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Table of Contents
List of Figures and Tables ... 1
Introduction ... 2
Theorethical perspective ... 3
1.1 Common challenges for new entrepreneurs ... 4
1.2 Challenges of promoting a start-up ... 11
1.3 Challenges of Romanian Entrepreneurs ... 15
Methodology ... 19
2.1 Interview as a research method ... 20
2.2 Descriptive statistics ... 25
Interviews analysis ... 29
3.1 The coding process ... 30
3.2 Processing of interviews in Nvivo ... 36
Conclusions ... 42
References ... 45
Annex ... 48
List of Figures and Tables
Figure 2: Labeling of the first three questions from the interview ... 31
Figure 3: Labeling of the questions 4,5,6 from the interview ... 31
Figure 4: Labeling of questions 7,8,9 ... 32
Figure 5: The importance of the three categories of codes in the case of Anaide ... 37
Figure 6: The importance of the three categories of codes in the case of Anaide ... 38
Figure 7: The importance of 'Difficulties encountered' for all the interviewe es ... 39
Figure 8: The importance of 'Attitude' for all the interviewe es ... 40
Figure 9: The importance of 'Promotional activities' for all the interviewees ... 41
Table 1: Sources of financing - advantages and disadvantages ... 7
Table 2: Data about the entrepreneur - Diana Mirea ... 26
Table 3: Data about the entrepreneur - Bogdan Ivan ... 26
Table 4: Data about the entrepreneur - Robert Oros ... 27
Table 5: Data about the entrepreneur - Alexandru Dudulea ... 28
Table 6: Data about the entrepreneur - Algayyim Zaid ... 28
The current study consists of three parts.
In the first chapter of this study we aimed to perform a deeper research regarding the
main challenges faced by young entrepreneurs. We used the information obtained from
discussions with entrepreneurs as a basis for our research, in order to search for more ideas
and details in books and articles dedicated to this subject. At the end of this chapter we
wanted to know exactly which are the main categories of obstacles faced by young
entrepreneurs, and the activities they should perform in order to avoid or reduce the negatives
effects of these difficulties. Since the subject of our paper is quite broad, we covered in this
chapter three aspects:
· Challenges faced by entrepreneurs in general.
· Challenges of promoting a start-up.
· Challenges faced by Romanian entrepreneurs at this moment.
The second chapter of the research was dedicated to present the method of research
used for this study. We mentioned previously that we had the opportunity to discuss with
many entrepreneurs about the way they succeed to manage their businesses. Since
wemaintained the contact with them, we wanted to highlight and take advantage of this source
of knowledge and experience in order to improve our own knowledge regarding the
entrepreneurial experience. Therefore, the purpose of this chapter is to present the way we
managed to achieve the aforementioned objective.(Estrin,Mickiewicz, Stephan,2016)
The third chapter aims to present the results of our research. We will focus on
explaining the way we reached to these results and the criteria based on which we selected
the most important information obtained from our research. Also, we are interested in
obtaining some best practices to be transferred onto other potential entrepreneurs.
1. Theorethical perspective
These days, the business environment seems to be favorable for potential
entrepreneurs to put their ideas into practice. At the first look, this favorable environment is
characterized by increasing globalization, increasing use of information and communication
technologies, an increase in the number of funding sources, communities with people around
the world where they share stories from which anyone can learn, an increased attention
placed on entrepreneurial education in universities, the development of emerging markets, and
so on. (Prajogo, 2016) Moreover, each country has strong reasons for encouraging people to
start their own business, because small and medium enterprises play a significant role in the
growth of any econoour. (Staniewski, Szopinski, Awruk, 2015) Of course, stating that the
small and medium enterprises are important in the econoour's growth might be considered too
general, because these enterprises reach the aforementioned purpose through a series of
smaller roles, such as: creating new jobs, bringing innovative products on the market, selling
more customized or personalized products than large companies, and so on.
Nevertheless, the opportunities mentioned above could represent also challenges for
the entrepreneurs, reason for which they need continuous help from governments. Regardless
of the fact that entrepreneurs can use information and communication technologies in order to
implement their business ideas, they still have to face by themselves difficulties related to
finding financial resources, hiring the right employees, creating an innovative product that
meets the customers' needs, finding partners, and so on. (Liu, Almor, 2016)Without distinction
of the country where entrepreneurs develop their activities, the path of entrepreneurship
assumes challenges. Since this is a subject for great interest for entrepreneurs, researchers
aimed to identify reasons for which entrepreneurs face challenges, and in the following lines
WE will present two perspectives.
Wincent and Ortqvist (2009) stated that at the base of these challenges lay the role
expectations assigned to entrepreneurs by stakeholders. In their research, the two authors
came to the conclusion that these role expectations lead to three role stressors, and these are
- Role conflict This role stressor is determined by those situations when different
categories of stakeholders have opposite expectations from an entrepreneur. One example in
this sense could be the case when the product created by the entrepreneur has all the necessary
characteristics to meet the customers' needs, but it does not respects the legislation related to
the protection of environment. As it can be observed, there is a conflict betwe en the
customers, who are satisfied with the properties of the product, and the government or NGOs,
who want to avoid possible harmful effects to the environment. Therefore, the entrepreneur
faces difficulties in finding a solution in order to respect the requirements of both categories
- Role ambiguity It refers to situations where the entrepreneurs do not have enough
information regarding the expectations of stakeholders, reason for which they are not able to
fulfill some of their roles as founders of the entrepreneurial venture. For example, one person
has technical expertise in order to come up with a product that meets the customers' needs,
but, on the other side, he/she does not have the necessary knowledge for implementing the
business idea in order to sell that product. In this case, role ambiguity could determine that
person to give up to the idea of creating and selling an innovative product due to the fact that
he/she is afraid of failure. (Cacciotti, Hayton, et al, 2016)
- Role overload This final role stressor refers to those cases where the entrepreneur
has to work very much or to put together many resources in order to fulfill the expectations of
stakeholders. One example for this role stressor, could be the situation in which the
entrepreneur has to implement the business idea in a limited period of time, because he/she is
conditioned by an investor who decided to finance this person. Due to time pressure, the
entrepreneur has to do a lot of work, and to comply with the expectations of all the categories
of stakeholders, who are directly interested in the business, such as financial institutions,
customers, government, and so on. Again, the fear of failure might arise and it could affect
emotionally the entrepreneur.
Barringer and Ireland (2015) affirmed that a lot of new businesses fail due to a
phenomenon known as the liability of newness. The liability of newness indicates that
entrepreneurs are not able to adapt fast to their responsibilities because they do not have
enough experience with buyers and suppliers.
1.1 Common challenges for new entrepreneurs
As stated at the beginning of this chapter, every entrepreneur has to face some
challenges, either they are experienced entrepreneurs, or they just want to start their first
business. The most common challenges for experienced entrepreneurs are related to building a
brand, to maintain the competitiveness of the business, or to ensure that the business is
profitable. For new entrepreneurs there are some specific challenges, that WE am going to
develop in the following lines, and these include (Cacciotti, Hayton, et al, 2016):
- Abandon their job.
- Find external funding for their business.
- Employ the right people and determining them to work as a team.
- Manage the rapid growth of the business.
- Take care of the administrative tasks of the business, such as setting rules.
One of the first challenges for young entrepreneurs is the fact that it is hard for them to
have in the same time a business and a job. Actually, a person can manage both of them when
the business is at the beginning, and the entrepreneur can take care of it during his/her free
time. Nevertheless, as the business grows, that person is forced to give up to the job, in order
to have enough time to take care of the business. The moment when the entrepreneur has to
take this decision is difficult, because a business might not ensure enough revenues for
him/her, while a job, brings a secure salary as long as that person will hold it. (Chakraborty,
Thompson, et al, 2016) Of course, the difficulty of this decision is increased when the
entrepreneur has a family to take care of, or when he/she puts the lifelong savings in this one
A second challenge for young entrepreneurs that WE mentioned above is to find
external funding for their business. Many entrepreneurs lack experience in raising financial
resources for their businesses, and usually, they are not aware about the possible alternatives
for solving this issue. (Walter, Block, 2016) The most common reason for which
entrepreneurs do not inform themselves about raising capital alternatives is because they start
the business with the intention to use only internal funding. Nevertheless, in time, they realize
that they incur more costs than planned, thus they need external funding from investors or
from financial institutions.
According to Barringer and Ireland (2015), entrepreneurs might encounter one of the
following situations when they have to raise capital: difficulties with the cash flow, high
investments made in the business, long periods of research for creating a product. Cash
challenges occur in those periods when a venture has costs with purchasing equipment or
hiring employees, but it does not earns revenues from selling products/services. Although it is
normal for a new venture to incur losses at the beginning of its activities, sometimes this
could be the cause why some of them fail. Regarding the investments made in the business
(capital investments), these include purchasing equipment, purchasing land or buildings, and
so on. Some entrepreneurs prefer to lease or to use the resources of their partners in order to
avoid allocating a high percentage of their financial resources to capital investments.
