Starting a business is difficult, even in perfect conditions. In an economy made volatile by the global pandemic, being a business owner can be even more treacherous. But if you’re able to start the right type of business and are dedicated to making it work, then even turbulence in the financial systems will not be able to stop you.
A kasi business is a business that is located in an urban city’s outlying neighbourhood. The term "kasi" derives from where it’s situated, as it is an affectionate derivative of the areas more commonly known as "locations". Most kasi businesses still fall under the banner of small, medium-sized, or micro-enterprises.
On a personal note, starting a kasi business could leave you feeling safe in a world filled with financial insecurity. At a deeper level, your small business can help stabilise the South African economy. How is that possible? Well, here’s all you need to know.
7 Reasons Why South Africa Needs More Kasi Businesses
1. Build Up Your Nation
South Africa’s unemployment rate stands at 34.5%, less than one percent lower than the staggering all-time high of 35.3% recorded in 2021. With COVID closing many businesses’ doors and many of the bigger markets already saturated, there is a need for more innovative thinking that leads to job opportunities for the people of South Africa.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) provide a place of refuge for the South African economy. Kasi businesses, SMEs, and other micro-enterprises combine to make what is known as the "informal economy". This informal sector makes up just under 20% of all employment in the country. However, that figure is being debated and rumoured to be higher, as much informal economic activity is undocumented.
This means that SMEs are doing their best to provide jobs, boost skills, and facilitate youth development. With big corporate investors jumping ship and fleeing back to their home countries and local big businesses turning a blind eye, small businesses are anchoring the ship to ensure that the local economy is able to stay afloat.
2. There’s a Gap in the Market
Large corporations tend to ignore the activities going on in the kasi. Their focus is primarily on what is happening on a much larger scale in industries such as finance, retail, transport and logistics, and agriculture to name a few.
This has presented kasi locals with a vast array of unique opportunities. Whilst big businesses have turned their back, kasi locals have jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the rampant economic activity that is taking place in their neighbourhoods.
However, this trend will not last for long. Large corporations have already noticed that there is money to be made in the kasi and are slowly turning their heads to break ground where they never have before. Do your best to stay ahead of the curve and open your kasi business today!
3. Less Start-Up Capital
Funding a business is never simple but financing a kasi business is a little easier. Due to the size and nature of small businesses, the money needed to open SMEs is far less than what is required to start a larger company.
Low start-up capital requirements increase your chances of finding willing investors for your business. Not only that, but your overheads are lower too, meaning you can worry less about the money and focus more on growing your business.
Starting your own kasi business and not sure where to get funding? Check out this list of 15 funding solutions for kasi businesses!
4. Be Your Own Boss
No matter how much we may say otherwise, none of us truly wants to work for someone else. You’ll have dreams of climbing the corporate ladder in order to be the boss, and kick and scream every day at the office until that day comes (if it ever does!).
Starting your own kasi business gives you the chance to be completely independent. You’ll have power over your business's brand identity and marketing. Office hours, location, travel necessities, and more are all under your control. And you can decide how many coffee breaks you want to take!
The best part about being your own boss, however, is that you control the business’s finances. So, you can decide how much of the profits will go back into the business, and how much will go towards that long-weekend in Durban.
5. Become an Expert
Through all the trials, tribulations, and uncertainties of starting a small business, one thing is guaranteed: you will be learning during the entire process.
Being your own boss means that you’ll have to know everything about every aspect of the business. If you are not an accountant, you will still need to know how to balance the books and stay ahead of your tax. You’ll instantly become an admin assistant, manager, head of operations, creative director, cleaner, secretary, HR, security, and more when you start your own business. Even if you hire someone to do those tasks, which is advisable, you’ll still need to know the task well enough to ascertain if the person you hired is doing their job correctly.
So, be it on purpose or not, you will be learning so much in your new venture. And, in time, you’ll be an expert in many areas, some of which you’ve never even dreamed of.
Struggling to find a business idea that checks all your boxes? Check out these 11 businesses you can start using social media for inspiration!
6. Passion and Creativity
If you are starting your own kasi business, chances are you enjoy the craft of the business that you open. At the very least, you’ll have enough knowledge of your business to be confident enough to venture out on your own.
This presents you with the opportunity to fully express your creative self and dive deeper into your passion. Straddling the helm and being your own boss means that whenever a moment of inspiration hits, you and you alone decide if and how to implement it in your business.
It gives you the chance to be brave, expressive, and completely free from the shackles of a senior co-worker telling you what to do. Your problem-solving skills are bound to improve as you creatively navigate the early bumps of a new business venture.
Artists work because they love their jobs and they are willing to put in the grind, no matter the circumstance, for the love of their craft. Your brand new kasi business could be the canvas you’ve been waiting for all your life.
7. Community Love
The thing about a kasi business is that it is in the kasi. Your kasi. Most of your customers will be people you know or have previously interacted with. This gives you a huge advantage as you would have already gone through an important aspect of developing a strong customer base: building trust.
Familiarity is your friend because if people know and trust you, it will make it easier for them to purchase your goods and services. Be it because they like your product or are just doing it to support you, either way, your first sale will come quicker than if you were opening a shop in a city full of strangers.
As an added advantage, smaller communities tend to look after one another. Your neighbours are likely to warn you about security threats, unsavoury customers, and other unwanted entities if they have a pre-existing relationship with you.
So, whether you want to help shape South Africa’s youth and help build a better economy, or you simply want to be your own boss and be in control of your financial future, one thing is for sure, South Africa will be much better off with many more kasi businesses.
Keen to learn more about how to start, manage and grow your business eKasi? Check out The Kasi Business Boom & The Opportunities That Lie Ahead for more!