By Opinion 4h ago

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A bakkie symbolises so much more than just a car. Bakkie owners are often seen as heroes saving the day – from helping a friend move, to pulling stuck cars out of the mud. A bakkie is so versatile it can also make you money. Think delivery or transport service, mobile beauty salon, a pop-up restaurant, or a garden refuse business.

With the nationwide lockdown and economic downturns many people have found themselves either looking to replace a lost job or finding new ways to make extra money. Recognising this potential for new business creation and entrepreneurship, Cell C have decided to give away 20 bakkies this summer.

“No one can be in any doubt that 2020 has been one of the most trying times in South Africa’s history. Cell C hopes to inject joy back into South Africa and lift the country through its Summer Campaign after the darkest of winters. Summer 2020 in South Africa will be like no other we have ever experienced,” says Simo Mkhize, Cell C’s Chief Commercial Officer.

Successful bakkie and truck hire start up, Droppa, started using a bakkie. While working as a computer programmer at a bank, Khatutshelo Mufamadi, used his own bakkie for deliveries in his spare time. This gave him the idea to start an e-hailing service for bakkies and trucks, which is how the app Droppa (“Uber for bakkies,” according to Mufamadi) came about. He shares how he turned his bakkie into a business.

Put your bakkie where the money is

Make sure your bakkie is visible to potential customers. It doesn’t make sense to park it outside your house or in your garage. It won’t make you any money this way. If you choose to offer a delivery or transport service with your bakkie like I did, start by parking outside a retail or hardware store.

Brand your bakkie

This tells customers you are open for business and what services you offer whether you are parked or driving. Make sure the lettering and numbers are visible. The more professional this looks the more likely you are to get hired.

Have a plan

While marketing is important, don’t even think to begin until you have a business to market. Work at getting your business model and pricing sorted before you start getting customers.

Get your finances in order

Your business won’t succeed without a healthy bank account. Get an accountant to assist you from day one. It will make a massive difference when investors come knocking on your door. The first thing they look at is your financial track record.

Entrepreneurship in South Africa is critical to solving the unemployment crisis. But for many it can be an upward struggle, even when given the right tools like a bakkie. Chief Executive of Sidar Group, Carl Bates, has assisted many SMEs and startups over the years. He advises potential bakkie winners to first test their ideas before doing anything else.

Bates says, “Ask people if they’d commit to using your services. If they say yes, then you are onto something. In terms of finances, far too many people view cash flow as a problem. Rather see money as something which flows to a good idea. Avoid debt and perhaps pre-sell your services to get things going. And always think of how to scale your business right from the start. Make sure the problem you are solving with your business has a market big enough to keep growing.”