Think Like an Entrepeneur!
I’ve dreamed-up a little wealth-creation quiz for you to get your brain around. I want you to start thinking like a millionaire – or at least an entrepreneur. To make money you must cultivate a certain mindset. You should be always on the look-out for profit potential. So here’s a real, live challenge for you.
I’m currently on the tiny island of Sark, Channel Islands, population 500 (excluding sheep). Many of the locals try desperately to carve a living out of the minuscule tourist trade. These are the day-trippers fromGuernsey, and those (like me) who come for a week or so to revel in the peace, the nature and the scenery. There is no night life here. It’s beddy-byes at 10pm (after a mug of cocoa) ready for another hard day spotting dog violets, dolphins and peregrine falcons. What most visitors come here for are the wild flowers, birds and peace and quiet. Okay, I hope you’re paying close attention now and haven’t drifted off. The lesson I’ve just given you is called: “Know Your Market.”
Got that? Do you have a clear idea of the punters? Binocular touting, cycle-clipped anoraks the lot of ‘em (excluding my good self that is. I use elastic bands instead of cycle clips – far cheaper…).
Now imagine, if you will, Sark’s one and only main street which is called ‘The Avenue’ in which the hapless locals attempt to carve said living out of said anoraks. It’s an unpaved dusty track, home to about twenty single-story shops – and most of them are on the verge of extinction. They change hands quicker than the package in a game of pass the parcel.
Your task is this. Imagine (perish the thought) that you HAVE to start a shop in The Avenue on Sark and sit in its gloomy interior during the entire summer months, hoping against hope that an anorak will grace you with their presence. What are you going to sell? I want three ideas from you. Write them down before you read the rest of this blog.
Here are two shops which are soon to go belly-up (in my opinion). One is selling quite tasteful, moderately expensive silver jewellery. The other is selling carved wooden animals, figures etc. Why are these two going to fail? Have a think about it for yourself. Don’t just read on – DO IT! Being able to answer questions like these gives you ‘the edge’ when it comes to your own enterprise.
Had a think?
So… imagine that you had to open a shop on the tiny island of Sark in order to eke-out a miserable living from the miniscule tourist trade. Remember the average tourist. Think ‘irritatingly keen bird-spotter type with anorak which has nice deep pockets for the thermos andKendallmint cake’ and you have the perfect image.
What three things could you sell in a shop here? And why are those two shops going to go belly-up?
Let’s start with those first. No prizes here. Ask yourself why, on God’s Great Earth, someone would come toSarkand buy an African carving? Why? And again why? What’s going through the shopkeeper’s tiny brain? Someone tell me, please! There’s only ONE time and place to buy an African wooden animal (and even there I’m dubious, but if you really MUST…) and that’s in AFRICA for chrissakes, after a long holiday during which you’ve fooled yourself that you’re really SO in touch with those WONDERFUL native people and animals and… er… stuff and you are so overflowing with beneficence for all mankind that you buy a sodding-great wooden giraffe to lug back home and stick on your mantle piece. But inSARK??? Do me a favour!
Next, silver jewellery. Better. But… consider your market. They are aged 50+ bird-spotter types. I’m not saying they’re broke (Sarkis actually quite an expensive place to visit) but they are the exact opposite of the glittering, cruise-shipGuernseyshoppers one of whom spent £80,000 whilst I was there on a diamond ring! Bird-spotters and wild-flower admirers do not, in the main, want to shop for jewellery. It’s simply not their thing.
So what can we sell ‘em?
My first shot would be ‘a nice hot cup of tea’ – in other words I’d go for a café. People, even bird-spotters, always want tea and a bun. Second, this is a small market (only about 100 tourists a day in high season) so you should sell something with high profit per sale (several shops here sell pathetic novelty trinkets for 20p etc. so it doesn’t matter if EVERY tourist buys one, you’d still go broke). So I’d go for an up-market ‘outdoor’ shop with some cameras, expensive binoculars, walking poles and the like. Thirdly I’d go for some good quality souvenirs which were unique toSark. Surprisingly, there is very little like that here. It’s a unique place and people might want to take something home with them as a reminder. Those are my thoughts and I hope you did this exercise. I’m often humorous in my blogs but I’m deadly serious about the business of making money – and you should be too.