COURTESY: Despite cheaper computers and wireless internet modems flooding the market, a sizeable number of customers are still trooping into cyber cafes to do more than just checking emails and surfing the internet.
And while some analysts have sounded the death knell for small internet kiosks, statistics from the ground show (to the contrary) that the daring ones are actually growing NOT shrinking.
As such, if you have been toying with this business idea for some time don’t be tempted to shelve it yet. Here are some useful tips for potential and existing cyber cafe owners.
Step 1: Choose a Good Location
Ideally, go for a place with high foot traffic of mostly young scholars and professionals. Think of an area near an upcoming or existing university or college. Alternatively, go for the high-end market in the CBDs of major towns.
Step 2: Build the Workstation
A small cafe would require one workstation partitioned to create exclusive booths for up to 4 client computers. In addition, a small management booth with a few display shelves (for snacks, envelopes, flash disks and other merchandise), space for the main computer and space for a printer/photocopier would also be required.
Step 3: Book Licenses
In order to start a cyber cafe in Kenya, you need 3 mandatory licenses.
(1)County Council Single Business Permit
All 47 counties in Kenya require you to pay for this license before you open your business. The cost may vary from county to county with Kajiado averaging at Ksh.5,000 – Ksh.15,000 per year and Nairobi at Ksh.20,000 – Ksh.35,000.
(2) County Council Outdoor Advertising and Signage Permit
Some county governments (like Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu) require you to pay a permit for outdoor marketing if you’re going to put a sign-board to attract customers to your business.
(3) Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) License
If you will be playing music in your cafe, then this license is a must-have. Otherwise, you can desist from playing any kind of music to save on cost (the trade-off being you may not attract many young customers).
Step 4: Assemble Your Equipment
Lastly, bring your machines. Each computer should have a legitimate Operating System software (if you can’t afford copyrighted Microsoft software go for open source software or Linux).
Link up with a cost-friendly internet service provider.
Oh, and did I mention you need a software to track computer usage in order to charge clients accordingly?
NOW, you are ready to start.
The Secret to Growing Your Cyber Cafe against All Odds
The secret to succeeding in this business lies in diversification. Gone are the days when customers seeking internet services were the backbone of cyber cafe firms. Consider adding a wide host of services to your cyber in order to attract many walk-in customers. Some examples of these add-on businesses include:
Mobile money agency outlet (M-Pesa, Airtel Money, Equity,KCB and Cooperative Bank agencies don’t disappoint).
▪️Video games outlet
▪️Typing and proof-reading services
▪️Instant passport photo taking and printing services
▪️Printing images from clients mobile phones and memory cards
▪️Snacks and soft-drinks
▪️Graphic design and printing of promotional materials
▪️Computer training services (particularly in the rural areas)
In addition, you can venture into online business. For example you can run your eCommerce store using your cyber cafe as your physical address.
How Much To Invest
Although you can start a cyber cafe with much less, a bare minimum budget of Ksh.100,000 is highly recommended.
How Much To Expect
A well run cyber cafe with at least 4 computers and an added service like M-pesa, graphic design, web-design, eCommerce, photocopy services etc can rake in up to Ksh.750,000 per year.
So forget about the myth that cyber cafes “don’t make money nowadays”. The secret to succeeding in any business lies in innovation.
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