7 points to spot gaps in a market

A Cornwall surfer came up with an idea to make a surf helmet, which he initially used himself. He began to look for gaps in the market and realised that he should approach the Royal National Lifeboat Institute. He eventually ended up making 10 different versions of helmets for the Sea Rescue Institute with add-ons such as cameras, tortures and communication equipment. The entrepreneur has also designed and developed a helmet for watercraft racing. Continue reading “7 points to spot gaps in a market”

Are your business skills, knowledge and understanding of the opportunities of technology past their sell-by date?

The other day my son sent me a link to an article from a UK publication pointing out how a woman just over 20 had acquired a £1 million home. She had achieved such rapid wealth through her prowess on the Internet and video sphere. If you don’t know about vlogs – video blogs – you wouldn’t have a clue how she did it. Would you know how she developed her business model?

It’s not only in the Internet marketing world where things are rapidly changing. I see people struggling with new technology, not understanding what the hang it’s about. Some small start-up business models are woefully out of date. New products are launched using old models that are doomed for failure while the start-up founder could have got up to date with lean thinking and know how to test market on a small scale before coughing up vast sums and depleting valuable financial resources on product development and marketing.

How do you stay up-to-date?

I think it all starts with having a blank slate. Why do I encourage blank-slate thinking? The reason is because we carry baggage with us. We have certain beliefs that we leave unchallenged. By putting your beliefs and attitudes to one side you can look with an open mind. Another thing is to become curious – instead of just marvelling at what others are doing you need to ask yourself: how did they do that? The answer will send you on an exploration journey and increase your learning.

You might want to also talk to younger entrepreneurs. Find out what the challenges are and how they are overcoming them. What are they doing different in today’s marketplace? How are they handling issues such as low-cost, no-cost marketing? What business models are they using? I heard the other day from an entrepreneur and business adviser about nine different subscription models for gaining additional revenue.

Another thing is to broaden your information sources. Thanks to the Internet this is much more possible and costs less than a few years ago. The Internet, despite some criticising it for its inaccuracy and bias, it provides much up-to-date information. Subscribe to newsletters, email lists, expert business advisers, pod , Twitter feeds and other social media.

Yes, look the newspapers but remember that over the past decade or so newspapers have become mainly vehicles for advertisers.

Much of the information that you get from them comes from press releases tarted up by journalists who do not investigate the facts.

They also don’t put the news into context so that you know what you are reading is important or not.

Even so-called business newspapers have deteriorated, becoming thin and filled with opinions and space that is clearly earmarked and allocated to advertisers and their press agents.

If you want to learn more about how to exploit information sources in the vast ocean of information that now exists on the Internet and use it to come up with a new business idea or two to improve your small business, then subscribe and find out more.

The number 1 way to find new business ideas

On Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn, Pretoria, visiting a seafood restaurant that provides wonderful service and food to customers — dare I say far better than similar coastal establishments.

Don’t just come up with an idea that you think is a promising business opportunity; look for a problem that needs solving and set to work solving it

It is easier to look for a solution to a problem for a source of a new business idea than it is to set wracking your brain and forcing artificial ideas. You are likely to be more successful with your start-up if the idea is based in a rock-solid problem that someone or yourself is experiencing.

Let me demonstrate this to you. Continue reading “The number 1 way to find new business ideas”

How many business formats do you know that remain a sure thing like snoek kop sop?

Long  past the glory days of  100-a-man snoek in False Bay.  Copyright 2016 Chesney Bradshaw
Long past the glory days of 100-a-man snoek in False Bay. Copyright 2016 Chesney Bradshaw

We drove out during the festive season to Millers Point to buy fresh Snoek from the professional ski boat fishermen at the Rumbly Bay slipway.

The Snoek was in very good condition and was a large one with a humongous head. I couldn’t throw the head away because it had so much potential to make tasty Snoek head soup. This delicacy was a staple in our household growing up. Continue reading “How many business formats do you know that remain a sure thing like snoek kop sop?”

