Sticky Business

My second daughter is 9 years old. Yasmin had a sticker business.

A couple of months ago I bought her a few sheets of stickers. In each sheet there's about a dozen small stickers . She then cut the small stickers into individual pieces and sells them for 20 sen. I didn't ask her to sell the stickers , but she decided on her own that she has enough stickers for herself and wanted to sell the rest. At the end of the first day , she had a backlog order from at least half a dozen friends !

I asked her why did she cut the stickers and sell them so cheap instead of selling an entire sheet. Without hesitation she answered " oh, it's because most of my friends only bring RM2 to school . If I sell the stickers too expensive , they might not have enough money to buy food or drinks at the canteen . This way they can still buy my stickers AND buy food" .  I was very impressed with this rationale because it proved that at that tender age, she understood some of the basic principal of a business -

(1) know who your customers are ( other students and their budget )

(2) know her products and its optimum price  ( 20 sen. Any more, they might now buy . Any less , she won't get a profit )

(3) address the need of your customer ( want stickers , want food , limited allowance)

(4) business ethics ( not to have anybody finish their allowances on her stickers that they don't eat , only sell during recess and after school hours )

If you notice , i said "Yasmin HAD a sticker business , not HAS". Business was booming but unfortunately , her stint had to be cut short when she's made prefect at her school ( i didnt know standard 3 can jadi prefect ) and according to her , prefects are not allowed to sell stuff ( and non prefects can ? hmmm....nevermind. )
This same principal can be applied to any business even if it a hundred times bigger in size. It can be the first thing you think about when you think about starting a business ( what do i want to sell and who need this product i'm selling ). It always helps to start a business doing what you are already good at or passionate about . Yasmin loves glitter stickers , so it made sense to her to share what she already like seeing. I cant imagine myself opening a Kinko's , or a restaurant , or a mini market because i have no interest whatsoever in paper , heavy duty cooking or FMCG ( fast moving consumer goods ) . But if I am not running my childrens boutique , I can probably see myself opening a quilt shop or a wedding gallery or a cozy cafe , given my love for fabrics , weddings and latte.

So in my opinion , if you have no idea about what you want to sell , maybe you can start thinking about what you like in life in general. What attracts you when you go to the mall , what products you love , what services you use , etc . And then go one step up and start thinking about what gap is there in the market , what new products or services can you think of , what niche in the market you can service etc. Of course there is always that instance when someone finds inspiration to start a business over something that he/she never think about , or when a rare opportunity strikes and you can take advantage of it. There are also many that inherit family businesses and dont need to think twice about what they want to do .Or perhaps you are very good at your job now and found an original spin off idea that you can start your business with .

Anyhow, Yasmin found her ideal business. I hope you find yours too.