Entrepreneurship Class Reflection

by Aminat Abubakar

When I started the class and first opened the book Disciplined Entrepreneurship by Bill Aulet, all I could see was a maze. I asked myself, “how I can go through the maze to finishing line?” However, as time progressed and we went through the class under the instruction of Dr. Lisa Fournier each week became clearer. It made me focused deeply about my offering through the structures and processes in the Aulet notebook; gradually my idea began to turn into a reality. Bill Aulet’s book using the 24 Steps serves as a guide to entrepreneurship. It walks us through the design process of product or service creation.

You must have the entrepreneurial spirit in you to be able to start a business or manage a business successfully. I enjoyed Dr. Fournier’s online Entrepreneurship classes. Online class was initially scary but has taught me the discipline of self-study, and organization. You have to go out of your comfort zone to make it. You must! The online class prepared me for my last term of independent work along with the other courses we took include emotional intelligence, innovative intelligence and creativity, strategic intelligence, financial intelligence, and organizational intelligence.

The entrepreneurship class taught me to understand the important issues that entrepreneurs need to know and understand. The first important lesson is the awareness of the need of your customers, potential customers, and overall market need. You then come out with a solution to satisfy that need or solve the problem. IDEO human-centered design model believes all problems are solvable. They involve the “communities in order to understand the people they are looking to serve, to dream up scores of ideas, and to create innovative new solutions rooted in people’s actual needs—about believes that as long as you stay grounded in what you have learned from people, your team can arrive at new solutions that the world needs” (IDEO.org, 2015). The greatest mistake an entrepreneur would make is developing a product or service they ‘FEEL’ that is needed by the people, which is a result of market failure! I now realize that being an entrepreneur is not an easy task, it takes a lot of hard work and determination to succeed, but more than anything, a strong passion for what you set out to do.

Also, I discovered in my research though Aulet Steps along with IDEO worksheets potential clients’ needs, which comprises of leadership development and on the job training skills. My future consulting firm would offer solutions in the form of workshops, training, and retreat. Our specialized service offering includes strategic intelligence, organizational intelligence, innovative intelligence and creativity, and leadership and emotional intelligence. Our team of specialists would bring new and innovative ideas to clients to help evaluate their strengths, resolve problems, develop talent, develop leadership skills, and implement plans through new trends to manage change.

I would like to thank Dr. Fournier for instilling the entrepreneurship spirit and knowledge in us by guiding us through each step along the way in the Entrepreneurship I and II classes. Dr. Michael Petty in providing us with the business methodology to becoming future smart thought leaders through leadership development classes include emotional intelligence, and innovative intelligence and creativity, strategic intelligence, financial intelligence, organizational intelligence towards the successful management of an organization or our businesses. Dr. Sheb Bishop for steering us into understanding the importance of integrating information technology into business operations because of today’s rapid dynamic change in the global business world due to technological advancement. These we learned through the combined class attendance of the DBA and DIT cohorts, courses include cloud and visualization architecture, enterprise data architecture, and enterprise systems architecture. As well as Dr. Sehba Husain who taught us at the beginning of the DBA program.

As for my fellow cohorts, it has been a great journey and remarkable support system that we all shared. I wish every one of us success through the remaining part of our journey to becoming Future Smart Doctors (DBA/DIT)!

To be successful, leaders must work hard in mastering the right aptitude to be successful and remain relevant.


IDEO.org. (2015). The field guide to human-centered design. Retrieved from http://d1r3w4d5z5a88i.cloudfront.net/assets/guide/Field Guide to Human-Centered Design_IDEOorg_English-ee47a1ed4b91f3252115b83152828d7e.pdf

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Being Customer-Centric

by Aminat Abubakar

Macdonald (2018) defines customer-centric as “a way of doing business with your customer in a way that provides a positive customer experience before and after the sale in order to drive repeat business, customer loyalty, and profits.” A customer-centric business is more than customer feedback, customer satisfaction, or good service. “Customer centricity is sometimes used as a catchall term for talking about customer feedback or customer satisfaction results, but making people happy is only one part of the equation,” explained Kroner (2017). In order to remain relevant and successful, Kroner (2017) noted, “Companies must understand current customer needs and wants, and ensure that there are the right internal and customer-facing strategies, processes and marketing initiatives to satisfy them.”

According to Thompson (2016), successful leaders establish the following five habits within their organizations:

  1. Listen to what customers’ value and seek their feedback on their experiences.
  2. Think objectively to make a sound, fact-based decisions.
  3. Empower employees with the resources they need to please customers.
  4. Create new value for customers, without being asked.
  5. Delight customers by exceeding beyond their expectations.

