Friday, June 20, 2014

Entrepreneurship Lessons from the Streets of Mumbai

The sea had come alive. The narrow stretcth of land from the Mahalaxmi subway to the Haji Ali Dargah was filled with hopeful people. All walked together with the same goal, to reach the dargah and get some blessings.

The Phone Cover Salesmen

The man in the yellow shirt selling plastic bags 

The water splashed across the narrow stretch. At one end of the stretch the high waves made sure almost all the pilgrims to the dargah were drenched in water. At the start of the stretch (Mahalaxmi subway side) a few enterprising young men, set up a stall and started selling Plastic Bags with this sales shout to pilgrims who were dry and walking towards the other stretch.

'Buy the five rupees plastic bag and save your five thousand rupees phone'

From the other end, groups of worshipers came back drenched holding their wet mobile phones and wallets.

What an ingenious business opportunity. Great Value. Problem Solved. Customer Satisfied

The Taxi Driver

Do different things with the same resources

As we left the dargah, we headed for the auto-rickshaw stand. One driver approached us and told us to settle down in his taxi. Soon the car, was filled with over six people each paying a minimal amount for the ride from the dargah to the Maha laxmi station.

If the driver had taken just a single customer, he would have got only the minimal base charge of every taxi ride in Mumbai which was Rs 19. Now by taking six people together he got Rs 60 for the same distance and same time.

Imagine doing this several times for the thousands of visitors that go to the Dargah everyday.

Fruit - Seller in Jogeshwari

I then caught a local train, from Churchgate to Jogeshwari later in the night. Right outside the station, I notice a man selling cherries. I ask him for the cost.

He tells me, 'Rs 20 for 100 grams'

I buy 100 grams. I then ask him how he got his goods and if there was a place we could buy it wholesale. He told me about the fruit market in Vashi, where you could buy 1 Kilogram of cherries for Rs 150.

Rs 150 - 1 kilogram of cherries

Rs 20  - 100 Grams
Rs 200 - I kilogram of cherries

Profit - Rs 50

He was adding value to the lives of the consumers in Jogeshwari, who could not travel to Vashi to buy the goods. He was being remunerated for the travel and effort he put in to sell the goods. A  trading venture that benefited both parties.

Add Value

Sebastien Marshall put it well in one of his popular blog posts, 'As for entrepreneurship - really, people make a big deal of it, but it's not so hard. You need to (1) add value to things you touch, and (2) get some share of the value you created.'

We see the people above. Let us try adding value to their lives. A product or service, we choose. Now we have taken the first steps to becoming an entrepreneur.

No comments:

Post a Comment