Here are some specific business ideas in the transport sector that might suit your capital, skill set and pursuits. Once you’ve figured out what type of business you would like to start the next step is figuring out how to get going.
Our comprehensive guide to starting a transport and logistics business provides you with everything you need to know.
1. Transport and logistics opportunities
The aim of this type of business is to deliver other business’ products, affordably and quickly. In this category you can specialise in the import and export of goods from inside and outside South Africa along with deliveries to and from other African or international countries.
If you want to successfully run a transport and logistic business you’ll eventually need a link to freight transport. This will make your business start-up an expensive investment, but a transport and logistics business can be lucrative if you have organisational and management, skills along with the right expertise.
Start out small and be reliable, there is a low barrier of entry for this business so you will have to set yourself apart from your competition.
You also don’t want to invest large amounts and find that the market was wrong or you need to pivot your idea. If you’re going to start big, be sure to plan and research your business idea before you start buying expensive vehicles.
2. A courier business
You can effectively start-up a courier business overnight. All you need is reliable transportation and enough time to make it worth your while. You can pick up and deliver small packages every day, until you’re able to grow your fleet of vehicles. You can start out with any vehicle you like, your personal car, a van or even an SUV.
You’ll have to grow your customer base; to achieve this you’ll need to perform consistently and offer a reliable service. Remember there are a lot of entrepreneurs in this industry; good service can really help you stand out.
When starting out you’ll have to go above and beyond for your customers. Clients value the extra effort and will continue to use your company as long as they feel appreciated. Try to offer added convenient services along with your courier business. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to convenience your customers and make more money.
If you’re a little wary of starting out on your own and want to gain first-hand experience then consider a courier franchising opportunity.
3. Specialised transportation
If you’re looking to corner a niche market then perhaps specialised transportation is what you’re looking for. This can include abnormal load trucks, in other words trucks that carry or transport abnormal or larger loads.
It can also include medical vehicles such as ambulances, helicopters and air ambulance. This is an expensive but worthwhile endeavour.
Read more about a specialised transport business here.
4. Owning public transport
The public transport sector has had many disruptors over the past few years. There are many in this country whose sole means of transportation is public transport.
You can offer an alternative and service their daily even hourly needs. Along with more competition there are many alternatives that have started to gain popularity recently.
Uber offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to start a public transport business with the benefit of accessing already established systems and processes.
You can purchase a vehicle and hire a qualified driver to handle the run around. The advantage of Uber is that it allows you to piggyback off a reputable name to start your business and the marketing is done for you.
The only drawback to this type of business would be that you’ll have to share a portion of the profits with Uber. They expect 20% from each driver for the use of their app, for the convenience of having the customers come to you, and being able to use their respected and reliable name.
Minibus Taxis have been the main source of transportation for the majority of South Africans for many years. Millions of South Africans use the Minibus Taxis every day, several times a day.
Owning just one will eventually give you return on investment and allow you to start making profit.
The only drawback to this type of business is you only earn while you work, until you can grow your fleet of buses and drivers. Your vehicle will also need to be continually maintained and go for regular road safety checks.
Public transport is how many people travel in South Africa. Investing in a bus or a fleet of busses can help you to create a long term, profitable business. There will always be demand for reliable quality public transport, as many South Africans can’t afford private vehicles.
A bus business will cost more to start, but will have a faster return on investment. You’ll most likely have to seek funding or an investment partner to get your business started, but since a bus can hold a larger amount of people, your income will be substantial.
The driver of your bus, whether it’s you or someone else, needs to have a bus driving licence to legally operate a bus.
Be sure you’re compliant with all the law regarding public transportation and your bus is constantly maintained and check for roadworthiness.
What is the next step?
1. Write a business plan
Use a business plan to help you organise your ideas before you launch your company. It can be used as a guide to help you remain focused on your vision and goals. Business plans can be flexible, to help you to course correct or help you to pivot if you want to change your businesses direction or offering.
It will help you to plan, organise and prioritise your own transportation business plan.
2. Adopt the lean method
The lean method involves experimentation, customer feedback and interactive design. Its focus is on receiving constant feedback from your target market instead of trying to stay under your competitors’ radar.
