‘Think From The Market Backwards’

‘Think From The Market

By Hadi DP Mahmud

Bandar Seri Begawan – Local Small
and Medium Enterprises need to expand their awareness of the
possibilities in the halal industry in order to truly “capture a
market”, a halal expert said.

“They need to look at the
market, what does it need? And then decide what they
want to produce,” Abdalhamid Evans, Imarat Consultants, told The Brunei Times

He recalled an issue
that came up when he and his wife Salama were with the
Halal Journal, where a Malaysian company decided to sell
satay to the Middle Eastern countries.

After marketing the
satay with the accompanying traditional peanut sauce,
soon enough it discovered the hard way that the Middle
Easterners did not relish the sweet-tasting peanut gravy
like Malaysians.

“Then this foreign
company, not Malay, decided to start producing satay
with the right flavour for the Arab market. And the
product was a success, whereas in Malaysia that product
probably wouldn’t have been.

“You just can’t expect
everyone to like what you like,” said Abdalhamid.

Markets are thoroughly
studied and understood before one can see the “gaps
within”, said Abdalhamid, and this critical way of
thinking can only come by with an entrepreneurial spirit
that is continuously nurtured, and for Brunei this will
be its greatest challenge.

Because of this, the
new generation is going to matter more than ever,
especially those “who aren’t necessarily thinking about
getting a government job”.

“When you’re 25 you
don’t think about the world as the same way you do when
you’re 55. You think about it differently. If one could
get a new generation of bright young Bruneians to think
about business in another way  to think of things no
one’s thought of it won’t even be suggestions coming
from government officers saying, “Why don’t you do

“It’d be some guy
saying, ah, I’m gonna do this’. New ideas, new projects
and new kinds of businesses will emerge out of that.

`And I think the most
important thing is to nurture a kind of culture which
allows that kind of new thinking to happen,” said

But the Toronto
resident (who is no stranger to Brunei having worked on
a consultancy basis with the Ministry of Industry and
Primary Resources for several years now) warned that
while being in Brunei has its benefits, it has some
crucial perks too.

“The benefit of being
in Brunei is that you will be safe and comfortable.

“But being safe and
comfortable is not necessarily the best environment to
think of new business ideas. Maybe you need to be a
little bit uncomfortable but I’m sure by then you’ll
come up with something.”
Courtesy of The Brunei Times