(Chakraborty, Thompson, et al, 2016) Lastly, the long periods for creating a product are
specific to some industries, and these periods might last even for decades.
The appropriate financing is very important for the success of a start-up. As options
for financing, entrepreneurs can chose from several options: their own funds, financing from
family and friends, loans from banks, EU funds in the case of countries from EU, and so on
(Staniewski, Szopinski, Awruk, 2015). In the following table WE presented some sources of
financing for entrepreneurs, with advantages and disadvantages for each one.
Table 1: Sources of financing - advantages and disadvantages
· Flexible and low cost.
· The owner is in control.
· Stronger commitment for the
· The entrepreneur's resources
are at risk.
· Limited funds.
· It does not affect the ownership.
· Long-term finance.
· Increased security.
· Hard to obtain by a new
· The bank may require a
· Interest payable for a long-
· Access to expertise and contacts.
· Availability of a large amount of
· Loss of ownership control.
Friends and family
· It is possible to not lose ownership
· Personal disputes migh
· They might want to
· No loss of ownership control.
· Flexible and cheap.
· It might be large if the profits are
· It might be hard to use them
Source: Coduras, Alvarez, et al, (2016), pp. 3.
For experienced entrepreneurs this is not a difficult issue, because they might have
capital from previous businesses, they have connections with partners who are willing to
invest in their business, or they have the possibility to obtain funds from financial institutions.
Actually, experienced entrepreneurs have more chances to obtain capital from financial
institutions because these institutions are able to see the results obtained by that entrepreneur
in his/her previous business experience. In the case of a new entrepreneur, it is easier to obtain
fund from partners, than from financial institutions, reasons for which they have to focus on
networking. (Bredvold, Skalen, 2016) Nevertheless, in the following lines WE will present
shortly the financing options mentioned above.
One way to finance a new venture is by using personal financing, which includes
personal funds, sources from friends and family and bootstrapping. (Barringer and Ireland,
2015) The personal funds is a source of financing preferred by most of entrepreneurs, but
many of them cannot manage with it, thus they have to supplement with swe at equity (time
and effort put by the entrepreneurs). In the case of funds from friends and family, there is a
risk of spoiling relationships with lenders in the case when the business will fail and the
founder is not able to pay back the loan. Bootstrapping refers to creative methods
implemented by entrepreneurs in order to avoid using financial resources from investors or
financial institutions. Some examples of bootstrapping methods are the following: lease or
buy used equipment, ask customers to pay in advance, share the space with other businesses,
and so on. (Chakraborty, Thompson et al, 2016)
The second way to raise capital for a venture is to use debt or equity financing. This
alternative requires the entrepreneurs to prepare a plan with the approach used in order to
obain the necessary capital. (Walter, Block, 2016) There are several reasons for which a plan
is needed: the founders should not ask
for more capital than they realy need because they have
to pay for this money, and they want to make a good impression during their presentation in
front of investors or lenders by knowing exactly what their business needs.
The most common challenges of entrepreneurs when attempting to raise equity
financing could be the following: a reduced number of ventures are funded by investors
because they are interested in business ideas with high growth potential; investors will have a
part of the venture's shares meaning that they will influence the decisions of the founders; the
entrepreneurs might get discouraged when they are refused repeatedly by investors. (Coduras,
Alvarez et al, 2016) In the cases when the entrepreneurs want to raise debt financing they
might face a higher degree of reluctance from banks because these institutions are interested
in those ventures presenting the minimum risk in paying back a loan. For this reason, a
venture considered to be reliable for receiving a loan should have a good management,
financial statements, a good cash flow, and many times a new business does not meet these
criteria. New businesses usually lack the needed funding to purchase the necessary
technology or resources in order to perform its activity we ll, to grow and to be profitable.
A third challenge mentioned above is for entrepreneurs to form a venture team that wil
implement the business idea into a successful venture. A venture team is formed of founders,
employees and other professionals who help the business to grow, through offering direction
and advice. (Barringer and Ireland, 2015) The difficulty in building such a team consists in
the fact that the members are found in time. Gathering a team of talented and experienced
people will help the entrepreneur to reduce the effects of the liability of newness (a term that
WE explained above), therefore to reduce the mistakes he/she would make. Another
advantage could be the fact that the entrepreneur could take advantage of the relations of the
team's members in order to esablish contacts with different parties, such as investors,
customers, and so on. Lastly, a we ll built team is a proof for investors that the business
be successful because it will receive good advice from experienced people.
The first issue to consider when building a team is the size of the founding team.
(Barringer and Ireland, 2015) The entrepreneurs should decide whether to start a business
alone or to find partners and to form a founding team. The advantages brought by a founding
team are the following: more resources, ideas and contacts, and more psychological support.
In the same time, there are some pitfalls associated with a founding team. (Liu, Almor, 2016)
Firstly, if the members of this team did not collaborate before for other projects, it is a high
probability that they will not get along in the future. Secondly, conflicts could appear betwe
en members when it comes to chose the chief executive officer, especially if the members
start the business on equal positions.
The second issue in building the venture team is to find the right employees and to
determine them to work as a team. Entrepreneurs should be aware about their limitations,
reason for which they should hire persons who present complementary skills. In other words,
the employees should help entrepreneurs to avoid mistakes that they will do from lack of
experience and the entrepreneurs should be openned to the advice and solutions formulated by
employees. (Ilya, 2015) Of course, the entrepreneur has to be carefull about the perspective
from which employees formulate their solutions. Some of them might have the intention to
speak in order to prove they are right and to impose themselves as experienced and
knowledgeable professionals, while others are really interested in formulating good advice for
the business. Nevertheless, there are also entrepreneurs who have difficulties in accepting the
fact that they need experienced people, because they like to hold control over the people and
Entrepreneurs have different approaches in finding the right employees for their
ventures: look for candidates in the network of contacts, use the services of a specialized firm.
This task is challenging because it is time consuming and entrepreneurs have to perform a lot
of other tasks, and the new employees should have a valuable contribution because the
business does not have enough financial resources at its beginning, and every investment
counts. Further on, after choosing skillful candidates, entrepreneurs will continue to be the
visionary, and to find ideas and solutions when the team has to face obstacles. The challenge
to be the visionary is a difficult task for them, in the sense that they have to be creative, and to
come up fast with solutions and ideas, in a context where they do not have enough time and
experience for this type of tasks. All of the statements mentioned in this paragraph emphasize
the fact that entrepreneurs face loneliness, especially if they start the business without
partners. (Barringer, Ireland, 2015) This loneliness is felt in the sense that the entrepreneurs
have to take decisions by themselves, they cannot rely on colleagues of a team as they would
do if they would be employed in an organization, they have to work more than their
employees, and they have to keep some distance from their employees.
A fourth challenge mentioned was to manage the rapid growth of the business. The
rapid growth of the business represents a challenge for entrepreneurs because it leads to
changes in the scale of activities and in the goals of the organization. There are a series of
problems that might occurr as a result of the rapid growth of the business, such as: more
employees and equipment are needed in order to fulfill the demand, the misunderstandings
that will occur betwe en employees when new persons will join the team, the need to identify
additional resources or funding in order to sustain the growth, the resistance of entrepreneurs
to change the strategies of their ventures, and so on. (Nixon, 2005)
The last challenge that WE listed above refers to the administrative tasks that
entrepreneurs should take care of while running their ventures. An entrepreneur should
establish rules regarding the behaviour of employees during work, the number of free days for
employees, the way employees should treat customers, and so on.
As it can be noticed from the short presentation delivered in this subchapter, there are
a lot of challenges, of a smaller or greater importance for the entrepreneurs and their ventures.
In order to conclude the observations mentioned untill this stage of the study, WE will make
reference to another statement performed by Wincent and Ortqvist, the two authors mentioned
above. Wincent and Ortqvist (2009) affirm that entrepreneurs should be careful to the way
they face all these challenges because they have to fulfill some role expectations. In other
words, the position of the entrepreneur in an organization assumes certain roles and
behaviours that the he/she has to carry out. The authors offered as examples for this statement,
several common activities performed by entrepreneurs, such as: finding opportunities to
develop the business, finding resources for the business, promoting the products, and
maintaining the relationships with stakeholders. All the stakeholders have some expectations
from the entrepreneur. For example, customers expect high quality and low prices, suppliers
want to receive as fast as possible the money for the supplies, investors expect to receive high
returns on their investments. The roles that the entrepreneur should fill for each category of
stakeholders might represent a source of stress for him/her, especially if numerous obstacles
arise in carrying on each role.
The aim of this study is to emphasize the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in the
moment when they have to promote their business and their products. Therefore, in the
folowwing subchapter, WE will focus mostly on this aspect.
1.2 Challenges of promoting a start-up
In this subchapter WE will analyse the challenges of promotion that entrepreneurial
ventures have to face. There are several important steps that the founders should take into
consideration regarding this subject: chosing a target market, decide over the way the venture
will position in the mind of consumers, building a brand, establish the marketing mix.