How to survive as a small business when your own currency is weak and volatile

IMG-20150616-00599If you told someone 20 years ago what you saw coming, they would probably have thought you were arrogant or crazy. But now we are here in volatile times with a currency that is being beaten slowly to death. People somehow forget that a country’s exchange rate is one of the most important indicators of its economic health.

Have you ever been to one of those bar parties where someone has a tab running. The party goes on. The drinking continues like there is no tomorrow. After midnight the revellers in a drunken stupor leave, escaping any contribution to what they’ve readily drunk. If you are still there at the end of the evening you will see someone there making hasty phone calls or haggling after midnight desperate for someone else to pick up the tab. Continue reading “How to survive as a small business when your own currency is weak and volatile”

Is there an opportunity in your domain expertise?

Street Art, Buenos Aires
Street Art, Buenos Aires (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A young graffiti artist spent a lot of time after he matriculated skateboarding and doing graffiti after hours in the dark. This was his passion and he enjoyed it thoroughly. It wasn’t too long before he went to America and learnt from some top graffiti artists there but also learnt about specialised spray-painting methods. He’s come back and now is running his small business doing a new kind of graphic design that sets himself apart from all the graphic designers that are churned out from high-charging colleges.

A young woman, a successful model, in Srilanka started selling personal care products and later garments from a factory because her father had encouraged her to become a business person. One day while she was selling garments from the back of her blue station wagon she came up with an idea to come up with her garment range. Several years later her fashion house is one of the top such companies in Srilanka and is listed on the stock exchange. Continue reading “Is there an opportunity in your domain expertise?”

Picking the eyes out of a failed business

English: Ringwood : Royal Mail Postbox One box...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One publisher was so fed up with the collapse last year of the Post Office services that he has vowed never to use them again. For his subscribers he set up a door-to-door delivery service and deliveries via POSTNET.

The complete breakdown of the postal service showed how quickly a going concern can die because of poor management. It’s ironic that the executive managers were patting themselves on their backs over and over about how “sustainable” the business was when they completely lacked a plan to deal with changing circumstances. Continue reading “Picking the eyes out of a failed business”

Does your new business idea solve a real customer problem?

English: Vasis Restaurant A somewhat pretentio...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The other evening we went to a local restaurant and were shocked when we saw that the prices of all meals had been jacked up. It was disappointing because this restaurant for a number of years has been known for its reasonably good food and reasonable prices.

It’s unlikely that we’ll be going back to that local restaurant mainly because of affordability. Yes, it might be possible to go there for special occasions such as birthdays but now it’s not even worthwhile even patronising this restaurant in a blue moon. Continue reading “Does your new business idea solve a real customer problem?”

Are you ready to run a country business?

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

I saw an article on country business the other day from a writer I have admired for many years. In fact, ever since I was a cadet reporter. Chris Marais has made the country his life and is a brilliant storyteller.

He wrote how farmers and small country businesses in the Karoo have taken to the Internet and how the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope project outside Carnarvon in the Northern Cape will help improve bandwidth in the Karoos. It’s interesting too that farmers are starting second or sideline businesses online. Continue reading “Are you ready to run a country business?”

Find opportunities in the “shadows of the leaves”

Cover of "Journey to Ixtlan: The Lessons ...
Cover via Amazon

In Journey to Ixtlan Don Matus tells Carlos Castaneda, after running at night high up in the mountains, to focus on the shadows of the leaves on one single branch and then eventually work his way to the whole tree and not let his eyes go back to the leaves.

Don Matus says Carlos must learn “to not do what I know how to do”.

Where do you look for opportunities?

Where others have looked… but let’s face it, that doesn’t always work out as intended.

In these uncertain and hard times what worked a year ago won’t necessarily work now. Look at what’s happening to small business in your local shopping centres. A pet food shop opens up for six months and then shuts down. The old space is occupied by a new tenant, and enthusiastic “entrepreneur” who has started a pool care centre. It’s happening all the time. A gift shop shuts down after a year of trading and is replaced by a woman’s clothing store. Continue reading “Find opportunities in the “shadows of the leaves””