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Lessons from South African Hawkers

As business owners one of the keys to success is understanding your market and clients needs, what better lesson can we learn about this but from the South African informal sector.

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As business owners one of the keys to success is understanding your market and clients needs, what better lesson can we learn about this but from the South African informal sector, which by far is the most innovative in this regard.

Lessons from a hawker include being adaptable and understanding the needs of their customers. If it’s Rugby season they don’t sell soccer shirts, they study and understand the needs of the customer and adapt to service them. More recently they have been selling masks to their customers instead of sunglasses due to the worldwide covid19 pandemic by understanding that it is a requirement for their customers to wear a mask in public. How adaptable are you to the current environment and do you understand  your clients needs?

Another lesson we can learn is that hawkers are visible and accessible to their clients. We all can think of where to find a guy selling masks right now. Are you visible to your clients?

This got me thinking that the most important driving factor is that South African hawkers  understand their “Why?”. They understand why they are in business. For some their why is to just make enough money to feed themselves for the day. What is your Why? If you can answer this question then that is what will push you to persevere during these difficult times.

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