(Barringer and Ireland, 2015) Each step has its challenges, but it has also its importance in the
success of the business.
The first thing the entrepreneurs should think of when implementing their business
idea is to select a market and establish a position, which involves three steps: segmenting the
market, chosing a niche market, and decide over the positioning. (Aparicio, Urbano, et al
Segmenting the market helps the entrepreneurs to select the target market that will be
served by the business, since the new venture
does not have enough resources in order to meet
the needs of all customers in a certain industry. The following step is to chose a niche market
such that the venture is able to serve we ll. When focusing on a niche market, the
entrepreneurial venture has the possibility to specialize on the needs of that market in order to
create products or services of high value. The challenge most entrepreneurs have to face in
this case is to chose a market that is attractive for them, meaning a market where the venture
can be successful and different from competitors. Another fact that entrepreneurs should be
careful about is to monitor continuously the attractiveness of the chosen market, especially the
changes in customer preferences. (Kotler, Armstrong, 2013)
Regarding the positioning of the venture, this term refers to the image that customers
should have when thinking about that particular business. In order to build this image, the
entrepreneurs use a tagline or a motto, which is reminded in all the advertisments of the
business. Another thing related to positioning is the fact that it should emphasize the benefits
offered by a product, rather than on its features. Even though the entrepreneurs want to focus
on the features of the product, for which they put a lot of effort, customers are only interested
in the way the product/service will improve their lives. (Aparicio, Urbano, et al 2016)
The way entrepreneurs transmit a message about the features of their products/services
is by building a brand. According to Barringer and Ireland (2015), a brand makes reference to
several attributes of a business that people associate with when they think about its
products/services. By building a brand, entrepreneurs are able to improve the loyalty of
customers. Building a brand represents a challenge for entrepreneurs because they have to
create a personality of the venture that fits to the category of customers they address. The
personality of the firm should have certain characteristics that make it different from
competitors, and bring benefits to customers, such as: lowe r prices, quality, fun, and so on.
(Vilcov, Dimitrescu, 2015)
After establishing the way their business should be perceived by customers,
entrepreneurs have to decide about the methods used in order to build the brand. The most
common such methods
are the following: advertising (logo of the business, we bsite),
sponsoring different events or social causes, public relations, word of mouth, positive reviews
in magazines, and so on. (Kotler, Armstrong, 2013) Out of these alternatives, expert believe
that entrepreneurs should not focus more on adevrtising than on the other ways of promotion.
Customers and journalists are not interested in the way a company is better than its
competitors, but they want to emphasize the story of that business, and story that should set it
apart from other
start-ups. Even though building a brand is takes a lot of effort and time, there
are several benefits that can derive from it: the value of the business increases in the case the
founders want to sell it, and the entrepreneurs can set higher prices for the products/services
in order to match with the image they bring to the customer.
The following step after building a brand is to think about the marketing mix. (Kotler,
Armstrong, 2013) This concept refers to the tools used by a venture in order to determine the
consumers to respond to its efforts the way it wants. Usually, when we think about the
marketing mix, there are four words that spring into our mind: product, price, promotion and
place (the 4Ps).
The product refers to the goods or services sold by a business. The product chosen to
be sold by a business determines the willingness of investors to help the entrepreneurs with
capital. Usually, investors express their preference for ventures that come up with innovative
products, because customers will pay more for these since they feel the benefits more
intensely. (Barringer, Ireland, 2015) Nevertheless, regardless of the fact that entrepreneurs sell
a breakthrough product or an usual product, they have to be carefull about several aspects.
Firstly, they have to make the difference betwe en the core product and the actual product,
which refers to the packaging or the design that are added to the core product. Secondly, new
ventures face the challenge of determining customers to try their products instead of buying
from we ll-known businesses. The most common solution used for this problem is to ask a
customer who already used those products, to give a testimonial/feedback, in order to
convince other people to try these. Of course, the entrepreneurs should offer the product for
free or with discount, in order to attract the first customers, but their feedback could be used
in brochures or other type of advertisement, or they can advocate for the business.
The price refers to the amount of money that the customers pay in exchange for a
product. (Kotler, Armstrong, 2013) The price reflects the image associated with a product, and
for which customers are willing to pay. One temptation of entrepreneurs is to establish low
prices for their products in order to attract customers, but this is not a recommended practice
because they will have a small profit. (Barringer, Ireland, 2015) Moreover, consumers usually
judge the quality of a product based on its price. Therefore, if a product has a low price,
consumers will assume that it will have a low quality. On the other side, if a premium price is
charged for a product, then this price must be justified by one or more reasons such as the
following: a high demand for the product, its positioning as a luxury product, the use of a
breakthrough technology, and so on. Of course, when setting a high price, the entrepreneurs
should match the positioning and the branding according to it.
The promotion comprises those activities undertaken by a business in order to inform
potential customers about its products, the ultimate purpose being to convince them to
purchase that particular product. (Thorgren, Siren et al, 2016) Even though entrepreneurs have
a wide variety of activities through which they can promote their business, they face the
difficulty of chosing only some of these, due to the reduced financial resources they have.
(Aparicio, Urbano et al, 2016) Several examples of promotional activities are the following:
advertising, public relations, participation in trade fairs, sponsorships, viral marketing, and so
Lastly, place refers to the activities performed with the purpose to make the products
to reach to customers. This last element of the marketing mix involves selecting one or more
distribution channels, and whether to reach customers directly or through intermediaries.
(Barringer, Ireland, 2015) Each of the options bears its own challenges. For example, if the
entrepreneurs chose to sell through intermediaries, they may encounter difficulties, such as:
losing control regarding the way products are sold, the occurrance of the channel conflict (the
roles of selling channels are contradictory).
After presenting the steps for any entrepreneur to promote his/her business, WE want
to emphasize several aspects regarding this subject. As it can be seen from the above
presentation, in order to succeed, entrepreneurs have to build a brand around their business
idea. Globalization and the Internet help people to have access to products and services from
all around the world, therefore, the only way for entrepreneurs to have loyal customers is to
determine them to be emotionally attached to the business. Therefore, it is easy to understand
the importance of branding, which can be understood as a way for entrepreneurs to convince
customers and to communicate with them. (We bb, Ketchen et al, 2010)
In order to build a brand, entrepreneurs have to combine the online and offline
communication tools. Usually, when it comes to promotion, most entrepreneurs believe that
they do not have enough resources. (Kotler, Armstrong, 2013) Nevertheless, nowadays it is
easier for them to promote their business, with the help of information and communication
technologies. These days, most of the people use the Internet on their phone or tablets in order
to find out more information about the things they are interested of. The idea of having an
online presence is to be found easily and fast. Moreover, there is a high probability that one
can find information about any business, but it is very important to control that information,
and to create the image or the brand the business owner wants to transmit to people.
The first step that entrepreneurs perform for promoting their business in the online
environment is to make their presence known on social media, such as Facebook, Twitter,
Tumblr, and so on. (Andy Aditya, 2015) The goal of marketers who use these tools is to
remove the geographical and emotional barriers betwe en a business and its customers, but
this aspect did not change the fact that the customer is the king. (Kudeshia, Sikdar et al, 2016)
The social media platforms became a convenient tool to be used by entrepreneurial ventures
in order to reach to more customers, to communicate with the actual customers, and to build a
brand. These platforms are convenient
because the entrepreneurs do not have to spend a high
amount of money on promotion, but if they manage to reach to as many people as possible
through this tool, then the entrepreneurs are able to increase their selling opportunities.
One example of a way in which social platforms help businesses to increase their
brand awareness, is the fan page that can be created on Facebook. Fan pages allow the users
to follow the pages of certain businesses and to recommend these to their friends.
When a person likes a fan page, this fact can be seen on his/her profile and it will be seen by
his/her friends also. Kudeshia, Sikdar et al (2016) performed a research with the purpose to
find out if there is a link betwe en following a fan page of an entrepreneurial venture, and
brand love and purchase intention. Their research revealed that following a business on
Facebook, increases the attachment of followe rs towards that particular brand, as we ll as
their intention to purchase products of that business. The researchers discover also, through
their research, that liking the page of a company on Facebook, has different influences on men
and women, as it follows: for men it was noticed an increased word of mouth effect, and for
women a more intense purchase intention.
There is also the possibility for entrepreneurs to pay for sponsored advertising in order
to attract more followe rs on the channels of social media. Nevertheless, this option presents
some problems. (Benthaus, Risius et al, 2016) First of all the followe rs might not be real
persons, but computers. Secondly, more and more people who are present on social media use
a special technology that blocks the sponsored advertising. Anyhow, in the case when people
allow social media to show sponsored advertising, the entrepreneurs should create advertising
that stirs the curiosity of followe rs.
