Teachers, this is how to identify business opportunities to invest

If you’re reading this you’re probably thinking about having a second source of income. If you have a second source then you’re thinking about a third source of income. You’ve thought alot about it. You’ve procrastinated for months, years, and even decades because you’re waiting for the right moment. There’s never right moment, it’s you to create the right moment. Today I’ll help you create that moment because if you wait then you’re going to wait forever.

If you’re reading this to the end then you’re after financial freedom.

As the novel corona virus wrecks global havoc, thinking about something else to bring in money after all these is over should be something to think about. We’ve learnt many lessons from this pandemic. The main lesson is preparedness for uncertain future.

Two weeks ago, I wrote an article discussing about why teachers need a second source of income (thanks God the article was featured in several newspapers and journals). I then promised that I will write another article on how to identify opportunities and scale them up. Here we are today.

As I crisscross the downtown of the city of Nairobi, I realize that along different streets, different products and services are sold, Luthuli Avenue is known for electronics, Kirinyaga road is known for spare parts, Cross road mostly deals deals with stationery, Ukwala road is known for FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) and Wholesales, and of course the most common River Road is mostly known for cosmetics and jewellery.

Why am I giving these examples? After writing my last article, I got hundreds of calls and thousands of messages from people asking me different questions, “Sam, where can I invest ?”, Others saying “Sam, I have debts accruing to over 500,000 where do I start from?” among other questions.

If I was to advice these Kenyans to start businesses, I would have adviced them the same way. I would have told them to do the same thing. We Kenyans have one problem, we like copying. The reason why Kirinyaga road has many shops selling automobile spare parts is because one person had a shop initially, then someone else copied then another copied and the chain never stopped.

So, Mwalimu, how do you identify the right business opportunities without looking like you’re copying from your neighbour who already has an existing venture?

Look for the gap in the market then look for the market in the gap. The gap is the problem in the economy or in your society, so as an entrepreneur it’s your duty, responsibility and obligation to solve this problem.

The work of an entrepreneur is not to sell products, it’s to solve problems.

As an entrepreneur whenever you see a problem you should see an opportunity. An opportunity for you to solve the problem then earn from solving the problem.

Good entrepreneurs see and solve problems but great entrepreneurs create and solve problems.

Teachers, you’re smart people, just like I said in my last article. We all know that human beings are very comfortable and they hate change. So as an entrepreneur you could be seeing a problem that needs to be solved in your city or town or even village but the people that will benefit from it are not seeing the need for the solution. If that’s the case then what do you do? You have to create the problem so that they can see it clearly (not many will understand this).

Before the invention of electricity if you met someone and told them that we needed electricity they would laugh at you, before we started using Compact Disc (CD) we used to have something called tape recorders/cassette tapes and before the tapes we had something called ‘santuri’, people were very comfortable with ‘cassette tapes’ but the inventors of CD were smart because they created a problem. They marketed the CD very well, they told buyers that cassette tapes used to produce hissing sound, that hissing sound is what made CD to outsell cassettes.

Don’t copy what someone is doing, solve a problem, and if you can’t see a problem then create it and solve it.

Great business ideas don’t come from brainstorming or boardroom meetings or even critical thinking, they come from solving a problem. If Steve Jobs asked other people in a boardroom meeting if it was okay to start Apple then Apple would have never been found.

As per my high school business class many years ago, we have four factors of production, land, labour, capital and entrepreneurship. Most people complain about capital. How do you complain about capital yet you have no business idea? Others have ideas but are not solving any problem in the economy. The main problem with most wannabe entrepreneurs is that they lack entrepreneurial skills.
You can’t learn how to swim yet you’re outside the swimming pool.

Just start. Start solving problems, start with fear, start with pain, start with doubts, start from scratch, start with risk, start with no rich uncles, start with risk, just start, start and never stop. Start from where you are, use what you have, do what you can.

Remember, you don’t need money to make money. You need courage to make money. I know people who earn six figures a week but they can’t start a side hustle because they are not courageous enough to start a side hustle.

Am not one of those motivational speakers who tell you ooh I started my hotel with one bag of rice, Noo!! I will tell you I started my business empire with courage. I took risks. I knew that without risks, there are no returns.

Entrepreneurship is based on three things, Entrepreneurship is a Mindset, Entrepreneurship is a Skillset, Entrepreneurship is a Philosophy. It must get to your whole being, you must have the skills by learning over time and you must believe in it.

We have two words. Business model and business plan. These words are mostly misused. Business model is a plan for succesful operation of a business, identifying the sources of revenue, the intended customer base, products, problems being solved, the solution and the details of financing. On the other hand a business plan is a document containing business goals of an already existing venture like the sales and marketing goals and how to scale up.

