Same applies in business; the starting point is always heavy. Unfortunately many people think that they will start their businesses and just cruise smoothly but that’s not the case.
The starting point will always never be clear, because it’s hard to know the right time, right place and if it is the right business. It’s difficult to raise the required amount of capital.
It is a process and if you are to be successful, you should be willing to start from the bottom and grow gradually. Start even under a tree without a shelter, grow to afford a shelter then continue to grow until you achieve exactly what you want.
I only had $100
When I registered my company, I only had equivalent to $100.00 to start my brick molding business.
For me to run a successful brick molding business I needed a truck to carry materials and deliver bricks to customers. I needed to hire people to mold bricks. I needed to rent a brick yard for manufacturing. I needed branding and advertising, stationary, protective clothes for employees, brick molding machine and cement just to name a few. All these required a minimum amount equivalent to $50 000.00, but I only had $100.00 in my pocket to start this venture. I believe many of us are in the same situation today. You want to start a business but you only have 1% of the required capital. So what should you do?
I considered all that was needed, and compared with what I had in my pocket, just P1000. 00 which is equivalent to $100.00, how will I start a business that requires $50 000.00 with such a small amount.
I keep repeating the same numbers because they are very important to understand.
This is what I did, I was carrying a vision that I knew was worth more than half a million but the capital I had at the moment was too small. Many people who are in the same situation today are busy knocking at different doors for funding, banks, relatives and friends but None is giving them money.
You know why, no one is interested to invest in an idea. You must start something and show people something that is existing physically not just on paper.
We molded our first stock
So in my case I never wasted time looking for money, I just asked myself what I can do with that P1000 equivalent to $100.00.
It was enough to buy only 10 bags of cement at P55 (equivalent to $5.50) each. The balance I bought river-sand for brick production, a hand brick mold and hired one person who joined me in brick production.
We molded our first stock and waited for customers, it took weeks before we sold anything. We spent our time watering those 380 bricks and displayed them so nicely waiting for our first customer.
In the meantime time, there was some space in the brick yard, we therefore decided to develop a vegetable garden.
After 2 weeks of none sales, we eventually received the first person to our business, this person just came to inquire and he wanted 1000 bricks so he told us to increase our stock. We only had 380 bricks on our stock and we didn’t have money to increase the stock but to make sure I don’t disappoint him, I promised that we will increase the stock. Before the end of that same week, another customer came but wanted 800 bricks so she paid us all the money.
I hired a truck to deliver the 380 bricks to our first customer. Each brick was sold at P4 equivalent to 40c so this customer paid us P3 200 equivalent to $320.00.
I hired more 12 people after 6 months
I used all the money to buy more cement, and river sand to mold more bricks. This time I bought more cement and our production gave us more than 1000 bricks, this means I was now able to deliver balance to our customers and call the other customer who needed 1000 bricks.
So this circle went on and on until our revenue grew gradually. The vegetable garden after a month we started selling vegetable at a wholesale price to the ladies who were selling at the shops. That was another revenue income. Income from selling vegetables was used mainly to buy airtime and for self keeping to avoid spending money from brick sales for personal up-keeping since I had no salary.
After our first 6 months in business, I had hired more than 12 people. They were all wearing branded worksuits under our trading name Skhano Ltd. I was able to hire a truck for deliveries full time.
Within our first year in business I managed to buy our first truck.
This is surely a practical lessons which demonstrates that if you are determined you can start with as little as possible and grow it.
You too can start a business with what you have
Within 2 years my company was worth more than P500 000.00 (equivalent to $50 000) but I started it with just equivalent to $100.00.
It is not about how much you have when starting a business but it is about the vision that you are carrying and how determined you want to make it happen.
Today someone is saying I have a business idea worth a million so I need funding of about $100 000.00 or a loan. My brother, my sister None will ever give you that money. If you are serious about business, Stand up and start developing your $10 into $15, from $15 to $20 then the process should continue until you reach your goal. That is the only way to go. Never waste your time busy writing long and lucrative business plans, submitting for funding. Even if you are to be given that funding, you still need to learn the business.
When I was working with a small capital, it was a practical lesson to learn and know my business. I challenge you today to try it.
By Dr Barnabas Marambire
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