Even though entrepreneurs do not need financial resources in order
to promote on
social media, they have difficulties in attracting and convincing people to follow their
profiles. In this sense, Aditya (2015) recommends the practice of other promotional activities
in order to attract people and to convince them to follow the updates of a venture on social
media. Some examples of other promotional activities are the following: glossy brochures,
outdoor poster campaigns, promotional products, flyers, and so on. In order for your brand to
become easily recognisable, entrepreneurs should combine the online advertising, with the
offline promotion and public relation activities.
Starting from the information presented in this subchapter, WE will continue this
study with an analysis of the challenges encountered by Romanian entrepreneurs when they
start a business, as we ll as their techniques for promoting the products, building a brand, and
communicating with customers.
1.3 Challenges of Romanian Entrepreneurs
This last subchapter is dedicated to analysing the situation of Romanian entrepreneurs
taking into consideration the challenges they have to face. The last point of this part of the
study is to identify, in general lines, solutions of new Romanian entrepreneurs for promoting
their businesses. According to the data provided by the Global and Entrepreneurship Monitor
(GEM), Romania was characterized by an increasing number of entrepreneurs in the previous
years. Most of the entrepreneurs started their business by identifying an opportunity.
Regarding the future scenarios, GEM expects that the number of persons who are going to
start a business in the following three years will increase as we ll, but, it is believed that these
businesses will not be started with the purpose to introduce an innovative product on the
market. The most important trait of Romanian entrepreneurs is the fact that they have
confidence in their skills, when it comes to open their own business, but, in the same time,
they are afraid that they will fail.
According to GEM, the entrepreneurship in Romania is enabled by a series of factors,
such as: the favorable legislation, the market dynamics, and the commercial infrastructure.
Also, there are numerous progammes supported by the Government and from European
funds, that promote entrepreneurship and improve the skills of those who want to become
entrepreneurs. On the other side, there are also constraints and challenges for Romanian
entrepreneurs, such as:
- The financial resources necessary to start a business are hard to obtain. People who
want to start a business, have difficulties in obtaining external funding from financial
institutions, government, business angels, and so on.
- Entrepreneurship is not a subject very we ll studied during school. This means that
Romanian people are not used with the idea of becoming entrepreneurs, thus they will show
no attempt to follow this career path.
As it can be seen, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor emphasizes few challenges
met by Romanian entrepreneurs. Further research performed by Zaman, Vasile, et al (2012),
and Toma (2015), suggests that the most important challenges of entrepreneurs in Romania
are the following:
- The difficulty of obtaining external funding - This problem is especially available in
the case of young entrepreneurs, because the financial institutions do not trust to lend them
money to start a business. This issue was also mentioned earlier in this chapter, where WE
emphasized the fact that financial institutions lend money to the experienced entrepreneurs,
who proved to be reliable, or to those businesses showing through their financial statements
that they are able to pay back the money.
- The lack of financial knowledge The Romanian entrepreneurs face difficulties in
administrating the cash flow or in finding external funding for growing the business. Some of
the solutions identified by them are the following: finding a business partner who has
knowledge in this field, improving their own knowledge, or participating in special programs
that encourage start-ups.
- Managing the team Even though many entrepreneurs have the oportunity to study
in university the way employees should be managed, they understand the management only in
the moment when they have to practice it. For a new entrepreneur, management involves all
the actions from finding the best employees for the new venture, untill convincing them to
stay in a business with an unsure future.
- Measuring and evaluating the efficiency of employees and processes If the
founders of a business aim to have a long-lasting business, with growth potential, they have to
evaluate the results.
- Presenting a strong and convincing business plan The entrepreneurs have
difficulties in writting the business plan, but also in the moment when they have to present it
in front of a possible business partner or investors.
- Sales problems The main problems related with this issue refer to promoting a new
product on a market where it did not exist before, convincing the customers to purchase it,
and dealing with those clients who are very demanding.
- The fear of entrepreneurs to fail - This challenge is especially available for women,
and, as mentioned before, men are more willing to assume risks for their businesses.
- Responsibilities involved with having a family - This challenge is also applied more
in the case of women, because they have to raise the children and to manage the household.
As it can be observed, Romanian entrepreneurs encounter similar challenges with the
ones presented in the first subchapter. This leads us to the idea that, regardless of the business
environment in which the entrepreneurs implement their business idea, the decisive factor in
succeeding, is their experience and continuous development. In other words, if entrepreneurs
invest in their knowledge and relationships, then they will be prepared to face the difficulties
that might incur on their entrepreneurial path.
Cassar (2010) found another explanation for illustrating the way entrepreneurs should
react in order to face the challenges aforementioned, and this is through having high
expectations for achieve success with their business idea before starting to implement it. As
the author stated, the overoptimistic expectations of entrepreneurs determine them to continue
with the business idea even if they do not have results according to their expectations. The
overoptimistic expectations are achieved by individuals through a plan/view/forecast of the
business. Having a plan of how the business idea will be implemented and developed, means
to take into account obstacles that might occur, and to create scenarios, and all these help
entrepreneurs to continue their activity. Moreover, the optimism of entrepreneurs is increased
when they use the formal business planning and projected financial statements, even if they
have the tendency to not be realistic in setting sales forecasts.
To sum up, the challenges of entrepreneurship should be perceived by entrepreneurs as
opportunities for them to develop their skills, to acquire new knowledge, or even to extend
their network of partners. The entrepreneur is the only person who should perform all these
actions, because he/she has a vision about the business idea, and he/she is the only person
who understands this vision and knows how to achieve it.
The final aspect to be discussed in this subchapter relates to the techniques
implemented by entrepreneurs with the purpose to promote their ventures. It was mentioned
earlier that entrepreneurs should aim to build a brand around their business ideas, in order to
distinguish themselves from other ventures or from large companies.
The Romanian young entrepreneurs identified many ways for promoting their
businesses, because the Romanian business environment is open to adopting trends and
successful practices of large companies present at international level.
One such successful trend is the use of social media. Actually, social media is the first
promotional tool used by most of the new entrepreneurs due to the fact that the costs are very
small, they can reach to many customers from everywhere in the country, and they can
establish o more personal relationship with customers. Social media can be used also as paid
advertising, in the sense that entrepreneurs pay for promoting their businesses to as many
customers as possible.
Romanian entrepreneurs focus also on offline promotional activities, and sometimes to
a higher degree than it is the case of online promotion. Some examples in this sense, could be
the following actvities:
Participation to fairs Fairs are organized in the larger cities of Romania, for
different reasons. There are fashion fairs, fairs for natural products, Christmas fairs, and so on.
These fairs are an opportunity for entrepreneurs to meet new customers, to obtain feedback
about their products and about the price, to interact with other entrepreneurs, and so on.
Advertising in specialised magazines There are specialized magazines for many
field of activity, and entrepreneurs take advantage of this opportunity in order to promote their
activities. In the case of magazines, entrepreneurs have two alternatives: either they pay for
advertising in that magazine, or they receive free advertising if their story impresses the
authors who write articles, and these authors decide to present the entrepreneurs as role
models for other in the same industry.
Word of mouth / Recommendation Some entrepreneurs rely on the
recommendations made by their satisfied clients. This applies in general for those businesses
where the relationship with clients is more personal, and the entrepreneur is not interested to
have many clients.
Sponsorship Some entrepreneurs decide to sponsor charitable, sportive,
educational, and other types of events. In this way, they manage to get known by more
customers. Also, this type of activities create a positive image of the business.
As it can be seen, the Romanian entrepreneurs combine the online and offline
promotional activities for their businesses. This may happen because of several reasons:
specific promotional activities of the industry; resources available; evolution of their business;
the type of customers they target, and so on.
Anyhow, there is little research regarding this subject applied in the case of Romanian
entrepreneurs, reason for which WE decided to analyse it during the present study. In order to
see the promotional tools used by Romanian entrepreneurs in order to communicate with their
customers, WE organized a series of interviews. The results of our research will be presented
in the following chapters.
The present study aims to offer some insights regarding the challenges faced by young
entrepreneurs, when it comes to promote their business. In the first part of this study, WE
mentioned some challenges identified by researchers, referring not only to promotion, but also
to other aspects of a business, such as finding the right employees, raising the necessary
funding, managing the growth of the business, and so on. For the rest of our study WE will
perform a research and WE will focus only on the promotion of a start-up.
The research will be based on five interviews with young entrepreneurs, who studied
in the Bucharest University of Economic Studies, and who started a business during their
studies, or shortly after finishing the studies. The time period in which the interviews we re
performed is betwe en March and May, 2016.
WE selected these entrepreneurs because of several reasons. Firstly, they are young
persons who succeeded very fast in achieving success with their businesses. Secondly, they
have ventures in different fields of activity, and this allowe d me to see whether different
promotional practices depending on each industry. Thirdly, they started the businesses with
their own resources or with financial help from family and friends. Since they did not dispose
of large funding for starting their businesses, they had to come up with creative solutions for
promoting their businesses. Therefore, the sample is relevant for our research because it offers
me the possibility to see how these entrepreneurs managed to come up with solutions for
promoting their businesses. (Premand, Brodmann et al, 2016)
Therefore, before starting to explain the results obtained from interviews, WE will
present some aspects regarding the interview as a research method. Afterwards WE will
present some data about the entrepreneurs whom WE interviewe d, and in the following
chapter, WE will develop the observations performed after organizing the interviews.
