Red faced monkeys enjoy living in the trees high above the Amazon jungle, searching for fruits and berries. They also come down from the tree tops to forage for insects and Brazilian nuts. Most of them shy away from other animals and especially people but one red monkey, sharper than the rest, sails down from the tree rooftops and occasionally gives out advice that may surprise you.
“Hey, Red Monkey what do you have to say for yourself today?”
“You called me down from where I was hanging in a tree so it must be important because you know I don’t like being disturbed.”
“I’ve been thinking,how do you get people to understand about how important it is to come up with ideas for new small business opportunities.”
“You called me down from my favourite place in the trees to talk about this. Haven’t you got anything better to do?”
“But you know how it is. People aren’t like you Read Monkey. They don’t enjoy the kind of freedom you have. They have to earn money in the human jungle otherwise they won’t survive and thrive.”
“Why don’t you talk about what you saw today when you were out shopping at the butcher today?”
“What you mean?”
“Tell them about those three young school girls finishing Matric and what they were doing.”
“What’s there to say?”
“If young people like that can come up with an idea to make money, why can’t adults?”
“Yes, what those young Matriculants school girls were doing all started with an idea. The three of them want to go to the coast for holiday when they finish their Matric this year and so they decided to dress up in Hawaiian beach gear, bak shortbread biscuits and were going around with a tin asking Saturday morning shoppers to donate towards their end-of-school holidays.”
“That’s what I mean. I don’t understand you humans. You make things so complicated. That’s all it takes. It all starts with an idea. But you’ve got to give something of value in exchange. Look at those young schoolgirls, they knew if they just went around empty handed they may have got a few donations but not much. So they decided to bak shortbread cookies themselves and let people on the streets decide how much they would exchange for each biscuit.”
“But these are young schoolgirls. Small business is different, isn’t it?”
“Do you really believe that? I might be a monkey but I’m not that stupid. Take that guy you know, John, How did he start his business which is doing so well now?”
“I suppose you’re right, Red Monkey. His idea was to start a new kind of restaurant where he could give customers better value than they were getting from the big chain restaurants. He started out small to test these idea and it took off.”
“Talking about food is making me hungry. I’ve got to go. I know of a tree where the berries have just started ripening and I want to scuttle off now before the other monkeys find them.”
“Well, Red Monkey, you never cease to amaze me. Go feast on your berries and come back soon because we’ve still got a lot to talk about.”
“It’s all just monkey business if you don’t do something about what you talked about today. If you want things to happen for you, you’ve got to be like those young girls and get into action, making and testing your product. It’s only monkeys like me that can monkey around. You humans have to work so you better find things that you enjoy doing.”
The “Red Monkey Tales” is a occasional light-hearted small business series which stimulates ideas and new thinking by monkeying around.
Businesses, including small businesses, make mistakes all the time. Some of these mistakes are petty and the person who makes them in the small business apologises, feels bad and the business owner moves on. Other mistakes are more serious and can lead to disastrous consequences, even closure. Just think about it for a moment, if your cash flow dries up, especially in this economy, and you can’t get funds to resuscitate your business, the mistake you made in managing your cash will have the potential to put you out of business. Continue reading “Do you celebrate mistakes in your small business or whip yourself because of them?”
Some people see other people doing business and say to themselves “I can do that”. It may work for a handful of people but to grow a business beyond a certain scale takes more than just the desire.
The consequences can be disastrous. I’m reminded of Catherine Tate, the “I can do that” woman. If you’ve seen any of her television skits, you will know that when she says “I can do that” and tries to do whatever she sees, it turns out into hilarious disaster. It’s fun to buckle over with her slapstick brand of humour and irreverence but in the real world of small business you will end up choking on your laughter. Continue reading “Can you really do this?”
Some time ago there was a flurry of interest in BlackBerry because the rumour was that Samsung would buy it out. These rumours were squashed promptly. But the whole saga tended to make one think about slow-moving zombie technologies that refuse to die.
Despite the changes in technology, older technologies such as teletype still exist although in some smaller applications such as secure electronic messaging services in Europe. Why is this? Because it’s possible to deliver messages securely to a recipient without knowing their email address or phone number. Continue reading “Can you find opportunities in zombie business ideas?”
Sara Blakely, an entrepreneur, was listed as a billionaire on a rich list. She took her product Spanx, body shaping undergarments for women, from a start-up to a multi-million-dollar company.
A fire storm of articles and TV shows dug into her background to find her secret of success. This is what the media do best – simplifying a story to one or two things that are easy to communicate. This results in giving the wrong impression to would-be entrepreneurs and start-up founders. It looks so authoritative in print or on TV but actually only sells a half-truth. Continue reading “Obsessed by success secrets but ignoring common sense”
For start-ups and entrepreneurs who want to come up with viable business ideas the first thing is to consider the marketability of your new ideas.
How do you know if your business idea will be attractive enough to get potential customers to buy? What makes one idea more marketable than another? What could you do to increase the chances that your new business idea will sell?
One of the first things to ask yourself is if your business idea solves a real problem for potential customers. So many products and services run aground because they don’t solve people’s problems easily, quickly and cost effectively. The other day I saw an app that lets you customise your own newspaper. Does this really solve a “problem” for online readers who may enjoy a range of publications. Continue reading “How marketable are your new business ideas?”
Fifty-nine years ago an American fast-food pioneer opened the first McDonald’s franchise which launched a company that would eventually become the world’s largest food chain. Ray Kroc opened the first franchised McDonald’s on 15 April 1955 in Days Plains, Illinois, in the United States.
The first McDonald’s restaurant was started in 1948 by brothers Maureece and Richard Macdonald in San Bernardino, California. Salesman Ray Kroc, who sold appliances to this small hamburger restaurant, was intrigued why they needed eight malt and shake mixers. When he visited the brothers in 1954 to see how a small fast-food restaurant could sell so many milkshakes, he discovered an efficient format that allowed the brothers to produce huge quantities of food at low prices. Continue reading “This business pioneer never put an age limit on entrepreneurship”