Chapter 1

Change and Opportunity

Most entrepreneurial opportunity is triggered by change. External change unfreezes existing industries and the context in which they operate, making new things possible. Changes in society in the broadest sense, embracing technical change, new legislation and regulation, changed political priorities, changes in the needs of business and personal customers, new forces impacting on these processes, even changes in social integration – all this may have an effect on existing industries and create opportunities for new or adapted ones.

The joke that change is the worst of all six letter words has some relevance in business, notwithstanding its creative potential that is the theme of this chapter. Everyone in business recognises disruptive change, that is to say, change which undermines a company’s operations, dislocates its business model, raises its costs or thins its profit margins.

There is also a tactical advantage to starting with disruptive change, which is that one can trace its effect on existing companies, as a prelude to more creative consequences.

Before introducing an example of disruptive change and showing its repercussions for one particular organisation, it may be helpful to say something about the provenance of the business cases cited in this book.

I mean to develop the ideas in this book with reference to real life examples. I have built up a research sample of getting on for 100 owner-managed companies or SMEs (small and medium sized ...

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