Business model is all about bootstrapping. Bootstrapping is starting from the ground all the way up. Starting your venture and growing it from zero.

For a successful business you should learn from the four most influential companies in the world. Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple. How did these companies get into our lives in such a way that it’s completely hard to live without at least one of them at any time? It is completely impossible to avoid or boycott them. Why does the wall street forgive them even if they commit sins again small financial markets? As they race towards becoming the first trillion dollar companies, can anyone or any government challenge them?

The key to their success is marketing, using debts wisely and wanting more. Deep inside their DNAs they have desire for more success. Facebook owns Instagram and Whatsapp. Its desire is to be the Emperor of social media empire. Apple spends millions of dollars to advertise their products.

Having debts is not sin. Apple had debts amounting to 12 figures in 2013, Microsoft has 73 billion dollar debts, Boeing, Ford, all these companies have debts. Mwalimu, why are you complaining about your debts? The question is what are you doing with your debts? To spend or to invest?

My undergraduates university professor taught me that loans are not taxable. And that is why many big companies work with loans instead of ploughing back.

Sir/Madam/Ms, it’s wrong to buy a car on loan to be ferrying you from your home which is two kilometres from your school. But its wise to take a loan and buy a taxi, which brings you 8,000 shillings everyday. What do your car bring you everyday? Instead it consumes from you. A taxi is an asset but a personal car is a liability.

Mwalimu, we need to boss up and stop being average. Corona is not the only epidemic, Average is a pandemic in this country. “Am earning Sh 77,000 (before tax), am okay, my family is okay, my kids are finishing college, I have my car in the shed, am fine”. No! Noo! You’re not okay sir! You’re not fine ma’am! Being middle class is not okay. Being in the middle is not being succesful. It’s just being average. Think of it, you’re earning Sh 77,000 every month, which surmounts to around 65,000 after tax. You have electricity bills to pay, water bills, NHIF, NSSF, loan to finance, children school fees, chama, savings, mortgage, house rent, tithe etc, I can’t even imagine. And you’re comfortable? You need another source of income.

We all know that right now is not a good time to start a business because of reduced revenues, loss of business opportunities, less money in circulation, people are withholding money, economy is in the sewer, low customer base, and shortage of raw materials. This is the time to identify problems in your area of focus, time to solve the problem is coming.

Teacher, your financial success is not dependent on the decision of Jogoo house or Statehouse or Capitol hill. Your financial freedom is based on decision you make today. Are you okay with only that 150k, 120k, 90k, 60k, 40k, 35k, that 15k, are you really comfortable with only that? Are you okay with asking for advance week in week out?

Yes, over the years you have taken thousands of students to the University, you could have taken your basketball team to East and Central Africa games, you could have helped your school climb up the ranks from being a village school and now it’s a national or extracounty school or county school, you could have uplifted your school mean score from 2.6 to 8.2, but am sorry to say all these is insignificant if you are still struggling financially.

Madam, stop suffering from Stockholm syndrome. Stockholm syndrome is a phycological condition where the slaves fall in love with their masters. That’s where most Kenyans are. So long as you’re borrowing to spend you’re not financially free. So long as you are borrowing from John to pay James you are in a financial crisis.

In this economy right now, millionaire is the new middle class. And what decides whether you’re a millionaire or not? Its the value of your assets. Which assets do you have? Your car is not a asset unless it is used on the road for transport, your house is not an asset unless you’re renting out. So what asset do you have?

When you’ll be 60 what will be the resale value of your car? What mileage would it have covered? What source of income will you have apart from NSSF?

A teacher should not retire then just wait to die!!

Teacher, you need financial plan, to get financial plan you need financial literacy. Financial literacy will give you financial freedom.

So, do you want financial freedom? Do you want real cashflow in your personal economy? Or are you okay with Stockholm Syndrome?

Choose!

Most of you teachers have been asking me to speak about public speaking. I have listened to your plea. So my next article will be on public speaking and content mastery.

By Sam Vidambu, CPA.

Sam Vidambu is a Believer|Pan African Mentor|International Conference Speaker|Life Coach|Financial Freedom Trainer|President of Student Mentorship Center|CEO Ambigen Ltd|Lecturer|Award Winner|Inspirational Speaker|Top 100 Most Influential Young Kenyan|Author|Succesful Entrepreneur| and Go Getter|
He’s The Founder of Sam Vidambu Foundation, an organisation that incubates students who have gotten D- and E in KCSE to gain soft skills to better their lives. He also supports needy students in high schools.

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