We are living in hard economic times. I donâ€™t mean just in Malawi, but globally. Making ends meet, even without surplus, calls for celebration these days. This is especially true for most of us who solely rely on salaried jobs as a source of income.
It is on this premise that I wish to start a discussion on how one can find the right small business given their financial and skill constraints to supplement their income.
Many people who want to start a small business have a pretty good idea of what type of business they want to own. But some only have a general idea, while others do not have any idea at all. Most of the books you can read on the subject of finding a small business will tell you that the best place to start is with matching of your skills and experiences to some business that requires those skills.
For example, if you love to cook, they will suggest you open a catering business or a restaurant. But I would suggest to you that this should not always be the case. If you have a strong interest in something that the market needs, think about how you can supply it even if it means partnering with others who have the skill and resources to supply the market need.
Ultimately, considering doing something you love is a start, but it has to be further analysed by examining the market potential, competition, resources required to enter the market, consumer/buyer demand, and uniqueness of the idea.
The best place to start in picking a small business is with consumers (including other businesses that may want your product or service). You need to do a simple research on what consumers or businesses want that is not being provided to them. Ultimately, whether you succeed will depend upon whether you are able to meet some unmet need in the market.
Hey! Watch out too. Even if you love to cook for example, you are more likely to succeed if you open an Internet cafe service, if there is demand for Internet services, but not for another restaurant in your area. It is far easier to hire someone who knows something about Internet than it is to sell consumers something that they do not want.
Of course, you do not necessarily have to sell a new or different product or service in order to succeed. You can succeed if you can improve on what is already being sold. In the above example, you should open a restaurant business if you can provide a better service than other restaurant businesses, such as a wider menu or lower prices.
But that is still a function of what consumers want. Your research would have told you that there is a demand for a new catering business if present restaurants offer high prices and a narrow menu of food items.
As most of us know, a lot of new small businesses fail each year. In most of those cases, the small business owners were probably convinced that their idea for a business was a perfect match for their skills.
They were wrong. But you can learn from their errors by avoiding the mistakes they made. In fact, there are some common mistakes that many failed small businesses make. Watch out for them in the coming weeks.
Have a blessed week-end as you think long and hard to hatch your small business idea!