Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Encompass Software: Getting Started, the First Months and Fueling Growth Instructor's Notes

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Encompass Software: Getting Started, the First Months and Fueling Growth Instructor's Notes

Article excerpt

SUGGESTED TEACHING APPROACH

This case is written as a three-part discussion/assignment, with each section focusing on differing yet relevant priorities for an entrepreneur in an early stage technology venture. The case covers a myriad of key issues in Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Leadership. Thus, the instructor can exercise considerable discretion in terms of emphasizing areas of particular interest. However, the instructor notes identify those highly relevant topics based upon the facts of the case and the opinions of the authors. The case can be used in a variety of undergraduate courses: Introduction to Entrepreneurship, New Venture Creation and Entrepreneurial Marketing. Throughout these notes, we provide references to serve as possible reading supplements that will help students prepare for class discussion.

Case Goals And Learning Objectives

By researching the issues presented in this case, students will:

1. Learn to apply critical thinking skills to solving issues that arise in an entrepreneurial context, particularly relating to the early days and months of start up.

2. Appreciate where ideas for a new endeavor may come from and identify the different forms of entrepreneurial ventures.

3. Develop an understanding of the legal and paperwork "mechanics" required to launch a business venture.

4. Understand the need to manage investor roles and expectations and to assemble the most effective advisors/board members for the company.

5. Understand the importance of hiring the appropriate resources, be they employees or contract/outsourced help, to complement the skills and expertise of the entrepreneur.

6. Understand the importance of entrepreneurial leadership in a start up context and the need for establishing corporate culture and vision.

7. Learn the significance of establishing and implementing effective marketing strategies for an early stage enterprise.

Assignment/Discussion Questions

The questions are the same for all parts of the case.

As CEO of Encompass Software, consider and answer the following questions:

1. Review the facts of the case and identify the primary issue(s).

2. For each issue, list, research, and describe the alternative courses of action that may be taken, and determine the likely consequences of each proposed action for you as the CEO.

3. Based on the above, what are your priorities and what are the specifics as regards to how you will move forward?

PART 1: GETTING STARTED

Part 1 addresses some of the immediate issues faced by entrepreneurs when launching a new venture, including financing and organizational considerations. The case also addresses aspects of creativity in entrepreneurship and instructors may introduce this discussion by asking the question "where do ideas for new ventures come from?" Several readings that explore innovation and creativity in organizations may be suggested for student review as appropriate including Johnson (2010), Mauzy et al. (2003) and Blank (2013). In this case, the protagonist identified the potential for improving patient scheduling in a healthcare setting as an employee. However, her employer was hesitant to develop the initial prototype further. This led to the genesis of Encompass. The instructor may wish to discuss the nature of entrepreneurial opportunities with the class. That is, opportunities can be recognized, discovered or created. Students may also be asked to identify the characteristics of a good opportunity and think about Encompass product offering relative to these:

1. It should create significant value for customers by solving a considerable problem or filling a large unmet need for which the customer is willing to pay a premium price.

2. It should offer significant profit potential to the entrepreneur and his or her investors--enough to meet their risk/reward expectations. …

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