Tayyab Tariq Narula
Respectable businesses with high growth potential
Pakistan’s E-commerce space has now become very crowded which each one selling the same products. However, one sector is still being ignored and that is the books
Pakistan’s economy is growing at a rate of 4.7pc per annum and next year it is expected to grow at a rate of more than 5pc per annum but this growth rate is not enough to keep up with increasing job demand. According to available data, every year 1.7 million people enter the work force but only a few of them are able to get decent jobs. We need a growth rate of 7pc if all the people entering in the workforce annually are to be employed. The solution to this problem is not more jobs but more entrepreneurship and that is only possible by changing the mind set of our people. Here we think that the purpose of getting an education is to get a job and the biggest happiness in a family is when the newly graduated guy gets a job even it does not match his job skills. Secondly, entrepreneurship is not discussed in our homes and schools. We need to bring entrepreneurship discussions in the main course. Large scale manufacturing growth is not enough to meet growing job demand, these are only SME’s (Small and Medium Enterprises) which can create enough jobs for the people. America’s growth in the last 30 years has only been made possible by a fusion of entrepreneurial spirit with technology. In USA, an entrepreneur is a widely celebrated persona who has achieved something valuable in his life and who is a role model for others. While here, an entrepreneur is thought of as a greedy person trying to make money by any means. We need to change our perceptions and values attached with entrepreneurship. We need to celebrate it and endorse it rather than discourage it. We should try to encourage failure, rather than discourage it. We should try to make our kids learn that one time failure does not means a life time failure. Learning from your own mistakes and trying again can make you more successful than those big boys who are working in the industry these past several years. We should understand this thing that Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and all other big names which we hear today were not started by big multinationals but were entrepreneurial ventures supported by venture capital. One big problem in Pakistan is the lack of capital available for the young creative brains. However, lack of capital should not act as a barrier for your entrepreneurial ambitions as there are many businesses which you can start with a little capital and later on expand them by adding more capital; either by saving, taking from bank, adding more partners or obtaining venture capital. The key thing in starting a business with little capital is that you must have some skill, be it making good food, video editing, acting, teaching or marketing. This is a skill based world where the services industry is now quickly replacing the manufacturing industry. Here are those four ideas which you can start under half a million rupees:
- Online teaching
Online teaching is now a big business. Udacity.com, the online platform where you can get the best IT education, is now valued at more than US$1 billion. Similarly, coursera.com andudemy.com are both valued now at more than $500 million.
The best thing in online teaching is that you do not have to pay the rentals of your building or buy furniture of your classroom. Secondly, you can take students from all over the world. Your student base is not restricted to a certain area or a city. So, with the power of internet connectivity, you can expand very rapidly. The only thing which you need to do is to market your services. You can teach online in two ways. Either you can teach live or you can record your lectures and put them online. For teaching live, you can use Skype or softwares used for conducting webinars. For earning through recorded lectures Udemy.com is the best platform where can you sell your course based on your own pricing. Udemy is the online market place for Instructors and students where 14 million students have been enrolled to date and more than 42,000 courses are offered. It will take 50pc of the total course value while you will get the half. But, if you will market your course yourself, then you can take all the money. Similarly, you can upload your lectures at you tube, but you will need a lot of views to earn good from you tube.
- Homemade food delivery
Homemade food delivery is basically a solution which solves a big problem for working middle class professionals. They want to get good hygienic food which you do not get from local nearby ‘dhabas’ or local restaurants. If you are a housewife and want to earn some decent income while staying at home, this is among one of the best available options. What you will need to do is a little targeted marketing effort towards offices located in posh areas and the industrial area. Another model in this sector is to take monthly orders from those offices in which the food is provided by the company at lunch time. To grow fast, you can bring a little innovation in your menu by supplying chicken achari instead of simple chicken curry, or shahi daal instead of simple daal at the same or near to same price. In the big offices, food is also sometimes prepared in house by the contractor. At a later stage, you can also start the same. The online food ordering market is growing at a rate of 20pc per annum and 70pc of consumers order at night. You can also partner with online food ordering websites/apps for home delivery to your customers. Even if you get a small chunk of this market, it can bring you a decent income of more than Rs100,000.
- Become a social media star
Have you ever noticed those hilarious videos which get viral on the social media? They are made for a purpose and the purpose is to make you laugh and make money by engaging you. Some Pakistanis like Zaid Ali T, Shaam Idrees and others have got equal popularity, if not more, compared to TV stars. They make simple but hilarious short videos which have a critique on our society in a funny way and because it touches our heart that is why we share them.
If you have a good skill of acting then just get a partner who knows video editing or make him/her learn video editing, come with a powerful concept and start marketing your facebook page and you tube channel. There are multiple ways of earning through short videos. One is through you tube ads, second is through facebook ads as it has also started paying money to video makers. Third is through product endorsement by showing the brand in a clever way e.g. drinking a carbonated drink with the brand name clearly visible in the video. Or wearing something with the brand name clearly visible. Fourth is through brand endorsement e.g. mentioning the name of a product cleverly in your video as if it is a part of the script. Fifth way of earning is to perform in various programs. If you have got a good social media following, brands can give you quite a hefty sum of money in exchange for promoting them. I read once in a newspaper that British brands pay famous British fashion bloggers up to 10,000 pounds per post for the brand mention on their social media accounts.
- An online book store
Pakistan’s E-commerce space has now become very crowded which each one selling the same products. However, one sector is still being ignored and that is the books. Contrary to common perceptions still there are a lot of book lovers in Pakistan. And if we count the whole country the volume of books sold per month can bring a good revenue. But for this business, you will need a web developer, a graphic designer, and contacts in books whole sale market who can give you books on credit. If you get the books on credit then your cash cycle will be very straight and you will not have to spend a single penny on inventory. Your only main expense will be the marketing cost and the web developer and designer cost. You can also reduce your web developer and designer cost by just making a face book page and selling the books through your face book page initially. Other than the books which we read as a hobby/ for pleasure, you can also sell those books which are needed for professional studies e.g. medical books, engineering books or course books in the school or university. The demand for these books will never shrink and it will represent a facility for the student community who has to buy new books every semester or year.