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How to Stop Assuming and Start Making Good Business Decisions Within the Black Community


Just a couple of days ago, I took my wife to the train station on her way for an appointment, and on returning, I was stopped by the traffic lights.

As one usually does, I scanned round the environment with my eyes, and saw an African restaurant called “Mauritanian Delight.” I didn’t need being told that it’s mainly for Mauritanians. And I said to myself, “A recipe for disaster!”

Why? The business wouldn’t break even, let alone make profits; it was so easy to know.

I know someone would say “I reject it in Jesus name,” but no matter how good your intentions are, your start-up must be data-driven so that you can make informed decisions, otherwise, you’re doomed.

I concluded that the business was in a wrong location, and that the niche was too small to make profits, except it’s for charitable purposes.

Why did I make that conclusion? I felt the owner, in making the decision to set up the business in that location should have considered the following points, and I believe if he or she had, there may have been a second thought before planting the restaurant in that very location.

How many Mauritanians live in that location?

I have lived there for ages and haven’t come across any. It’s the knowledge of the number that will form part of your decision to go ahead with coming up with strategic options to do or not to do. If you rely on assumptions, you will make consequential errors that may take a long time to rectify, and most times, such consequences are never fixed.

And how do you find out the numbers? There are a number of ways such as checking on the website of the National Office of Statistics, using the information from the latest census results, looking at the electoral register, or going to the local council to get information. These secondary data will help solve that problem, or at least, get closer to solving the problem.

What is the demography of Mauritanians who live within the locality?

The knowledge of the number of men, women, boys and girls are essential. The age groups, marital statuses, and social economic gradings are equally very essential.

Married women with children tend to make their own food, especially their ethnic kind of food. Young women almost do the same. Children, especially teenagers prefer fast food, so MacDonald and its types are more appealing. Maybe, the best demographic to target are single men, who consider cooking a difficult task. But in looking at this demographic, you must ascertain whether or not you have enough number to sustain the business, otherwise, the venture wouldn’t be worth going into.

How many Mauritanians who live there eat out?

 Although, I spoke about the higher probability of single men eating out, that conclusion can’t be verified without a credible data. You must do a little survey to find out the proportion of your target segment that eats out because these days, it’s beginning to appear like men, especially the young ones, are becoming better cooks than women. So making assumptions that men don’t cook, and setting up an ethnic restaurant based on that might spell doom.

How often do they eat out?

 Some people eat out once a week, others do once a month, and for a reasonable number of people, it’s probably once biannually. So looking at the frequency of eat-outs of your target segment must be done microscopically because you wouldn’t want to put money into what you aren’t sure of. I will reiterate a previous caveat; never base your judgment on assumption; look at the figures. The figures may not give you an absolute success, but they drastically minimise your risks.

What days of the week or times of the month do they eat out?

You need this figure to help you know when to put in the man-hour and the money. If they eat out once a month for instance, you need to ask yourself if the business is worth investing into. Or, you may decide to collaborate with an existing restaurant that doesn’t offer your recipe to use part of their shop space, which will reduce the cost of renting a whole shop space.

When they eat out, how many prefer Mauritanian restaurants?

For the fact some Mauritanians eat out does not mean they prefer going to their ethnic restaurants; most people who eat out go for something other than what they have at home. Finding out the percentage of those that prefer going for their native recipe when they eat out is important in your final decision making and crafting strategic options.

Amongst those that prefer Mauritanian restaurants, what number prefers eating out local?

Eating out is seen as “outing,” and in outings, you want to leave your environment and go to somewhere distant from you; probably a place you’ve never been to. You must ascertain that the number that eats out locally are enough to sustain the business. If your target market isn’t able to sustain your venture, it wouldn’t be long before you pack up. The cost of packing up is daunting and depressing.

There are many more questions to research upon before making a final decision, and it’s the numbers or data that determine the decision to go or not to go.

Why we fail in businesses is because our community ignore data. We’re more driven by emotions, passion and wild imaginations than realities, and whoever points us to the figures become an enemy of “progress.”

Before venturing into any business, passion or endeavour, do a marketing research and come up with strategic options. If the figures can’t sustain the business, look for one that can. Stop deceiving yourself!







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Ken is a leadership Motivation, Strategy and Personal Development Writer, Blogger and Speaker. He writes for a number of magazines and blogs. He is also a mentor and published author of several books.

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