Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Wiljax Studio: A 10-Year Entrepreneurial Journey

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Wiljax Studio: A 10-Year Entrepreneurial Journey

Article excerpt

CASE SUMMARY

Will Jacks' 10-year journey from his start as a struggling entrepreneur to a seasoned entrepreneur at the cross roads of a career changing decision point are highlighted in this case. This case examines the evolution of an entrepreneur from his days as a journalism graduate student, to start up entrepreneur, to taking on and disentangling with partners and large commercial photography clients. Jacks' story provides insights into a wide array of entrepreneurial struggles, obstacles, defeats and victories.

Case Intended Uses: This case is designed for use in undergraduate Entrepreneurship or Small Business classes.

Learning Objectives

To examine the importance of establishing and cultivating a vision for entrepreneurs.

To identify decision making pitfalls and ways that entrepreneurs can make better decisions.

To understand the challenges of managing relationships with both partnership and customer constituents.

INSTRUCTOR'S NOTE

* This decision-based case was developed based on interviews with Will Jacks, the owner of the firm in question. Disguises have been used to mask some of the names involved.

SUGGESTED TEACHING PLAN

We suggest using this case following an effective class lecture and student reading of relevant text chapters on Entrepreneurial Vision and or Planning (Questions 1-3) and Business Formation (Questions 9-11). Additional reading from an Organizational Behavior text may be required for a better understanding of Escalation of Commitments (Questions 6-8).

The discussion questions also allow students to expand their thinking beyond the nuts and bolts of the case and make application across a broader spectrum of concepts (e.g. vision and decision-making). Senior level undergraduate students will likely have had exposure to the concept of escalation of commitments and junior level students will likely be covering the concept in an organizational behavior or principles of management course. The case also allows the students to place themselves in the place of both Will and the managers of his major client (Questions 12-14).

SUMMARY LIST OF DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

VISION QUESTIONS: 1-3

What role did establishing a vision play in Will Jacks' problems?

How might an entrepreneur go about establishing a vision for his or her business?

What steps are needed to convert a vision into a plan of action?

MANAGEMENT QUESTIONS: 4-8

What were some of Will's questionable decisions in his role of manager?

How might he have come to make better decisions in each of those instances?

Did Will have a problem with escalation of commitments? If so, explain. Could also be phrased: What decision making trap has Will fallen victim to?

What are the hallmark signals of a decision-maker engaging in escalation of commitments?

Why is escalation of commitments an especially troubling phenomenon for entrepreneurs?

PARTNERSHIP QUESTIONS: 9-11

Was Will wise to add the Scotts as partners to his firm?

Based on the information provided in the case what aspects of partnership formation did Will not adequately address / miss manage?

What are some of the challenges associated with bringing in partners to already established firms?

BALLEW FURNITURE / JEFFREY RAY QUESTIONS: 12-14

What evidence from the case suggests that Will should not have been surprised when he was terminated right before he was to start his photo shoot?

Why do you think that Ballew / Jeffrey Ray terminated Will?

Would you have trained your replacement if you were in Will's shoes--why or why not?

VISION QUESTIONS: 1-3

What role did establishing a vision play in Will Jacks' problems?

Will Jacks never fully articulated a vision to direct his decisions with regard to establishing his business. …

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