Senior citizens (people 65 years and older) constitute just 4.5% of the Zimbabwean population. Numbering just over 600000 according to 2018 estimates. Our economy is harsh and our environment even harsher on them. There are however still business ideas that can target senior citizens.
The strength of the extended family in Zimbabwe means two very important factors need to be considered when evaluating a business idea targeting this group. Firstly, the closeness of the family means that there are likely relatives who take care of specific needs they have in the home and perhaps with getting around. Secondly, Zimbabwe being what it is, live savings having been wiped out twice in the last 20 years, they are likely not the ones responsible for paying for these services. With those two things in mind let’s look at 5 business ideas targeting senior citizens in Zimbabwe.
Odd job /handyman
Because of the expertise that is sometimes required here the extended family may not always have someone capable of carrying out the task. Consider electric repairs or small home renovations like tiling. Positioning yourself is key to succeeding in this endeavour. A smash and grab approach will likely not work well, it is important to develop a relationship.
Depending on where they are located they are bound to require transport from time to time. It’s not likely to be your busiest demographic but they will need the service here and there. The extended family may come in in some cases and provide this but in many cases, time and access may prevent them from doing so. Again positioning and creating a relationship gets you in.
This a fantastic opportunity and so far there’s been an attempt to implement it on a large scale; Lytee. Where getting around is a challenge there’s an opportunity to provide concierge or errand services for senior citizens. It’s hard living in Zimbabwe and even harder on the elderly. Where technology cannot simplify things or is too complex to easily be adopted you can step in and offer the service. This simply involves taking time out to do their errands for them, for a fee.
While the elderly may be resistant to the changes that new technology brings on they still need it. Their children and grandchildren are often the push for this. Technology is not always friendly and less so to those who’ve been around longer. Positioning yourself as the go-to person for assistance with any problems encountered can provide a decent income stream. The issue to remember here is that because of advanced age you are likely to encounter many phantom problems. So this is not one for those who are not prepared to be sensitive. It’s also highly likely you will receive queries from a broad spectrum and even outside your body of knowledge.
As the years advance health becomes a greater concern for the average human being. Providing solutions for senior citizens which include herbal remedies, dietary support and preventative solutions can create a very healthy business for you. For the most part, they do tend to be health conscious and proactive in that regard.
As I mentioned earlier there’s a great possibility that your customer and consumer may be different people altogether. So you need to convince more than one person in many cases. Because they are likely to be retired or on limited incomes, they are a price-sensitive demographic, consider a no-frills approach with no bells and whistles, just the essentials.