Let us talk about software a field that is unlimited and ever-expanding. I shall be dealing specifically with what is termed SaaS which stands for software as a service. This is basically a software product that is accessible based on a subscription model. It is usually centralized and accessible through the cloud. The other common model used here is the freemium model. This is where the basic features are accessible for free but more advanced features are paid for. You could in some cases refer to SaaS interchangeably with PaaS. This is because in some cases it can be a platform as a service. The core idea is that the software or platform is accessible from centralized cloud storage. Examples of SaaS or PaaS are cloud storage service providers e.g. Dropbox and Box. In this article, I am looking at SaaS business ideas for Zimbabwe.
Online Payment Gateway
Do you know about Pay Now? Some of you know about it; it is the most significant online payment gateway in Zimbabwe. A payment gateway is a platform that facilitates and or processes payments between various parties. It can be business to business (B2B), business to customer (B2C), customer to customer (C2C), and so on. Just a few relatable examples; Pay Now makes it possible for you to pay for your utility bills, airtime, and so on using online payments options. We could do with more such platforms in Zimbabwe because there definitely still are gaps to be filled. So this is an interesting SaaS business idea worth pursuing. As always you can choose to be all-encompassing; or you can niche by different metrics e.g. industry, area of specialization, location and the like.
This is just an example of a business area that deserves piercing attention i.e. sales. (Otherwise, you can actually a SaaS that solely focuses on one business area. For example, it can be Social Media Management, Marketing, Collaborative Teams, and so on). Anyways, many local businesses and startups struggle with tracking sales. Most enterprises do not effectively track their sales. Most that do track their sales use manual methods that are menial and hectic. You can develop a SaaS that such entities can use in tracking their sales. This will help them manage their cash flows more effectively. Such a SaaS can be made in such a way that a business can know its gross profit (GP) at the end of each day and much more.
Even further you can develop a SaaS product that provides holistic management of one’s business. This will be an all-in-one platform where core business components of a business day to day operations or processes. These are components such as invoicing, payroll management, customer relationship management, human resource management, asset management, and inventory management, amongst others. The basic approach will be using cloud technology to manage all these aspects. You can develop a generalized SaaS or you can niche e.g. Butchery Management App, Restaurant Management, and so on.
Education has had to evolve due to the new normal brought about by the pandemic. The need to facilitate online learning has become more imperative for continuity. This is new territory for most people both students, educators, and learning institutions. Several segments within education could do with software innovations. For example, core textbooks can be digitized and made available online. People can then subscribe to get access to such reading material. Software products aimed at facilitating online classes can also be developed. Student management portals or software also come in handy. Software products to help various stakeholders, e.g. teaching staff and administrators, are yet another niche. Clearly, there are many possible focuses when it comes to SaaS in academics.
Online Business Listings
There remains a huge gap in Zimbabwe when it comes to business listings in this digital age. I wish to see integrated online software platforms that effectively list Zimbabwean business service providers. They can be by industry, location or they can be all-encompassing. However, I feel niching is the best approach so that high-quality software products are developed. Imagine a SaaS that businesses can access to get listed and prospective customers access to look for business service providers. Imagine having such a platform for Harare, as an example. A platform that someone new in Harare can access to find all they might ever need in Harare. I wish to see that in Zimbabwe in the nearest future; all this presents remarkable business opportunities.
These are 5 top of mind SaaS business ideas that are relevant to Zimbabwe right now. Moving forward we will need more of such software products as Zimbabwe steadily adopts the use of digital technologies. The beautiful thing about SaaS businesses is that they are scalable, can be easily pivoted, and work well with numerous business models.