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  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast Alijawaad's Avatar
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    Question Ideas for online startups in a third world country

    Hi...
    My country is finally embracing the internet...day by day hundreds of people are getting "online"
    At the moment...there's very few people who have taken advantage of this and established their own online startups.
    There are 3 social networks and a few community forums that are very popular in the country.
    People have tried starting job sites and classifieds and these have not worked out well...since they have all been based on a "pay for service" model.

    At the moment...Im working on starting up a restaurant review site and maybe a free job listing site(earning through third party ads)
    I own a very good offline media network and that would make it very easy to promote my sites.
    Any website ideas you guys would recommend for a local market?
    ...Online stores are still not possible due to only less than 1 percent people having a debit/credit card.
    So im thinking more along the lines of my own offline business...as in using the internet to create a new media so that companies can advertise on websites that locals go to.
    Man ought to think of his business by day and
    dream of it by night...

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru htpc's Avatar
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    Can I ask which country it is?

    It sounds like any kind of shopping site is a non-starter, but from what you have said optimising any site - whether it be social network, info, reviews - would probably not pose much of a challenge, so therefore earning from ads would be the best option.
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Enthusiast Alijawaad's Avatar
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    Its Tanzania...Eastern part of Africa.
    Man ought to think of his business by day and
    dream of it by night...

  4. #4
    phpLD Fanatic bronze trophy dvduval's Avatar
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    Very interesting, and great to see that growing numbers of people from your country are getting online. Maybe one of the important things in the beginning is training some people, and then offering their services at a competitive rate. I would love to see some pictures or more information about some of the people that are starting to work online in your country.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Enthusiast Alijawaad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dvduval View Post
    .... Maybe one of the important things in the beginning is training some people, and then offering their services at a competitive rate. ....
    By the above...do you mean creating an outsourcing industry? Something similar to what India is doing?

    In terms of online presence...Most of the people who be online are either on local news websites or on social networking websites. There's a few local social networks that take up a minority share while everyone else is mostly on Facebook.
    What im interested in is moving people from the social networks and opening more avenues for them online....Something different to do. I also want people to make more use of the internet for other tasks..hence my interest in a restaurant review site and a free job listing site.

    Personally, ive been online for a long time but just a year ago got into internet marketing after i started my own offline advertising company. I make a reasonable amount of income online writing articles and through adsense.

    Would it be wise to teach others locally what I know? or would it be better to wait ..learn more and then teach others?
    Man ought to think of his business by day and
    dream of it by night...

  6. #6
    phpLD Fanatic bronze trophy dvduval's Avatar
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    I think it might make sense if you can find a way to have people doing specific profitable tasks, and you pay them, and make a little for yourself too. That way in the future you will be able to actually run a business, and not do everything yourself. Don't try to do this too quickly, but maybe see who you can find to help you for some small tasks. You might go through a couple of people before you find the right one.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Enthusiast Alijawaad's Avatar
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    There's like so much thats possible in my country right now...in terms of the continuously growing internet users....I think in your terms..."Im in America...in 1995 having seen the future of the internet to 2008"...lol
    My head is literally spinning...
    Man ought to think of his business by day and
    dream of it by night...

  8. #8
    SitePoint Evangelist dev_cw's Avatar
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    I would look at possibilities that could bring businesses together (the infamous B2B). Local business directories that could include the social network aspect but applied to business services. Other ideas would be job sites (as you mentioned), online education courses (in a booming industry you will find people in need of special skills), consumer services like price comparisons and product reviews.

    Another thing is just to build websites for the community. If the internet is becoming readily available more and more businesses will simply want to be online.

    One thing to do when developing in a fresh local internet market is to look back on what worked in other places. Not necessarily the US or EU, but markets similar to yours who may have a few years head start. You are really at an advantage since you have a decade of past internet experience in other countries to study and apply to your area.
    "You can just hang outside in the sun all day tossing a ball around...
    Or you can sit at your computer and do something that matters."
    - Cartman

  9. #9
    SitePoint Guru htpc's Avatar
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    One thing to do when developing in a fresh local internet market is to look back on what worked in other places. Not necessarily the US or EU, but markets similar to yours who may have a few years head start.
    This is good advice, and I think offering a SEO service may be a good bet as you already have experience with marketing. As more and more businesses get online in Tanzania over the next few years they will learn that there is a skill to gaining top positions on the search engines.

    This may not be a winner to start with, but it could be worth sowing some seeds now.
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Enthusiast Alijawaad's Avatar
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    Seo interests me alot...since it's very easy to get a site ranking high for local keywords..
    I guess sowing some seeds now won't do any harm...however people have to start searching for local company's online for the seo service to be useful...

    B2B seems like a nice idea as well...Will start researching on it..to see if I can find an existing model and then tweak it for Tanzanian companies.

    Consumerism is still very low in my country...customers aren't kings..yet...
    Ill get a group of retailers together...see if i can bring some sort of product to the public..something like "deal of the day" or "deal of the week"...but again itll be difficult since purchases will be done physically...no credit cards!!!

    Love your ideas ..everyone...!!! thanks
    Man ought to think of his business by day and
    dream of it by night...

  11. #11
    SitePoint Guru htpc's Avatar
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    Consumerism is still very low in my country...customers aren't kings..yet...
    Ill get a group of retailers together...see if i can bring some sort of product to the public..something like "deal of the day" or "deal of the week"...but again itll be difficult since purchases will be done physically...no credit cards!!!
    I've spent some time in third world countries where the internet took off quite a few years ago, and still yet online shopping hasn't caught on. I think this is mainly due to the fact that many people - although they may have access to a pc and internet connection - don't have a debit/credit card. So, at a guess, I'd say a country like Tanzania is still along way off from an ecommerce boom.

    How about a news site - anything from current affairs to entertainment - an authorative blog on everything Tanzanian?
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Enthusiast Alijawaad's Avatar
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    In my opinion...I guess a successful model would be anything that can get users to a "website" (news..blog...and so on) and then make money from adverts on the websites.

    My idea for the deal of the week or even deal of the day...was to bring a company's special offer ...some more exposure. Even though it involves people going physically to purchase...It can still be used to create awareness and im sure advertisers would pay for it.

    Even though the ecommerce boom has not started yet...Id like to try to set up base from now....sow seeds if you will...so that I can profit the most when it eventually does pick up.
    Man ought to think of his business by day and
    dream of it by night...

  13. #13
    phpLD Fanatic bronze trophy dvduval's Avatar
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    Ok, you do seem to continue to focus on building a site for the people of your country. I think if this is the case you need a plan for growth. Much of this plan will involve talking to real people, and involving them in your site in some way. Don't limit yourself to only meeting people online. See if you can make some mutually beneficial partnerships with people, or just find ways they can start contributing to your site.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Enthusiast Alijawaad's Avatar
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    dvduval...
    I understand that I will need to talk to people...because they will eventually visit the websites...so it must cater to them..
    How does one go about building a partnership?
    Is it something like...umm..maybe getting a famous person to blog for you?
    any other possible partnerships..maybe something from your experience?
    Man ought to think of his business by day and
    dream of it by night...


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