Starting your own business doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. There are a number of services that fill a definite need in peoples’ lives especially in your neighborhood.
What you need to do first is your market research by speaking to the people around you. Then, choose an idea, get the necessary equipment and start marketing your service using local newspaper ads, fliers, posters and a free website.
Six Small business ideas
1. Packing & unpacking service
Moving house is one of life’s nastier tasks. Step in and serve! Call on all the houses for sale in your area and offer your services as a packer and unpacker of their household items. Get boxes for free from supermarkets and bottle stores. Use packaging tape and bubble wrap for fragile items. Furniture removal companies offer this service but charge around R100 per box. Your average household will fill twenty boxes at least. That’s R2,000 for a few hours’ work!
2. Adventure tours
South Africa is a prime tourist destination and adventure-seekers are hungry for new thrills. Identify businesses in your province that offer adventure activities and create an itinerary of exciting pursuits like game drives, hot air ballooning, zip slides, bungee jumping, river rafting, helicopter flips etc. Place your brochures/pamphlets at tourism kiosks and arrange commission or discounts from the businesses you work with. Hire a car or bus to ferry your visitors to and from the hotel or airport.
3. Cover letter/resumé service
A convincingly written and well-formatted CV/resumé is essential in today’s job market. With a PC and printer, you can make good money crafting power-CVs for job hunters. Start by interviewing them, capturing all their personal details, skills and past working experience. Get a list of references and call them, letting them know they may get a call from a prospective employer of your client. Always write a covering letter that really ‘motivates’ why your client feels they’re the right person for the job. For formats & more on CV writing go to www.resumeresource.
4. Mobile mechanic
If you know a bit about cars, you can take advantage of all the older cars still running in SA. They’re prone to failure and not everyone has a good mechanic at hand, or is a member of the AA. Start an ‘on-call’ (cell phone) breakdown and mechanic service, giving customers quick, reliable assistance. Keep a database of all the cars you service and give owners reminders about when their next service is due. Get parts as cheaply as possible from suppliers (insist on discounts) and kit out with quality tools, a hydraulic jack, mechanic’s trolley and oil catching pan for effective mobile operations.
5. Mobile dog grooming
Love dogs? Got a car? Get a plastic bath, a short hosepipe (with a selection of tap attachments), a dog leash, dog brushes, hair and nail clippers, dog shampoo and powder and you’re all set to give the dogs in your area a ‘makeover’. You’ll do your work at your client’s premises so your overheads will be minimal. Dog parlours charge between R100 and R150 for a clean and trim. Charge less and boom. You can also speak to your local Vet. You never know.
6. Power washing
Oil on driveways and forecourts, mud-cakes on truck trailers? An opportunity awaits you, your car, a high-pressure washer and some power-cleaning detergents. South Africa has a booming truck fleet market. These vehicles run all week with little time for washing. Contact fleet managers and offer your services, cleaning both vehicles and the yard. Petrol stations also require oil removal from their forecourts. Start by renting a high-pressure washer – check the Yellow Pages under ‘Tools, Hire’.
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