2.1 Interview as a research method
According to Edwards and Holland (2013), the interview is one of the most common
methods for performing qualitative research. The aim of performing an interview is to identify
the people's perception regarding aspects of their life or experiences. In general, an interview
can be structured, semi-structured or unstructured.
A structured interview comprises a series of questions, which are addressed in a
particular order and they are the same for all the persons interviewe d. In other words, a
structured interview is similar with a questionnaire. This type of interview might contain
closed questions or open-ended questions. In the closed questions, the interviewe r
enumerates several possible options from where the respondent has to chose. The open-ended
questions have the purpose to capture more information, but the interviewe r should take into
consideration that more information will require more time to analyse the results. The
structured interview is used in those situations when the interviewe r is interested in obtaining
information from a high number of respondents, reason for statistical methods of analysis
might be applied to the results obtained. (Greco, 2016)
Regarding the other two types of interviews, semi-structured and unstructured, they
are considered more appropriate for obtaining a qualitative research. The semi-structured
interview contains a series of questions to be approached, but they serve as a guide, in the
sense that the interviewe r can ask these questions in whatever order he/she prefers and he/she
can ask additional questions. The structured interviews encourage the interviewe es to better
express answe rs by using their perspectives as point of reference. Since the questions are
open-ended, the interviewe e might encounter problems in finding answe rs. Therefore, the
interviewe r should offer some hints that will guide the interviewe e in formulating an answer.
(Rosenthal, 2016) Usually, this type of interviews are created with the purpose to gather
information regarding the attitude of respondents, and the subjects approached cannot be
expressed in closed-questions, due to the fact that the interviewe r does not have enough
information in order to enumerate alternatives.
An unstructured interview does not have a structure. It usually starts with one or two
questions, and it continues with additional questions addressed by the interviewe r depending
on the discussion's direction. The purpose of such an interview is to approach few topics, but
the respondent should offer a lot of details for each topic discussed.
After presenting the types of interviews, we would like to develop the possible ways
in which an interview can be performed, which might be the following: face-to-face, through
telephone, online and focus groups.
The interviews performed face-to-face require a lot of effort, but they provide the
highest quality of the information gathered. (Greco, 2016) Such interviews are performed in
those situations when there might be long or lengthy questions, or when the topic approached
is a sensitive one. Face-to-face interviews should offer a high degree of flexibility, but, on the
other side, the interviewe r has the role to find ways for encouraging respondents to develop
the topic. In this sense, some of the actions that the interviewe r can perform, could be the
following: offer clarifications in case of misunderstandings, set a direction during the
discussion, research carefully the answe rs, and so on.
The interviews performed through telephone present some specific advantages. Such
interviews involve less costs, and they can be used for respondents who live in separate
geographic areas. On the other side, one disadvantage could be the fact that the interviewe r is
not able to show visual elements to the respondents while asking the questions. Nevertheless,
the interviewe r could send the visual materials before the interview to take place. (Rosenthal,
In the case of focus group interviews, the information is gathered from several persons
in the same time due to different reasons. One reason could be the fact that the researcher
cannot implement other methods of research in a given context. Other reasons could be the
fact that the researcher was able to find a group of people having a common characteristic, or
group discussions might lead to a better approach of the topic.
There are several stages of an interview (Edwards, Holland, 2013):
· To locate the respondent The interviewe r has the option to chose the persons to be
interviewed, or he/she might be given a predetermined list. Anyhow, the location and
timing of the interview should be established in agreement with the interviewe es, and
they have to be informed regarding the duration of the interview.
· Obtain the interviewe e's agreement The agreement should be expressed in writting
as a result of an invitation sent to the interviewe e. This invitation should contain
information regarding the following aspects: the purpose of the research, a
specification that the participation is voluntarily, an assurance regarding the
confidentiality and anonimity of the information obtained, information regarding the
reason for performing the study and for chosing the respondent.
· Asking the questions The interviewer has to respect several rules during the
interview. In the case of a structured or semi-structured interview, the interviewe r
should respect the order of the questions to be asked, he/she should not express his/her
personal opinion, and he/she should be consistent during the interaction with the
· Record the answers The way answe rs are recorded after an interview, depend on
the type of interview. In the case of structured and semi-structured interviews, the interviewe r
should write the answe rs obtained. In the case of unstructured interviews, the interviewe r has
the possibility to record the discussion, and in this way, he/she is able to listen carefully to
what the interviewe e has to share, and to ask questions appropriate for the topic debated.
In order for the interview to develop we ll, the interviewer has several responsibilities
to fulfill. (Greco, 2016) Firstly, the interviewers should have good communication skills, such
that even a structured interview would look like a relaxed discussion. They should avoid
expressing their personal opinion during the discussion, they should offer clarifications, and
listen more than talk. Secondly, the interviewe rs should establish a rapport with the
interviewe e. This is possible through several actions: explain the purpose of the research,
listen to questions from the interviewe e, display a body language that encourages the
interviewe e to feel relaxed. Thirdly, the interviewe rs have to analyse the information
obtained from interviews. There are different approaches for quantitative and qualitative data.
The quantitative data is based on numbers. As in the case of questionnaires, the
researcher has to use a software in order to analyse the data. After introducing the data and
chosing the operations to be applied, the researcher has the possibility to compare results and
to draw some conclusions. (Edwards, Holland, 2013)
The qualitative data is based on texts, and it is obtained from semi-structured and
unstructured interviews. Since the focus is on quality and not on quantity, the researcher
should not state that a certain number of interviews have a particular perspective. The focus
should be on explaining why and how the answe rs obtained differ from each other. The first
step in analyzing qualitative data is to obtain transcripts of the interviews' records. The
transcripts are helpful in comparing the responses obtained, and in paying attention to those
details that the interviewe r forgot after the interview.
In the analysis of qualitative data, the most effort is required when the researcher has
to perform a content analysis, which means to identify the common ideas that we re specified
during interviews. This activity will require also a lot of time, because the interviewe r has to
read each transcript and to write notes there where he/she identifies the main ideas. Further
on, the researcher should look for differences betwe en the opinions of the interviewe es, and
he/she should identify the reasons behind these differences. From this moment, the researcher
will pass to the next level, from analysing the data to developing theories for explaining
his/her observations. In order to check if the results obtained illustrate the true meaning of
interviewe es' answe rs, the interviewe r might ask the persons interviewe d to express their
opinion regarding the results obtained. (Edwards, Holland, 2013)
As it can be seen from the above presentation, interviews are used in order to obtain
qualitative data, fact which is indicated by the amount of time and effort involved in order to
organize an interview, and to draw conclusions based on the answe rs received. Our
motivation for chosing this research method was to obtain qualitative information from where
to improve our knowledge regarding this subject. Moreover, WE considered that an interview
is more appropriate for the purpose of our research due to the fact that each entrepreneur has
his/her own approach regarding the promotion of their business, adapted to the context,
resources, personality, objectives, and so on.
The use of interview is relevant for our research because it allowed us to analyze more
deeply the experience of the entrepreneurs we interviewed. Some of the advantages that the
interview, as a research method, presents for this study, are the following:
we managed to discuss freely with the interviewees and to ask them for details when
we needed more information.
During the interview we realized that we did not think about all the aspects that we
should have asked, but, given the fact that we were discussing with the interviewee,
we were able to adjust the questions.
Interacting with the interviewe es offered us the opportunity to understand their body
language, to observe those ideas that they repeated several times, meaning that these
were important for them, and so on. In other words, we were able to see behind what
they aimed to transmit through words.
In terms of disadvantages presented by the interview, as a research methods, we can
mention the following aspects from our own experience:
The interviews are time consuming.
Sometimes we faced difficulties in finding the right moment when we could take the
The processing of answers received is more complicated than in the case of interviews.
To sum up this sub-chapter, we will say that the interview presents advantages and
disadvantages as a research method, but for our case, it was the most appropriate instrument
to gather the information we needed. This instrument of research allows an interviewer to
have a free discussion with the persons interviewed, to adapt the questions to the case of the
person interviewed, to analyse the body language of that person.
In our case, taking interviews allowed us to learn from the experience of the
interviewed entrepreneurs, to identify specificities for each of them, and to improve our skills
as interviewers. As stated earlier, we consider that the interview was the most appropriate
research tool for this study.
