After I finished my presentation on how entrepreneurs can use innovation to leverage in the market, a young lady posed her concern.
She explained that she had tried many innovative ways but her nuisance competitors kept frustrating her by copying nearly everything she did and capitalising on her ideas and marketing innovations.
I paused and remembered what one of my business mentors told me years ago. He said that where he came from there were many monkeys, squirrels and several rodents that kept maize farmers on their toes from the time they sowed the seeds to the time they harvested. Yet, what inspired him most is the fact that no farmer failed to harvest maize because of those enemies competing to get a share of his husbandry endeavours.
Like a good farmer an entrepreneur should be undeterred by copycats, imitators and greed merchants who try to get their customer by copying their marketing strategies or by undercutting through offering lower price. Of course, it is not fair for others to imitate your ideas or copy your products and marketing strategies to profit from your efforts. But since people will do it anyway, it is good you accept that reality and find a way to deal with it.
First, just like a farmer you have to continue fighting the enemies without losing focus. You have to find more innovative ways of dealing with competitors who apparently cannot come with their own ways of survival.
They fact that they copy from you means you are smarter than them. So, run first and let them trail behind.
Pioneers of new ideas and innovation in the market have advantage of being their first to capture market needs and attention. But they have a share of their woes too. As the adage goes ‘they get arrows in their backs.’ It pains to see people compete you on price especially after you have spent time and money on research and product development to get at it.
However, do not be tempted to compete on price. It never pays. Most of those who compete on price actually do it blindly without looking at long term consequences. Some are ignorant of their actual cost of production or what makes customers want to buy. If someone tries to outdo you on pricing, intensify you value and you carry the day.
Sometimes you don’t have to create new products. You just need to present your existing products in new innovative way. This is one way of creating value and staying abreast of your competition.
In order to understand your customers and their needs, you need to stay close to them. One of the single greatest weakness of most business owners and managers is not staying close or in touch with their customers. They leave customers to interact with sales people, delivery guys and accountants who hardly have time for customers in their haste to meet targets.
World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021
World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.
“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.
He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.
The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.
People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.
For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.
Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.
“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.
Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.
“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”
According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.
Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans
The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.
Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.
Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options.
This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.
The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.
The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.
The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).
The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.
The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour; Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).
The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.
Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”
He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.