When one finds themselves in a new town, it is usually difficult to make head or tail of the new environment. I have had the chance to visit new towns in the past and I have learned to spot opportunities or tell there is some money in that economy. I visited Kitui Town in Kitui County for the first time on 20th September, 2016. I must say I was impressed. The roads are well done; no potholes. The town is relatively clean. The governor of Nairobi could learn a thing or two on improving our capital city.
I have come up with my own analysis of towns on first visit and I would like to share my thoughts. How do you tell a town has business opportunities?
1) Number of banks and financial institutions: just as fish love water and hyenas love meat, banks love money and can smell it 100 kilometers away. If you see that a town has more than 10 banks, with KCB Bank, Barclays Bank, Cooperative Bank and Equity Bank in place as well as other financial institutions such as KWFT, Faulu Bank and Family Bank, that town has money. Such an economy is also invariably sustained by mobile money, which is huge among the unbanked.
2) Petrol stations: if a small town has more than five petrol stations, it means there is a lot of public transportation. The traffic means money is changing hands and there is interconnectivity with nearby towns and market centres.
3) Construction of new buildings and continuous renovation of old buildings: real estate grows where there is demand. Customers want to be seen in buildings that appear new, stylish and fresh. The county governments have devolved a bit of this construction.
4) Presence of a university or a large manufacturing outfit: these facilities are big employers. The employees are customers for basic needs; namely housing, food, schools, clothing, Mpesa and banking services. It thus goes without saying that those universities will drive hostels, cereals, bakery and fast moving consumer goods (FMCGs) businesses among others.
5) Supermarkets: the presence of more than three large supermarkets means there is customer traffic; a large population with purchasing power.
Therefore entrepreneurs, as you trade, look around. Do you see any of these indicators? If so, how do you get enjoined in the economic ecosystem that you have seen? What are you good at? What do customers want? Do you have the capacity to deliver value affordably at a descent profit? What can you engage in creatively and innovatively that will make you stand out?
Allow me to submit that Kericho and Kitui towns are ripe for business. Why?
- a) They both have more than 10 banks in the central business district (CBD)
- b) They have more than five petrol stations in town
- c) They have an active bus park- always full with people and vehicles
- d) They have several active campuses in the radius of 30 kms from the CBD
Therefore go thee and engage in commerce, use your talent, time and treasure and build thy wealth.
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