2.2 Descriptive statistics
As mentioned earlier, we chose as subjects for our research several entrepreneurs who
graduated from the Bucharest University of Economic Studies. They are young entrepreneurs,
who started small businesses either during the faculty or after they finished it. We had the
opportunity to get in contact with them during lectures or through participation to special
events dedicated to entrepreneurship. When chosing these entrepreneurs for our interviews,
we based our decision on several criteria:
Impressions gained after discussions with these entrepreneurs. Since we are interested
in this field, we discussed very much with the entrepreneurs that we know in order to
learn from their experiences, but also to share with them fears and questions in order
to understand the way they managed to pass over all these.
Lessons learned during the discussions. Our intention was to share in this study the
lessons that we learnt from them.
They are doing business in different fields of activity. WE considered that it will be
interesting to analyse challenges imposed by different domains, and whether there are
similarities in the promotional tools used by them.
We aimed to chose mostly entrepreneurs who started their businesses with a small
capital, obtained either from personal savings, or from family and friends. We were
interested in those entrepreneurs who benefited from a small capital, and who were
forced to find creative ways to promote their businesses and to get involved personally
in promoting themselves.
The interviews we re taken face to face, and in the case when we needed extra
information in order to better understand the answer, we asked for details from the
entrepreneur through social media. The interview was semistructured, in the sense that several
questions contained options from where to chose, but there we re also questions allowing the
interviewe es to develop their answe rs without any constraint. The questions of the interview
are available in the Annex. We interviewed the following five entrepreneurs:
1. D.M. Anaide;
2. B.I. Petrolhead;
3. R.O. Interactive Digital Labs;
4. A.D. Louiscafe;
5. A.Z. Square Beauty Concept;
We will present in several lines their object of activity in order to better understand
the meaning of their answe rs regarding ways to promote their businesses, and challenges
faced on the entrepreneurial path.
Anaide is a small business opened by D.M. in 2015, during her first year of master.
She is 24 years old, and she graduated from the Faculty of Business Administration, and the
Master of Entrepreneurship and Business Administration from the Bucharest University of
Her business activity is to design and tailor personalized dresses for evening, special
events or we dding dresses, of high quality. She obtained the necessary capital for starting this
venture from personal savings and parents. Most of the costs came from renting and
decorating the space where dresses should have been displayed (showroom), from the costs
with the labor force and from purchasing the initial raw materials. WE chose her for the
interview because she is successful without investing a high capital in the traditional
marketing tools, even though she is doing business on a very competitive market.
Table 2: Data about the entrepreneur D.M.
24 years old
Faculty of Business Administration
Master of Entrepreneurship and
Dresses for evening, special events,
we dding dresses
Petrolhead is an online magazine that presents news and articles related to cars. At this
moment, the founders do not sell the printed version of the magazine. We chose to interview
one of the founders, B.I.. He is 24 years old, and he studied at the Faculty of Business
Administration, and at the Master of Entrepreneurship and Business Administration.
B.I. was one of the persons that we interviewed because we had some previous
discussions with him regarding his business, and these discussions helped us to gained some
insights regarding his challenges to promote this business. In fact, he is one of the few
interviewees who really invested in marketing, therefore we considered that it will be
interesting to learn from him.
Table 3: Data about the entrepreneur B. I.
24 years old
Faculty of Business Administration
Master of Entrepreneurship and
Petrolhead a magazine dedicated to
Interactive Digital Labs is a business established by R.O. in 2015. He has 23 years old,
and he finished the Faculty of Marketing and the Master of Entrepreneurship and Business
Administration in the Bucharest University of Economic Studies.
Interactive Digital Labs helps other businesses to build an online presence, or to
improve their existing presence in the online environment. The necessary capital for starting
this business was very small, since the founder had the needed kowledge and equipment for
doing business. Even though the founder is a specialist in online marketing, we realized
through discussions with him that he promotes this business not only in the online
environment, but also through traditional practices. The interview that WE took from him
helped me to get a deeper insight of this case.
Table 4: Data about the entrepreneur R.O.
23 years old
Faculty of Marketing
Master of Entrepreneurship and
Interactive Digital Labs
Helps other businesses to build an
Louiscafe is a small business started by two students in 2015. The two founders are
A.M. and A.D., and they started this venture in their first year of master. Their business idea
was to sell coffee to students from the Bucharest University of Economic Studies, by placing
a tricycle with coffee in front of one of the buildings of this University. The two students
invested approximately 5000 euros in opening this business, their main costs being with
creating the tricycle and with obtaining the necessary permits from the local authorities.
We decided to take an interview to one of the founders, A.D., because we were
interested to find out what promotional tools they use, knowing that they sell coffee only in
front of this University. A.D. is 24 years old, and he studied the Faculty of Cibernetics,
Statistics and Informatics, and Master of Marketing.
Table 5: Data about the entrepreneur A.D.
24 years old
Faculty of Cibernetics, Statistics
Master of Marketing
Selling coffee to students
Square Beauty Concept is a business started by A.Z.. He is 21 years old, he originates
from Iraq, and he finished the Faculty of Business Administration.
Square Beauty Concept was established in 2015, from the capital of the owner, and it
has three employees: two persons working for hairdressing, and one person working for
manicure and pedicure. The salon offers several types of services, such as the following:
hairdressing, make-up, manicure, pedicure, and so on. The owner wants to enlarge the variety
of services offered by adding solarium tanning and hena tatoos.
Table 6: Data about the entrepreneur A.Z.
21 years old
Square Beauty Concept
Services offered: hairdressing,
make-up, manicure, pedicure, etc.
These are the five entrepreneurs that we interviewed for our research. As it can be
seen, they started businesses in different fields of activity, which makes the research even
more interesting because from each of them we learned new things.
The results obtained from interviews will be presented and analyzed in the following
chapter. The aim of the current chapter was to introduce the reader to the research method
used for this study, to present this method and to offer some information regarding the
subjects of our research.
Therefore, for the current research we used a semi-structured interview. The interview
allowed us to obtain qualitative information, regarding challenges faced by entrepreneurs in
promoting their business. If we would have opted for a questionnaire, we would have not
been able to find out so much information on this subject, to identify particularities for each
of these businesses, and to make connections betwe en the answers obtained and the actual
situation of these businesses. Through the interview we managed to ask more details in those
areas that we found interesting, or to encourage the interviewee to develop an idea that
attracted our attention. The result of these interviews was that we learnt new things from all
the interviewed entrepreneurs, and it stirred our curiosity to watch more entrepreneurs and to
learn from discussions with them.
The following chapter is dedicated to anaylzing the responses obtained from
interviews, based on which we will formulate several thoughts and recommendations.
3. Interviews analysis
The aim of this chapter is to reveal the information obtained with the help of
interviews. We want to state from the beginning of analysis that taking interviews to young
entrepreneurs represented a challenge for us from several points of view. Firstly, it was
difficult for us to chose the interviewees, since we know quite a lot of entrepreneurs.
Nevertheless, our objective was to chose persons doing business in different fields, because
we wanted to gather knowledge from multiple fields of activity.
The second challenge was the interview itself. We do not have experience in this kind
of activity, and even though we interacted with persons whom we knew, it was difficult to
approach them as business persons. Especially during the interview, we found it hard to
establish a logic between the questions, and to come up with new questions in order to obtain
a better understanding of what the interviewee wanted to communicate.
The analysis of answers obtained from interviews consists of several steps (Burnard,
Gill et al, 2008):
· Reading the notes written during the interviews. We will quickly review the data
gathered in all the interviews and we will write some first impressions.
· Highlighting the information that attracts our attention, such as words, sentences,
paragraphs, and so on. The pieces of data that are labeled, could refer to activities, opinions,
concepts, anything that is relevant for our research. There are several aspects indicating
whether some data is relevant, and these are: the data is repeated; it has an impact over the
interviewer; it is emphasized by the interviewee; the interviewer is familiar with the concept
from previous research. (Kent, 2013)
This step is known as coding. The result obtained at the end of this step is information
selected by the interviewer, because he/she considers that it is important.
· Classifying the codes in categories or themes. The categories may refer to
processes, differences, concepts, and so on. Anyhow it requires creativity and openness to
new possibilities, because data is transformed into concepts.(Hamdani, Valcea, Buckley,
· Identifying the connections between categories and determining which are the most
important. Firstly, we should label the categories by giving them names such as: seeking
information, adapting to changes, etc. Secondly, connections should be established between
these categories. The result obtained is in fact, the most important output of our research. This
result brings knew knowledge to those who will read our analysis, knowledge that is provided
through the perspective of interviewees. (Kent, 2013)
· Proposing some options. Here, as researchers we might establish a hierarchy
between categories identified, or create a figure that better emphasizes the results of
· Presenting the results. In this section, we will have to perform two actions. Firstly, we
will reproduce the results by trying to stay objective, such that the readers will not get
the idea alterated by our interference. Secondly, WE will create a discussion part
where WE will express our opinion and interpretation. Of course, here WE can
perform a comparison with results presented in other scientific studies, or with
concepts identified during our studies. (Burnard, Gill et al, 2008)
3.1 The coding process
In this sub-chapter we will explain how we performed the steps of the coding process.
