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Starting a business

Starting a Business in South Africa Today

South Africa is an amazing land filled with both challenges and opportunities for the aspiring entrepreneur. Just look at these amazing female entrepreneurs working hard to grow their small businesses in South Africa.

On one hand, the country’s friendly people, unique food, wonderful weather and amazing mix of local cultures make for a vibrant and exciting backdrop to any business venture. On the other, slow economic growth and high unemployment rate pose challenges to any new business.

Yet, there are still many opportunities for great new businesses and a wealth of entrepreneurial opportunities awaits those willing to take the plunge.

Here, we suggest some unique business ideas, tailor-made for today’s South Africa. Local is lekker!

Also Read: Try QuickBooks Online Accounting Software

A unique arts and crafts business

High-quality artisanal and homemade craft items are highly sought after across the world. And online platforms including SA’s own Hello Pretty make it possible for anyone to sell their own handmade products at great margins.

As an example, when Molemo Kgomo struggled to find an African doll for her daughter, she created one herself and then began selling her creations online. There was a definite market for her African dolls and Ntombentle Dolls was born.

If you’re interested in starting a craft business, think carefully about your buyer. What kinds of products are they interested in? What can’t they get at regular stores that you could provide?

When coming up with your craft business idea, it’s always better to think about what your buyers would like or want first and then think about what you would enjoy making. Where the two overlap, that’s the sweet spot.

Take some inspiration from well-known brand Carrol Boyes or even unique ceramics maker Avoova. Both companies use creativity to produce high-end products buyers love. Of course, you may not want to go that route, and there’s space for all unique, quality craft goods – from biltong and beer, to decorative bowls and bedding.

You can also develop a hobby into a full-time career in this way. So whether you enjoy woodworking, pottery, beading, needlepoint or scrapbooking, think about how your passion translates into a great crafty business idea.

Educate SA: start a tutoring business

It’s a well-known fact that South Africa’s education system could use a little help. So why not start a tutoring business and help out kids (and their parents)?

Anyone who is patient, enjoys working with children and teens and understands a certain subject well can start a tutoring business. Better yet, kids of all ages need a little academic help, so you can choose what age (and level of subject matter) suits you best. Maybe you’re a whizz with maths or love English? There’s a young person who’d love your help.

The need for tutors always picks up around exam time, meaning the months close to December and July are always busy.

While you may start off as a one-person tutoring business, if you find you’ve got more demand than you can cope with, you might think of hiring more tutors and developing a full-scale operation. Tutoring rates tend to be good, so you will be well compensated for your efforts.

Grow Your Business with QuickBooks

Into property? Become a property manager

If you enjoy property, keeping things in order and working with people, you can help landlords manage their rental properties and make sure they are running smoothly for a fee.

In essence, property managers ensure that the properties under their care operate properly, maintain their appearance, and either preserve or increase in value. They inspect all facilities, hire, may supervise and assign duties to maintenance staff, and contract for services such as rubbish removal or landscaping. They also show properties to prospective tenants or buyers, explain occupancy terms and collect monthly rents. They may also pay taxes and other maintenance fees.

On the administrative side, property managers also keep property records and prepare budgets and financial reports for owners.

It’s a small business but one that becomes scalable and lucrative as the properties under your care increases. Ensure you have reliable transport and don’t mind a bit of a commute as property management often involves in-person visits to various homes and residential complexes.

Business growth in South Africa

South Africa has plenty of business opportunities, with property management being one of them.

Start a restaurant, food truck or catering business

South Africa is known for its delicious food and wine, with locals and visitors heaping praise on the country’s culinary scene.

If you’re a foodie and enjoy cooking, you might consider getting into the food business. There are many options in the arena.

If you have a passion for fine dining (and can secure the necessary finance), consider getting into the restaurant business. While maintaining a thriving restaurant can be challenging, South Africa has many traditional cuisines that would make for a delicious and unique dining experience.

If on the other hand you’d rather start off smaller scale, why not think about running a food truck or offering catering services – either for events or within a corporate setting?

Even large grocery chains like Pick ‘n Pay, Woolworths and Spar make an effort to capitalise on traditional South African food including milk tarts and koeksisters. If you can offer great South African fare, you’re sure to have takers.

Start a hairdressing or other beauty business

If you enjoy working with people and have creative flair with beauty, you might consider opening a hairdressing salon, barber or other beauty business.

Visible in shopping centres across South Africa, hairdressers and beauty salons are a staple of the South African consumer landscape. They’re a place where people go not only for grooming, but to relax, unwind and pamper themselves with a little me time.

You’ll need to go to beauty school if you intend to perform the services yourself. Otherwise, you’ll need to hire certified, experienced staff to make sure that your clients get top-notch care.

Investment in premises and equipment can be quite expensive, however. So make sure that you’re committed to making your business a success before taking the plunge.

In short, there is no shortage of great South African businesses you can start today.

And when you do, remember that QuickBooks is the one-stop online solution to help you manage all your business finances – quickly, and easily.

If you’re looking to get your idea off the ground, see our South African Business Grants startup resource which offers funding opportunities.

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