A poor economy is sometimes good for new Business Opportunities
South Africa is a nation of entrepreneurs. As tough economic times prevail and people lose their 9 to 5 jobs, many have no option but to look for business opportunities and start their own business.
The reality however, is that 8 out of 10 small businesses fail within 2 years. Before starting your own business, here are some questions you need to ask yourself:
- Is there current demand for your product or service in your location or country?
- Will your product or service still be viable in 10 years time?
- How much capital is required to start your business, and will you be funding it yourself or requiring a loan? (Note: make sure you have enough capital to carry you for at least 3-6 months, as most businesses fail due to lack of cash-flow)
- How many service calls or products do you need to sell per month to generate your revenue goal?
- What is the profit margin for your product or service?
- Will your gross profit (revenue minus cost of goods) cover your operating expenses (i.e. marketing, salaries, rent, utilities, finance charges) and will there be some left for your living expenses and re-investment (i.e. net profit = Gross Profit – operating expenses)
- Is there potential for repeat ongoing business or recurring income (i.e. subscriptions and consumables?)
- …and probably the most important question of all, how is your service offering or product different from the competition?
As Peter Thiel implies in his book “Zero to One”, your business needs to be different to survive long term. Peter explains this by stating that when you start a business you must aim to become a monopoly, because when your business competes, profits are always under pressure. He goes on to advise that you should aim for a large market share of a small market, rather than a small share of a big market.
So what markets should South African entrepreneurs be focusing on when venturing into a new business opportunity?
Specialized Contracting Services Business Opportunities
Service companies will always be in demand, especially those requiring specialized skills : Plumbers, Electricians, Handymen, carpenters, gate and security system installation and maintenance. These businesses can now advertise their services for relatively small monthly fees in Google, Facebook and Small Local Business apps such as Chatpages .
If you are able to offer an outstanding service, most of your business will be generated from referrals and you won’t need to advertise much.
If you’re lacking in the above-mentioned specialized skills but have good management and people skills, why not start a contractors brokering service similar to the Uber model?
Cleaning Services Business Opportunities
Offices, Homes, BnB’s, restaurant and vehicles need cleaning on a regular basis. Everybody loves a clean environment but not many like to do the dirty work. Cleaning Services can be started small with a relatively small amount of capital.
One particular innovative cleaning service business opportunity being offered by Drysteam Supreme, uses high-tech Dry Steam machines that can clean vehicles, upholstery, carpets, bathrooms and kitchens with wet and dry steam, without chemicals and 90% less water. A business like this has a potential ROI (Return on Investment) of 5 to 6 months, assuming you are able to daily income of R3000 to R4000, which is the industry norm. It also offers an outstanding differentiator, as the majority of cleaning services companies in South Africa use conventional cleaning methods only. This type of business all offer the opportunity to start generating cash from day one and to generate repeat and referral business, thus helping to reduce marketing costs.
For example, you could start a mobile carwash business with the Drysteamsupreme machine. If you were to clean say 4 cars per day at R400 per car, you would generate R1200 per day. Of course, this is a conservative figure. Do it 6 times a week, 4 weeks per month, and you would have generated R28 800 per month. Operating costs would be fairly low as these machines use less than 4 litres of water to wash one car inside and out, and they use very little to no chemicals or detergents. There is of course, an electricity cost, perhaps rental of some space in an empty car park, labour costs (pay per completed vehicle only so workers are incentivised to do more) and petrol costs to visit customer premises. With over 10 million vehicles on South African roads, entrepreneurs have an exciting opportunity to disrupt the carwash business in Southern Africa.
Whatever business you do decide to pursue, start small, capture large share of your local market or niche, generate profits daily, and always but always, be outstandingly different when it comes to delivering superior and delightful customer service.
Business Opportunities abound for true entrepreneurs despite the economic situation.