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Followers of our forum should have participated or seen the Long Cheng Challenge Post. On the post I asked the forum to assume they have been given a capital of $100 and you go to the popular Chinese shopping mall and u have to start a business. Tough task hey most of you struggled with the challenge because $100 is just too little for any meaningful business right?

I also carried out the challenge live when ZBIN was invited to carry out a business presentation at this popular local church. We simply asked congregants to go into pairs and come up with business opportunities they can pursue at LongCheng.
For minutes they struggled with the challenge, The Pastor, Mai Pastor…amongst the congregants were Bankers, Accountants, Economists, Teachers, Policemen, Students…I mean everyone. The good thing at the end of the minutes of ‘cracking heads’ they all came up with brilliant business proposals.

So what was the rationale of the challenge?

The rationale is twofold, the first is anyone can identify opportunities-everyone, no special skill required. If you are given a task to look for opportunities then you are not likely to come back empty handed! At this church we asked people to be in pairs which helped in the brainstorming sessions. So partnering with others can help you achieve more in identifying opportunities.

The second rationale, the main one is that we wanted to show the problem of the old model of investment. The old method is that whenever you think of business the first thing that comes to mind is Capital. Where are you going to find capital? If you are not going to find capital then that’s the end of story in your thinking. We had made it worse for members by asking them to confine themselves to $100. Had we asked them to look for opportunities without capital restrictions –chances are very high that they would have come up with more opportunities, even their innovation levels would certainly have been high.

To summarise it…the new way of investment is that of identifying opportunities first without capital worries, opportunity identification when not under pressure or restrictions allows a lot of innovation. After identifying opportunities then start finding how best to fund your ideas.

In funding it you may need to approach banks with business plans and given the prevailing environment, chances are high that your application will be turned down. You will not stop with banks-you explore more opportunities-how about venture capital? How about CrowdFunding? How about partnerships? ZBIN has helped members in getting partners…infact when we brainstormed on lack of access to capital we came up with a brilliant innovation of linking locals with the Diaspora!

We did not stop when we found opportunities but lacking capital, we kept on pushing and slowly the initiative is paying dividends. So the big point here is if you start investment by thinking of capital first then you are going to lose out on a lot of opportunities, your chances of stopping investing because of capital constraints are extremely high. The one who worries about capital last is the one most likely to succeed because he or she has no worries or restrictions limiting their thinking or innovation capacity.

Mwashuma Yaambo

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