Today was a much better day! We started off with a big group activity, exposing the class to market research in a fun, creative way. We brought seven volunteers to the front of the room and conducted a mock market survey with three new products we wanted to introduce in Yendi. The three products were Goldfish crackers, gummy fruit snacks, and sunflower seed crackers. They examined the packaging of the products and ranked them 1st to 3rd based on appearance alone, and six out of the seven liked Goldfish the best. One by one, we took each product out of the packaging and gave our volunteers a sample in order to comment on the touch, smell, appearance and most importantly, the taste. Although six of the seven would have bought Goldfish based on packaging alone, six out of the seven hated the taste and some even spit it out. Haha! At the end of the exercise, we asked them how much they would pay for each product, and based on all of the information we collected, we chose to introduce the product that would yield the most profit for our business. The winning product was the gummy fruit snacks. After the exercise, we broke up into our small groups and came up with our own mock business idea. For the rest of the training, each group will create an entire business plan for the mock business. On the last day of training, the groups will present the business plan to a group of judges, pretending that they are wealthy people who can fund their business. Only one group will be the winner and the group that has the best business plan will win a prize.
Today we talked about marketing, created a marketing plan for the business, and starting working on our financial plan by determining our start-up expenses (what we need to start the business and how much we need). Tomorrow, we will continue our financial plan by creating a budget, a savings plan, and discussing how loans work. Our group decided to start a plastic chairs and canopy rental business. In Ghanaian culture, they have ceremonies for many things and plastic chairs are a vital component of all ceremonies. Once we had our business idea, we discussed why marketing is important and defined our target market. The group decided that they would target brides-to-be, pregnant women, business owners with apprentices and families planning funerals. Then we came up with the questions we would need to ask in our market survey and discussed the best ways to conduct our research. One of the great things about the business idea they chose is that there are not a lot of competitors in Yendi. They said the current chair rental businesses rent chairs that are broken and “not neat”, and they want their business to be known for renting high quality, clean chairs to the community. They also decided that they would offer volume discounts to their customers, which is not common in this area, to show their customers that they value their business. They determined a competitive price and defined a promotional campaign. The most important part of their business plan is their kingdom impact strategy, which is how they will use their business to share the Gospel with their customers. They discussed for a while and finally decided that when customers came in to their store, they would ask the customer what the occasion was. If they said it was to celebrate the birth of their new baby, they would talk about what the bible says about children and how they are a gift from God. If they said it was to celebrate a marriage, they would talk about how the bible says that we are to rejoice with those who are rejoicing. If they said it was for a funeral, they would talk about how the bible says that we are to mourn with those who mourn. They are very confident that they will place 1st in the competition! They will take this assignment and apply it to their real business to prepare them for phase II. Their homework in between phase I and phase II will be to conduct market research for their own personal business and I will collect it a couple of weeks before phase II is scheduled to start. In phase II, I will work with them one-on-one to create a solid business plan and we’ll determine whether or not they have a viable business plan. They all worked very hard today, were participating and are taking the assignment very seriously. Dela even said, “We are talking more today!” I said, “YES! Isn’t it way more fun when we are all talking?”
This evening we went around town to visit the businesses of some of the entrepreneurs in the training program. We visited two business from my group Adam’s and Dela’s. Adam’s brother has been running his shop while he’s in training during the day. Dela’s beauty shop is very neat and I would totally get my hair done there!