Most people don’t like change. Fortunately, there’s nothing we can do about it. Change is a constant player in human life. While we may hate, fight and try to avoid it, change will always happen and only smart entrepreneurs who have learnt to be friends with change and are ready to exploit it, are always handsomely rewarded. Especially in rapidly growing economies like Africa, the tastes and needs of the market are constantly changing. Entrepreneurs must learn to watch out for trends and changes in their environments that could lead to new business ideas.
The nature of the trend, good or bad, is not very relevant. There’s always an opportunity to make money during both good and bad times. When people are excited, they buy. When they’re afraid, they buy. When we panic, we buy.
African Case Studies
During the recent outbreak of the Corona Virus pandemic, a palpable panic gripped a lot of counties in the world including Kenya.
As the authorities encouraged people to limit personal contact, improve hygiene and wash their hands frequently, the demand for sanitizing gels went through the roof, and most shops ran out of stock.
An acquaintance of mine, a Kenyan pharmacist by training, did well to exploit this gap in the market. With his knowledge of chemicals, he was able to make a local, but equally effective, brand of hand sanitisers. As expected, he couldn’t make them fast enough, as his supplies disappeared into the ultra high market demand.
Recyclable paper bags – When the Kenyan government put a ban on the use of plastic bags in order to reduce its negative environmental impact, a friend of mine knew that due to this change, businesses especially in the retail sector would need a new and recyclable type of packaging.
That’s the idea that led him to start his first paper bag production company. Starting with only Ksh.20,000 capital, his business produces over 15,000 paper bags every week for its clients. His long list of clients includes restaurants, retail stores, supermarkets, medical centers, as well as multinational companies like Samsung.
Good and bad trends either lead to opportunities to be exploited or problems that must be solved. Whichever way it swings, the smart entrepreneur always wins!
The key is to be on the lookout for changes, and fight the human impulse to fear them. Instead, ask yourself who will be affected by this new trend/change? and what products or services will they need to adapt to the trend/change?
As an entrepreneur, you need to react to changes differently. Changes and trends usually lead to a reaction in the market and an upsurge in demand for certain products and services.
Change is your friend. Embrace it.
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