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Innovative business ideas for 2015

I’ve missed more than 9 000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. —Michael Jordan

Phillip Chichoni

Business ideas. Game changers. The more ideas you try, the more likely you are to come up with a winner.

Uber is an app-based transportation network and taxi company headquartered in San Francisco, California, which operates in cities in many countries. The company uses a smartphone application to receive ride requests and then sends these trip requests to their drivers.

Customers use the app to request rides and track their reserved vehicle’s location. As of December 16 2014 the service was available in 53 countries and more than 200 cities worldwide, and was valued at more than US$40 billion.

Since Uber’s launch several other companies have emulated its business model, in a trend that has come to be referred to as “Uberification”.

Uber has been so disruptive in the passenger transportation business that there are protests from taxi drivers and taxi companies in Germany, India, Spain, France and England, among other nations.

Innovative business ideas don’t require rocket science or inventing the electric bulb. All it needs is providing a solution to a pressing problem affecting many people.

Take Econet’s Ecocash for example. Most people working in cities have relatives in rural areas whom they need to give money to regularly.

They had two choices: go there and deliver the money in person, which is usually costly in terms of fuel or bus fares, or send it via bus drivers or other people going the same way, which is risky knowing how money tempts people.

In comes Ecocash, where you simply go to an agent near you, do the transaction and your relatives simply go to their nearest agent to collect the money. All for a reasonable fee.

When thinking of new business ideas, look at those pains that people go through and find a solution that eliminates them. The bigger the problem and the more people it affects, the bigger your business can grow.

Let us look at some ideas that you can turn into businesses. Remember, the important thing is to provide a product or service that is needed by enough people to make the business viable. No matter how good a product or service you provide, it cannot sell itself. So you will need to market and hustle to get traction and sell enough to make a profit.

Finance is not as big a challenge as most people think. If there is enough demand for your product or service, the money will come: from investors, banks or even customers through pre-selling.

Kid-friendly apps
Kids are your future customers so gaining their loyalty now isn’t a bad idea. In its 10th annual trends report, The Future 100, which highlights the big and small trends to watch this year, JWT Intelligence cites the connectivity of kids as a big trend for 2015.

According to Common Sense Media, three-quarters of kids have access to a mobile device. This spells a big business opportunity for anyone who can create products or design apps just for kids. And, if they also happen to be educational or promote good health, you’ll win their parents over, too.

You can start small by designing a few kid-friendly apps and see where your business goes from there.

Software trainer
If you are proficient in a highly specialised software, you can get paid to pass your knowledge on to amateurs and professionals looking to expand their skill sets. Technical manuals are available for programmes like QuickBooks and Final Cut Pro, but these are often expensive and difficult for the average user to get through. Schedule small group workshops or private sessions, and charge by the hour for a full tutorial of the programme. The best part about this gig is that it can be done part time.

Healthcare consulting
With government health institutions under-funded and failing to cope with the healthcare needs of the population, the private healthcare industry will continue to expand… and change. As an independent healthcare consultant, you can offer management and data analysis for organisations like hospitals, labs and therapist offices to help implement solutions to improve efficiency and/or save money. This is a great opportunity to put that marketing or economics degree to use.

Food truck
Food is a basic need and people need to eat no matter the state of the economy. A truck is a much less expensive investment than a brick-and-mortar restaurant. With the right equipment and some great recipes, you can have your mobile eatery up and running in no time.

Companies are increasingly turning to freelance and contract workers to fill the skill gaps in their staff. It’s not hard to imagine that you could build a whole company around providing freelance services of one sort or another. According to, which lists more than a million freelance projects on its site, the most in-demand freelance services are: data entry, academic writing, Excel projects, data processing, web search and Facebook-based jobs. Hourly rates start at US$30 an hour and stretch into the hundreds.

Mobile consulting
It’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating: mobile is now a non-negotiable for almost any business. Finding ways to go mobile is a challenge for many business owners. If your company can provide affordable mobile solutions to businesses that need them you will find mobile consulting a rich business opportunity.

With the majority of the population owning smart mobile devices (phones, smart pads etc), most businesses are realising that they need to connect with their prospects and customers via mobile. So firms will need helping in setting up and maintaining their mobile presence.

There’s no denying the global marketplace is growing and reaching beyond country and continental borders. We have seen a growing presence of Chinese and other nationalities in Zimbabwe. That is set to grow even further as the huge Russian and Chinese projects take off in the coming months. The hiring of interpreters and translators is set to grow significantly. This translates into a big business opportunity for entrepreneurs who can bring foreign-language speakers together with businesses in need.

Phillip Chichoni is a business development consultant who works with SMEs and entrepreneurs. You may contact him by email, You can also visit

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