Assessing the viability of any sort of entrepreneurship can be tricky because there are a large number of factors at work within it. More importantly, the people within any new startup business tend to be inexperienced and might not know the ins and outs of running their own business effectively. For these reasons, it is necessary to examine one particular entrepreneur business, Lark International Entertainment, and utilize a number of methodologies and business terms to determine its feasibility as a business.
The first aspect of the business to be examined is the owner and employees themselves: essentially, the most important aspect of the business. Unlike many new businesses owners, James Kralik and Ting Hung Sat, the owners of the Chinese company, already owned a number of other multiplexes, giving them substantial know-how in running a business. However, a problem emerged from one of Kralik's partners, Hamilton Tang, as Kralik discovered discounted tickets being sold, presumably by Tang, when the business model of the company specifically mentions charging premium prices for what is essentially a premium service. This brings into question the issue of an entrepreneur/management team that is not synergized with one another. It is important that they have relevant interests, risk tolerance, and communicate regularly in order to synchronize with one another properly. The previous example is not uncommon and occurs frequently when the members of a business do not agree on certain aspects of it.
Perhaps the most important aspect of this business is the fact that it is being run both within China and outside of it, making it an international business; a dirty word for many business owners, who struggle enough with domestic business alone. To survive in the world of international business ownership, these business owners must adhere to the value chain. To do that, each individual must adhere to a particular part of the value chain. For example, the two executive directors of the business, Kralik, and Sat are responsible for the general infrastructure of the firm, which helps to give them a measure of flexibility in how they do their jobs. The general manager of Dimension 8, which contains family amusement services and game centers, is just one of a number of operations managers within the company, and Audry Ai, one of the vice presidents within the company, is involved in a great deal of human resource management, as are the rest of the vice presidents, who directly oversee the other branches of the company, such as Media Asia and CityLine. Using the value chain, these segregated roles help to give each member of the company their own responsibilities while still allowing for a degree of autonomy so that each member may correct mistakes that they perceive, patching any holes in the proverbial ship. Another important aspect of doing business internationally is that there are a great number of differences between the native home of the business (Hong Kong) and the areas to which they are expanding such as Shanghai, which were still areas within Asia. Since Lark is predominantly a movie-producing and providing company, the international environment provided a great deal of hardship in the form of cultural differences, economic development, and, most importantly, the technological environment of these other nations.
This also brings up another important component of operating internationally: risks, and the pros and cons of those risks. These risks include things like financial risk, market risk, personal risk, and organizational risk, yet the company was able to overcome these risks. For example, Lark faced a large risk when deciding to turn a historical building into a future site for their business, which they dubbed "The Wuhan Project." Of course, the possibilities of failure for this move were immense, especially since this took place in China, where tradition and history are a crucial aspect of the culture. The pros to these risks are simple: they allow for more income potential and the general expansion of the company while also allowing for the business owners to explore new avenues, methods, and locations of doing business. This is promising because the room for rapid growth is one of the most prominent ingredients for success, especially within new businesses (Arthur and Rousseau 2001). In terms of cons, these risks represent a large investment of time and money, and failure of any sort would be detrimental to the company, even a relatively large company such as Lark. Finding the right balance between taking too many risks and not taking enough must be established, and that is exactly what Lark did.
Evidence of the difficulties within operating internationally can further be observed with a more careful examination of the Wuhan Project. The Wuhan Project, which involved a rapid expansion of the company into unfamiliar ground (Wuhan, in this case). The key to success with the Wuhan Project was simple: Lark was able to hire the exact people necessary for the job. For example, Audry Ai was selected as a primary representative for the Wuhan Project because she was a hard worker and spoke fluent Mandarin, not because of any other past accomplishments related to moviemaking or anything of the sort. The key here is to judge each potential applicant on their unique skill sets they bring to each individual scenario and use them for these specific scenarios. This is also how Ai was able to make it onto the vice presidency of the company. The company was also able to make compromises when faced with adversity, such as when the government was not welcoming of their business within their country, but Lark was able to overcome this by being reasonable and garnering local support for the expansion. These examples help to illustrate the importance of factors within a new company, such as overcoming cultural and economic obstacles, as well as selecting the right people for each specific job. In these respects, the Lark's business model itself is extremely attractive, as it has already proven to be efficient at expanding its business and income potential both domestically and internationally. One of the core tenants of international business is a focus on collective gains, rather than individual or short-term gains, and Lark seems to understand this philosophy and is integrating it into their business model perfectly, and the company is thriving because of it (Arthur and Rousseau 2001).
Arthur, M. M. B., & Rousseau, D. M. (Eds.). (2001). The boundaryless career: A new employment principle for a new organizational era. Oxford University Press.