I have overwhelming knowledge of how much Zimbabweans are passionate about business and entrepreneurship. Not a single day goes by without someone reaching out to me for a business or startup-related issue. That gives me great joy because as a nation, that is the path we must take. More and more businesses or startups must emerge in and from Zimbabwe. That hunger also creates a need and that is the quest for knowledge and guidance. Most of the aspiring ones are not well-versed with the tenets of starting and running an enterprise. One of the areas they tend to require guidance in is market research. That presents a business idea that I am discussing today.
This business idea is about doing market research for clients and charging them. Think of it as a variation of business plans by solely focusing on market research. Market research is of course a part of a business plan but is seldom that comprehensive. If it stands alone is it more likely to be more comprehensive. The importance of it being standalone comes in several ways. It is useful for an aspiring business person or entrepreneur to make decisions. Suppose someone wants to start a catering business, as an example. If they can access comprehensive market research it can guide their thinking process. They can have a clear picture of whether or not to pursue it. This is because market research clearly shows them what is needed, what to expect, and the prospects. So, the way you can approach this business is in two broad ways:
Pre-Done Market Research Documents
This is just like the case of a pre-written business plan. You figure out which business areas or ideas are mostly sought after. Then you conduct market research and come up with a comprehensive market research document. Then you can start selling them to clients who need those market research. In due course, you can always make adjustments to parts of it that would have changed e.g. stats and the like. The great thing about this is your work on market research once and get repeat incomes moving forward.
This one is for when a client comes and requests market research on an area you did not cover under the above option. By implication, I am recommending that you use both approaches. That way you diversify and spread out your revenue streams. The ‘upon request’ option also gives you more flexibility. As in, you might not necessarily always have to prepare a document. Depending on the client, it is possible to avail the solution in the form of a presentation. So, here there are several possible ways to deliver the result.
The beauty of this business idea is that you can run it solo. All you need is a PC, a smartphone, internet connectivity, and widespread social networking especially with industry players (an added advantage). You need to be substantially knowledgeable in the dynamics of business and entrepreneurship. Research skills are necessary and also data analytics. These are the minimum requirements necessary to start this business. For visibility, you can take advantage of digital marketing tools e.g. e-fliers and social media posts. If you want to go big you can even set up a website – even a one-pager can be enough. Having that online presence will increase your likelihood of being discovered.
Human And Financial Capital Needed
You can start solo and run the business sustainably for the long haul. This is mostly possible due to the nature of the services you provide. The solutions you put together for every client do not become obsolete. They can later be resold as is or repurposed for a different client. Thus every piece of work you produce goes to an ever-growing archive for later use. Financially it is limited to zero costs incurred to start. The minimum requirements I highlighted are most likely things you already have. Which means you can hit the ground running, at any time.
There is a huge market for this business idea. Your clients are not only in Zimbabwe. They can be anywhere in the world. For example, recently I was approached by a Zimbabwean in the diaspora planning to relocate back to Zimbabwe. They want to come and establish two businesses. They requested that I conduct market research for those two businesses to aid their decision-making process. This shows you that your pool of potential clients is limitless.
Important Things To Consider
Such a line of business requires you to be diligent and factual. Your work must show unquestionable excellence and attention to detail. Working like that usually compels clients to tell others. Your work has to speak for itself. Some of the key sections to cover in a market research exercise are:
Licensing and Regulation (Where Applicable)
Import Duty Frameworks (Where Applicable)
How To Stand Out
…and so on
There you have it, market research as a business idea. There are tremendous opportunities in pursuing this business. Not only do you make money, but you get to play a pivotal role in the building of business empires. You can take your shot at this in 2022.