There is a difference between Trading and Business

I was at a programme last week Saturday to speak to some students at Lautech, Ogbomosho, Nigeria. And, after my lecture, a students entrepreneur came to me and ask, "I heard you talk about grant and you said you are a recipient of one, How do I get funding for my business?' I said, What business do you do?" She said, "I sell bags" I further asked, "Why do you sell bags?" What approach are you using to sell bags? Who are your targeted customers?" What is the innovation in your business?" How do you engage your customers or the community?" I couldn't get a clear answer. 



I have observed that many people trade and call themselves business owners or entrepreneurs. When you trade, you exchange goods for goods or money. But when you do business, you are solving a problem and people are paying you for solving that problems because its a need. So, what needs are you meeting? Funders would not fund trading but will fund your solutions and approach. 


I gave several instance and examples of how she can move from becoming a trader to a business owner.

1. Why do you sell bags? Many people in low income communities want to look good and improve their self esteem. They can't afford to buy expensive bags. You can offer a low cost and affordable bag. So if I am asked why do I sell bags? I have a reason and a solution. Another dimension to this is, you don't just assume that, they need just bags. You have to carry out a survey to gain insights into their unmet needs. As a business owner, you are a researcher. 




2. What approach are using to sell bags? Over the years, I have learned that, a good business model, is a business that leverages technology. Virtually, everyone has a phone. Millions of people in Nigeria use mobile phones. You can create an app or web platform where people can access these bags especially women from low income communities. Well many of them might not be able to access an app or web platform. So you create a USSD code where they can buy bags. Another dimension is to get bags from Rich people. Many of them throw these used bags away. You can create a system to get these bags, rebrand and sell them at low cost to people in low income communities who want to look good. 




3. Who are your targeted customers? People in low income communities. You may want to do Market segmentation by having market for women, school age children, Youths etc. 


4. What is the innovation in your business? Technology is key! The use of their digital device to access low cost bags. 




5. How do you engage customers? Customer Care line, you may want to consider that or free trainings and Seminars etc. 


Ultimately, build a structure around your business. Get it registered. There are funds and Grant out there, just that you are not positioned to access them, because you trade rather own a business and solve problems. 


Willing to subscribe to Kayfactor Inspires group? 

Drop a comment below. Thank you for reading! 

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