Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality
Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality

1.2 Beyond customer transactions

In most of the relationships we have with enterprises in our daily lives we are both customer and consumer. For example, when you purchase food it is likely so you can eat it. Here, you use the term customer to refer to the relationship between your business and the people you want to engage through your offer. The word ‘customer’ does not necessarily convey the subtlety of the relationship. In part, the term does not adequately cover the changing relationships around how value is now created between organisations and their customers. Previously there was a sense that organisations developed products or services and you paid for them and this was very much a transactional relationship. In recent times though there has been a shift towards customer relationships, customer loyalty and engagement, with companies increasingly interested in hearing from and, indeed, engaging customers as advocates for their business.

It might seem obvious that customers are stakeholders who have a stake in your business (think back to Session 3). Depending on the sector you are in, you may even recognise customers as intimately involved in the value creation process (the concept of value is explored in more detail in Session 5). For example, if you are a personal trainer, then customer value encompasses their own effort as much as yours.

An image showing a personal trainer and client relationship
Figure 1Personal trainer and client relationship

As an entrepreneur, often ideas arise from being close to the product or service and the person who might use it. Indeed the source of your idea might be your experience as a disgruntled customer who has developed a new approach to an existing problem, or spotted something you think others have missed. This provides you with a level of insight, and so opportunities, that larger organisations may not have. This may provide a source of competitive advantage.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371