If you’re reading this you’re probably thinking about having a second source of income. If you have a second source then you’re thinking about a third source of income. You’ve thought alot about it. You’ve procrastinated for months, years, and even decades because you’re waiting for the right moment. There’s never right moment, it’s you to create the right moment. Today I’ll help you create that moment because if you wait then you’re going to wait forever.
If you’re reading this to the end then you’re after financial freedom.
As the novel corona virus wrecks global havoc, thinking about something else to bring in money after all these is over should be something to think about. We’ve learnt many lessons from this pandemic. The main lesson is preparedness for uncertain future.
Two weeks ago, I wrote an article discussing about why teachers need a second source of income (thanks God the article was featured in several newspapers and journals). I then promised that I will write another article on how to identify opportunities and scale them up. Here we are today.
As I crisscross the downtown of the city of Nairobi, I realize that along different streets, different products and services are sold, Luthuli Avenue is known for electronics, Kirinyaga road is known for spare parts, Cross road mostly deals deals with stationery, Ukwala road is known for FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) and Wholesales, and of course the most common River Road is mostly known for cosmetics and jewellery.
Why am I giving these examples? After writing my last article, I got hundreds of calls and thousands of messages from people asking me different questions, “Sam, where can I invest ?”, Others saying “Sam, I have debts accruing to over 500,000 where do I start from?” among other questions.
If I was to advice these Kenyans to start businesses, I would have adviced them the same way. I would have told them to do the same thing. We Kenyans have one problem, we like copying. The reason why Kirinyaga road has many shops selling automobile spare parts is because one person had a shop initially, then someone else copied then another copied and the chain never stopped.
So, Mwalimu, how do you identify the right business opportunities without looking like you’re copying from your neighbour who already has an existing venture?
Look for the gap in the market then look for the market in the gap. The gap is the problem in the economy or in your society, so as an entrepreneur it’s your duty, responsibility and obligation to solve this problem.
The work of an entrepreneur is not to sell products, it’s to solve problems.
As an entrepreneur whenever you see a problem you should see an opportunity. An opportunity for you to solve the problem then earn from solving the problem.
Good entrepreneurs see and solve problems but great entrepreneurs create and solve problems.
Teachers, you’re smart people, just like I said in my last article. We all know that human beings are very comfortable and they hate change. So as an entrepreneur you could be seeing a problem that needs to be solved in your city or town or even village but the people that will benefit from it are not seeing the need for the solution. If that’s the case then what do you do? You have to create the problem so that they can see it clearly (not many will understand this).
Before the invention of electricity if you met someone and told them that we needed electricity they would laugh at you, before we started using Compact Disc (CD) we used to have something called tape recorders/cassette tapes and before the tapes we had something called ‘santuri’, people were very comfortable with ‘cassette tapes’ but the inventors of CD were smart because they created a problem. They marketed the CD very well, they told buyers that cassette tapes used to produce hissing sound, that hissing sound is what made CD to outsell cassettes.
Don’t copy what someone is doing, solve a problem, and if you can’t see a problem then create it and solve it.
Great business ideas don’t come from brainstorming or boardroom meetings or even critical thinking, they come from solving a problem. If Steve Jobs asked other people in a boardroom meeting if it was okay to start Apple then Apple would have never been found.
As per my high school business class many years ago, we have four factors of production, land, labour, capital and entrepreneurship. Most people complain about capital. How do you complain about capital yet you have no business idea? Others have ideas but are not solving any problem in the economy. The main problem with most wannabe entrepreneurs is that they lack entrepreneurial skills.
You can’t learn how to swim yet you’re outside the swimming pool.
Just start. Start solving problems, start with fear, start with pain, start with doubts, start from scratch, start with risk, start with no rich uncles, start with risk, just start, start and never stop. Start from where you are, use what you have, do what you can.
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