The business environment consists of various types of products and services that offer solutions to problems or offer better alternatives that are valuable. However, the real difficulty is getting customers. Most businesses fail because they find it difficult to get customers due to their inability to profitably attract and retain customers. Agrawal (2017) provided ten common mistakes made by the leadership include (1) missing product-market fit, (2) misaligned product-channel fit, (3) poorly trained salespeople, (4) confusion about the ideal customer profile, (5) Impractical pricing strategy, (6) lack of market education, (7) inaccurate lead-scoring, (8) dysfunctional lead nurturing, (9) dissatisfying customer service, and (10) disruptive competitor.

According to Razeghi, (2015), “Aggregating customers is where a lot of entrepreneurs find themselves stuck. They do all of this work to come up with an idea, but they do not know what that next step is.” They fail to take into account and identify the conflict that exists between what a customer really needs. It is very important to conduct a market research conduct interview, pitch your ideas to potential customers to gauge, and stimulate their interest in order to get feedback on your proposed service offering. “Think of it as a business before you launch your business,” says Razeghi. Doing so will eliminate the difficulty in getting customers to patronize your business. For example, Uber was able to succeed in launching its business as a result of identifying issues that taxi customers had such as long waiting times, unpredictability, and very expensive. Uber offered solutions which are convenient, inexpensive, and safe taxi service.

The most important aspect of gaining customers is to address as much of their pain points in your product or services offering, thereby “if you are producing results, your clients will recommend you to other clients—your clients will invite you back for additional projects” (Biech, 2007, p. 113).

When a business is successful in attracting customers it becomes easier to generate fund from them to support the business. For example, Aaron Hirschhorn and wife Karine started their business DogVacay when they realized the pain of dog owners when they are about to go on vacation just like with their dog Rambo and Rocky’s. They got inspired to set up a business of dog care based on the experience they had in letting their dogs stay with a dog trainer – the dogs benefited from socialization and being in a social environment.

He was able to conduct a detailed research to find out the number of dogs in the United States, the overall amount spent on dog sitting, and the total sum spent on pet-related trade. He was able to connect well with the customers, which lead them to fund his initial business startup. He did not use any of his money in the business or on marketing rather he places the publicity in Yelp listing. According to Aaron, “We started unraveling our jobs, building a prototype product, making a little video and getting the word out there. Once you do that and people start to see that you have left an opportunity because it is your passion to build this business then you start to get a bit of reception” (Mullins, 2014, p.79). It is easy to have a missed opportunity when we do not pay attention to our environment for opportunities that would create value in order to get customers. DogVacay solved real problems that were real for the dog owners.

I am yet to acquire a client in my consulting practice. I am in the discovery and design stage of interviewing customers, understanding the market, designing company structure, business model, how to source for fund, as well as charting the competitive position which is taking the business “core and translate it into something that would produce value for the customer, something they would care deeply” wrote Bill Aulet (2013,p.132). In order to understand the customers’ needs, we apply IDEO’s human-centered design model in working alongside our clients to gain insight into their problems to enable us to offer customized solutions that would address their pain.

At the same time, I am very conscious of the competition from other large consulting firms, as such, we must provide an alternative that would match or exceed what is currently in the market.

Agrawal, A. (2017, November 2). 10 Reasons Why Your Startup Isn’t Getting Customers. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/303981
Aulet, B. (2013). Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.
Biech, E. (2007). The Business of Consulting: The Basics and Beyond (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
Kroner, E. (2017). The 7 Pillars of Customer Centricity. Retrieved from https://www.ama.org/publications/eNewsletters/MarketingInsightsNewsletter/Pages/7-pillars-of-customer-centricity.aspx
MacDonald, S. (2018, June 6). How to Create a Customer-Centric Strategy For Your Business. Retrieved from https://www.superoffice.com/blog/how-to-create-a-customer-centric-strategy/
Mullins, J. (2014). The Customer-Funded Business: Start, Finance, or Grow Your Company with Your Customers’ Cash. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
Razeghi, A. J. (2015, May 1). The Business Before Your Business. Retrieved from https://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/article/the-business-before-your-business
Thompson, B. (2016, May 28). Take a Tip from Bezos: Customers Always Need a Seat at the Table. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/234254

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Entrepreneurship in Organizations

by Aminat Abubakar

What is “entrepreneurial competence”?
The global business environment has become more complex and competitive because of globalization and the rapid rise in technological development. As such for corporate organizations and entrepreneurs to survive and strive for a set of entrepreneurial traits and competence are required as key drivers for high performance. Traits are an individual characteristic that varies in each person but the most common entrepreneurial traits are passion, proactivity, tenacity, and new resource skill. According to Ventureprise (2013), “Researchers have found specific traits that are the driving force behind entrepreneurial competencies, motivations, and competitive strategies that support venture success.”

