In recent years, due to the issues with unemployment in West Africa, especially in Ghana and Nigeria, there has been a developing debate on entrepreneurship. The youth of today are gearing towards starting a business either to earn money on the side, as they continue to pursue their education or setting up a business, hoping to earn a somewhat stable income after school.
However, the youth face a dilemma as to which business to pursue or which business idea to come up with. In a world where everything seems to have all been discovered and ventured into, people find it difficult to come up with a new viable business idea to initiate their breakthrough in life or simply to sustain themselves financially. We at Finde have decided to delve deeply into this topic to address this dilemma faced by anyone interested in taking that bold step into being an entrepreneur.
Upon deeper thought, research and deliberations, we found out that societal problems are the basis for smart business ideas. These problems exist in our society and they can be identified through observation and environmental probing.
For example, whilst watching a YouTube video a month ago, I learnt about a little boy in the Netherlands who went around various houses collecting their plastic waste and depositing it at a recycling center for a stipulated amount of money.
In this instance, the little boy as well as the recycling center had identified the problem of plastic waste in the country and had taken it upon itself to correct that, and in doing so, a business idea was birthed. The recycling Centre needed plastic waste materials to transform them into a product to be sold to the public and the little boy, needing to make a little extra money to perhaps buy a toy, candy or something nice for himself, took it upon himself to contribute to solving the problem by gathering the waste and taking it to the recycling centre for a fee.
Even though this may not necessarily apply in our part of the world, it gives us a fair idea of identifying problems faced in society and putting measures in place to effectively solve it whilst making money out of it. On this note, as entrepreneurs, we need to ask, “What are the problems you have observed in your area, community, school, work place, church, city or country as a whole that needs an innovative solution? And how do you monetize those ideas?
After identifying the problem you wish to solve and monetize, you then move to the second phase of your research, where you streamline the problem. Problems are multidimensional and multifaceted, it is advisable not to think that a problem can be solved from only one perspective.
Rather, a problem ought to be solved from the perspective in which you have the expertise. In plain language, a startup should target a core problem it has the capacity to solve. The startup may look to solve a major problem but may start to solve it on a lower scale as it has the capacity to, and later on widen their operations to solve the problem on a large scale.
This is very important due to the fact that some entrepreneurs give up on a dream because they feel they do not have the capacity to pursue their vision. Take into consideration a man with a vision to set up his own transport service (like a service similar to that of Uber’s).
Obviously, he may not have the resources to operate according to the highest and ideal state of his vision. That is, to have dispatch riders all over the city or the country, but with this vision intact, he can start off as a taxi driver (still solving transportation problems) and later on gather savings made from his trade to buy new cars and employ drivers to pursue his vision on the largest scale he envisioned.
So no matter how big your vision, you still have to start at a capacity that you’re able to operate in and later move higher when your capacity increases. This brings us to our next question, “What specific problem have you observed in Ghana that you have the capacity and innovation to solve?”
Now that we have identified the problem we wish to solve, and also streamlined it to the capacity at which we are able to solve it. We now move to the million dollar part of the research into the Smart 21st Century Business Idea; that is, actually coming up with an innovative solution to these problems. It is vital to note that in every solution lies the basic idea of starting a business.
Every problem in society is an untapped financial field that needs to be exploited. In making your solution, be mindful to simplify it well enough in order for your solution to be received positively by the general public. In this lies the idea to start a viable business in this century.
If you will recall the example mentioned in the paragraph talking about identifying a problem that needs solutions, the recycling center made their solution to plastic waste management so basic that a little boy embraced it and took it upon himself to go around to gather and feed them with these plastic waste materials to run their business.
This brings us to our final question of the day which is, “How can you solve a specific identified problem in Ghana?” Think through this whilst considering how to be innovative, in relation to providing cheaper avenues and quicker or better solutions.
Be a smart businessman, look for problems in society and find solutions to them; that is the new smart way of doing business.