This approach allows you to design and develop a business on the foundation of what your customers are looking for.
3. Insure your transport business
Fuel price fluctuations can cause you to end up paying for severe costs you weren’t prepared for. As an insurance measure you should be sure to link your fuel costs to inflation or on escalation when signing a contract.
This will help you control your costs even after time has passed. The end user or your client will end up cover the cost of the increase in fuel should it increase during your contract. If you don’t have an escalation clause in your contract you’ll need to ensure your business can carry the costs and risks associated with an increase in fuel price.
It’s important for your drivers to be sufficiently trained along with receiving constant and up-to-date driver education and awareness training.
A 7-Step Guide To Starting Your Own Trade Business
With that sorted, it is time to get on with the more exciting operational stuff.
Skilled tradesmen are always in demand. Whether you are a plumber, electrician, cabinetmaker, refrigeration expert, tiler or builder, there is a ton of work out there. For many, the best way to make the most of the opportunity is to open your own business.
Where do you start? The first step is to register your business with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). Look for a catchy name that is easy to spell and memorable – you do not want customers to struggle. The CIPC will tell you which names are taken. It is also a good idea to do a trademark search before deciding on a name. Register with SARS and make sure that all your tax affairs are in order.
It is a very good idea to get a good accountant right at the early stages of the game. They can also help you set up the legislative requirements for running a business. The National Small Business Chamber is a non-profit organisation that offers a range of services to its members that aim to help them grow faster, save money and receive the support they need.
With that sorted, it is time to get on with the more exciting operational stuff.
1. Finding customers
You want to find customers in order to grow your business beyond the ones you already have. These days, that means a website and some smart online marketing.
This can be as simple as setting up a Facebook page and any one of several other social media sites (like Instagram and LinkedIn). These services are at no-cost to you and allow you to quickly build up a following of loyal customers. You can share ‘jobs well done’, so prospective customers can see what you are capable of, while your contact details are easily accessible. In due course, consider some paid averts on relevant social media platforms and perhaps a website of your own. It is a good way to get potential customers on board.
At the same time, list your services in community newspapers, noticeboards and newsletters so everyone in the area can easily see that you are available and what it is you do. Also, keep your eye on social media community groups – and ask family, friends and existing clients to refer and/or recommend your services when an opportunity arises.
Finally, there are many government initiatives and non-profit organisations whose aim is to help small businesses succeed – with a particular emphasis on black-owned businesses. This help could range from facilitating access to finance, all the way to mentorship. Spend some time finding out what help is on offer. The SME Movement site also has this kind of information.
2. Stay focused
For those just starting out, there might be a temptation to take any job that crosses your path. Rather stick to your area of expertise to build a reputation based on proven skills. If you are an electrician with a little plumbing experience, for example, tackling a piping job could cause more trouble than it is worth. Every trade is different and you are an expert for a reason.
Leave the other work for experts in those fields – but build up relationships with them so that you can refer work to each other.
3. Ride on your qualifications and references
You have spent a lot of time getting certified. Let your customers know about your qualifications and experience by putting it on your Facebook page, your invoices, e-mails and other communications. The same goes for references; these are valuable and provide evidence of your ability to get the job done. Ask for a reference when the job is complete and then on to social media it goes. The good news with social media, by the way, is that these references do not ever go away.
4. Stay on top of the paperwork
The good old days of doing business on a handshake may be behind us. Providing quotes, contracts, invoices and records of payments electronically makes paperwork a whole lot easier by creating a digital archive where physical copies aren’t needed, but it serves the same purpose, when it is formally recorded, it is far easier to see what has been agreed to, done and paid for. Do not skimp here, even the best customer service provider relationships can go awry if verbal agreements are all you have to go on.
5. Register with your trade association (and invest in CPD)
Being a member of a trade association (like Master Builders, the Institute of Plumbing or other professional bodies) lends credibility to what you are doing. It also provides access to new customers should larger contractors need to sub-contract. Your trade association also formalises training and continuous professional development (CPD).
6. Get business insurance
All too often, this crucial coverage is ignored by those starting out on their own. You want to protect tools and equipment on the one hand and you also want broadform public liability to safeguard yourself, your employees and your business against third party claims should something go wrong on the job. It provides cover in connection with your normal business activities and also your liability if any employees are injured in the course of work.
