My recent lengthy sit-down with Jamaican-Canadian billionaire Michael Lee-Chin revealed some great nuggets of wisdom around wealth creation as well as insight into the transformation the island of Jamaica has seen since having to sign a deal with the IMF and reforming many things in the country.
Mr. Lee-Chin spoke about the 3 pre-conditions that get him and his team excited about a wealth-creating opportunity and I believe that it applies to a range of scenarios, not just investing at his level.
1 . “There must be a difference between perception and reality”
Jamaica itself was an example of perception being different from reality when he was doing the roadshow for his intended initial public offering (IPO) of National Commercial Bank (NCB) on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
He kept being told “good business, bad neighborhood” and “good business, bad zip code” which is something many aspiring and existing real estate investors understand.
Location matters but the gentrification in the USA is proof that perception really can be different from reality.
While many see no opportunity to create wealth, someone else recognizes it and does the work.
This also holds true for entrepreneurs like Daymond John who founded FUBU while working at Red Lobster.
The perception was that Black Americans and Hip-Hop consumers were not a major market for new brands. He, Jay-Z and many others proved that perception was indeed different from reality.
2. “There must be inefficiencies”
Successful entrepreneurs know that there is an opportunity because the existing companies are not efficiently serving the target market or there is an unmet need in the marketplace (inefficient market).
There is no business opportunity without inefficiency.
3. “There must be a lack of equity capital”
Mr. Lee-Chin finished that sentence with “flowing into the region, the area, the sector.” Black Americans recognize that there is a lack of equity capital flowing into many areas and sectors that can make money. This is often because perception is different from reality.
It is easy to see fast food restaurants in majority-Black neighborhoods but limited equity capital going towards fresh produce stores.
Payday loans, debt capital, at common but few angel investor groups actively looking to invest in Black businesses and help them scale.
Do you think that these 3 preconditions can help you better identify opportunities?