Great business ideas to cast away corona blues
By Winnie Makena | June 12th 2021
Every great business starts with an idea. However, the business landscape is dynamic and what could have worked two years ago may not work today.
The Covid-19 pandemic best demonstrates this, with many businesses going online; traditional brick and mortar models such as restaurants and retail are slowly being edged out by online operators, where one can now have their shopping or favourite meal delivered to them at the click of a button. Here are six viable business ideas in the changing landscape.
With a majority of people spending more time at home than before, cleaning services have become highly sought after. For starters, the cleaning business has relatively few overheads. With proper planning, dedication and marketing, especially online your business is bound to be noticed. It is also not labour intensive, and you can start with as few as two or three employees. The other costs are cleaning supplies and transportation. The target market includes homeowners, apartment complexes and commercial properties. Most cleaning services charge per square footage between Sh6 and Sh12.
To ward off competition, consider adding premium options like floor waxing or exterior power washing at an additional cost. This way, you will set yourself apart from seasoned cleaners with a client base to provide that level of cleaning. You may also choose to specialise in specific items like sofas at Sh4,000, carpets at Sh30 per foot or mattresses at Sh3,000. The prices depend on the profile of the client and their location.
Selling baby diapers
If there is an upside to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is “Covid babies.” Babies born during the lockdown contributed to a one per cent rise in the number of births in the country in the last year. This has created a huge demand for baby diapers.
With as little as Sh 5,000 capital and a reliable supplier, you can expect a hefty profit of about 40 per cent, depending on the diaper brand and size. That is the easy part, the hard part is doing your research to find a supplier cheap enough to add a markup even when offering a discount. If you chose to import, do so from countries like Turkey or China duty-free.
If in Nairobi, you can source them from wholesalers in the OTC area who sell at Sh10 per piece as opposed to Sh30. When deciding on the brand, consider quality, price and value. Go for recognised brands like Softcare, Huggies, Bouncy, Pampers, Giggles and Mummy Poko as they are fast-moving.
This is a viable business because there is never a shortage of parents in need of daycare services.
You need a good location, requisite licences, qualified staff and children’s toys. With as little as 100,000, you are good to go. The prime the location, the more you can charge. The profit margins are quite impressive. For instance, taking care of 20 children can earn you upwards of Sh200,000 monthly. Some neighbourhoods fetch as high as Sh30,000 per child per week.
Start small by renting a two-bedroom house in your neighbourhood, then equip it with toys beds and other children’s play stuff. You also need to give it a children-themed interior, such as cartoon characters.
Online retail business
Traditional retailers may have taken a hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but business has never been better for their online counterparts. More and more people are enjoying the convenience of shopping online and having things delivered to their doorsteps. You can go for second-hand clothes sourced from the Gikomba Market or import other items such as cutlery and decor materials, baby clothes and toys, which you can post online on your social media pages or website. Capital can be as little as Sh3,000 to as much as Sh100,000 for imported goods. A bale of mitumba (second-hand clothes) can cost anything between Sh5,000 and Sh30,000, depending on the quality and type of clothes.
If dealing with clothes, you should stock different sizes, especially for children and ladies, which are always in high demand.
For display, use mannequins and incentivise your customers by offering delivery services. Companies like Pickup Mtaani have made it easy to send items to buyers’ preferred locations at a fee. You could also have a pick-up store in the Central Business District in the case of Nairobi.
If you have an extra house that you use for holidays that is now sitting idle, why not turn it into an Airbnb? You can list it on platforms such as Virbo, Airbnb and Vacasa to earn passive income.
With the account set-up, all you need is to upload pictures of your house and price. You can choose to have some of your friends stay there for a night for free and have them write a good review for you.
For a more aggressive marketing campaign, get social media influencers to spend a night or two at your Airbnb and have them share the experience on their platforms.
If you do not have time to manage the house yourself, some companies can do it for you and add a 10 per cent mark-up.
This will help you to not only make money while doing your day job but also have a steady stream of customers through the agency.
You can rent out the house for between Sh3,000 and Sh30,000 per night depending on the size, location and quality in terms of furnishing or aesthetics.
Anyone with a smartphone can create content and grow their online following, which then becomes a business.
You need a good phone or camera to take pictures, a social media account such as Instagram and at least 5,000 followers.
You should also have content that resonates with your audience from beauty tips to lifestyle or even vlogging. An influencer can make anything between Sh3,000 per post and as much as Sh50,000 for those with many followers.
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