It is quite straightforward really; customers buy for one of two reasons. Either a product makes them feel good or it helps them avoid feeling bad.

Business opportunities and ideas

The truth is, you could read every book ever written on how to start a business, but until you start one yourself, you will never know what is like. You can only learn about business by being in business.

Business is just common sense. If you can buy bananas for 100 shillings and sell them for 200 shillings, you have made a profit. If you can grasp that, then you have got the makings of an entrepreneur.

Starting a business is the best option for people who don’t want to find themselves in jobs where they spend most of their day watching the clock in return for a modest pay. Becoming and entrepreneur is, I believe, means an end to low pay and low esteem. It might also make you very rich. Working for yourself is the most enjoyable and lucrative option if you want a meaningful career. It not only provides you with skills and talents but also give you an opportunity to grow and prosper by enjoying the freedom which running your own business offers you. According to me” a man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between he does what he wants to do”

Business opportunities are all around us, perhaps you have invented something, and maybe you have discovered a gap in the market. Perhaps someone has come up with a business and you think you can make it better. Find an idea that has worked in the other town or city or in another country and transfer it at home. If someone complains today how a certain product (or lack of it) or service offered by existing firms is poor, think how you can take advantage of it and make good business out of it. Always be on the lookout and keep asking yourself “what if?”

There are thousands upon thousands of ideas out there waiting to be turned into business and once you start looking for opportunities, they are not hard to find. Wherever there is problem, there might be a solution you can into a business. Look around for signs of discontent in the newspapers, in the queue at the bank or post office, eating in restaurant, wherever there is dissatisfaction you will find an opportunities.

Ask yourself what you can improve on. If you a business doing exceptionally well or exceptionally badly, ask yourself why? Applying a little common sense to the businesses that are around us can reveal all sorts of opportunities. For instance no one likes queuing, wherever you see a queue, you see a line of costumers who might easily be persuaded to shop somewhere else. Always be on the lookout of “what is missing?” whether it is a restaurant or a shop or an office offering various goods and services, there is always an opportunity to improve on it and introduce something new and better.

When you walk around, look at each and every single business- the big chains, the little operations, the tiny businesses. Ask yourself why they opened where they did? If they could be any busier? If they are offering the best service and the best price? Make a note of any business you think might be fun to work in. Think about who is missing business, who is turning away customers away without really thinking about it.

It is common to hear some people say,”I had a golden opportunity but I missed it.” According to Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin group, “opportunities are like buses, you miss one, there is always another one coming.”

Coming up with ideas is the easy bit. Whoever said success is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration was right. Ideas are just ideas- execution is everything. There are thousands of great ideas which are wasted as a result of not doing anything about it.

An idea that is only in our head is of no use to anyone. An idea with no link to reality has no worth, no value. Only when you test your concept against what is happening in the real world, can you evaluate and turn it into a business. It is no good having an idea that is out-dated or one which is “ahead of its time.” if it is so far advanced then you can’t make money from it.

The bottom line is how to make money from your idea. The test your idea if its viable either by selling the product. Selling is the only sure way to test an idea, by selling you are asking for monetary commitment. To get the right product at the right price and at the right time for costumers to want to buy it the key to success in business. You won’t know that until you understand the market- the costumers, the competitors, the suppliers, the trends and the size of the opportunity.

The next phase is gaining more information and understanding. As you do so, you will gradually turn your vague idea into a clear vision of what you will offer to your costumers.

Ideas do not turn themselves into business. It is putting in the effort to turn an idea, a notion,or a thought into a commercial reality.

Always put your idea into writing, otherwise it is easy to forget. Someone has said that “an idea does not exist unless it can be put in writing “always keep a dairy or a notebook with you. Scribble down anything that comes to your mind so that you refer to it later. You can even save it in your mobile phone; anything which you feel will be useful to you later on. According to J. Paul Getty, Former Oil tycoon and once the richest man in America “there are always opportunities through which businessmen can profit handsomely if they will only recognise and seize them.”

Finding a competition doesn’t mean you should give up. Quite the contrary in fact, as competition can help you define where your business can fit into the market place. At the same time, if you have noticed that lots of people seem to be going for a particular business, be wary not to jump on the wand wagon. Avoid a “me too” kind of business strategy, hoping to emulate their success with only a mindless variation on whatever seems popular at the moment

I talked about testing your idea if it’s viable. It is advisable to use a little bit of quality control to check that your idea is worth taking further. Doing this early can save you lots of time and money down the line. People sometimes get so entrenched by the big picture and their dreams of success that they overlook some of the basics. Lots of entrepreneurs commit a lot of money to their ideas, launch it and refuse to see sense precisely because they have already invested so much in their dream. It is better to use a little common sense before wasting energy and cash into a worthless idea.

Always remember, a business does not exist just to make you, the entrepreneur, RICH. A business is about providing a product or service that someone will pay for. The most successful entrepreneurs do not merely create something and try to sell it- they find out what costumers need and then create it. Don’t assume that costumers will be as excited by your idea the way you are. Just because your product or service may be good doesn’t mean that costumers will part their hard earned money for it. Even throwing lots of money in at it through a slick marketing campaign probably won’t do it either.

Modern customers do not simply buy what you tell them to buy. Unless what you offer fulfils some want or need of costumers, it won’t sell. If you can’t fulfil a need, you are not in business. No value proportion, no customer. It is a hard fact of business and one you need to learn now.

It is quite straightforward really; customers buy for one of two reasons. Either a product makes them feel good or it helps them avoid feeling bad.

Darius Rutto, Kenyan Volunteer, ICS, Njoro 2015