If there’s one thing Zimbabweans have firmly accepted it’s that starting and running a business is the way to go to navigate the landscape of Zimbabwe. For some employment is hard to come by, for most. For those fortunate enough to be employed, many find the remuneration is not adequate to live their best lives let alone make ends meet. So you will have a lot of people asking what business can they start or where to find good business ideas. The answer to the former is any business. For the answer to the latter, read on.
There’s a school of thought out there that is poisoning the mind of a disillusioned youth and populace insisting that working for someone else is the antithesis of running your own business. Nothing could be further from the truth. The best stories of people who started businesses are from people who started businesses that were related to the businesses their employers were in. Working is not enough, of course, it’s when you work with an attitude of learning as much as you can from your employer that you see the benefit of working for someone else and how it can aid the birth of your own business.
A business is a customer. You can start a business without every other we associate businesses with except a customer. What are customers? Well, customers are people in Business to Customer (B2C) markets and businesses run by people in business to business (B2B) markets. Networking in this case is about networking within an industry to get onto the pulse of the customers in the market need. Attend expos, trade shows and online events organised within the industry. People will drop clues about what is needed within an industry. Of course, this won’t work by itself, you have to combine it with the next place to find good business ideas.
There’s a saying that if you read 3 good books on a subject then you know more than 99% of people do about the subject. I cannot verify this but I do like the sound and mechanics of it. I prefer to put it in the terms “you don’t know what you don’t know”. All the working and networking in the world won’t help you if you cannot recognise an opportunity. Reading is not the panacea but it gives you a good knowledge base to work from when interacting at work or in the market. You’re better off with knowledge in an area than without. Read books, newspapers, magazines and any other publications that discuss shifts and ideas in your chosen industry.
The human mind has been likened to a computer that exists to answer questions. It handles simple questions such as what to eat for breakfast just as it handles complex questions such as how to improve the mobile phone or money. Develop the habit of asking yourself questions to do with the industry you are concerned with. Ask why things are done the way they are done. Ask what improvements would matter to the customers in the market. Ask how that can be achieved with the knowledge you have. Ask where you can improve your knowledge. Just keep asking good quality questions.
I love all of the social media, I really do. It has brought the world closer despite what we think. My favourite social media platform is Twitter and that has to do with how open it is and how it is based on conversation rather than catalogues of photographs and videos. It gives a glimpse into the minds of people as all social media do, just more. If you’re looking for business ideas this is a great place to start. Look at the questions that people in your geographical location talk about and ask for on these platforms and it will give you a picture of what is in demand with people and what you can look towards as great business opportunities.
This should go without saying but just in case these ideas are not meant to stand alone. Do not pick one of these and think you’re done. You’ve got to do all of these and that is just to find a business idea. Running it successfully comes from a whole different set of skills.