There are numerous business ideas in the form of digital solutions that you can start right now. The possibility of developing a business or startup without any need for brick and mortar infrastructure opens up endless possibilities. It is no wonder why some of the biggest companies in the world are Facebook and Google who for the most part do not manufacture and sell anything. Opportunities in the digital space in Zimbabwe are even broader because digital solutions are only beginning to steadily pick up now.
I am well aware that there are several such businesses already in existence in Zimbabwe. That does not, however, mean that the market is saturated; there is still room for more. In fact, most of the existing online directories or listings are not providing complete packages. Besides, there are still many untapped areas that need such innovations. Let me give a personal example to highlight this point. I am currently working on a project where I am putting together a comprehensive list of contact details of agribusinesses in every African country. It has not been an easy journey so far because it is a tall order to find such details online. At times you do get comprehensive details, it is sketchy, and at times there is none at all.
This clearly made me wish there was some online platform that has comprehensive directories or listings of agribusinesses in Zimbabwe. I am hinting at the approaches you can take in starting this business. Do your homework and find out sought after details that are scarce online and you create a platform that lists those details. From my example, you can establish a platform where agribusinesses can sign up to get their profiles listed. So this can be done for literally any industry or specific niche of business.
You need to have computer hardware and related software. You also need mobile smart devices such as phones, tablets, and the like. Your operation will be online so you will need reliable access to the internet. You most probably outsource services from web developers, graphic designers, and so on. This is a business that can be run from home but if you feel like you want an office somewhere you can do so.
Human And Financial Capital
Not much is required for either. If you have a good laptop or desktop, smart mobile devices, and internet connectivity you can actually start. You would have to pay for a web developer and web hosting. You can even run the business solo for starters. Thus not much is needed from the beginning.
It is all about strategically niching but the market is inexhaustible. You just have to make sure you do your market research; never assume anything!
Important Things To Consider
If you are to provide a game-changer solution you will have to think differently. Here I will discuss 3 of the areas you can work on to provide a unique digital solution.
Carefully consider the way you will use for users to access the platform. Most people use websites and that does work; in fact, it is strategic. This is because you can ultimately rank higher in Google searches if you skilfully do your search engine optimization (SEO). Anyways, there is an option of developing an app. You would have to do some research on this. I know that the uptake and use of mobile apps in Zimbabwe, especially homegrown apps, is usually very low. There is a way you can make a mobile app more appealing though; will discuss that a bit later.
Still, on the user interface, I have noticed most web-based user interfaces have some issues. Mostly the sites are poorly designed; at times the landing pages are so crowded that it is kind of depressing to navigate. If you can work on that to come up with cleaner and minimalist user interfaces that would be great.
I recommend that your niche and even niche a niche further. For instance, agribusinesses are of course a niche but they can be broken down further. You can zone into the more specialist areas e.g. aquaculture businesses, millers, processors, traders, and so on. I have noticed some existing online directories have too many categories and this ends up making the user interface cumbersome. Strategically niche so that you can really comprehensively come up with a complete solution. Remember a jack of all trades tends to be a master of none.
Wherever possible, make it possible for users to access the platform without the need for data. This can cause the mobile app approach to flourish. Many Zimbabweans cannot access the internet all the time so factor that in. You can even consider regularly coming up with periodic physical listings or directories that people can subscribe to buy. You can even include an online copy so that people can choose. They will be having the most updated and comprehensive company or business profiles – just an idea you can also explore.
There are many ways in which you can make money from an online listing or directory. The concept is that to a greater extent users must be able to access the platform free. This means you will have to explore business models such as subscriptions (e.g. the businesses wanting to be listed), freemiums (users and even businesses can pay to access more advanced services), and advertising (paying for ad placement).
As you can see this business idea wields tremendous opportunities. Every industry in Zimbabwe needs comprehensive and up to date online directories or listings. Go right ahead and be the game-changer.