South African/ Zimbabwe Visa Restrictions Removed: What This Means for You

So, visa restrictions to South Africa have now been removed. It’s great news for most Zimbabwe consumers and even businesses… but not for all. I’ve been telling entrepreneurs that things are changing for over a year now – get ready.

This development is just the beginning… Zim entrepreneurs will soon be facing serious competition from out SA friends…will you be ready? Here are a few things you can expect to happen (over time)…

1) Most obviously, prices will become more competitive. As more Zimbabweans now have access to products and even services from ‘the source’ you can expect prices will go down even further in most areas.

2) More people may venture into your type of business. Every time a barrier to entry is removed in business, more people will enter that industry. This represents both opportunity and challenge for you as an entrepreneur.

This is why it’s important for you to know how to create competitive barriers in your market. If your business is vulnerable just because Visa requirements to South Africa have been removed, you’re in trouble.

3) More people will become interested in 2010. Almost every person with at least a teaspoon of entrepreneurial juice – you’ve thought about what opportunities 2010 may avail to you.

4) Over-time I hope and suspect that business ideas in Zimbabwe will improve. I believe we’ll see entrepreneurs move from short cut, instant gratification business models, to more substantial longer-term models.

5) We’ll see an improvement in the quality of local goods and services. Those who got away with terrible services or products will soon find themselves out of business if they don’t move with the times.

6) Of course as Zimbos get increasingly fussy, knowing they can get the same or better service in SA or from SA businesses, Zim entrepreneurs will have to shift gear and go to another level in customer service. Smiles, prompt service a free extras will become a more common feature of Zimbabwean business!

7) New types of businesses. Whilst many of the usual will grow stronger, we’ll see new ideas begin to infiltrate Zim. As things slowing improve, individuals become less survival oriented and start looking into what else they want in their lives. As they become more exposed to other options, it opens up opportunity for smart businessmen and women to take advantage.

8) Marketing will all of a sudden matter! Now instead of merely putting your logo in the newspaper, you’ll have actually have to have something to say – something more than “Hurry While Stocks Last!” or ”Sale Now ON”. Strategy, market info and so on will increasingly from now on gain in importance to Zim business. When you cant sell merely on scarcity or price…real marketing begins.

9) The Internet will become a much more important medium. With internet cafes springing up everywhere these days, it’s already happening. Those who know how to use this exciting medium will gain a massive advantage, especially in communicating to regional or international markets. But even those targeting local prospects will gain exciting new strategic advantages. It’s amazing how few local businesses actually have a website, let alone know how to maximize it’s use. The time is soon coming when not having a website, will be the equivalent of being illiterate – you’ l be relegated to the ‘rural areas’ of the business world.

10) Businesses will increase outsourcing to SA. With access to more skills, not readily available in Zimbabwe, wouldn’t you? Naturally, this affects the value of skills and the security of jobs here. It also avails opportunities to those who can facilitate the process.

I could actually go on and on. I don’t know how to predict the timing of all this, but it’s most likely sooner than you think. The point is, recognize that things are changing a lot faster than most business people realize. Investors are coming in, partnerships are being created, plans are being put in place etc.

What should you be doing about all this in your business? Get to it!

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