8 original business ideas
by Staff Journalist
Skilled staff that come at a reasonable price are difficult to find.
|Published in: Business Opportunities|
Fill this gap by offering a virtual assistant service.
Virtual assistants allow entrepreneurs who do not have the need for full time personal assistants to use them on a need-by-need basis.
So if they need their dry cleaning picked up you bill them for half an hour of your time.
Someone else may need typing done, you bill them for the time it takes.
Skills needed: A driver’s licence, organisational and secretarial skills are a must. You can also offer specialised services such as bookkeeping if you have the skills.
Equipment needed: You will need a car, computer, telephone, fax, email and an Internet connection.
Remuneration: Charge by the hour.
During economic downturns home improvement companies continue to thrive because people do not have the money to buy new houses.
Instead they concentrate on improving what they have.
If you have experience as a handyman or in the construction industry this could be the business for you.
This business can be marketed to the community in local newspapers and pamphlets.
Target clients by telling them how you can improve their quality of life while increasing the value of their home.
Skills needed: Construction, woodwork, plumbing and electrical skills.
It is also a good idea to have excellent time management and organisational skills.
Equipment needed: Bakkie, power-tools, tools and a cellular phone.
Remuneration: Charge an hourly rate or by project.
Textbook rentals for university students
University students sometimes spend up to R3 000 on textbooks that they use for just a few months.
And they get very little back when they resell the textbooks.
Reinvent the traditional bookstore by providing university students with a convenient and cost effective alternative to buying their textbooks.
Buy new and second-hand textbooks, which you can rent out to students at universities throughout the country.
You could even create a website whereby students can select the textbooks that they wish to rent.
Their orders can be placed directly on the website.
Create a hassle free return process so that students return books by the agreed date.
This business idea will take a lot of planning.
However, it has room for huge growth and profit potential.
You may want to start the business by offering the service to a university in the city that you operate in first.
Once you fully understand the business, start looking for growth options by servicing other universities in the city and eventually the country.
Skills needed: Organisational and basic business skills.
Equipment needed: Computer, email, fax, phone and textbooks.
Remuneration: Charge rental fees that work for each university dependent on the length of their courses.
Rentals can be extended as needed by students.
As people look to save money they are cutting down the amount they spend on retail and are hunting for bargains.
This should focus on products that people use for a limited amount of time and could save on if they bought the product second-hand or even rented it.
In Europe and America second-hand stores and product exchanges have become increasingly popular.
In this way people can buy or rent designer clothing, baby toys and even cars.
Skills needed: Management and the ability to create effective systems.
Equipment needed: Computer, telephone, store and specialist equipment.
Remuneration: Customers can buy products or pay per product rental fee for a specific period of time.
In any economy people still get married.
Weddings are stressful events to organise and many couples prefer to use a wedding planner.
Set up a one-stop wedding shop where everything, from the venue and flowers to the cake and clothing, can be arranged.
If you do not have specialised skills like sewing or flower arranging set up a network or co-op with other wedding professionals.
Skills needed: Organisational, time-management and people skills. Specialist skills are a bonus.
Equipment needed: Computer, car, email and cellphone.
Remuneration: Dependent on the couple’s budget or services required.
Many people live far beyond their means and are struggling to make ends meet.
A financial counsellor helps people to make sense of their debt by looking at their income and expenditure.
Financial counsellors can also help people to manage their debt, negotiate better payment plans with creditors and even plan for the future.
Skills needed: A good financial background is important, as well as experience in counselling.
Equipment needed: Computer, email, fax, phone and spreadsheet software.
Remuneration: If you work in conjunction with creditors you can ask for a percentage of the debt from both the creditor and the client. If you are working with the client you would normally ask for a percentage of the debt.
Residential and commercial cleaning
As people work more to make more money they have less time to do their own chores.
A reliable, trustworthy cleaning and ironing service would be welcomed by many
Give your service the edge by employing a team which will allow you to service more clients and by offering once-off, ad hoc or full-time service.
Skills needed: Ironing, cleaning, organising and time-management.
Equipment needed: Depending on what type of service you are running you can either use the clients’ equipment or you could invest in professional equipment to get the job done faster.
Remuneration: Standard fee per day, week or month.
Even if your photography skills are not great you can use this idea to set up a business by employing photographic students who work on a commission only basis.
Hire the students to take photographs of patrons at popular restaurants.
Start by making a deal with a few busy restaurants in your area to offer their patrons to have their photo taken.
A small portion, about 5% of the income generated at a restaurant could be paid to the owner. In exchange the clients can collect their photos directly from the restaurant.
This can work in the restaurant’s favour.
Apart from the additional income that they earn they can also offer the client a voucher from the restaurant for a free drink or discounts on their meal when clients come back to collect their photos.
These details can be worked out with the restaurant owner when you first approach them.
Find out from the restaurant owners what their busy times are and arrange to have your photographers at the restaurant during those times.
When choosing which restaurants to partner with make certain that they are situated close to each other so that photographers do not spend time driving around.
Clients are requested to pay for the photographs as soon as they are taken.
This payment is recorded in a receipt book, which includes a reference number for the photo and the person’s name and address.
Alternatively, buy a few costumes such as a pirate, fairy and racing car driver.
You can speak to nursery schools to take photos of children in costumes that they choose.
Offer the school a small portion of your profits to make it worth their while.
They may also be a good advertising medium for you.
Skills needed: Negotiation, organisational and basic business skills.
Equipment needed: Computer, email, fax, phone and costumes.
Photographic equipment is not a necessity because students could be required to use their own cameras.
Remuneration: Charge a fixed fee per photo.