society, since the chances of business failure have gone significantly higher. The business environment has become increasingly complex with intense competition, innumerable product substitutes for customers, restrictive governmental regulations and higher customer expectations due to globalisation.
The economy of Swansea is advanced and diverse, with principal contributions from manufacturing and services sectors. In a 2010 report by Business Register and Employment Survey, services sector alone employed about 85% of the total workforce (Swansea Bay, n.d.). This finding is important because the concentration of workforce in any particular sector denotes the growth and viability of that sector.
The manufacturing sector constitutes about 16% of the employment market and looks promising. However, the relatively small sector is dominated by big players such as, Swansea Industrial Components, Alberto Culver Co., Tata Steel and 3M UK plc. Evidently, many of these players are multinational and to foray into the manufacturing sector would bear huge risks (Swansea Bay, n.d.).
Services sector, on the other hand, commands majority of the Swansea economy and has much more opportunities. The largest business in services is run by the government, encompassing civic facilities such as, education and health care. This sector is completely dominated by the government and thus, is not considered as an opportunity. The second largest business is retail, employing about 25% of the work force. However, similar to manufacturing, it is an intensely competitive business with big players such as, Tesco, Asda, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s. The third largest business is banking and financial services, but is once again dominated by multinationals such as, HSBC Bank. The fourth largest business is transport and communications, employing about 5% of the workforce and without any particular dominant player, although it does have big players such as, Avis and Europcar (Swansea Bay, n.d.; Avis, 2014a; Europcar, 2012).
The legal structures that a business can operate under are sole proprietorship, franchise and joint venture partnership.
Sole proprietorship is the best possible structure for profit maximisation, since profits would not be shared. Also, business stays in exclusive control of the proprietor. Nonetheless, it would also require huge amounts of personal investments to establish a proprietorship company.
Franchise is a good option for individuals looking for low business risks. Under this arrangement, an individual would use the trade name, livery and business model of an established company and operate in a region, where it does not already have a presence. However, while profits are shared mutually between the franchisor and franchisee, losses are exclusively borne by the franchisee. Thus, in case of a business failure, a franchised business has the same consequences as that of a non-franchised one.
Partnership, on the other hand, enables an entrepreneur to raise sufficient funds for a business by appointing business partners. While profits are shared, it also allows spreading financial risks and losses among partners.
Thus, the legal structure of business adopted would be partnership.
Since transport and communications is a significant business in Swansea with no dominant market players, it has a relatively favourable competitive environment. As per 2010 market data, 16,000 people regularly travel out of Swansea to nearby places for work, while 26,000 people travel from nearby places to Swansea (Burrows Communications, n.d.). Judging by this figure, around 84,000 trips are made in and out of Swansea everyday (32000 by people of Swansea and 52,000 by people around Swansea). Evidently, the transport market is extremely lucrative and has the potential to generate great profits.
Thus, the business chosen is Swan Taxi, a taxi service company based in Swansea, chiefly targeting people travelling in and out of Swansea for business purposes.
Primary market research conducted by the team at Oxford Street, High Street and Salubrious Place suggests that one of the biggest problems encountered in existing taxi services is the lack of disability-friendly facilities. Based on this finding, Swan Taxi would also target the sub-strata of disabled persons by modifying its fleet of taxis to make them disability-friendly.The partners conducted a survey to understand the needs of the people and provide them with the exact facilities that they want from them. The survey contained a number of questions which reveals the requirements of the respondents who are the local area people of Swansea (Refer to Appendix).
The most important intellectual properties of the business would be the Swan Taxi trade mark, logo and the livery of its fleet and uniforms. Swan Taxi would protect its intellectual properties by registering them at the Intellectual Property Office, a government agency based in Newport, South Wales (Intellectual Property Office, n.d.).