Passion rates high as the core characteristics of entrepreneurs and an integral trait in successful leaders. Entrepreneurs with passion are able to face opportunities and challenges with high energy that is essential from the inception to the growth of businesses or corporate organizations.

Proactivity is the ability to act in effecting environmental change. Ventureprise stated, “Researchers believe that entrepreneurs with this personality trait typically use organizational strategies that involve high levels of environmental scanning and long-range forecasting which allows them to successfully identify new opportunities.”

Tenacity or perseverance shows entrepreneurs’ or corporate organizations’ readiness to confront hindrances to barriers to market towards the sustenance of business growth.

New resources skill is the ability to source for combine resources for the diligent use towards business success.

IGI Global (2018) explains entrepreneurial competency as “The ability to develop, organize, and manage a business venture along with any of its risks…by a person in order to successfully run a new venture. Among those characteristics are social, managerial and networking competencies.”

Do companies need “entrepreneurial competence” to move forward and grow?
Corporate organizations need entrepreneurial competence to successfully move forward and grow. Corporate organizations that have a high entrepreneurial competence level have a greater success rate in the formulation and implemental of robust strategies. They are well prepared to transcend from one phase of development to the other and are able to withstand any obstacle. “Entrepreneurship competencies combine creativity, a sense of initiative, problem-solving, the ability to marshal resources, and financial and technological knowledge. These competencies enable entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial employees to provoke and adapt to change. They can be developed through entrepreneurship education and training that focus on promoting an entrepreneurial mindset and behaviors” (OECD, 2018).

Corporate organizations need the following three types of entrepreneurial competencies: employee personal competencies, workplace competencies, and industry related competencies.

Employee personal competencies also known as soft skills are personal attributes required for a satisfactory daily job performance. These competencies include interpersonal skills, strong initiative, ambition, adaptability and flexibility, a willingness to take risks, and willingness to learn new things.

Workplace competencies represent employees’ ability to function effectively within the organization in the application of knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, and behaviors. These competencies include the following creative thinking, problem-solving and decision-making, networking, planning and organizing, business fundamentals, computer skills and technology, and customer focus.

Industry related competencies are the building blocks that support the development of an agile workplace. These competencies include the following principles of entrepreneurship, financial management, innovation and invention, business operations, planning, marketing, and risks assessment and management.

How should “entrepreneurial competence” be manifested in your industry?
In order to encourage successful growth, corporate organizations combine various team of experts with diverse knowledge, skills, and competencies to manage business operations. Corporate management consulting industry should cultivate an entrepreneurial organizational culture that would encourage innovation. What makes an organization stand out is the combination of business and technological innovation in their internal processes. For example, Amazon combined its business and technological competencies to leverage the grocery industry through the acquisition of Whole Foods.

Entrepreneurial competence should be developed in order to deliver the required training for employees within the organization. De Caluwé and Reitsma, (2010, p.17) listed the following management consultants’ basic competencies due to a research study:

  1. Showing resilience: Flexibility
  2. Analyzing: Analytical skills, Conceptual thinking, Learning orientation, Creativity
  3. Considering: Balanced judgment, Awareness of external environment, Generating a vision
  4. Facilitating: Listening, Sensitivity
  5. Influencing: Communication, Presentation, Persuasion
  6. Inspiring confidence: Integrity, Reliability, Loyalty, Creating a favorable atmosphere

In conclusion, it is essential for corporate organizations and entrepreneurs to learn and develop relevant entrepreneurial competencies and skills as it affects the organization’s effectiveness. Additionally, it determines the entrepreneurs and corporate organizations’ success and competitiveness in the marketplace.

Do you or your corporate organization have the right skills and competencies for effective and successful personal and business growth?

