By: Carl Burnham
Sitting here on the rooftop of my hotel in Kathmandu, the almost constant sound of motorbike horns blaring and the snow capped Himalayas just visible through the city haze off in the distance, got me thinking.
The Nepali are widely regarded as being some of the happiest and wisest people on the planet. Their outlook on life and how to live it attracts thousands each year who are keen to escape their busy Western lifestyle and become enlightened to a new way of living.
But in this pursuit of happiness many Westerners come to Nepal and miss out on learning some great lessons from the people right in front of them. No not the Monks in robes, living in Monasteries up in the mountains, but the guy in the taxi asking if you want a ride, or the lady in the shop selling hand knitted goods in amazing colours and patterns.
Nepali entrepreneurs are amazing. They are entrepreneurs in the truest sense of the word. They might not be making colossal change in the world or be planning on taking their business global but that’s not the point. They are amazing because of their ability to keep it simple and get it done, something many Western entrepreneurs and we at Napkin Culture sometimes struggle to do.
They know what they do and how to do it. Mike wrote a few weeks ago about thinking niche and the future of business. The Nepali do this without even realising. The young bus conductor knows his niche are people wanting to pay no more than 20 rupees (around $AUD 0.25) for a ride, so his job is to cram as many people onto a 15 seater van as humanly possible, sometimes upward of 40! The roof is also available to those wanting air conditioning.
The taxi driver knows his target market are people wanting to get to a place faster, in less crammed conditions and therefore charges around 400 rupees ($AUD 5) for the same journey. A bit of haggling can also go a long way.
The crew at Buddha Bar know what’s up. Their main customer base are the young tourists that come through Kathmandu. They offer friendly service, cheap food and drink that you can enjoy confident you won’t get sick and a relaxed vibe that is a mix between a trendy Chapel Street bar and a Nepali teahouse. Butpal the bartender there is a legend, ask him for a Buddha Blaster and prepare for a night you will most likely never remember.
This is not earth shattering news for those with some sort of business sense, but coming to a place like Nepal gives you an idea of what commerce would have been like 50-100 years ago. It’s the bare bones of business. The fundamentals. The things that sometimes get forgotten in a fast paced and ever changing Western world.
Now I’m not suggesting going back in time and doing business like we are in the 1920′s, we have come a long way, but having a simple approach to what you do and how you do it can’t hurt. We have all heard the overused acronym K.I.S.S, (keep it simple stupid) but most disregard it as common knowledge and forget about it when making business plans or solving problems.
Strip your business and idea down to the bare bones. Keep it simple. Remember the fundamentals. It is often harder than making it complex but very effective.
Above all else start something.
ideas start here…