Once You Start Thinking Of Apple As A Fashion Company The MAIR Model – A Non-Linear Approach to Business Start Up

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The MAIR Model – A Non-Linear Approach to Business Start Up

As an entrepreneur and someone whose business works with entrepreneurs, I am always interested in different models of starting a business, and an article I read recently reminded me of the MAIR Model. I first encountered this when doing an MSc in Business at the University of Stirling in 1995, and have since used it extensively to train both consultants and entrepreneurs, both in my work with organisations. support as well as consulting with Eriskay Associates. Since then, it seems to have fallen in and out of fashion a bit, but I love it for its logical simplicity and the fact that it’s not linear (ie step one, step two, step 3… )

The basic idea is to explore four ‘interactive variables’: Motivation, Capability, Ideas and Resources. It is clear that each has an important role in its own right:

Motivation: I guess this is what separates thinkers and dreamers from doers and doers… Willing to really go out and work hard, often under conditions of little reward and lots of uncertainty, it seems. which is one of the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. .

Competencies: We can start a different topic on this – what are the key capabilities that make a successful entrepreneur – definitely a mix of both hard and soft skills.

Thoughts: Of course, these must be clearly translated into the market, must be valid, although, there are some businesses that seem to be driven by the market… fashion, any Apple product, the Rubik’s cube. . . .

Resources: Businesses are only viable until they have resources behind them. I guess we automatically think of money here, but skills, knowledge and relationships can make a lot of difference.

… but you also need to consider how these factors relate to each other – a good idea is of limited value without the motivation and resources to turn it into a business and this is where the last parts of the MAIR model come into play: Planning and Organization! Of course, this is the real job of the entrepreneur. Bringing all the factors together to create something that didn’t exist before, and might just change the world!

As far as I know, the academic origins of this model lie with Gibb and Ritchie (1982), but I have seen references to it going back to the 1970s, where it was apparently used at Durham University Business School. It’s appeared in many articles since then, but I’m surprised it hasn’t gotten more attention.

In comparison, think about the SWOT analysis – it provides a simple mnemonic and familiar structure for analyzing a situation. And, despite its many shortcomings (the subject of a future article!), it has gained widespread use. So, why hasn’t the MAIR model achieved the same? Incidentally, one of the other advantages is its adaptability. In a very interesting article by Pat Richardson et al (Small business growth challenges: views from women entrepreneurs in Africa, 2004), the authors integrate MAIR with the Sustainable Livelihoods model to create a growth framework for women entrepreneurs in Africa.

An important point about this model is that it provides the ingredients, but not the recipe for success. It may seem like a limitation, but my view is that there is no universal recipe for business success – it is the work of an individual entrepreneur!

I hope you find this model interesting or useful. I’m happy to hear other opinions and views on this. I know some people think that entrepreneurs are a bit like anarchists and don’t tend to follow the rules… I guess I do too!

Best wishes,

Mark Taylor

Eriskay Associates.

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