We will start with presenting the step in which we highlighted the important
information from the answe rs received during the interviews. This step suposses to label the
relevant pieces of the information from interviews. In the pictures below we illustrated the
information that we extracted from the records of the interviews.
Figure 1: Labeling of the first three questions from the interview
It can be seen that for the first question, most of respondents stated that they try to be
open to opportunities regarding the way they should promote their businesses. On the other
side, time represents an issue for them, since they have to take care of all the aspects of the
business. Regarding the most used promotional tools, the interviewe d entrepreneurs prefer
those activities that do not require high investment, such as: social media, networking,
In the following figure, we illustrated another set of questions from the interview.
Figure 2: Labeling of the questions 4,5,6 from the interview
Through the fourth and fifth questions of our interview we wanted to find out whether
the entrepreneurs we interviewed invested in their own knowledge or they paid for the
services of a specialised firm. As it was expected, most of them learned by themselves about
the promotional activities they wanted to implement, by watching tutorials or discussing with
specialists in the field. They say that they do not have in mind a certain set of promotional
activities, and they just try and see what works best for them.
Regarding the time allocated for promotion, the interviewes stated that they dedicate
as much time as it is needed, but it is difficult for them to find that time available.
Figure 3: Labeling of questions 7,8,9
As it can be seen in the notes, time is an important issue for entrepreneurs, because
they have to manage all the aspects of the business. Most of the interviewes stated that they
cannot trust employees to do very we ll their job, reason for which they should be supervised.
Moreover, employees are specialized on a certain type of activity, and only the entrepreneur
knows how to manage all the aspects of the business.
When asked about the degree of satisfaction that the interviewes have for their
promotional activity, most of them graded themselves with 3. Each one expressed some
intentions regarding the future projects of their businesses. Some examples in this sense we re
the following: flyers, collaborations with business partners, business cards, and so on.
The third step refers to creating categories of codes. The categories that we identified
are the following:
· Attitude Attitude is very important for a young entrepreneur, especially in the
case of the ones interviewed by us, because they started with their own funds, most of them
do not have a business partner, therefore they took all the decisions and performed most of
· Difficulties Having a business is definitely a challenge and difficulties appear
each and evey step. Of course, through the interview, we wanted to identify mostly those
difficulties related to promoting the business. Nevertheless, our intention was to look further
and to see other difficulties encountered by entrepreneurs, and how they prioritize these
difficulties when having to allocate time and resources for implementing solutions.
· Promotional activities This is a special category due to the fact that young
entrepreneurs do not dispose of enough financial resources in order to promote their
businesses, therefore they have to use their creative and to come up with innovative solutions.
The results obtained in this category are not applicable to all the businesses, since the
promotional activities used by these entrepreneurs are specific to their cases.
There is a strong connection between these three categories. We would say that
attitude is the most important category from the three proposed above. A certain attitude offers
an orientation regarding the activities performed by the entrepreneur. In the interview, we
asked the interviewees to chose between several options regarding the attitude they adopted in
business, and these are the following:
· They assume risks.
· They are open-minded and say yes to every opportunity.
· They like to control everything.
· They lack trust in themselves.
It is believed that all the respondents chose the second option, but in reality they did
not. Of course, most of them stated that they are open to new perspectives in an attempt to
find better solutions for their businesses, but there also respondents chosing the third option.
Some of them stated that they would like to control everything because the competition is
high and they have to fulfill several functions in the same time. Therefore, time management
is an issue, taking into account that they cannot afford to hire more employees.
The attitude category is important from other perspectives as well. For example, one
can think about the attitude of an entrepreneur towards difficulties. Some of them might be
relaxed, thinking that they will find a solution for everything, while others might be very
nervous and stressed about the obstacles they have to face. Another example could be the fact
that some persons invest time and effort in order to find a solution, by reading articles or
books, exchanging experience with other entrepreneurs, asking the advice of a specialist,
consulting with employees, etc. Other entrepreneurs might chose to take a decision based on
their knowledge and experience.
Finally, attitude is important in chosing the promotional activities. During our
research, some respondents stated that they like to use their creativity and to adapt to
possibilities, others select promotional activities based on the results obtained by other
entrepreneurs or based on their experience, and others wait to obtain the necessary finances.
To sum up this part of the study, we would say that the above statements are strong
arguments for indicating that the attitude category is the most important one, representing the
source of all decisions made in the other two categories. Of course, we were not able to assess
the attitude of respondents based on the question mentioned above, but during the entire
interview. As the interviewee understood the point of our research, and opened himself/herself
to us, we were able to identify some insights regarding his/her attitude as an entrepreneur. The
additional questions helped me greatly to achieve this objective. Now, when we analyse the
results, we would say that the attitude chose by entrepreneurs at the first question, is different
from the attitude they actually displayed during their activity, and which we were able to
identify based on their information.
The second category refers to difficulties. For this category we allocated two
questions, but, as in the case of attitude, we were able to identify many more difficulties from
the answers provided during the entire interview.
The purpose of the first question was to identify whether the promotional activities
chosen by the entrepreneur represented a difficulty from the point of view of needed
knowledge, time or financial resources. Some of the respondents recognized that all of these
three aspects we re difficult to deal with. All of them are young, and they lacked the necessary
experience in managing a business. Therefore, they had to learn from scratch everything
related to promotion and not only, they we re forced to manage their time very we ll, and they
had to adapt to the available financial resources. Anyhow, WE believe that time is the most
difficult issue to deal with because they either work in order to sustain themselves, or attend
university. Besides work and studies they have to administer the business: maintain a good
relationship with clients, looking for partners, supervising employees, and so on.
The second question addresses the issue mentioned above: whether these
entrepreneurs manage we ll their time. In this case, all of them stated that it is quite difficult to
manage all the aspects of a business (quality, employees, funding). They have to deal with
everything connected to the business, and they are forced to spend a lot of time in the location
of their business in order to make sure that employees work. What is of greatest concern for
them is the fact that they cannot find employees to work fast and according to their standards,
or their current employees are not as serious as they should be. Consequently, if these
entrepreneurs really want to be successul, they have to get involved directly, because no one
will put as much passion as they do.
Other difficulties that were not explicitly stated relate to the following things:
· Seasonality There are seasons when the products/services are not requested very
much, therefore they have to come up with discounts, special offers.
· Difficulties with collaborators Sometimes, the persons with whom they want to
collaborate are very demanding or they have a contract with another business. Two of the
respondents stated that they could not print their logo on the business cards. Consequently,
they are not able to share business cards since they cannot print them.
· Obtaining funding for promotion. Usually, depends on the field of activity. For
example, in fashion, beauty and auto industry, the respondents need large amounts of money
in order to sustain a marketing campaign or to buy equipment.
· Collecting feedback from clients.
The third category of codes refers to promotional activities. For this category we
allocated six questions.
The first question was aimed at finding out whether the entrepreneurs invest in their
own knowledge when they want to promote their business, or they use the help of a
specialized firm. The answers obtained from respondents indicate that most of them prefer to
invest in their own knowledge by watching tutorial or by discussing with specialists in
marketing. Anyhow, none of them used the specialized services of a marketing company.
The second question refers to the promotional tools used, their costs and the benefits
they deliver. The respondents affirmed that the promotional tools that deliver the most
benefits are social media, personalities who present the products, networking and
recommendations. The promotional tools reuiring the highest investment are videos and
The third question refers to the way in which the entrepreneur decides over the
promotional tools to be used. Most of respondent stated that they read books, they follow the
example of successful entrepreneurs, or they try alone new ideas and they observe which idea
works best for their business.
The fourth questions looks to find out the amount of time dedicated by entrepreneurs
for promotion. Most of them stated that they are willing to grant as much time as it is needed.
Some of time have to dedicate more time for promotion during certain periods of the year,
such as holidays.
The fifth question aims at finding out the degree of satisfaction felt by entrepreneurs
towards their promotional efforts. The average grade chose by them, on a scale from 1 to 5,
was 3. Each of them expressed different ideas regarding how they would like to improve the
promotion. In general they are looking to diversify the promotional activities, but they lack
time and financial resources.
The sixth question included in this category refers to promotional activities that
entrepreneurs would like to do in the future. Most of them knew at the moment of the
interview, the promotional activities they would like to do in the future. In general, they want
to focus on social media, but also on offline activities, such as flyers, business cards, printed
To sum up, this was the coding process applied to our interviews. This process helped
me to identify the main ideas that we re at the basis of the questionnaire. After applying this
process to our case, we came out to the conclusion that it is an interesting step to be
performed in the analysis of the interview.
In the following sub-chapter, we decided to take further steps in analysing these
interviews, and we used a special software, named Nvivo.
3.2 Processing of interviews in Nvivo
In this last part of our research we aim at withdrawing some conclusions by processing
the answe rs obtained during interviews with the help of Nvivo.
Nvivo is a special software wich supports combined and qualitative methods reserach.
The software helps in organising, analysing and finding insights in unstructured and
qualitative data as: (Buchanan, Jones, 2010)
- Survey responses;
- Social media.
