Look around and you would see opportunities for your business. Though the economy is contracting, the same situation is opening up other sectors. For example the mining sector is shrinking within the economy but the oil sector is expanding. Finding opportunities hinges on our ability to identify the factors that drive industries.
What’s in the Population?
One area to look at is the demographic developments. Population is generally increasing at a rate of 2.19% (2014 est.). The urban population is taking the chunk of growth due to natural production and rural-urban migration. The middle class is growing. In 2011, Ghana was recorded as one of the fastest growing middle class countries. The African Development Bank (AfDB) defined a middle class aspeople who spend $2-$40 a day. It is estimated that 46% of Ghanaians now belong to that class. This estimation may be too high for the actual situation. The fact however remains that the middle class is growing and they would support business. By 2020 the middle and affluent class would account for 35% in Africa and Ghana features strongly (BCG, 2014).Identifying opportunities would look at the needs of this class.
Population is also growing in the rural areas. This is mainly by way of natural reproduction. What are their needs? Indeed the government has failed to provide for this demographic class and that provides business opportunities. The Telcos did it and got it right. As at 2013, mobile phone penetration was over 90%. Businesses especially existing ones could look at population opportunities and diversify into them in such times.
Businesses especially banks have been seen to be doing the same thing and targeting the same customers. Products have virtually been stale. In such economic times it is worth looking at what new thing could be sold, what innovation could be made to an existing service or product. Such times are the best business developing times. This is the time one could develop products, services and competencies that could remain with the business forever. The only requirement is to look deep and dig out!
Recent developments mean that one could do more with less. Again businesses should look at their processes and identify where they can go lean. Going lean does not necessarily mean cutting cost and doing less but doing more with what is available. It would be achieved depending on how it is done and this is where technology can come in. For example, it would be brilliant for a business to cut down on telephone and transport cost by using more skype for communication which is already catered for in internet costs. The business can achieve this by looking harder.
What more can be added to identifying opportunities?
Change in the Attitude of the People
One big killer of businesses in Ghana is attitude. No scientific data has been stated here but readers would agree that many small to medium businesses have been put of business by people. Attitude is quite difficult to quantify in monetary terms but businesses should take practical steps to create the desired attitudes for their companies. It is just to enough to enshrine in core values which even some management staff do not remember off head. Business could largely achieve this by training. Costs may be high but is more expensive to keep up undesirable attitudes. Training costs may probably be one of indicators in measuring the cost attitudinal management in the business. Zig Ziglar said ‘The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is to not train them and keep them’.However, if people do not respond to efforts to keep attitudes at desirable levels, be ready to fire!
Businesses would naturally want conducive environments to function and make profit but the converse offers other great featuresthat can profitably grow the business. The major thing to do is to for businesses to take a hard look!
Yaw Korankye Antwi