How do you estimate customer demand for your start-up business?

(Copyright © 2015 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)
(Copyright © 2015 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)

An independent flame-grilled chicken restaurant started up at a corner site in a suburb where a large chain closed down its outlet selling similar product. The owner of the business ran it well, gave good service and served a delicious product but closed within six months.

The problem was that the small business owner did not accurately estimate market demand in the suburb. Perhaps he should have been more cautious knowing that the large flame-grilled chicken group was exiting the retail space where he wanted to open an outlet. It seems that the small business owner pinned his hopes on attracting enough customers to his business to make it viable. Hope is not a strategy. The larger chain group new something about customer demand in the area that the ever-hopeful small business owner did not know. Continue reading “How do you estimate customer demand for your start-up business?”

How do you cope with uncertainty in coming up with a new product or service?

The Uncertainty Principle (The Spectacular Spi...
The Uncertainty Principle (The Spectacular Spider-Man) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An existing business owner needs to handle uncertainty: cash flow, keeping essential staff skills, supply cost increases and even power cuts to name just a few. For the start-up founder or someone starting something from scratch the level of uncertainty can be much higher. How do you as a start up business person handle high levels of uncertainty? Continue reading “How do you cope with uncertainty in coming up with a new product or service?”

A small business owner reveals her survival strategy in this economy

Fried mixed vegetable with tofu, mushroom and ...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After running her Thai restaurant in Johannesburg for the past seven years, a Filipino restaurant co-owner has decided to close down the restaurant. The main reason, and we are seeing it a lot these days, is that at the end of her lease the landlord has informed that it will increase.

But there is another reason. After working seven years in a partnership owned Thai restaurant and another seven years in a restaurant with her husband, the co-owner says she has seen time fly by. Her daughter is already in Grade 8 and she has lost many years not spending enough time with her. Continue reading “A small business owner reveals her survival strategy in this economy”

A lesson from the Bard on marketability

Copyright © 2014 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved
Copyright © 2014 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved

This year many recently celebrated the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare. William Shakespeare was born on 23 April 1564 and died on 23 April 1616.

Shakespeare whose by-name was the Bard of Avon was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. The Bard was an English poet, dramatist and actor considered to be the greatest dramatist of all time. Shakespeare was astonishingly clever with words, images and imaginatively stimulating dialogue. His works were not bookish but involved dramatising the actions and behaviour of human beings whether it be king or nave. Continue reading “A lesson from the Bard on marketability”

Finding business ideas for special needs children

Hartford Hospital Mental Illness Campaign
Hartford Hospital Mental Illness Campaign (Photo credit: adwriter)

It’s hard enough for any would-be start-up business owner or entrepreneur to find new business ideas in any economy but have you ever considered how hard it is to come up with business ideas for special needs children?

I know of two young men who despite their mental disabilities have come up with an idea for a small service business of their own. The business began work from very humble beginnings but slowly they have painstakingly and with much determination and ingenuity come up with a computer repair and servicing business. One of the biggest challenges is to find customers who will take them seriously and let them do the work. With no money to advertise their service, they rely on word-of-mouth advertising and making business connections in their small personal networks. Continue reading “Finding business ideas for special needs children”

How to choose your best idea

Startup ideas
Startup ideas (Photo credit: ivanpw)

Is your new business idea good enough to succeed? No matter how deeply you’ve fallen in love with your brilliant business idea, you’ve got to see if it can jump through some common-sense hoops.

Ignore this evaluation and assessment step at your peril.

A business opportunity from your idea for a product or service should have the potential to at least double your present income within two to three years. Continue reading “How to choose your best idea”

You’ve got ideas. What to do with them?

ideas
ideas (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Not all ideas are equal. You’ve come up with an idea that you think is brilliant. You may have several ideas bubbling in your head or staring at you in your notebook. You might have used idea-generation tools and solo brainstormed perhaps 100 ideas.

To make eventual money from your new business ideas for products and services you need to have some process to select the best ones and experiment with them. Continue reading “You’ve got ideas. What to do with them?”

What’s the weakest link in your business?

English: TVCC Hotel Site Fire
Detect smoke early before you have a blazing fire on your hands. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The vulnerable spot, almost imperceptible at first, exposes a business to great risk.

A service business, 25 years old, one of the top such businesses in the country, employed an accountant who chiselled a large sum of money from the business. Strike one. The business accepted a large government agency contract, did all the print work, paid the supplier but the agency was never formed. The service business couldn’t recover their money. Strike two. Game over. Continue reading “What’s the weakest link in your business?”

Four things you absolutely must know when buying online

Who can you trust when buying products or services online?

Sorry to sound cynical but there’s a reason:

As a buyer or consumer these days even off-line you have to be ultra careful. For example, take your credit card or ATM card. You have to watch out that no one sees your three-digit number at the back of your credit card or your pin code. In the wrong hands, you can lose a lot of money. So many people get caught. Continue reading “Four things you absolutely must know when buying online”

One sure way to beat this fire walk

Aren’t you just tired with people who make statements about small businesses but are far removed from the trenches of real business?

Politicians make yada yada in the media about supporting small business.

Academics chirp in on how jobs should be created by small business.

Conferences and summits with hefty admission fees are held on the state of small business where there’s much dreary theory but little hands-on practical advice. Continue reading “One sure way to beat this fire walk”