Valuable Small Business Lessons from Street Vendors

As someone born and raised in the Philippines, I've such great respect for some street vendors who never run out of new business ideas and always ...


As someone born and raised in the Philippines, I’ve such great respect for some street vendors who never run out of new business ideas and always willing to go out of their way to sell more items. Perhaps it’s desperation or maybe there’ more to that.

There’s an interesting article in Open Forum that talks about what street vendors can teach about bootstrapping and entrepreneurship. Here’s the highlight of the article:

Funding a business, or more precisely, risking losing money when starting a business, is the single largest obstacle for most entrepreneurs. Even good ideas can take time to fine-tune or pan out.

That’s why I have the most respect for the ‘street-stall entrepreneur’ one finds in developing countries. This is the individual who starts out with absolutely nothing, and shamelessly sells any product they can from the street to make his living

These kinds of people conduct the most raw, basic form of entrepreneurship – struggling to make money while their finances hang by a thread. And I think a lot can be learned from them.

Here are six (actually there are only 4 in the original article) points every entrepreneur can learn about bootstrapping from these self-made street-stall entrepreneurs.

1. As a micro-entrepreneur, it’s crucial to first establish a core cash flow.

2. But it’s okay to avoid getting tied up by a long-term full-time job position if it’s going to prevent you from devoting your all to your business.

3. Don’t be afraid to sell your products before you even have them in stock – or just sell the exact same thing as other established companies, and do it better.

4. Entrepreneurship is all about simply not paying upfront for anything – through revenue share and partnership agreements, generally.

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