From "subsistence entrepreneurship" to "opportunity/high impact entrepreneurship"

Hi all,

I went a week ago to the annual conference of one of our Endeavor Colombia Companies: Servinformacion - one of the companies I directly serve! Servinformacion is in the business of  GIS

I had the pleasure to be on an amazing session that  closed me up into the "world" of the "tiendas"

The format of "tienda" is so far known by me from my home country Colombia and partly, from other few Latin American countries.  A "tienda" is a shop, a very small one, "messy" one, driven by an entrepreneur that without much technique and academic formation (yet, very savvy) sells a wide array of categories of food and beverages (mainly) for consumers. 

The historical boom of "Tiendas" in Colombia is not about them selling "cheap" - being such a "humble" format one might think that this is the driver of their success, but it is not -  they are certainly NOT cheap. The format is simply a natural response to a market reality: in Colombia 6 out of 10 people earn/are paid daily. Yes, every day they manage to earn something (formally or informally) and every day they buy their food for the next day and somehow manage to save/reserve a piece of the daily money for their other expenses. Who will go then with 5 (or way less) USD to a supermarket, where just taking a bus will probably cost you 1 USD? Almost nobody ... so people go to their "tienda" and buy, close to home, whatever they need.

Now, the essence of my post is not about the "tiendas" - although I love marketing I am certainly not a guru in the "tienda phenomenon". The essence of my post is about how the "tiendas" are evolving from a "subsistence venture" to a higher impact venture.

On the conference it was said that one of the main reasons (if not the main) for the format to evolve into a more professional, structured and customer-friendly one, was the fact the the children of "tenderos" (the owners of the tiendas) did not want to become "tenderos". Even if through the "tienda" business their parents were able to raise them and give them in many cases even university education, they expected an "upgraded" version of the business.

So, these children that, as said, had the chance to access to education started to become the new generation of "Tienda" Entrepreneurs, evolving the "Tienda" format into the "Superette" format. A "Superette" is the upgraded version of the "Tienda", which as first sight might just look as a "small" supermarket (a mini-market) but yet conserving the convenience (location-wise) of the "Tienda".

There are additional other reasons why the new format also worked quite well for a "Tienda" family. The first one is related to security. An old format "Tienda" offered way less security for owners in terms of robbery from customers, but also from burglars. In the new format given its structure they can have professional watchmen and other complementary systems (cameras, sensors, etc.) that can help them be more aware. The second reason why the new format also worked quite well is related to "quality of life" of the entrepreneur. It`s been always said that for the business to work, a "Tendero" had to be present at the shop  24/7.  It is clear that (for a "Tienda" or for any other business) an Entrepreneur has to be immerse in the business - this leading role should not be eliminated. However, with the new format more systems and competent people have the potential to be considered, so that the "Tendero" does not have to be there to do every delivery and count every penny.  

The typical "TIENDA"

The "Superette"

How can`t we talk about the format evolving into a higher impact venture when ...

1. As per a survey realized last year 77 % of the "Tiendas" were attended by only 1 person, and now with the "Superettes" way more people (qualified and not) are required?

2.  As per a survey realized last year 62 % of the "Tiendas" sold less than 100 USD a day and now with the "Superettes" given the attractive format and a wider set of products way more than that is sold?

I know this analysis is still very superficial, yet the discovery is fascinating. In the past, always when we wanted to give an example of a subsistence entrepreneur, we couldn`t find a better one than the "Tendero". Now we can see the even such a business has the potential to develop high impact characteristics and re-invent its nature, adding way more value to the  customers and also to the value chain surrounding the business. To me that`s amazing. 

When was the last time you want to a "Tienda"? Do you actually go to one? What have you seen?