De Caluwé, L., & Reitsma, E. (2010). Competencies of Management Consultants:. Retrieved from http://www.decaluwe.nl/articles/CompetenciesOfManagementConsultants.pdf
IGI Global. (2018). What is Entrepreneurial Competence. Retrieved from https://www.igi-global.com/dictionary/entrepreneurial-competence/52230
OECD. (2018). Developing entrepreneurship competencies. Retrieved from https://www.oecd.org/cfe/smes/ministerial/documents/2018-SME-Ministerial-Conference-Parallel-Session-3.pdf
Ventureprise. (2013). Entrepreneurial Competency. Retrieved from http://ventureprise.org/files/6213/6619/9191/Entrepreneurial_Competency.pdf

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It’s ALL About Value

by Aminat Abubakar

A value proposition is a statement that tells the audiences what your brand of products or services has to offer. It shows how your products or services would provide a solution or improvement to customer problems. It highlights the benefit, and reason why the customer should buy from you and not your competitors.

Osterwalder & Pigneur, explains the value proposition “as the benefits customers can expect from a company’s product and services” (2010, p.2). A proper value proposition is important at the initial stage of a startup set up by the entrepreneur who must define and evaluate as the foundation of the business success. “It is part of the business plan, of the marketing strategy and defines the future customer relationships” (startany, 2015). The value proposition focus should be on the customers’ needs and the value the product or service brings to the customers. It defines the business model of the company, the way it creates and generates revenue, as well as draws and maintains customers to the business products or services. Investors are concerned and scrutinize the value propositions of startups businesses they are interested in investing their funds.

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (2007) provides values a startup gains with a compelling value proposition:

  1. Create a strong differentiation between you and your competitors.
  2. Increase not only the quantity but also the quality of prospective leads.
  3. Gain market share in your targeted segments.
  4. Improve your operational efficiency.
  5. Increase your revenue.
  6. Ensure that everyone in your company communicates the same message.

While incorporating the customers’ needs in building a value proposition, there is also a need to create a corporate value proposition culture. Corporate value proposition culture “Articulates how your organization’s building blocks and your engaged employees create and drive value – not only through your own organization but also into your customers’ organizations” (Haken, 2016).

Our value proposition at ELDAMOH Management Strategy Consultancy (n.d.) is to empower organizations looking for opportunities to increase their performances in the area of their businesses. Our team of specialists provides service to clients to resolve problems innovatively, develop, and implement plans through new trends, and train in order to empower their businesses. ELDAMOH Management Strategy Consultancy employee value proposition is ‘We invest in you, to make an impact with integrity’.

An organizational culture that encourages and invests in learning, allows for employee creative independence in the workplace, attracts talent and less employee turnover. Such an environment allows for career growth and development, as well as motives creativity and innovative thinking. Employees are developed with skills and knowledge to think of new ways to help solve clients’ problems. They are able to face challenges innovatively and are motivated to go out of the industry to gain insight into customer needs and new trends. They are able to collaborate with partners and take ownership and responsibility for their actions. Employees are empowered with the knowledge and skills to reliably solve problems and provide solutions to customer needs. They are not afraid to take a risk.

A company’s value proposition is a reflection of how it delivers products or services to its customers and attracts new customers in the marketplace against competitors. It is also a reflection of how it engages its employees, retains, and attracts valuable talents.

What do you think?

ELDAMOH Management Strategy Consultancy. (n.d.). Our Value Proposition. Retrieved from https://eldamoh.com/value/
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. (2007, March 19). Value Proposition. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneurship.org/articles/2007/03/value-proposition
Haken, B. T. (2016, February 17). What’s Your Corporate Culture Value Proposition? Retrieved from https://babettetenhaken.com/2016/02/17/whats-your-corporate-culture-value-proposition/
Osterwalder, A., & Pigneur, Y. (2010). Business Model Generation. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Startany. (2015, August 11). The Importance of Value Proposition For The Success of Every Startup. Retrieved from http://www.startupist.com/2015/08/the-importance-of-value-proposition-for-the-success-of-every-startup/

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Ideation and Innovation

by Aminat Abubakar

Ideation is the creative aspect of the design process by “which you generate the ideas that get you from the starting line to the finishing line” (Interaction Design Foundation, n.d.). The word ideation is about coming up with big ideas, but more importantly, is knowing which amongst all the ideas presented is the most significant. The goal of ideation process is to implement “best solution to satisfy the unmet customer needs of the target customers and segments, enabling them to get the job done faster, more conveniently, and more effectively than ever before” (Strategyn, n.d.). Ideation is generated through a number of various sessions such as brainstorming, co-creation workshops, gamestorming, mindmap, prototyping, SCAMPER, sketching, and storyboard.

