This is a general guide to help you identify business opportunities in your area and not just Harare. As ZBIN we believe that everyone should be skilled in business opportunity identification.
Opportunity recognition means to look at the same situation that everyone else does yet anticipate and predict something different. It is the ability to see new angles, new opportunities, and new ways of doing things, it is about exceeding the limits and go outside the box and think in non-traditional way.
I will try and use Zimbabwe specific guidance and hopefully at the end of the day you will grasp 1 or 2 tips for your own benefit.
Compare and Contrast: Did you read my post about business opportunities at High Glen Shopping Centre? The simple task that I was using is common sense comparing and contrasting using High Glen versus other shopping malls such as Westgate, Long Chen, Sam Levy, Bulawayo Centre and shopping malls from other countries. So one can easily do an analysis and ask why certain activities do not exist at a particular place. Read my article about a music shop at Harare International Airport and see my simple analysis.
Break the monopoly: In every business sector, there is room for more players. You must use your imagination to find how you can break monopolies. Take for instance ZESA; you can enter the Electricity market by introducing solar products, by introducing wind energy.
Knowledge gaps: Are people in an area knowledgeable? Is there a gap in terms of knowledge? Take for example ZBIN, we realised that there was no Zimbabwean Facebook page that promotes business discussions. Most if not all pages on Facebook cater for adverts and not business discussions. We therefore opened a page that helped to promote business idea sharing and discussions. You may have seen us championing the investment by Zimbabweans in Mozambique-reason? No one is talking about Mozambique in terms of business. The current knowledge of Mozambique by Zimbabweans is that it is a war ravaged and poor country where no opportunities exist. As a group we toured the country and discovered opportunities that exist in the country that are being grabbed by other foreign nationals. So the gap in knowledge has enabled us to create opportunities in Mozambique for Zimbabweans.
New Developments: Perhaps the simplest business identification skill. Kungonzwa kuti kune zvinhu zvirikuuya then you should shout Opportunity! New policies,new strategies, new measures etc. Take for example the SI 64 instrument on banning specific imports into the country; whilst the rest of the country was country was seeing gloom and doom, some were busy strategizing on how best to benefit. OK Stores recently showed a 90% jump in profits in their recent financial statements and this is largely due to factors such as SI 64 and even the liquidity challenges. So a new suburb, a new school, a new church, a new currency, a new website like ZBIN, a new manager at your company-they all represent opportunities. Be careful though in the use of this strategy because it is extremely risky
Common Problems: What are people complaining about? Is it customer service? A good example is the current air pollution in Harare caused by burning at Pomona Dumpsite. We already have companies that are advertising face masks to Hararians…Aaah ichi chakanyanya ichi lol. So just list problems that people are facing and in trying to solve them ndipo unowana opportunities. Water problems in Harare has resulted in new companies being formed to help ease the problem. The shortage of Government Schools has opened new avenues for some to open private colleges.
Automate It: This needs a whole page to explain; maybe I should cover it as a separate post. If a process is in manual form, then automate it. If you are a lawyer and you file client files manually, you are not able to access client files when out of time. To solve your problem-automate your filing system and in so doing develop new innovative systems that you can sell to others. At this school where my kid goes we no longer receive newsletters. Last week they introduced an App where you get all updates about school activities, updates about what your kid is doing-homework,sports and online feedback from teachers and other school authorities. Allow me to write a detailed post about disruptive technology next week.
Lifestyle Trend Analysis: Closely related to ‘new developments’ this allows you to have a closer look at any community and finding out latest lifestyle trends. For instance Hararians love to flock to Pentecostal Churches, Hararians love to braai meat, Hararians are now mobile with a lot of cars in the city. The youth love social media. You can even compare and contrast with neighbouring countries and in so doing, identify business opportunities.
Franchising: Here is one for the lazy types, just look at franchising websites and find out the list of business for franchise, look at all categories and new ones. Have a look at businesses for sale and find out why? Easy way to identify business opportunities.
Move a gear up: So you tell your workmates that you want to invest in baking cakes-what are they going to say? Iwe woda kunyura manje,zvawandirwa izvi-hazvisisina mari izvi. What should be your response? Well I will be baking cakes yes, but iam thinking of moving a gear up. I have realised that no one is teaching folks who are into baking the business side of baking. I have realised that there are few networks of baking professionals? I have realised that there are no Apps on baking in Harare?
So if you start teaching others how to bake then you have moved a gear up, you have entered new territory, if you form a network of baking professionals, then watosimuka. If its Kombi business and you start managing kombis on behalf of others then you have moved a gear up. Allow me to reproduce an article on moving to the next level next week.
So enough for now. I will refine the guidance and give it to the group that will be touring Mozambique in December.
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