In this era, internet is now a basic need just like food and clothing. Technology advancement has caused dynamic changes in the means used for communication. Gone are the days when information was so scarce and manual means of acquiring information were so cumbersome. You can get information at the tip of your hands through use of the internet. Without internet, modern life would be impossible. Starting an internet cafe business in Zimbabwe is profitable. 

The internet cafe has become the go-to place for people who wish to do their surfing and administrative work without having to go home. For some corporate types, it is a lunchtime pastime where they can surf without facing the scrutiny of their employers. People have laptops, cellphones and PCs but some do not have these gadgets and cannot afford to install internet at home. These people need the internet café services. You can easily profit and open your own internet cafe. Internet Cafe business is very straightforward and there is not much difference and it is easier to just look at what existing cafes are doing and follow suit.

What you need

Market research

Move around town and explore what other existing internet cafes are doing. After, come up with a strategy to differentiate your business from competitors. You can write down ways of how you are going to implement sustainable methods to start a successful internet cafe business. A good internet cafe business plan is required before you venture into this business. 

Business planning and strategy

Planning in advance will help you perfect your internet cafe business plan and cover all the relevant areas which are key in the success of your business. For example you may tackle issues such as knowing where you want to locate the business, who your target market is, what tactics you may employ to differentiate your business from that of the competitor and how much capital you may require. Your organizational structure must be flexible and unambiguous.

Capital for Internet Cafe Business

Consider the initial investment required to start the internet cafe business. You will need at least ten computers and a main server computer. Modems, routers, internet cables, printers and scanners are also required. You need a good power source and a backup generator. For a small internet cafe business, you may rent a space which can accommodate at least 10 customers. You can start your internet cafe business with at least $5000. 

Start small if you have limited capital. Everyone starts somewhere and in time you can then grow the size and get to where you want.You can also consider partnerships if your capital isn’t sufficient However, partnerships may come with conflicts. If you are going to get a loan, be sure to only borrow what you can pay back.

Get a license

Just like any other business activities, you need to apply for a registration certificate at the City Council. Without this certificate you cannot operate your internet cafe business.

Location of Internet Cafe Business

Business location will play an important role in helping to establish your internet cafe business. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers and imagine you are in town and have an important research to do and in need of fast reliable internet. In trying to solve such real life scenarios you get an understanding of how well located your business should be.

You should select locations that are close to your potential clients. For example, you may locate your internet cafe business in the CBD, near offices, schools, universities and airports. This is where the clients are more likely to come from. Consider also the number of competitors present in that area before establishing your business in such an area. 

Insurance and security

Insurance will protect you against unexpected and undesirable events. Look around and choose the best insurance company to cover your business especially your assets (computers). You also need to install an alarm system and employ a security company to provide with a guard. Break ins are very prevalent and it is better to be safe. Select a security company that is well reputable. In the case that you are renting in a mall such as Joina City you may not need a security guard.

Be organized

Organizational and problem solving skills are a must. Therefore before you kick start the internet business, seek expert knowledge. You may need to set up your shop in a way that will not cause electrical faults or challenges. Problem solving helps in dealing with customers and assisting them when they face any challenges . Use the very best up to date systems and networking facilities.

Choose a good Internet Service Provider

Subscribe for a service that offers the best reliable and fast internet connection. Time is money and customers want value for money and spending five minutes sitting without any internet connection is hazardous. If your internet connection is fast, customers will keep coming back and word of mouth spreads the message.

Find a good, reliable and affordable internet service provider. There are many Internet Service Providers in Zimbabwe. They include ZOL, Telone, Africom Zimbabwe, Aptics Zimbabwe, Powertel, iWay Africa, Telco and UMax. The Internet service providers offer various packages for Internet Cafes with various bandwidths and prices. Carry out your research and also take into consideration what service providers your competitors are using. 

Use a profitable business model

Select an appropriate business model that is suitable for you. You make focus on basic internet use but to have competitive advantage, make your internet cafe warm and welcoming by offering extra services such as comfortable armchairs, lounge, a sitting area and a cafeteria. Customers want to use the internet but the experience should make them feel at home and be able to relax. 

You have to make a decision on the type of internet services you are offering. It can usage based, time based, or both usage and time based. The most popular internet cafe business model in Zimbabwe is the time based model e.g. customers pay $1 to spend 1 hour on the internet. You should also offer WI-FI for your internet cafe business in Zimbabwe. This ensures that the number of customers is not limited by the number of computers. Clients can come and use their own laptops in the internet cafe. 

You may offer extra services such as selling printer inks, USB storage, discs, data cables and other internet based gadgets. You may also offer services in printing, encoding, games, graphic designing and layouts. The internet cafe can be combined with a gaming center to cater for the youths who might want both internet access and playing video games.

Management and employees

The number of employees you need will depend on the size of your internet cafe business. Hire at least two honest people who have experience in using computers and the internet. To add on, the employees should have good communication skills and be people friendly. They should be good in query management, be patient and have a passion to work with a lot of people.

Profitability and costs

Target revenue of at least $240 per computer in a month is sufficient to keep the business running and profitable. Costs will be for internet connection, rent, salary, electricity and rates. Manage your total operational costs to maximize on profits. For a small internet cafe business, you can make profits of at least $1500 a month. 

We wish you the best in your internet cafe business. Check out  more business ideas and our collection of business plans.  Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to receive notifications of new posts in your email.

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