Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 26th 2017 Contents JANUARY 26 • 2017 guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
ENTREPRENOMICS | BG19
Dealing with job loss:
Part 2Last week we looked at the increasing
number of company retrenchment
and the entrepreneurial option that an
employee could exercise. We covered
some steps in starting a new venture.
One of the first things is understanding
what entrepreneurship offers: the freedom to do what
you want, the promise of unlimited income and the
chance that you can change the world in a profound
way, as Bill Gates did.
We discussed the dark side to starting a business
as things don't always go as planned. There may not
always be a pot of gold at the other end, meaning
your business may have a low potential or, worse,
go belly up.
Remember, going the route of entrepreneurship
requires a different mindset and skills set. Entre-
preneurs tend to love risks, yet know how to avoid
high risks. They are also tenacious; knowing how to
overcome problems and using creativity and inno-
vation to solve them.
Ideas with commercial potential are the ones to
consider. But where do ideas come from?
You can get ideas from many sources.
Some can be internal to your world:
• Your skills might have value creation potential
for persons and businesses
• You have a home with a good location
• You notice that your hobby has some attractive-
• Your company neglects a niche that you can
• You can’t get the right product or service to meet
your needs (and others feel the same pain)
Some can be external to your world:
• Climate change: the world wants solutions that
cope with higher temperatures, droughts, floods,
• Green trend: care for the planet and the need
for sustainable solutions to protect mother nature,
clean energy will dominate as nations cut their car-
• Health & wellness: life extension and enhance-
ment solutions so people can live a higher quality life
• Organic orientation: consumers perceive that
inorganic chemicals are dangerous and slower food
is the better alternative
• Information technology: starting a business out of
home is easier, have a further reach, result in a lower
cost, but will also allow specialized knowledge work-
ers to find unique solutions even from far out places
• Knowledge power: as our world gets
more complicated, we need a broad range
of knowledge solutions, consultants in
every field will have interesting jobs and
researchers will give rise to new fields at
a faster rate
Love & obsessions
How do you know if you are sitting on
a great idea?
Can this idea help launch a successful
There is only one sure way to find out---
test your business in the real world. You
can look at the world as your laboratory
and you're the scientist tinkering with your
experiment to see what results will happen.
One of the biggest mistakes aspiring
entrepreneurs make is to fall in love with
their idea and go to launch as quickly as
possible. Imagine if NASA were to launch
a new rocket without many trials. One could
predict a lot fireworks and a lot of money
going down the drain.
When it comes to business do not fall in
love with your business idea; it will break
your heart. Keep in mind the use of science
can assist in determining if you are on to
So, let's say you have this wonderful idea
to deliver healthy foods to the aged and in-
firm. You notice the demographic trend is
in your favour. You also notice this market
is confined to their homes and unable to
cook their own meals; caregivers are expen-
sive. Your gut feeling is to start a catering
service and test the market in the St Ann's
You set up a small commercial kitchen,
hire some food handlers, a nutritionist and
your spouse will take the orders and deliver.
You use TTPOST to do a mail drop ad to
residents and set up a website so custom-
ers can email their orders. Since the direct
to customer model is expensive, you set a
minimum order of $60 per meal, but the
customer must pay in advance for the week.
The meals are packaged for two or can last
one person until dinner. This is similar as the
Market Movers model of delivering produce
to the customer's door.
The results came in with some mixed re-
sults. After a three-month trial, customers
were generally happy with the quality of
food, the menu, but many got food late and,
some being diabetic, this was a big issue.
There was another logistical issue. Many
older customers could not hear or see the
delivery person immediately creating a
slower process. The model seems to be
working, but delivery was more expensive
than first thought. Traffic, while not bad,
was also a concern.
If this model is to be rolled out in more
areas, it will be even more expensive. Your
$60 price looks uneconomical. As any en-
trepreneur knows, it's time for some creative
Your delivery husband found out that
some customers wanted breakfast and
lunch, which meant that you can deliver two
meals and others wanted lunch and dinner.
Your price now can go to $100 per meal.
There is still the issue of waiting for the
customer to collect. The newspaper deliv-
ery man can just fling the paper, but a meal
is different. So, you come up with a rack
solution that hooks to the front gate but
on the inside top. If TTPOST uses a small
box, why not you?
Your meals are packaged in sealed airtight
containers, it should stay warm for at least
three hours. There is a flag to pull up on
the box when delivery is made so customers
know "you got food."
When you are satisfied your experimen-
tation has proved your business model and
strategy are working, you need to scale up.
Start-up and scale-up require different ap-
While start-up is more about testing your
business idea and assembling the necessary
resources, scale-up requires that you build
a good foundation to expand. This is where
many early stage ventures fail. They hit on
the market and then let quality fall or charge
too low prices (or the opposite) and we see
their market vanish. Writing a business plan
with a well detailed road map to deal with
the expected issues and how they are going
to the handled, is the best solution to plan
the way forward.
Something you should never do after ac-
cepting severance, is to show animosity to
your ex-employer or harbour any ill feelings.
This will only be extra weight psychologi-
cally and could affect your ability to think
clearly, an important point if you are to start
Don't burn your bridges as there might
be an opportunity where you once worked.
Sajjad Hamid is an SME & family business
adviser. His contact information:
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