Michael Jordan’s greatest strength was ultimately his success as a basketball player. It added to the health and wealth of his business and if he was not successful, his businesses would have failed as well. Another strength that Jordan had was his competitive nature, which ultimately became his entrepreneurial spirit. An example of how competitive Jordan was, is highlighted by his “Flu Game” performance. During Game 5 of the NBA Finals Michael Jordan willed his team to a win by scoring 38
points, all while being sick with the flu and having to be helped to the bench after the game.His competitiveness to win, made him want success in his businesses to which meant he would stop at nothing to see profits. This is what led to his post facto success after basketball. Jordan did not have many weaknesses as an entrepreneur, although he did have a well publicised gambling problem, it was never something which influenced his business relationships in a negative manner. Michel Jordan was the perfect fit for this opportunity because his successful career allowed him to be a trailblazer in the industry. The new designs, physically and visually were positively accepted because one of the greatest players to play the game were endorsing them. The initial challenge that Jordan faced with his brand of shoes was the scrutiny of the designs from the league which the 51% rule at the time. Jordan was fined $5000 for every game that he wore them, but luckily for him, Nike paid all of them for him.
Jordan was an unconventional entrepreneur, because he had corporate backing for the Air Jordans, but still took many risks on behalf of the company, which eventually paid off. Jordan has applied many concepts of entrepreneurship throughout his career and has also shown entrepreneurial traits from a young age which has led to his very successful career, on and off the court. One of these include his Internal Locus of Control. Internal Locus of Control is essential for entrepreneurs because you need to have a strong belief in your own abilities to find success. Jordan has shown his belief in himself countless times which gives companies like Nike a reason to believe in his abilities and invest in him. An example of this is when Jordan once shot a game- deciding free throw, with his eyes closed, and still made the shot, because he knew the shot was good whether his eyes were open. Michael Jordan was a Simpler in the athletic shoe industry because the shoe industry was already well established, but Jordan and Nike saw a new opportunity in the market (unique design and superior quality) and capitalized in this void in the industry. Another concept of entrepreneurship seen in Michael Jordan’s career is his Post Facto success. After Jordan’s career as a basketball player he still had business ventures like the Air Jordans, his steakhouse and NBA team ownership which also brought in revenue to help him invest and grow his new potential ventures. Jordan was also able to establish Unique Value Proposition for his product, the Air Jordans. He was able to do this by continuing his success on the court, and the term “Like Mike” made customers want the product more, because they wanted to play like him and the shoes would help them to do so. Jordan also helped to establish an defensible comparative advantage by being one of the best basketball players. Since no player has replicated what he has done, consumers still want to purchase his shoes, and other companies are unable to sign an athlete who has done what Jordan has done. Jordan also introduced creative destruction in the shoe industry and the sport of basketball. The NBA once had a 51% rule, where shoes had to be 51% white with team colors, but Jordan fought this and wore different colored shoes during his games. This led to the rule being lifted and allowing for shoes to be more creative in terms of color and design. Jordan has displayed high adversity quotient throughout his career. When Jordan became the head of basketball operations, he was unsuccessful, and was later let go, but he knew it was something he wanted to do in the future, so he bought an ownership stake from the Charlotte Hornets, and later became a majority owner of the team. Another entrepreneurial aspect that Jordan established was a significant switching cost for consumers who wear the Air Jordan shoes. Users will be reluctant to switch to other brands of athletic shoes because they would sacrifice the superior quality that cannot be found anywhere else in the industry. Michael Jordan also appealed to a niche market early on in his career. Jordan wanted shoes made low to the ground because that is how he likes them, even though most shoes in the industry that were made were higher to the ground. Ultimately, Jordan and Nike were appealing to the Long Tail Theory, which states that consumer demand is moving away from mainstream products and are now
looking for niche products which are more appealing to customers. In his post basketball career was his steakhouse business. As an entrepreneur, he took his successful steakhouse and started to franchise them to key locations like New York and Chicago to create new sources of revenue.
Michael Jordan’s career as a basketball player and entrepreneur showcased the success that one can attain by having a heavy reliance and confidence in oneself can lead to a lot of success. When Jordan had a reliance on himself, it gave external parties, whether it was teammates or investors to also believe in his endeavors and help him be successful. Another concept that was important from Jordan’s entrepreneurial career was the Long Tail Theory. The industry disrupting design of the Air Jordans was responded by a clear shift in demand that consumers wanted something that looked different visually and felt different physically, and not something that mainstream producers were flooding the market with. Finally, the establishment of switching costs in any product is key for entrepreneurial sustainability and longevity in the industry. Jordan did this by taking advantage the design difference, quality, and superior performance.
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