Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Has Bata Something To Offer To Today´s Entrepreneurs?

The Bata Company does not differ much today from its international competitors: neither in the shoes quality, nor in price, advertising or the way of shoes selling. Customer can hardly find the original Bata entrepreneurial spirit in the Bata shops.

Nevertheless Tomas Bata (1876-1932), the founder, still belongs to those leaders, who inspire long after his death: not just by his own life mission, but also by his management principles.

Not just thanks to the lasting economical crisis, today´s Czech entrepreneurial world struggles to find its positive role models. It also looses fair play and partnership trust in business matters. Totally in contradiction with Bata leading principles, the main current goal remains one-off maximization of profit, instead of building lasting business partnerships. Biased disadvantageous agreements, supplying non-quality products or services, pressuring price of subcontractors or of employees bellow the healthy survival level, shortage of staff & its lack of qualification, postponing the payment of invoices, re-directing and avoiding of tax payments, no interest in support of the region or of education and charity – these are just few examples, how some Czech companies today artificially try to reduce their fixed costs, just to survive the tough times. Still they lose not just the trust of their partners, but also the ability to sustain their reputation and economical health in the future.

Bata has also lived during crisis and believed that: “Fight is the essence of live. Who does not fight, can never win.” But the famous shoes king was not interested only in the short-term winning. He was a visionary – builder. He believed that: “Good business is only when all are satisfied with the results. Good entrepreneur produces for customers, takes care about his staff and serves well the society.” Maybe that’s why Bata managed to use crisis as an opportunity for his Company growth.

His story forces us to reflection. It shows that entrepreneurial ethics, giving priority to customer needs, taking care about employees and the effort to do something good for the society may not be just empty claims. They can represent the magic key to unlock the competitive advantage. They can help to lead the company from the spiral of decline back to growth and to assure it lasting place under the sun.


A lot of Bata´s inspiring ideas were presented at the Forum of Inspiration in Zlin, September 13th-14th.This conference was organized by Jaroslav Rasa, the founder of ABRA Software Company.

My contribution to the Forum of Inspiration attendees regarding people motivation is here available for download: MOTIVATION OF THE FRONT LINE by JANA BUDIKOVA . 

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