According to Dam and Siang, (2017), Ideation helps to:

  1. Ask the right questions and innovate.
  2. Step beyond the obvious solutions and therefore increase the innovation potential of a solution by generating fresh ideas and better results.
  3. It aligns team members’ perspectives and strengths around a common objective.
  4. Uncover unexpected areas of innovation from team members’ diverse experiences.
  5. Create dimensions and variety in innovation options in order to get obvious solutions.

Insight in innovation provides a projected outlook on the acceptance of a planned change to technology or business model into the market. Insight provides two important advantages. It helps to explore new opportunities, bring out creativity, and identify possible innovations. Additionally provides an understanding of the customer, market, trends, and technologies.

Davila, Epstein, and Shelton (2013, p.xxvi) provided five models of insight.

  1. Market and customer insight includes changes in the market structure, demographics, and unmet needs.
  2. Regulatory and policy insight is made up of regulatory or political changes that affect privacy, piracy, digital rights, and intellectual property, and global trade.
  3. Societal insight involves a shift in concerns and attitudes in regards to health, poverty, and global responsibility.
  4. Technology platform insight encompasses new technologies that emphasize how things are done.
  5. Product and service platform insight involves bundling or changing combination or product and services that could change the market environment.

In today’s global business world the C-Suite all agree that a company’s growth is dependent on a strong sustainable innovation. “CEOs across Asia, Europe, and the United States agree on one thing: Success is all about growth and innovation” (Davila, Epstein, and Shelton, 2013, p.xiii).

Innovation is an important aspect for all businesses and society. It becomes even more imperative for the entrepreneur. The entrepreneur needs disruptive innovation that would change the market. “Successful breakthrough and radical innovations create new completion and customer dynamics and drives significant growth.” For example, Amazon has disrupted the food retail landscape with the acquisition of Whole Foods. It shows Amazon utilization of ideation process to come up with innovative services that would add value to the consumer.

“Amazon is a customer-centric company, constantly evolving and testing all aspects of its operations in pursuit of fulfilling its customers’ desires. Knowing how to organize and operate around how its customers wish to interact—and essentially innovating from the outside—has been a key component in Amazon’s success” (Deloitte, 2018).

Successful companies utilize both technology and business innovation to create new products and services.

Ideation sets the stage to use creativity and innovation to come up with solutions. It pushes us to think differently, recognize opportunities and maximizes team creativity to create enhanced and valuable innovative products/services.

Dam, R., & Siang, S. (2017). Stage 3 in the Design Thinking Process: Ideate. Retrieved from https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/stage-3-in-the-design-thinking-process-ideate
Davila, T., Epstein, M., & Shelton, R. (2013). Making Innovation Work: How to Manage It, Measure It, and Profit from It (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Deloitte. (2018). The Amazon-Whole Foods acquisition: Six competitive realities for retailers. Retrieved from https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/consumer-business/articles/amazon-whole-foods-acquisition.html
Interaction Design Foundation. (n.d.). Ideation. Retrieved from https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/topics/ideation
Strategyn. (n.d.). Ideation: Now you can have a big idea – Because success comes from knowing, not guessing. Retrieved from https://strategyn.com/ideation/#form-whitepaper_odi

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What is an Entrepreneur?

by Aminat Abubakar

Marc Ventresca a professor at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford describes entrepreneurs as “system builders, creating enterprise by “marshaling, mobilizing, and connecting different worlds” (McCracken, 2011). Additionally, “an entrepreneur assembles and then integrates all the resources needed—the money, the people, the business model, the strategy, and the risk-bearing ability—to transform the invention into a viable business” (Barringer and Ireland, 2010, p.6). Deep Patel’s book ‘A Paperboy’s Fable: The 11 Principles of Success’ is about Ty Chandler’s entrepreneurial journey who happened to be looking for a way to raise money before starting college. Each of the 11 chapters demonstrates a principle set up for an entrepreneur’s success. It includes: recognizing opportunities, investing in success, harnessing ingenuity, overcoming objections, adding value, reducing costs, creating raving fans, crushing it with consistency, scaling for growth, the power of diversification, delegating authority, and branding for the future.

It is hard to select two out of the eleven principles that most resemble an entrepreneur’s main characteristics because there is a thread that links through each such as awareness, product and customer focus, passion, tenacity, execution intelligence, and ethics. However, I would pick on the first two principles.

