Lessons from a Kalk Bay fisherman
When I was a schoolboy growing up in Kalk Bay, Cape Town, during the months of August and September the big Cape storms would create great swells with waves crashing against the harbour wall, churning up the water.
In those days Kalk Bay was a real fishing harbour packed with boats. Anything that could float and get a licence to be moored in the harbour would go out catching tons of fish in False Bay.
During the big Cape storms any boat that was unseaworthy would probably sink to the bottom. Sure, there weren’t many them that sank but the heavy seas would put at least one or more down inside the murky depths of the harbour.
In Johannesburg these days you can see how the heavy weather of the economic storm has ravaged retail businesses in the shopping centres and upper-income malls.
Rosebank Mall has had several casualties with retail shops shutting down.
Even in the up-market Sandton City shopping mall retail stores that thought they were safe have gone under.
In the Brightwater Commons shopping centre only more than a dozen retail shops remain out of hundreds that were there in this centre’s heyday. I hear some young entrepreneurs are trying to rescue this centre.
It’s nice drinking Kool-Aid, that powdered, flavoured drink introduced in 1927 and used by Jim Jones in 1978 to kill more than 900 of his followers by getting them to drink Kool-Aid laced with cyanide.
Before the recessionary economy many Kool-Aid drinkers never saw what was on the horizon.
Perhaps they were so caught up with the ambient temperature of the prevailing business climate back then that they couldn’t see beyond their noses.
However, those who could see the dead hand of institutionalised Yahoos killing off the economy, thought otherwise and could see the gathering storm ahead.
Two small restaurant businesses who did figure out the game opened up in the suburb where I live to take advantage of lower rentals.
One was a start-up entrepreneur who is now making big money, so much so that in a handful of years he may be able to retire anywhere in the world.
The other, an Italian national, moved her restaurant business from a filthy high-priced shopping centre to a tiny centre on a main road. She is now pulling in all her previous customers who come from afar to wine and dine on her high-priced cuisine.
Meanwhile there are all those gigantic restaurants trading in shockingly high rentals space in shopping centres with the economy growing steadily worse around them.
It’s a pitiful sight to see them shutting down.
The two small business owners, the entrepreneurs, noticed what was happening around them and took action in time.
What makes them different is that they spotted the opportunity and took the gap.
That’s the difference.
These individuals have developed their opportunity seeking mechanism which is helping them make a fistful of money no matter the state of the economy.