Putting the right insurance in place can mean the difference between staying in business for the long term or folding the minute the tools grow legs and disappear.
7. Deliver good service
Do not forget that every job is a potential reference and, at the very least, is your entry into that client’s network of friends or business associates. Concentrate on giving good service and actively request feedback so you can remedy any shortfalls. A take-it-or-leave it attitude may be relaxing, but it will prevent your business from growing to what it potentially can be.
MiWay is an Authorised Financial Services Provider (Licence no: 33970)
The Ultimate 101 List Of Business Ideas To Start Your Own Business In South Africa
Want to boost your income on a part-time basis? Looking for a new business to start and grow into an empire? You’ve come to the right place. This list of business ideas will help children, adults, men, women and even people in rural areas think about ways to become an entrepreneur.
Are you looking for that one idea to spark a business that will make you money? We have one hundred and one just for you!
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or dad looking to pursue your passion part-time, a nine-to-five employee seeking a side gig, a creative who’s keen on innovative and flexible moneymaking methods or a student at any level in your education, looking to start your entrepreneurial journey early…we’ve got the best ideas for you to choose from to kick-start your very own business, today.
This comprehensive slide show below is just what you’ve been waiting for to take your first step into financial independence. Read on to find your perfect fit and discover more about how to get started.
What You Need To Know When Starting A Tech Business
For the tech entrepreneur, the majority of your intellectual capital will reside in your software, code, databases, websites or mobile applications.
Protecting and managing your intellectual capital starts with finding, identifying and classifying your most important human and intellectual assets. Once you know what you are looking for, you can then determine whether you have the rights you need over those assets. If you don’t, you can then go about securing those rights and then select the best methods of protecting them.
Intellectual capital, intellectual assets and intellectual property
In the industrial and manufacturing industries, the conventional forms of capital needed to start and grow a business were real estate, factories, plant and equipment. But in today’s knowledge economy, these physical assets have largely been replaced by ideas, knowledge and creativity as the new drivers of value.
This new type of information and knowledge-based capital is known as intellectual capital. Your intellectual capital is basically all the knowledge, skills, capabilities and work product that you and your team have to offer, together with the relationships, reputation and brand equity that your business is able to attract and maintain in the marketplace.
Intellectual capital is made up of the following:
- Your ideas, insights, knowledge and creativity (intellectual assets)
- The talent, skills and capabilities of your team (human capital)
- Your contractual relationships and connections with investors, customers and other stakeholders (relationship assets)
- Your unique brand and the reputation and goodwill you have built around it (brand assets)
In the same way as we as individuals have a whole lot of information and knowledge, some useful, some useless and trivial; your business’s intellectual capital can also be categorised according to its uniqueness, usefulness or value.
Where your intellectual capital displays these additional qualities, it may qualify for statutory legal protection. These special assets, commonly referred to as intellectual property, are bestowed with rights and protections which give the owner a period of time (limited) to commercialise or exploit them without any undue or unfair interference from others. The trade-off is that after that period of time expires, the asset becomes part of the public domain for anyone and everyone to use.
Discovering what intellectual capital you have and need
For the tech entrepreneur, the majority of your intellectual capital will reside in your software, code, databases, websites or mobile applications. Copyright law without the need to register rights or comply with any further formalities automatically protects most of these assets. However, it is still necessary to identify and categorise those assets because the ownership rights and the ways to protect them may differ between the different types of asset.
At the same time, there may also be a wealth of other intellectual assets tucked away in your filing cabinets and hard drives, waiting to be discovered. These may include valuable trade secrets, know-how, methodologies, customer learning, and market research.
Once you have linked the value drivers and competitive advantages in your business with the assets that produce them, list those assets and classify them according to the structure that they take. Are they people-based or embedded in technology or documentation. Do any of them qualify for statutory protection?
The outcome should be an inventory of all your intellectual capital, classified according to the different levels of protection available as well as their importance to your business. You probably don’t have the time, energy or budget to protect everything, so taking the time to do this exercise will ensure that you separate the wheat from the chaff which will save you in the long run.
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