David vs Goliath

It is unthinkable today for someone in a brick and mortar business to start a fast-food business with the intention of competing head on with the likes of McDonald’s or KFC.

Either this person is insane or will be viewed as one. Most will view this plan as a suicide act rather than an entrepreneurial spirit since the odds of this person able to sustain the business is near zero let alone winning.

However, in the startup world, the above scenario is viewed completely different. In the startup world to compete head-on with the giants that already dominate the market is known as an act of unconventional disruption. For startups, even the impossible is made possible since profit is the last and least important factor.

Just last week at an event which where I was invited as a speaker, I met an entrepreneur who runs an e-hailing start-up. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised that despite the dominance of Grab, this entrepreneur has gone on to start yet another e-hailing service. Just like me, he is certainly aware that even Uber, a power-house in e-hailing business, had to exit the ASEAN market due to intense competition from its even more powerful competitors in this region.

If Uber realised the intense competition in the market and recognised that it was impossible to compete, what makes this entrepreneur start yet another e-hailing company is difficult for me to understand. However, it is his belief that the new features introduced in his e-hailing service, such as either the passengers or drivers can select the same sex type they want to be picked up or to be driven by, will help propel his company in the e-hailing market.

Like I have highlighted numerous times in the past, fundamentally there is no difference between a start-up and a micro business. However, a start-up tends to operate in a fantasy-land and believe the impossible is possible. Regret to say, all those operating in the digital economy seem to have crafted an unconventional way of doing business where profit is not in their dictionary but sustainable loses is deem as a kind of achievement.

In Uber’s recent shareholder’s report, its CEO announced that the company’s priority is to maintain its losses. Since Uber has been making more losses each year, therefore, it is considered a remarkable target by the management if they are able to keep the losses at par and not further deteriorate.

Unlike its peers in the start-up world, traditional micro businesses aim only at making profit and any amount of loses is unthinkable for micro businesses operator.

God bless MSMEs! MSME