You have probably never heard of the name Yanik Silver. Well, Wikipedia describes him as an entrepreneur, author and digital marketing expert. Yanik is the founder of Maverick Business Adventures, an invitation only club for high net worth and adventurous entrepreneurs.
A child of Russian immigrants, Yanik went to the United States when he was 2 and began working in his father’s medical equipment sales and service business at the age of 14. In 1995, when he was 21, one of Yanik’s customers suggested he listen to a tape by Jay Abrams’ on direct response marketing. This totally changed his life. Yanik applied Abrams’s principles to his father’s business and sales skyrocketed. He then came up with a new business idea: Instant Sales Letters.
Instant Sales Letters was an early internet based service that provided writing templates for sales letters. The year was 2000 and internet was fast approaching mainstream status. Yanik began to think that, if he could sell report-style information via hard copy advertisements and phone orders, the potential for selling this same information online could be enormous. He compiled many of the adverts and letters he had written for his father, as well as information from consultations he had been involved with over the years and created a downloadable package priced at $29.95. By the end of the year, sales for Instant Sales Letters had reached six figures.
Forbes magazine reports that Yanik has built more than half a dozen seven figure online businesses since then.
We might not all be seeing the numerous business opportunities in Zimbabwe but the speech given by Bruce Wharton at the International Business Conference at the trade fair in Bulawayo last week was an eye opener. The US Ambassador mentioned that Zimbabwe is far and away the nation in Africa best able to lead and profit from the high growth of information, communications and technology (ICT).
While global growth of ICT has surpassed any other in the last decade, Africa is just waking up and has the greatest growth potential of any continent. With a powerful combination of intellectual property, infrastructure and English language capability second to none on the continent, Zimbabwe has the potential to be not only a regional leader but also a global player in ICT.
Zimbabwean entrepreneurs can take advantage of the country’s unique resources to lead in the following business opportunities:
- Using ICT to support and improve existing industries.
- Creating apps. The global applications economy was worth an estimated US$68 billion in 2013 and growing.
- Games. The video and mobile games market was valued at $65 billion in 2011, and with rapid growth in smart phones, there is even greater potential.
- Computer generated graphics. These can be sold to movie studios around the world (like what is being done by the 26 year old Kenyan entrepreneur Mike Muthiga whom we covered in the April issue of BusinessLink magazine –under the title 30 Young African Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2014).
- Call centres. With a well educated young population fluent in the English language, call centres for global companies present a good business opportunity.
- Data management. Production of analysis and data management for international financial organisations.
All this is value addition of the highest order and definitely something that Zimbabweans can do today. So what are we waiting for?
Read more on how you can profit from opportunities in ICT as well as other sectors in the May issue of BusinessLink magazine, out from 2 May, 2014. Visit our website to take advantage of our limited special offer.
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This Week’s Quiz: Name the Zimbabwean entrepreneur who appears on the Forbes list of 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa in 2014. Email your answer to email@example.com by Tuesday 6 May and you could win 12 months’ subscription to BusinessLink digital magazine.
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