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Don’t be Afraid. Emerging Economies Bring Awesome Opportunities

Which is better… selling a few things at a large profit, or selling many things at a smaller profit? It might be a puzzling question at first. And emerging economies can seem like intimidating places to play. But whether we look at the mathematics or the ability to reach (and potentially help) more people, the answer becomes pretty clear.

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It’s no secret that developing markets – with low price thresholds and, therefore, low margins – can be hard to tap. After all, selling to the poor hardly sounds like a surefire way to make money.

But Mal Warwick, co-author of The Business Solution to Poverty, argues that big business is missing out on billions of dollars in potential annual revenue from developing markets. With 1.2 billion living on $1.25 or less per day, according to the World Bank, the unmet demand for affordable products and services is massive, he says.

Another example? Think of the more than 1 billion rural dwellers making a living from agriculture. They “are potential customers for income-generating tools and strategies,” Warwick said. “And that covers a wide range of potential products and services – anything from financial services, crop insurance, disaster insurance, you name it. There are ways to serve those communities and make a profit.”

Meeting emerging challenges

That begs the question: If the opportunity is so large, why aren’t more companies jumping in?

For a start, companies are aware that the MBA cookie-cutter approach doesn’t work well in economic hardships areas. Starting a stateside financial investment group is easy compared to navigating through complex legal requirements, local corruption and meddling governments.

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