  1. Recognizing Opportunity – Pay attention and be self-aware about people, the environment, and trends. Never think about the now on opportunities but have a long-term view on possibilities in opportunities. Ty Chandler was not afraid to approach Diddly the old paperboy and ask the right leading questions when he heard him grumbling on the phone about his disappointment with the dwindling newspaper delivery subscription due to the online option. He saw a great business opportunity as a paperboy in serving the two-hundred homes (newspaper subscriptions) at the Hampton Squares subdivision a neighborhood full of retirees and happened to be where he lives. An entrepreneur must always look and recognize opportunities for the business and the value it would provide to its customers. For example, the introduction of Apple’s iPod in 2011 by Steve Jobs, former Apple Chief Executive Officer revolutionized the digital music industry, due to the failure of the MP3 music player jaded user experience. Howard Schultz the Chairman of Starbucks business idea was the realization that Americans lack a conducive environment to enjoy coffee. His ‘Aha!’ moment came during a vacation in Italy where he observed in many espresso bars the effect on the Italians social life. For his ideas succeed at Starbucks, “he built a seasoned management team, implemented an effective strategy, and used information technology wisely to make his business thrive” (Barringer and Ireland, 2010, p.13).
  2. Investing in Success -This is an entrepreneur’s ability to invest in business growth and customer loyalty. Ty exhibited the trait when he decided to sacrifice buying a car but wisely decided to spend the money on customers’ appreciation, and introduction to prospective customers. He bought greeting cards and personalized each with his photo. Darren Hardy the author of ‘The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster recognized the business opportunity after watching the ‘home water filtration systems’ with friends. Hardy noted, “I had a tendency to see opportunity when others stared blankly ahead” (Hardy, 2015, p.19). He withdrew $5,000 from his saving to buy inventory for the initial set up for his business success. Kevin Plank, the CEO of Under Armour brand was broke when he started the business. He invested all his savings of $20,000 with an additional $40,000 credit card debt in funding. Today, “Under Armour retail sales is close to $2 billion with 5,900 employees” (DeMers, 2017).
  3. Harnessing Ingenuity
  4. Overcoming Objectives
  5. Add Value, Reducing Cost
  6. Creating Raving Fans
  7. Crushing it with Consistency
  8. Scaling for Growth
  9. The Power of Diversification
  10. Delegating Authority
  11. Branding for the Future

“You have to interact with your customers and exercise salesmanship to get new customers. You need interpersonal relationships as you collect money for the subscription money” (Patel, 2016, p.11). Each of the chapters takes us through the technique of growing a business venture through dedication, momentum, and commitment.

What do you think?

Barringer, B. A., & Ireland, R. D. (2010). Entrepreneurship: Successfully launching new ventures (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
DeMers, J. (2017, December 14). 5 Entrepreneurs Who Started With Nothing – and 3 Lessons to Learn. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/305990
Hardy, D. (2015). The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster: Why Now Is the Time to #JoinTheRide. Lake Dallas, TX: Success.
McCracken, G. (2011, July 25). Who and What Is an Entrepreneur? Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2011/07/who-and-what-is-an-entrepreneu
Patel, D. (2016). A Paperboy’s Fable: The 11 Principles of Success. New York, NY: Post Hill Press.

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Course Reflection: Financial Intelligence

by Aminat Abubakar

Despite being the toughest course so far, I have learned a great deal from Dr. Michael Petty’s financial intelligence class. Financial intelligence is a critical factor for leadership in understanding the organization’s financial result towards making better decision making from a financial perspective. The financial information helps the executive and management in choosing the best projects for the company, and as an investor choosing companies for investments.

We learned various ways to examine companies and investments through financial analysis tools such as understanding the key financial ratios, the Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC), Discounted Cash Flow (DCF), Return on Assets Decomposition, and Piotroski F_Score Model amongst others.

This class enables me to be objective, thoughtful, and be careful in my future business activities. It requires thinking thoroughly with the numbers and seeing beyond what is evident.

Additionally, this quarter we had the unique opportunity of a combined class attendance of the DBA cohorts with Dr. Michael Petty as the instructor for Financial Intelligence, and the DIT cohorts with Dr. Sheb Bishop as the instructor for Big Data. As a business leader, it shows the importance of the involvement of the information technology team in decision-making. Big data can be analyzed for insights that provide quick answers that lead to a better strategic decision-making, and implementation towards a successful business.

As for my fellow cohorts, it has been an interesting class as we continue to support each other.

My appreciation goes to both Dr. Michael Petty and Dr. Sheb Bishop for providing us with new knowledge through their diverse perspectives; quite enriching indeed.

I look forward to the next class as the journey continues into becoming a future ready and future smart thought leader.

