The Tuku Tuku Mania!
By Dickson Jere

It appears there is a new business boom in Zambia – investing in motorbikes for deliveries. A lot of young people now own one or two bikes that have been put on the road for courier services. The demand – it appears – stems from the heavy traffic on our roads that seem to slow down commerce. The motor bikes boom is very visible on our roads!

Over the weekend, I had a long chat with my little cousin who intends to join the fray. His plan is to start with two bikes and gradually increase the fleet. So, he wants to get a loan to start the business because his best friend seemed to have succeeded at it.
“What make of the bikes are getting?” I asked inquisitively.
“Any type will work. My friend who has five wants to sell me two…” he said, confidently.

We then went on some serious discussion including asking him to find out why his friend is getting rid of the two bikes from his feet instead of growing it.
“Check…maybe it is giving him problems and he wants to sell you his problems,” I said.
He had never thought about that!

I then suggested that I will look for a business incubation program where he can join and understand the nitty-gritty of the business he intends to start. It is not good enough – I said – that his friend is making money with same business without him independently understanding it.
“Do you know that you need a license from ZICTA to operate a courier business?” I asked, referring him to the Postal Services Act No 22 of 2009.
He was blank.

What about the insurance?
He quickly responded all his bikes will be comprehensively insured for any possible accidents.
“No, I mean insurance of the goods you will be carrying….,” I said.
What legal mechanisms or contracts have you put in place for the delayed parcel or indeed lost parcel of your client?

I then took on the maintenance side of the business. “Who will be servicing and repairing your bikes?”
“Who stocks the spare parts of the make of the bike you want to get?”
Basic but tough business questions.
“I am told there many people now who deals with that,” he said, once again, referring to his friend who is doing well.

Anyway, we hope the business plan with a good incubator will help the youngman prepare adequately to enter the Tuku Tuku mania with knowledge of the business.
“There was a time when Zambians invested heavily in rose flowers because there was huge Euros to be made. And then moved to Paprika and all,” I said but most failed because there was very little understanding of the business.

But I know one girl who is doing well with bikes because she is using it as part of her delivery for her products. So, she carries only her products to her clients and no additional parcels from anybody.
“She knows her niche…,” I said.

Another one has targeted the law firms – delivering mails and Court documents at a fast speed. Seems to be working thus far!
“Find your niche before venturing in the business…” I advised.

Apart from BongoHive, which other businesses incubators exist in Zambia to help young people plan and nurse their business ideas? Share..


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