Business ideas

Business Ideas to Help You Thrive in a Tough Economic Climate

A general view of Nairobi car parks taken on October 1, 2021. [Elvis Ogina,Standard]

It’s a paradox that the economy is growing at a time when businesses are closing, downsizing, or simply struggling to stay afloat in a tough business climate.

Many startups don’t last long either, barely seeing their third birthday.

And given the many copycats springing up in the name of competition, aiming for the same customer segment that an established company serves, as evidenced by side-by-side stalls stocking similar products, it’s not hard to see why many difficulties to survive.

Sometimes it’s worth thinking about business models that may weaken competition or that some would consider bizarre. Here are some ideas, although some may require a lot of capital:

Parking spaces

With “reserved parking” dotting every available space on the streets, investing in a multi-storey car park is a way to go.

With the increase in the number of personal cars, finding a parking space across the street becomes difficult.

Some private investors charge a standard fixed amount for a few hours or hourly rates, with users paying well above what county authorities charge.

Garbage collection

Many areas are filled with poor garbage services, with uncollected garbage becoming an eyesore where authorities fail.

This line does not seem to attract much interest from investors, but it can be lucrative.

What about real estate sprouting up everywhere with once sleepy rural hinterlands witnessing closed estates as arable land dwindles?

A garbage truck collects waste in broad daylight along Konange Street. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

And an estate resembling a litter fill is unlikely to attract potential tenants to the area.

Who wants to live in a place choked with a bad smell?

Drilling services

Water scarcity has become a chronic problem in many places, with rationing seeing a trickle in taps insufficient to meet daily domestic and professional needs.

It’s not uncommon to see handcart pushers in the middle of the city’s central business districts or water barrels selling the vital commodity to businesses.

In places where homes and businesses are not connected to local county authority piped water, individual investors have stepped in and connected homes and premises with metered water.

Fitness and exercise company

More and more, many people are becoming conscious of their body image and are investing heavily in reducing that extra body fat or slimming down to achieve that “killer” figure.

What immediately comes to mind when it comes to fitness and exercise is joining a gym.

The sedentary lifestyle of some, coupled with little or no exercise, has led to an increase in obesity and lifestyle-related diseases, and an investment in a gym would be a profitable venture.

In some high-end gyms, a 45-minute session costs from Sh300 for non-members.

body art

Secular society no longer views tattoos and piercings in odd places as signs of rebellion and has gradually accepted the worldly fashions with which the younger generation identifies.

Being ‘in tune’ with modern trends has seen the rise of tattoo parlors which also offer other services on the side like massage and dreadlocks.

With young people investing more in looks, there is a catch for those in the body art industry as it is a business segment with a stable clientele.

Cultivate rare foods

Different cultures on earth like to eat what others consider unpalatable.

How about walking into a restaurant and asking for a tasteful dish only to find out that what you ate was something that would make your stomach churn?

Take snails for example. They are commonplace in rural areas and many do not consider them a delicacy or compare them to the slimy slugs they would dare to touch.

Well, the good news is that snail farming is a money making business. A kilo of snail meat is worth more than a similar amount of beef or mutton. The yucky becomes delicious!

Printing and selling stickers

You’ve probably seen funny stickers in transit vehicles.

Consider coming up with funny or crazy stickers that you can sell to those in the matatu industry.

The same goes for designing, printing, and selling on-demand T-shirts — like those that support a cause of action or raise awareness for something.

Drop shipping

You don’t need to have any inventory in this row. It may seem crazy to take photos of items from manufacturers or suppliers, create a gallery with the prices of each item and post them to your social media accounts as an online store and search for customers.

When interested buyers express interest, all they have to do is send you money and you buy that item and send it to them while making a profit!

Create digital courses

You’ve come across those social media posts that ask someone to drop or text their numbers to receive handy video tutorials on making a variety of recipes or home crafts like rugs. shaggy, etc.

You have probably realized that the poster will ask you for a certain amount in order to receive the video or an eBook guide.

You can create similar digital content and upload it to sites that offer a free digital download app and market it as a digital product.

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