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Financial Intelligence: Explain Why It Is a Critical Leadership Function

by Aminat Abubakar

Future smart organizations invest in their employees, systems, and process to establish intelligent finance functions. Financial Intelligence is critical to leadership function. It provides a better understanding of what numbers really stand for and knowing what is happening in their organization from the financial perspective. It helps to make a well-informed and effective decision. Berman and Knight, (2013, p.18) pointed out some benefits derived from financial intelligence.

  1. Leadership has increased ability, to evaluate the organization, and is able to ask specific questions. How profitable are the products or services provided by the organization? Is there enough cash to make payroll? Is the return-on-investment (ROI) analysis conducted base on solid data in regards to the capital expenditure proposal? It enables a better insight into trends and understanding of numbers in order to access the organization’s performance and prospects.
  2. Financial intelligence provides leadership with a better understanding of the bias in the numbers. It instills “knowledge and confidence to question the data provided by your finance and accounting department-ability to identify hard data, the assumptions, and the estimates” (Berman & Knight, 2013, p.20). Decision and control relegated in the hands of the accounting and finance department team. Leadership final decision is made based on facts on ground whereby there is an undisputed acceptance by everyone.
  3. It provides leadership with the critical ability to use numbers and financial tools to make and analyze decisions. By asking questions such as: What is the return on investment on a particular project? Why can money not be spent, despite being a profitable organization? Leadership would utilize financial knowledge to make better-informed decisions and plan for the future of the organization.

An organization whose leadership masters the art of financial intelligence encourages employees to practice the culture of financial intelligence and apply it in their everyday work decisions. A financial intelligent organization enjoys a number of benefits such as strength and balance, better decision making, and a greater organizational alignment. “The intelligent finance organization of the future, and indeed of today, must go beyond its business-as-usual financial reporting and control role to become a value-adding provider of intelligence that the board and business units can depend on to make strategic business decisions” (KPMG International, 2013).

Financial intelligence is a critical factor for leadership in understanding the organization’s financial result towards making better decisions. Leadership should learn and train employees to understand the key financial metrics that are important to each individual job role in order to create a high-performance organization.

What do you think?

Berman, K., & Knight, J. (2013). Financial Intelligence, Revised Edition: A Manager’s Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean Revised, Expanded (2nd ed.) (J. Case, Ed.). Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.
KPMG International. (2013). Being the best: Inside the intelligent finance function – Insights from our latest global CFO research. Retrieved from https://assets.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/pdf/2013/12/being-the-best-v2.pdf

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Course Reflection and Feedback: Innovative Intelligence & Creativity

by Aminat Abubakar – Sunday, July 30, 2017

I had a great opportunity learning about Innovative Intelligence and Creativity; has enriched and given me a better insight into my journey as a future-ready and future smart leader in management consultancy services. Dr. Sheba Husain, as well as Dr. Michael Petty, and Dr. Sheb Bishop encouraged us to succeed in this course through their extensive class instructions, discussions, and presentations.

Creativity is the lifeline for the existence of any business and its sustainability as such creative ideas must be novel, useful, and relevant. A business that encourages a creative environment thrives because leadership understands the importance of expertise and skills as an important asset that has a positive impact on business growth. Today’s leaders have become aware of the importance of creativity in problem-solving, productivity, services, and innovations to employee motivation as well as the overall success in business growth.

I have learned the different theories of creativity and its application to business. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defines creativity as “any act, idea, or product that changes an existing domain, or that transform an existing domain into a new one” (1996, p. 28). I understood the three elements of creativity namely domain (the discipline), field (the experts/gatekeepers), and individual (creative person), and the application of the five steps to the creativity process which are preparation, incubation, insight, evaluation, and elaboration in the business decision.

The most interesting aspects of the class were when we had to design a workshop activity and develop a mobile app for our businesses.

Participating in the design and implementation of the workshop activities has given insight to one of the services that my consultancy firm would offer to clients. The workshop enabled me incorporate skills acquired from creativity tool process entailing the following modules: Ask, Learn, Look, Play, Think, Fuse, Choose, and Make from the book Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity by Keith Sawyer (2013) which was designed to focus on techniques on how to discover, develop creativity and innovative thinking in problem-solving. I have learned to appreciate how people think.

I found at the beginning of the mobile app development stage a bit challenging but as I got along using one of the development tools suggested by Dr. Sheb Bishop it became quite interesting. I now appreciate the importance of business visibility in the competitive market, which creates brand awareness leading to business growth. The mobile app complements a business official website and acts as a direct channel to reach out real-time to current clients and potential clients on the go.

