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entrepreneurship is the best roller coaster I have ever been on.
It's crazy, fast, a little scary and totally unpredictable.
When I was in business school, my classmate Jen and I started an online dating site for busy young professionals.
We had this unique concept, validation from customer search and a solid business plan.
We thought we were doing everything right, but apparently not because we had to shut our doors.
Starting a business was so much harder than I thought.
And that's what millions of people in Silicon Valley and across America are finding, too, because half of all small businesses will fail in the 1st 5 years.
65% in the 1st 10 We glorify startups that make it big.
But what about the rest?
Thes start of failure rates haven't improved in almost two decades.
My failure made me wonder if any of this is preventable.
Is there a model we can use for small business?
Success in my career have had the chance to work with different business models and approaches ranging from early stage startups to multibillion dollar companies, and there is one group of entrepreneurs that it's consistently successful.
But I discovered them in the most unexpected place in Guatemala were 59% of the population lives below the poverty line threatened by everything from natural disasters to gang violence.
Yet despite these odds, Maur and more Guatemalans are turning to entrepreneurship to create a better life because developing countries like Guatemala are home to a micro finance approach called village banking were unlike centralized banks, groups of local entrepreneurs joined together to access the loans and the support that they need to start their businesses.
Now most of you have probably heard of Mohammad Yunus, who pioneered the village banking concept with Grameen Bank.
It was so successful that in 2006 he won the Nobel Peace Prize for it.
I wanted to see it for myself.
So that same year I traveled to South America with another village bank called Finca International, so I could see it for myself so I could meet with these entrepreneurs and visit with their businesses.
Village banking works because it proactively addresses.
The three primary reasons are small.
Businesses are failing.
First, they provide a built in team of experienced advisors up front.
Next, they're constantly responding to customer feedback, and finally they have a relentless focus on cash flow.
So let's start by talking about that built in team because 23% of our small businesses will fail because they don't have that right team in place.
In Ecuador, I met a farmer named Miguel who used his think alone to purchase a new irrigation system.
But in village banking, you can't actually access that loan without agreeing to join a support network of 10 to 20 other entrepreneurs.
So every week, Miguel and the other members of this village bank would get together at their local schoolhouse to work on their businesses together to trade advice, even share a few laughs.
One of the other members of the Village Bank was a farmer, too, and he was more experienced.
So he had kind of taken Miguel on as an apprentice, was helping him understand how to rotate crops and where he could get the most money for his produce.
With that help, Miguel's profits and his confidence grew.
But just as any small business owner knows, just when you finally think that things are going well in suitably, it's exactly when you're throwing a curveball.
And in Miguel's case, a drought nearly threatened this farm's production, but when that happened, he wasn't left to deal with it alone.
The other members of the village bank rallied around him, helped him overcome challenges, and we're there urging him on to celebrate those everyday victories.
I met with dozens of entrepreneurs like Miguel during my think of visits to Guatemala and later to Ecuador.
Teamwork is the backbone of thes village base.
Now here's where it gets interesting in the U.
S.
If you wanted a small business loan, you'd usually have to put up collateral.
But in developing countries, a lot of these entrepreneurs don't have collateral.
So it finca, they actually co guarantee each other's loans.
So they all have skin in the game and a vested interest in each other's success.
But they're not just bound together by money.
They're connected by a sense of community because they're often neighbors part of the same church.
In some cases, they're quite literally family.
And just like in sports, it's thes cohesive teams that do better.
I think 85% of first time borrowers will go on to expand their business now in the U.
S.
Deals from shark tank and venture capital firms usually come with experienced advisors, but they're just 1% of our businesses.
73% are one person shops.
What if our successful business advisors and entrepreneurs were able to pitch in to help them, too?
Now, the next thing that village banks do really well is to constantly respond to customer feedback.
A study of 101 failed startups showed that 42% had failed because there weren't enough customers that wanted or needed their product.
As a marketer, this one makes me cringe.
In Guatemala City, I met a woman named Elena who wanted to sell more of her homemade, tasty empanadas.
Now, if you and I had an empanada food truck, there's a good chance we would over engineer this problem.
