In the first two parts of this series, we tackled two areas of business i.e. Food and Household targeted businesses that you can start with under UGX 100,000/=. This last part of the series shall deal with all the business opportunities that couldn’t fall under the previous categories.
Beyond the Food and Household categories, there are numerous other businesses that one can attempt and still fit within the subject matter. I delve into some of them here;
Salon: Do you know how to plait women’s hair or cut men’s hair? Before you start procrastinating over where you expect to get money to set up a salon, consider moonlighting. You can identify a friend or friend of a friend with a salon that can help you operate from their salon at a fee. By using their equipment, you are expected to pay some form of ‘rental’ off each job that you get. That way , you launch yourself into business, raise money over time and set up your own salon eventually. For the women, you could choose to plait hair from your home or backyard (I’ve seen many do this) and for the men, depending on the market you target, a chair, tree shade, access to electricity and electric shaver are enough to kickstart you. Second hand shavers can be got for UGX 40,000/= and that seems to be the most significant cost.
Mobile Phone Support: Do you know how to make ring tones? Can you install or remove Apps on smart phones? Can you handle basic repair of phones? These and a few other skills are enough to launch you into this business. By simply teaming up with someone who runs a Mobile Phone retail shop, you can set up a symbiotic relationship that enables the phone hardware seller benefit from your support services since customers usually like dealing with providers who can effectively manage after sales services. Investment? Your skills and a few accessories like memory cards and Screw drivers.
Real Estate Brokerage: If you are not new to Kampala, you have most likely seen signposts with words like “BULOKA WE NYUMBA NE PULOTI.” The growing real estate industry has not only increased the demand for land and houses but also offered many an opportunity to act as middlemen. Anyone with the networks to know who is selling and who wants to buy can join this business. Not much investment is required save for some money that you can use to move around and establish the specifics of the houses that you are marketing prior to reaching out to customers.
Hawking: I am going to call him Hadubi (Not real name). He graduated from the university three years ago. After struggling to get a white collar job for a year without success, the young man was given an idea to try out hawking products for some Indian Wholesalers in Mbale town. With no money to talk about, he swallowed humble pie and begun. He would be given products without depositing any money upfront which he would sell then return and pay up for the sold stock as he gets more. This business approach proved so lucrative that even when he raised enough money to set up his own shop, he decided to let his wife run the shop and has continued to hawk. Investment? Trustworthiness.
Motivational Speaking: Speaking to people and encouraging them is something that has begun paying significantly lately in Uganda. If you are the type that can be an encourager, all you need is to invest in audience knowledge as well as keep yourself abreast with the ever changing trends of society and you are good to go. Investment? Personal Experiences and reading a couple of books.
Comedy: Pablo Live, Fun Factory, Kansiime and many others are now filling our entertainment airwaves. But what does it take to become a comedian? Being funny. Simple. If you have been dubbed as a great joker especially in terms of originality, then you are a good candidate for this kind of profession. Hardly any cash investment is required save for pursuing others to give you an opportunity as and when they can.
Counselling: Being able to help others that are challenged in life is a skill not many have. Sometimes you can achieve specific training for it. However, when it comes to looking at it as a business opportunity, the least of your worries should be the money you need to kick off. Even without an office, you can start mobile counselling services and only embark on setting up premises after having tested the waters. You definitely do not need UGX 100,000/= to start.
Graphics Designing: This is an opportunity that those with an artistic mind can easily pursue. A young man who occasionally does for me such work started off by using computers in an Internet Cafe to do clients’ work until he was able to save enough money to buy a laptop. Today he has quite a good number of retainer customers and rakes in handsome revenue monthly.Did he start with UGX 100,000/=? Definitely not. All he needed was enough money to pay for the Internet Cafe time.
I.T Support: Just like Graphics Designing, all you need to start this business is the knowledge. In most cases you are troubleshooting customers’ faulty equipment and in case of replacements, they are ready to buy your recommendation. The key issue here is to get that first customer and offer them a great service. You can start off as a mobile support personnel and only set up offices when the client demand grows.
Office Cleaning: In these lean times, nearly all businesses are boot strapping. Many offices are ready to outsource all non core activities and this is one of those. With all the mushrooming arcades and office blocks in Kampala, it’s not rocket science to figure out a way of getting customers. The beauty about this kind of work is that it is limited to morning hours. You could always back it up with other afternoon jobs elsewhere.
Shoe Repair: A good pal of mine once narrated how he took his shoe to a cobbler for polishing. While he sat there, in a span of one hour, the cobbler had earned UGX 10,000/=. Such a cobbler could very easily end the day with an income of at least UGX 50,000/= on the lower side. If he worked for only Twenty days in a month, he is in position to rake in UGX 1,000,000/= tax free. How much did he invest to start the business? I doubt it was more than UGX 50,000/=.
Research: If you have research skills, don’t sit back and wait for an 8 – 5 job. Get off your laurels, market yourself as a research specialist and start helping organisations conduct researches. Starting off with simple customer surveys, you can graduate to more complex research studies. In most cases, the contracting organisation tends to avail you a down payment to embark on the study. How much do you have to invest in such a business idea? Your time.
Second Hand Clothes and Shoes: I once took a stroll down town and happened to stray into Owino Market. I was shocked to find a young man selling shirts for UGX 3,000/=. YES !!!! I couldn’t believe it. A closer inspection revealed that they were decent enough to be worn at least for a couple of months. How much did that young man need to start business? The same applies to shoes. I have heard of women’s shoes being sold like Telecom Voice Bundles, three pairs going for UGX 10,000/= in the wee hours of the morning with the same shoes later being resold in the rush hour evening time for UGX 5,000/= a pair.
I could go on and on but for now, this is where my story ends. Do you now believe that you can start a business with under UGX 100,000/= ?
Have your say.
James Wire is a Small Business and Technology Consultant based in Kampala, Uganda
Follow @wirejames on Twitter
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