(1) Summarise how he or she got started in business and the environmental trend that the business was started to satisfy. Relate your findings to relevant theory on entrepreneurial opportunities and ideas. (40%) (600 Words)
Simon Cowell began his career in the music industry with a job as a mail room clerk within EMI records, a company in which his father, Eric Cowell, was a music industry executive. Although Cowell started at the very bottom of the music industry he has said that this helped attribute to his success as he recalls, “in many ways, I was glad that I had started my career on the very low rung of the busines, it was there that I learned how to deal with people.” (Evancarmichael.com 2001) A very important characteristic to have later in his life. Eventhough Cowell now has found positives with starting at such a low level he wasn't always as optimistic. Knowing that he had little chance at moving up the ladder in his current job he decided to leave and look for better opportunities.
As a result Cowell began a job at an Estate Agents which again he hated and soon left. Through his fathers connections at EMI, in 1971 he was offered a job as an assitant to an A & R (artists and repertoire) man, the start of his A & R carreer. Cowell slowly moved up the ranks until he was given the opportunity as a talent scout and from there the title of record producer. Unhappy with his future potential with EMI Cowell left and formed E & S Music, his own independent music label. They found little success and within a year Cowell returned to EMI. He again in 1985 left EMI to form another music label called Fanfare. As like most entrepreneurs experience it isn't always an easy road, eventhough Cowell found more success then with his first venture after five years Fanfare went bankrupt and he was forced to move back with his parents.
Consequently, that same year Cowell was hired as an A & R consultant for BMG. What followed was huge in his career as he started to sign big artists, like Westlife, 5ive and Il Divo, who were making hit records and establishing his name within the music industry. Eventually this lead to Cowell creating Syco Records, his current record company, and identifying the trends and opportunity gaps in combining, music and television, that truly made him successful.
Essentially, entrepreneurs recognize an opportuniy and turn it into a successful business (Barringer, B.R. & Ireland, R.D. 2012. Pg. 43). But the key to finding an opportunity in Cowells case is observing trends. These trends can be broken into four parts, economic forces, social forces, technological advances and political & regulatory changes (Barringer, B.R. & Ireland, R.D. 2012. Pg. 43). As television has a lot to do with people and their needs, social forces was what Cowell was able to identify when recognizing this opportunity.
In 2000, Cowell was given the opportunity to be a judge on the British musical show 'Pop Stars' and after realising its success decided to develop his own show, Pop Idols. Pop Idols had one difference, in the final rounds of the show the audience was able to vote for the winner. As Cowell knew, the reason why reality television shows are so popular is due to the audiences desire to be famous and applied this trend to his show (Psychologytoday.com 2001 ). By adding the component of audience involvement with voting and auditioning enabled the audience to feel as though normal people like themselves have what it takes to become famous.
A common mistake with finding an opportunity is choosing a currently available product e.g Pop Stars and making a new business that is slightly different e.g Pop Idols. This is the case with Cowell but as he identified that the need for the general publics desires to be famous was strong enough and met the four essential characteristics of an opportunity it was successful.
The four qualities of an opportunity are, attractive, timely,...
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