Winter savvy businesses for start ups, SMEs

22 May, 2020 - 00:05 0 Views
Winter savvy businesses for start ups, SMEs Food treats are a hit in winter

eBusiness Weekly

Joseline Sithole

I am a summer person, and I love the rustle of the leaves and the different shades of flowers. I am not very sure about how I feel about the other seasons though.

But what I know is winter is one of my least favourite seasons. Way back at St David’s High Bonda, the late principal, Mr Chidawanyika would let us wear any clothing outside our red skirts, white blouses and green jerseys, to keep us warm on the 21st of June that was normally the coldest day. Back then the winters were so cold that we suffered from frostbite. I will never want to go through that experience again.

However, the winter season does have its “sunny times.” That winter fashion and those heart-warming soups and stews are perhaps my very favourite part of winter. (Had some dumplings drenched in rich sauce on Sunday, yum yum).

Incidentally the season also has its business “soul” though, among our SMEs the main business winter activity is characterised by clothing and blanket sales. A perusal of our SME markets, revealed that blankets and fleece throws are popular retail items for winter. Children winter wear and tracksuits are also popular.

However, for would be start-ups there are not so common winter businesses that can be lucrative during this season.

Wardrobe winter consultancy

This business is decent for designers and image consultants and should be targeted to the rich, famous and business executives who have “spare change” to look good all year round. This business can prove to be very lucrative as you do not need many inputs.

Tasks will include organising the wardrobe. In some instances, the consultant will have to move the summer clothes to another area while they make room for the winter wardrobe.  The consultant might be requested to go shopping for a new winter wardrobe as well. Every winter has its own trends and if you are an executive you will need to keep abreast of trends. (This year we have not heard of this season’s trends. I guess we are all just concentrating on survival). However, for all ordinary folk like us out there, image consultants can start winter related blogs that inform readers and viewers on specific winter issues such as food, clothing accessories and others. Online and social media advice can also prove to be lucrative.

Weight management consultancy

In 2018, the global weight management businesses was valued at USD 269,2 billion. It is predicted that the industry will have a growth rate of 6 percent by 2024. It is quite common to gain a few extra pounds during the winter season. On average people gain 1 to 3 pounds during the winter season. This is due overindulgence, stress and to some extent less exercise. Taking action now may help you stay in shape. However, for some of us we might need a few experts to help us “manage our urges and cravings”. This will be a good business for nutritionists, dieticians and fitness trainers.

Personal and online consultations are good methods to run this business. My resident consultant Rumbi Mukori, offers dietary advice and health coaching on: weight management, belly fat and generally digestive health maintenance. Well, she got me to walk 5 kilometres every day. For me a major achievement.

“Wintering” homes and premises services

Though our winter seasons are not as extreme as those in the Northern hemisphere, there is scope for capable “handymen” who can “winter” the house or the business premises”. Big companies normally conduct maintenance work for equipment such as fans when summer starts. Similarly, during winter, maintenance and routine work can be conducted on heating and insulation systems in both residential and company premises. Heaters and all winter related appliances also need repairs.

Winter retailer

Currently it is quite impossible to have all your winter needs catered for at a one stop shop. However, in South Africa retailers such as Cape Union Market and CNA cater for specific goods such as camping gear and stationery respectively. They have thus grown to have very large network of shops throughout that country.

In Zimbabwe, though we have shops that are exclusively dedicated to kitchenware, gas accessories, and other goods and services, we do not have an exclusive winter retailer where accessories such as thermal wear, heaters, jerseys even winter soups are stocked.

However, it is important that the retail outlet should maximise its volumes during the winter period as sales are heavily influenced by seasonal buying patterns.

Supply of winter beauty products

The cold weather can prove to be quite harmful to our skin and hair if they are not well managed. Joyce Shiri, an image consultant who owns JS Happening, points out that a lot of people experience both internal and external dehydration which takes a toll on our skin and hair. In addition, Shiri adds that in winter we tend to take longer hot baths that dehydrate our skin. She recommends that consumers use very thick creams that insulate the body against the harsh winter weather.

Other products include alcohol free soaps and petroleum jelly. Though this business is traditionally a female enclave, males can venture into the supply of “winter related beauty products”. Similarly if one owns a retail shop already it is important to stock up on these products. A home-grown brand of winter based beauty products can also be a welcome development among our innovative youths.

Winter camp

Winter camps are a good way to train children with life and survival skills. Winter is a good season to train kids on how to survive within a cold environment. The famous Outward bound camp in Chimanimani taught my niece, Chelsea Chingowana a lot about discipline, following instructions and surviving on meagre rations. She told me “Aunty Josy when I left that place I was so straight I never gave anyone any trouble at school again.“

The Scripture Union of Zimbabwe runs several camps in Zimbabwe but there is always scope for more camps considering the various life skill issues our children are now facing.

Winter food treats

I miss that Woolworths in South Africa. It made the best roast chickens. But it also made the best soups with my favourite being their pumpkin soup. So you bought these soups, froze them and used them when necessary. Winters in South Africa are particularly cold, so a warm soup especially chicken soup on a cold winter night, watching a Ramsey Nouah produced Nigerian movie, is the perfect treat.

Another good product was Cup a Soup a Knorr Product. In Zimbabwe our chefs need to be a bit more creative and supply our retail outlets with these readymade treats and products.

On the other hand one can make door to door deliveries. I know that all “black folk” out there will argue that black people just “don’t do

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