Buying and selling is an age-old business venture that many people can easily start. The secret always lies in being smart enough to pick the right product. You want a product that is in high demand across an inexhaustible market. You also want a product that you easily source and at reasonable prices. That will ensure you are always stocked and can price competitively. One of such products is meat e.g. poultry, pork, fish, and so on. Our specific focus, for now, is fish – the buying and selling of fish. Let us talk about how and why you should do fish sales as a business idea in Zimbabwe.
When it comes to fish sales there are 3 broad areas of specialization. One, you either fish or hire people to fish for you from strategic water sources; dams especially. Two, you can find sources that deal with bulk fish sales and get them from there. Three, you can go into fish rearing yourself, something that is steadily gaining popularity in Zimbabwe. I want to focus on the number one and number two since they can work in unison.
There are several strategic water sources but I would recommend Kariba. This is because it is a reputable fishing location. Plus you get to have high-quality fish as well. The fish would have been brought up in the Zambezi River which provides a natural habitat. This is unlike other sources where the quality of the fish can be questionable. There have been cases where people buy fish that causes them to fall ill. Usually, that can happen due to cyanide which would have been used to catch them. If you source from Kariba you stand a good chance of getting high-quality fish.
So there is option one which entails doing or facilitating the fishing. This would require some significant initial capital investment. This is because you would need to either buy or rent a boat or canoe. Then you would need a fishing team that you would have to pay for. Payment terms can be cash-based or fish-based. For the latter, an example of an arrangement would be saying the team has a day or two out of the week. This means the fish they would catch from those days is exclusively theirs. The fishing route in the long run is the best approach because you get to the source yourself. This results in pricing flexibilities either for wholesale or retail.
The second approach entails sourcing from bulk fish sellers. If you go to Kariba there are plenty of those. Essentially these are usually those who would be doing the actual fishing. In starting this is the most ideal approach to settle for. You get to gradually understand the industry so that later on your scale. Your long term goal should be to end up with your fishing team and boat(s).
What you need is informed by the approach you want to use. That approach I recommended you should start with requires just capital. Then you will need to arrange transportation from Kariba. You can go by yourself or you can arrange with someone in Kariba to send it to you. It again mainly depends on the quantities; the bigger the quantities the greater the need to have personal transport.
Another important thing you need is cold storage i.e. freezer units. Again this will depend on the type of fish you are dealing with. There are fresh ones and dried ones – it could be wise to deal with both. Personally, I have noticed that if you deal with target markets without electricity challenges fresh fish are sought after more. For instance, the town I stay in does not experience load shedding so fresh fish move fast. The other requirement is licensing; you must acquire a fishing license. This helps especially in transporting your fish i.e. without such a license you can get into trouble with law enforcement. Particularly if you are going to be dealing with huge quantities, this is necessary.
Human And Financial Capital
This is informed by the approach you choose. For example, be it you are fishing or sourcing you can employ a renting model. You can rent a boat or canoe and you can even rent a freezer unit. I know of arrangements where you can rent a freezer unit for US$3 a night. You will be renting using space in someone’s freezer unit. At the most basic, if you are going to source from Kariba, as low as US$100 can be a good start. US$200 can get you anything between 80 kilograms to 100 kilograms of fish. Imagine if you were to start with US$500, you will make good money. Turnaround periods are short and the returns are quite good. You can sell either by weight-based pricing or per fish pricing. You can start this business solo and operate like that for the long haul. When you want to venture into fishing that is when you will need direct human resources.
I can tell you with confidence there are innumerable market gaps. Suppliers tend to be few and at times too expensive. We still have a scenario where fish is considered a luxury by many due to cost and accessibility issues. Bear in mind also that more and more people are becoming health-conscious. As such they now prefer white meat more than ever before. Chicken is of course mostly available but people also want variety. That is where fish comes in and after all, fish is a superior source of vital nutrients. In serving the market, pay attention to electricity dynamics. That will help you know which type of fish to focus on more. There are so many market gaps to leverage on. Most of the people I know that are into this fish sales business are failing to adequately meet the demand.
I know someone who is doing this type of business. No wonder I am recommending it because I have seen its potential to make you money. If you are diligent enough you can scale it to a point where you open fish outlets. Most people do it in an unstructured or hustling kind of way. Imagine if you bring in branding and structured business development, the possibilities will be infinite!