Just like the first and second term, the tradition continued with Dr. Michael Petty, and Dr. Sheb Bishop taking over and joining in class lectures thereby providing us with their different perspectives that were quite engaging and thought-provoking.
We continue to bond along and support each other as fellow cohorts as the doctoral program progresses.

My gratitude goes to Dr. Sheba Husain who started with us at the beginning of class, as well as Dr. Michael Petty, and Dr. Sheb Bishop who continued seamlessly with the class lectures and the interactive class discussions.

I enjoyed the class thoroughly and I look forward to the fourth term class as I journey into becoming a future ready and future smart leader.


Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: The Psychology of Discovery and Invention (1st ed.). New York, NY: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.
Sawyer, K. (2013). Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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Discuss the Importance of Incentives and Rewards to Support Innovation at Workplace. What Role Does Leadership Play in Harnessing the Innovative Culture in the Organization?

by Aminat Abubakar – Saturday, July 1, 2017

Incentives and rewards have a great benefit for leadership and employees at the workplace. It boosts productivity and high performance. Employees are motivated by high morale, job satisfaction, and employee well-being. Once there is self-actualization by employees, leadership makes the work environment conducive to think positively on the success of the organization by supporting innovative thoughts and practices.

Scott (n.d.) states, “Through workplace rewards and incentives, employers and workers enjoy a positive and productive work environment.” Incentives and rewards can be through monetary, non-monetary, employee recognition, and employee assistance.

Monetary incentives and rewards can be in the form of employee stock options, profit sharing plans, paid time off, bonuses and cash awards. This rewards productivity and high performance; encourage completion amongst employees.
Non-Monetary Incentives and rewards include flexible work hours, training opportunities to learn new skills, and capability to work independently.
Employee Recognition provides feedback and encouragement in the form of verbal praise, award ceremonies, and public recognition for a good job performance. Work recognition by leadership and management boosts employee morale and encourages high performance in the workplace.
Employee Assistance supports work-life balance. Such incentives and reward provide employee counseling services to cope with stress, family issues and substance abuse, discounts to join fitness centers, locate daycare services, and other children activities.
Harnessing the innovative culture by leadership helps build highly engaged employees skilled in designing a better future for the organization. “When you teach the right skills, nurture an innovative culture, and establish a holistic leadership model, you set the foundation that allows innovation to thrive” (Gyorffy, 2016). Leaders inspire others and recognize the importance of innovation that is creative, relevant, and novel to their domain as a necessity for the organizations’ existence.

Goran Ekvall, Professor Emeritus of Organizational Psychology at the University of Lund in Sweden observed through a study a connection between leadership role and the organization’s creativity and innovation. Ekvall discovered that 67 percent of divergent behaviors in creativity by employees attribute to leaders’ behaviors. Employees that exhibit apathetic, indifference and lack of interest in their job were 67 percent likely to be due to leadership behavior. Organizations that practice culture of innovation by its leaders, 67 percent of the time thrives. Employees produce creative solutions and products when they found joy and meaning in their job, and when they were willing to invest energy in their work (Friedman, & Gyorffy, 2014).

Friedman and Gyorffy (2014) recommended the following 10 roles towards a “holistic leadership model for nurturing and harvesting the creative genius” while harnessing the innovative culture in the organization: 1. Futurist, 2. Direction Setter, 3. Customer Advocate, 4. Architect, 5. Venture Capitalist, 6. Mentor, 7. Barrier Buster, 8. Networker, 9. Culture Creator, and 10. Role Model.

Leaders who do not harness a culture of innovation within their organization would lead to failure in leadership, employee turnover, and loss of business. As a leader, you should have great foresight, be a role model, encourage creative and innovative culture, and put in place incentives and rewards programs to support innovation within your organization to drive your people to succeed in the competitive world.

Friedman, L., & Gyorffy, L. (2014). Chapter 4: Leading Innovation: Ten Essential Roles for Harnessing the Creative Talent of Your Enterprise. In P. Gupta & B. E. Trusko, (Eds.), Global Innovation Science Handbook. Retrieved from https://ideascale.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Enterprise-Innovation-Roles.pdf
Gyorffy, L. (2016, November 15). Lead! Don’t Manage! Harnessing the Innovative Talent of your Enterprise. Retrieved from https://ideascale.com/lead-dont-manage-harnessing-the-innovative-talent-of-your-enterprise/
Scott S. (n.d.). Rewards and Incentives in the Workplace. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/rewards-incentives-workplace-11236.html

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