We continually receive inquiries from people who want to start a business, sometimes they have some capital and don’t really know what to do.
Beyond the fact that it is essential to evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses since, let’s be honest, we cannot always carry out everything we set out to do, we have to evaluate what the market wants to buy .
Yes, strange as it may seem, we have to get “on the other side of the counter” and analyze the demand that our venture may have.
We may be fascinated with the idea of making hats, but if children began to be born without heads…
In addition, beyond the current demand, we have to try to perceive global trends and compare them with the local reality.
Sometimes, instead of thinking and designing the business, we tend to copy the ones that are successful. But that success evaporates quickly due to the entry of many competitors in a very small market, let’s not remember but the cookie businesses, the ice skating rinks, the tennis courts, the paddle tennis courts, the soccer fields, the remises, dot com companies etc etc.
With that attitude, it is very likely that we will “get out” momentarily but we will have to be constantly starting, which is exhausting. Unless of course we are considering some kind of peddling.
To Look For Business Opportunities It Is Necessary To Explore Trends:
– The population is aging: which opens up many possibilities, not only in caring for the elderly, but also, for example, in their recreation.
– The female population turns more and more to the labor market: there is an infinite number of tasks that all housewives used to do and that increasingly constitute job opportunities for third parties, care of small children, outsourcing of administrative services (either in person or online, especially analyzing this last alternative), meals, cleaning, etc. Just by making a list of the immense amount of housework that nobody considered work before, we will have a clear awareness of the economic value of everything we did and nobody recognized (starting with us) and the opportunity it means.
– Isolation, security, home-based businesses, communications, logistics (someone has to deliver what is sold online, right?), teleworking.
– Tourism and derivatives: Let’s see the case of a city like Buenos Aires that began to live off tourism. Did people become clearly aware of this? Who trains the number of store employees who have never been distinguished by good service to local customers, let alone foreigners?
Manners, sales techniques, knowledge of English and Portuguese. The case of the Portuguese is almost embarrassing, we are partners with Brazil and the local merchants, in the best of cases, mumble a horrible portuñol.
Bed and breakfast, there are almost no such services. Interesting zonal tourist guides, just beginning to appear, but always incomplete; here is an excellent opportunity for a group of architects, designers, historians, tour operators, who are encouraged to “polish rough edges” and work together.
– Tango, tango, tango: I know that this is an example that is only valid in Argentina but, ok, how many people realized that tango has a lot to do with it?
The Chilean Fernando Flores (Entrepreneur Club) said, when he was there in July, that the tango business had a turnover of 200 million a year, frankly I have not verified the figure, but it is a very interesting market niche.
In this regard, I recommend rereading: « The challenge of creating futures ».
– Rarity: everything local (crafts, jams, Argentine meats raised on pasture, natural products). To be global (a real necessity) you have to start by being local.
Nobody wants to buy cheap imitations, let alone a sophisticated international audience (I’m targeting that audience because, in the case of Argentina, it doesn’t seem to be a candidate for large productions).
Remember the magical realism boom? It is the great contribution of Latin American literature to the world, it is what they did not have, hence the boom, the local is what is going global. For that you have to use quality and design.
Those who know that I live (or at least try to) from my graphic design studio will think that I defend my business, but I never tire of repeating to my clients that people want to see things well presented, the public is increasingly sophisticated, so to sell things you have to tell “stories”, a craft, for example, cannot fail to have a suitable packaging and label that tells its origin (its “rarity” for the other), stimulate the imagination of the other to acquire something different and motivates you to put your hand in your pocket…
It is useless to have excellent natural products , if we then sell them in bulk and the other packs it, “tells the story” and keeps the difference, í.
In recent times I have dedicated myself to snooping around the world of wine a bit (mmm, more than snooping to try). Reading about the visit that the Master of Wine Jancis Robinson made to the Mendoza wineries, I rescue the following recommendations:
1. That we stop insisting on chardonnay and cabernet, of which there is excellent production in the world, and that we insist on local strains that have been of excellent quality: Malbec, Torrontés and Friulan Tocai.
2. That we stop imitating French or Californian packaging and labels and develop names and designs of our acerbo.
Clearly the message is, stick with your ‘weirdness’, that’s what we want to buy!
– Anything that is caring for the environment , which is partly related to the previous point.
– Software: why does Argentina export less software than Uruguay, a much smaller country? Why are there so many women in this industry and so few (I know of only one) running their own companies? This is an ideal field for entrepreneurship, because basically the great contribution of capital is intellectual.
– Of course, biotechnology
– Non-traditional crops. There is a marriage that produces flowers to eat.
There are thousands of more or less profitable activities, but you have to stop copying what everyone does.
– Professional sales networks: if women are so good at human relations, why not set up marketing companies supported by contact networks, empowered by new technologies and professionalized with the systematic use of modern sales techniques? I believe that people dedicated to direct sales, mostly women, do not come to see themselves as true entrepreneurs and owners of their business.
We are always asked what are the best marketing strategies to offer products and services. I think a good start is to try to find out as detailed as possible what our target wants and give it to them. It is also important to be attentive and to be able to visualize what our target does not say they want today (they don’t know, that’s why it’s a trend) but suddenly they will want tomorrow.
It’s actually much more profitable to sell , so to speak, more products and services to current customers than to go out and get new ones . It’s not that it’s bad to get new clients, by no means, but many times, we waste the ones we already have and with whom we have mutual knowledge and dealings.
For this it is essential to “enter the world” and computerize ourselves. When you start using databases or spreadsheets to run your business (accounting, customer list, etc.), you don’t need to be a genius to start perceiving patterns, trends and, above all, detecting those who leave us some profit.
Because I think we all have those clients that demand a lot of our time and, sometimes, we are delighted with how busy they keep us, and when we do the numbers we want to die!!! To expand the concept see note: The triumph of the pragmatic revolution .
Another common question is what is most important when planning a new venture (that the idea be original, the target…)
I think one of the main points is the verification of ideas . The ideas in general can be very nice but the key question is: is it a business? Am I going to be able to live on this? Can I sustain it over time or, in other words, is it bread for today and hunger for tomorrow? Remember note: So you have an idea?
Creativity is very important, but it has to be considered in a very broad sense . For example, if we look a little at the statistics (INDEC’s, nothing very sophisticated) we will see that in the last 30 years the Argentine middle class (target of most local enterprises) went from being 75% of the population to 45%. %, and it did not migrate, precisely, to the top.
Although it is true that a segment of the population increased their income considerably, that segment is very small, so a good question would be: do I have the resources and services to reach it? Is it a target for my venture?
We also have to be realistic and understand that businesses are constantly evolving; if the idea is only novel, we are going wrong, since technology, in some way, has “democratized” the opportunities, therefore, copying is copied faster and faster.
Questions like: does the business have barriers to entry? What advantages can we keep? How long will we have until a competitor appears? They are essential.
To finish: I believe in learning which, as Fredy Kofman says, is the opposite of madness, which “is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.”