The main benefits of using Nvivo for processing qualitative data is to save time while
doing this processing, and to manage easily the the data introduced as output. The software
will present very fast the connections betwe en the findings of the interviews and to withdraw
conclusions based on these. (Auld, Diker, Bock, 2007)
In the case of our research, using Nvivo helped us to:
· Save time;
· Organize data;
· Identify new connections;
· Back-up our findings with evidence.
Regarding our research, we started to use Nvivo after the coding process explained
previously. We inserted in the software the three categories of codes that we identified in the
previous sub-chapter: atttitude, difficulties and promotional activities. The below graph
displays the percentage for each of these categories, in the case of Anaide.
Figure 4: The importance of the three categories of codes in the case of Anaide
It can be seen in the above capture from Nvivo the percentages allocated for each
category of codes. Consequently, the category 'promotional activities' has the highest
percentage of 59%, followed by 'difficulties' with 30%, and finally the 'attitude of
entrepreneur' with a 10%.
This shows that the answers offered by interviewee reflect a great concern of the
entrepreneur for promotional activities, followed by the difficulties encountered while doing
business, and finally, the entrepreneur's attitude.
We applied the same process for another start-up, which is Square Beauty Concept, in
order to see the ranking of categories in this case. The following graph illustrates the results
obtained in Nvivo.
Figure 5: The importance of the three categories of codes in the case of Anaide
In the case of this interviewee one can notice a different situation from the previous
respondent. The category registering the highest percentage is the 'difficulties encountered in
business', with 29%, followed by 'promotional activities' with 23% and the 'attitude of
entrepreneur' with a 8%.
Another action that we performed in NVivo was to the determine the importance of
each category for all the interviewe es in the same time. In the chart below it can be seen the
example obtained for the category 'difficulties encountered'.
Figure 6: The importance of 'Difficulties encountered' for all the interviewe es
It can be noticed that the answers from all the interviewees related to 'Difficulties
encountered' obtained a percentage of approximately 30% in each case. Anyhow, these
category presents different degrees of importance for each entrepreneur, the highest degree
being recorded by Anaide, followe d by Interactive Digital Labs, Square Beauty Concept,
Louis Cafe and Petrolhead.
In the next chart we performed the same operation for 'attitude of entrepreneurs'.
Figure 7: The importance of 'Attitude' for all the interviewe es
This graph shows that 'attitude' has a smaller degree of importance for interviewe es,
as the values are comprised betwe en 6% and 8%. Anyhow, attitude has the highest degree of
importance for Louis Cafe, followed by Square Beauty Concept, Anaide, Petrolhead and
Interactive Digital Labs.
The last aspect analyzed in NVivo was the 'promotional activities' category, illustrated
in the following graph.
Figure 8: The importance of 'Promotional activities' for all the interviewees
From the previous graph we can deduct that answers related to the topic ,,Promotional
activites" had the highest percentage of 60% for three start-ups: Anaide, LouisCafe and
Interractive Digital. Afterwards, Petrolhead obtained 35% for this category, and Square
Beauty Concept obtained 25%.
To sum up the aspects presented in this sub-chapter, the processing of data in Nvivo
was useful in determining the importance of different aspects related to running a business.
The fact that we performed an interview instead of a questionnaire, allowed me to go deeper
in our research and to find out more information regarding the aspects that we wanted to
This last part of our analysis, performed with the help of Nvivo was relevant for our
research because we manage to see the differences betwe en each business based on the
affirmations made by interviewees. Anyhow, we want to emphasize the fact that the results
obtained in NVivo are available for this research, not necessarily in general, because the
questions formulated in the interview were aimed at emphasizing the promotional difficulties
encountered by entrepreneurs. Consequently, in the processing of data, it came out that these
difficulties are the most important ones for entrepreneurs.
Nevertheless, if one looks at the entire analysis that we performed in this chapter, we
hope that he/she will see some usefulness in it, and that it can be used for further research. In
our case, the research that we performed delivered more results than we expecting. The
conclusions that we reached represent some important lessons of business for me, which we
hope that we will apply some day.
At the beginning of this research, we proposed to analyse the challenges faced by
young entrepreneurs when they start their new ventures. Since this subject of research may
refer to a wide category of aspects that could be studied, we decided to focus on the
promotional challenges with which the young entrepreneurs have to deal.
The content of this study was structured in a way that could allow me to answer to a
series of questions formulated at the beginning of this research.
In the first chapter, our intention was to identify the general challenges faced by
entrepreneurs, promotional challenges and difficulties of the Romanian entrepreneurs. Based
on the literature review, we found out that the main challenges of entrepreneurs could be the
- Abandon their job.
- Find external funding for their business.
- Employ the right people and determining them to work as a team.
- Manage the rapid growth of the business.
- Take care of the administrative tasks of the business, such as setting rules.
Sometimes, it could be about one of these challenges, but sometimes it can be a
combination. In any way, these difficulties decrease the motivation of entrepreneurs to run
their businesses, as we ll as their effectiveness in making decisions and in working for the
development of the ventures.
In terms of the promotional challenges faced by entrepreneurs, we were able to
identify the following the following aspects:
- Selecting a market and establishing a position.
- Building a brand.
- Planning the marketing mix.
- Chosing the promotional tools.
Finally, the difficulties faced by Romanian entrepreneurs are quite similar with the
ones previously mentioned. For examples, some of the most common difficulties are the
following: the difficulty to obtain external funding; lack of financial knowledge; managing
the team; measuring and evaluating the efficiency of employees and processes; presenting a
strong and convincing business plan; sales problems; fear to fail; responsibilities involved
with having a family, and so on.
As it can be seen, there are many types of difficulties faced by entrepreneurs, and this
is due to the fact that they have to take care alone about all the aspects of the business. Even
though they might hire specialized employees, employees will not do their work very we ll
unless they are supervised, or they do not have knowledge and experience in other fields of
activity of the business.
The following step in prepaing this study was to perform our own research regarding
the promotional difficulties faced by entrepreneurs from Romania. In this sense, WE
performed several interviews.
Consequently, in the second chapter of this paper, we realized a presentation of the
research instrument used, which included the following: definition, importance for research,
advantages and disadvantages. Also, in this chapter, we detailed the way we performed the
interviews for this study, meaning that we referred to: period in which we took the
interviews, advantages and disadvantages for our research, relevance for the study, and the
presentation of the persons interviewed.
The results of the interviews we re presented in the third chapter. Since we had to
present the results of qualitative data, we used two methods to do so: the coding process, and
the processing of data in Nvivo.
In the first case, the coding process includes the following steps:
· Reading the notes written during the interviews in order to gather some first
impressions regarding the answe rs.
· Highlighting the information that is important such as words, sentences,
paragraphs, and so on.
The main ideas obtained at the end of the coding process we re used in order to extract
some of the lessons learn from these entrepreneurs.
The final thoughts that we would like to make at the end of this study consist of
several lessons that we learned from these interviews. The first thing that we learned from
them is the fact that an entrepreneur should know something about every aspect of their
business, because they are the only persons from the business who can make correlations
betwe en fact in order to take the right decisions for their ventures.
The second lesson learned from these interviews is that the entrepreneurs prefer to
invest in their own knowledge when it comes to different aspects of their businesses. We
noticed this thing while asking the interviewees to share with me the criteria based on which
they chose the most appropriate promotional tools. The answer of most of the interviewees
was that they prefer to try different promotional tools and see which one works better for their
businesses. Anyhow, they did not show any interest in asking for specialized help from a
marketing agency or something similar, because they do not have enough funding in this
sense, and they want to see by themselves what works best for them.
The final lesson that we learned from these persons is that, no matter how many
difficulties they faced during their entrepreneurial path, they continued to develop their
business, to learn more, and to plan the new activities they want to perform in the future.
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Questions of the interview
1. What kind of attitude do you adopt when promoting your business?
You assume risks.
You are a person open to opportunities.
You wish to have control.
You lack confidence in yourself.
2. Which of the following aspects represented a greater difficulty from the perspective
of promotion: knowledge, financial resources, time?
3. What promotional tools do you use? Which one requires a higher investment and
which one brings the most benefits?
4. When you performed promotional activities, did you invest in your own knowledge
or you used the services of a specialized firm?
5. How do you decide over the promotional activities of your business: changing
experience with other entrepreneurs, reading books, following the example of successful
entrepreneurs, using your creativity, etc?
6. How much time do you grant for promotion?
7. How do you manage to find an equilibrium betwe en all the aspects of the business:
quality management, obtaining external financing, the relationship with employees? (time
8. On a scale from 1 to 5 how pleased are you with the promotion of your business up
to this moment?
9. What promotional activities would you like to do in the future?
50 of 50 pages
- Quote paper
- Simona Vasilache (Author)Johana Maria Rînciog (Author), 2016, Challenges of young Romanian entrepreneurs with promoting their start-ups, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/336880
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