We might take a few weeks to send around a survey or deploy some sort of a sales optimization model.
Maybe we'd crowdsource flavor suggestions on social media.
Do you want to know what Elena did?
She talked to her customers, and the next day she sold 10 more empanadas.
And while we were busy gathering the data tow launch this awesome new flavor, Elaina's empanada sales would have lapped us 100 times over, but she didn't stop there.
She kept talking to her customers and asking members of her village bank for feedback, so she kept improving.
Call it what you want.
Rapid prototyping, common sense hustle.
It works.
A lot of our small businesses will do some sort of customer research up front, but then it's off to the races.
We get so caught up in a building and running our businesses that sometimes we stop collecting and acting on customer feedback, because when you're busy building, you're not making any money.
So when you finally have that product in hand, there's a strong temptation to start advertising, even though another round of customer feedback would have told you to rebuild.
One of my favorite cautionary tales comes from the makers of Cheetos.
Either they didn't ask enough customers up front or they didn't test again postproduction.
But in 2005 someone green lit the launch of Cheetos lip balm and, unsurprisingly, that product flocked.
Customer's needs are constantly changing.
Village banking reminds us that the best way to make money is to keep responding, but perhaps the most important thing that we can take from the village banking model is how to manage our cash flow because this is by a landslide that the number one reason our small businesses are failing 82% will experience cash flow problems.
No village making understands that for startups to stay up, they have to generate profits consistently.
So that's why the number one goal of thes village banks is to get all of their members to positive cash flow as quickly as possible.
Now, they usually do this by requiring a weekly loan repayment meeting.
So every week the entrepreneurs have to come in and pay down their debt and document how much of their loan is still outstanding.
And so that way, this process forces them to understand how their businesses cash flow, ebbs and flows.
And if anybody's struggling, or if a member misses one of their weekly loan repayments than the other, members can pitch in and help provide support early on.
No, I had a chance to sit in on some of these weekly loan repayment meetings, and I kind of just expected everyone to go around in a circle and provide a quick update on their business, but instead the entrepreneurs started reaching into their pockets and pulling out their cash, quite literally paying down their debt In our cashless society, most of us will never touch the money we make.
But here were these entrepreneurs holding their hard earned income in their hands.
This is one place where micromanaging actually works.
Finca entrepreneurs have a 98% loan repayment.
Look, I'm not asking for our entrepreneurs to delete Venmo and start hauling around our cash.
But what if we had a cash flow officer on our teams from day one?
Someone who could help us understand what's coming in, what needs to go out and when someone who could help us flag potential issues before they even arise.
This one hits home because it's exactly why my online dating site failed.
When Jen and I launched, it felt like we had won the lottery.
Hundreds of customers were joining our site daily.
Customers were taking the time to email us and thanking us for starting a site like ours.
But when people join an online dating site, they want options, lots of them, and we didn't anticipate how quickly our members would go through their matches and need few ones.
We just couldn't scale fast enough.
The cost of online advertising were so expensive we could barely afford to cover our costs, let alone afford to take a salary.
This is about the time that are start ups.
Go from struggling to failure, because when you can't afford to pay your business fills or your personal ones, you have to figure it out quickly, borrow more money or, like in our case, cut your losses in close shop.
And that's really stressful, especially if you've maxed credit cards or taking out a second mortgage or borrowed from friends and family to get your business off the ground.
My business failed, but my husband has a solo business now, and the stakes feel even higher because we have two little ones at home.
Village banking isn't perfectly applicable, but it's helping us build a stronger foundation.
My husband has a group of small business owners that are helping him get started and our bare to answer any questions.
He talks to all of its customers, reads every online reviews that we can keep improving and he's invested in a cache full management system.
So my message is this There is a model we can use for small business success.
But ultimately it's gonna take more than our country's determine entrepreneurs to improve our start of failure rates.
From what I have learned, it takes the village.
Thank you.
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How small business can benefit from "village banking" | Ruchi Shah | TED Institute

14 タグ追加 保存
林宜悉 2020 年 3 月 20 日 に公開
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