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Mobile business? How? But why not! After all, we listen to music and the radio while on the road. That is mobile entertainment business, isn’t it?
A visit to major cities and towns in Africa will reveal unimaginable creativity in the growing economies. From Nairobi to Kampala to Dar Es’ Salaam and many others, businesses and services provision joints have been greatly revolutionized.
For a long period, the traditional supply chains have dominated these joints such that the producer or manufacturer produces and sells the merchandize to the wholesalers and retailers who have to incur both transportation and storage costs. At the end of the chain is the consumer, to whom all the costs are transferred.
Herein lies the creativity spot! (Read: Africa: Home of vehicle improvisation) How about selling this merchandize while still on transit, thereby avoiding the extra storage costs and thus, only incur the transportation costs? Well, this is the trend of many businesses in the African towns today.
An idea whose time has come
You cannot stop an idea whose time has come! It started with the handcarts, hawking fruit and pudding from handcarts. In fact, do you know that a handcart business set off the revolution in Tunisia that eventually led to the Muslim uprising in North Africa and the Middle East? Interesting, Huh! As the West and the Far East scramble for Africa, business spaces become more expensive in the Urban centers, mobile businesses are fast becoming the better options.
Mr Onyango is one such businessman in town. He has a fleet of ten trucks that mainly specialize in the sale of….you guessed it- food! You have to see it to believe it - workers taking breakfast on the highway headed to work, or traveling around town while still having their lunch! Can you think of a more clever way to beat the inconveniences of the evening traffic jams than having dinner on your way home? Just as the locals call them, these joints are real ‘jam rescuers’.
What motivates the jam rescuers?
Necessity is the mother of invention as they say. This trend was initially started by banks and other companies to promote their products. They were regarded as the traveling theaters. One could open an account while being transported home or to town for instance! It was like an incentive to attract more customers to their businesses. From this, entrepreneurs like Onyango sought to leverage to other operations too.
He dived into food and beverages- traveling cafes. According to his admission, “flexibility and lowering the costs were the main inspirations behind my choice of operation. With such an arrangement, you can reach more customers wherever they are, while still spending less in transporting your goods. It is convenient for the two of you- seller and customer”
And to what Limits….. What truck structure?
He believes that the operation mode can be used to provide all forms of services or goods. “I plan to venture into service delivery soon, maybe something like a saloon and barbershop, all in one truck”
On such an endeavor, he foresees the need to have the truck customized to enable it handle the two businesses comfortably although they are quite similar. “Trucks can always be customized to suit your needs. The better you are at separating services the easier it is to manage and control. I do not have to care much. I just need to pay the parking fee once I get to town”.
Next time you spot that Mercedes truck cruising to town, do not mind having a bottle of whiskey as you ride to or around town. Doing business has never been this much fun. Take time to consider your vehicle as an outlet for your business, and capitalize on its flexibility and ability to reach many more clients.