Entrepreneurship as we know it, is changing. Transformations in typical working arrangements, government policies and demographic shifts are changing the ways in which we work. We believe that it is imperative that marketers understand how these changes influence the intersection between marketing and entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurial marketing considers this overlap in the disciplines of marketing and entrepreneurship, however trying to find an exact definition of what this entails seems elusive. The reason for this is largely due to the fact that in order for a single definition, a consensus between marketers, entrepreneurs and academics would need to exist!

This article takes a look at a seemingly unconventional form of entrepreneurship and evaluates a number of entrepreneurial marketing issues facing those trying to grow their ventures. Using a unique approach, this article discusses the journey of James Reid, whose passion guided his career through hybrid entrepreneurship towards full-time entrepreneurship.

Hybrid Entrepreneurship

Hybrid entrepreneurship is a growing phenomenon around the globe, whereby individuals choose to maintain salaried employment while engaging in some kind of entrepreneurial venture simultaneously. While this has become commonplace in practice, academics have only recently established hybrid entrepreneurship as a topic for interest. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  1.  Traditional labour market data doesn’t capture hybrid entrepreneurship as a distinct category, you’re either seen as being an entrepreneur or not.
  2. Changing labour market structures with shifts towards non-conventional work arrangements have piqued the interests of researchers.

Hybrid entrepreneurs are an interesting bunch! One can imagine the stressors that come with pursuing more than one form of employment simultaneously, yet we see this phenomenon growing globally.

While some choose to pursue hybrid entrepreneurship for financial gain, others prefer to have a creative outlet where they are able to make autonomous decisions or pursue a passionate hobby.

James Reid Case Study

Our research presents the case of James Reid, a hybrid entrepreneur who made the transition towards full-time entrepreneurship, documenting the influencers of this transition. The story of Reid is a fascinating one, whose entrepreneurial venture was borne out of an inherent dissatisfaction with existing market offerings.

Working through the experiences of Reid’s career, we see how his passion pulls him towards his own venture, crafting bamboo fishing rods. The case considers a number of entrepreneurial marketing issues faced by Reid as he grows his small business and looks at how the decisions made by an entrepreneur influence their future business growth.

First, we look at Reid’s strategic orientation, examining how a focus on innovation and extensive customisation for each product may produce a high quality product and good customer satisfaction, yet the sustainability of this orientation is questionable. We consider how this orientation could possibly negatively affect decisions about the future growth of the business, while positively enhancing the brand. The article further dives into the role of branding and the development of brand equity in building a small business. Reid is adamant that he will build his business in a manner that ensures he is able to maintain his passion for work, while safeguarding the standards of quality upon which the brand was built. This apparent juxtaposition has resulted in the creation of a new, under researched phenomenon, that of a comfort entrepreneur.

Comfort Entrepreneur

The case brings to the fore the concept of a comfort entrepreneur.

A comfort entrepreneur refers to an entrepreneur that seeks to remain within their comfort zone, not willing to scale their venture through potentially high-risk decisions despite future payoffs.

This article offers a clear illustration of a comfort entrepreneur as well as the implications that this choice may have for business growth. The case further demonstrates the importance of maintaining brand values and establishing a clear strategic orientation in order to create a strong brand, while considering how this determined approach, may impact future growth prospects.

As both marketing and entrepreneurial scholars have given far less attention to comfort entrepreneurs than to either survival entrepreneurs or those focused on growth and wealth, it is our hope that this article will begin a conversation surrounding different, seemingly non-conventional types of entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial marketing issues that they face.

Read the original research article: Ferreira, C.C., Lord Ferguson, S. & Pitt, L.F. (2019). Entrepreneurial marketing and hybrid entrepreneurship: the case of JM Reid Bamboo Rods. Journal of Marketing Management, 35(9-10), 867-885. https://doi.org/10.1080/0267257X.2019.1637921

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Caitlin Ferreira

Caitlin Ferreira is a PhD candidate in marketing at the Luleå University of Technology, an adjunct faculty member at the University of Cape Town and a full-time marketing lecturer at the Red & Yellow Creative School of Business. Her research interests include hybrid entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial marketing and consumer behaviour.

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