You may not have millions of shillings in the bank to start a business, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have any options. Let me surprise you. There are so many ideas you can explore with next to nothing and make serious returns out of them.
All that is required of you is to provide the skills, work ethic and a bit of marketing. In short, that is what is called “sweat capital”. In the world of start-ups, “sweat capital” is worth more than monetary capital.
Enough of vague statement. Let’s get practical. Here is a run-down of 10 business ideas that require very little monetary capital to set-up. Read through them keenly, take some notes and then go out there and do some deep digging and you are ready to go.
10.Making homemade strawberry jam and selling (Budget: Ksh750)
This is an interesting idea because you can actually start it with less than the cash you spend when you take your girlfriend for a movie at iMax. The more creative you are the more income you can generate from it. To start you will require some strawberries, sugar and lemons.
You will also need a sufuria (pot), mwiko (wooden stick) and some plastic containers for packaging. With just a little more perfection, you can actually secure a KEBS license and start supplying supermarkets. If you can keep investing more time and creativity into this, there is no reason why you should not grow it into a sustainable business.
|Strawberries||Ksh250 per kilo|
|Sugar||Ksh100 for 500 grams|
One kilogram of strawberries will give you approximately 6 cans of jam each weighing 250 grams. You can then sell a 250 gram for Ksh200 making at least Ksh1,200. Note that you can always expand your profit margins by planting the strawberries yourself. Learn more.
9.Selling wall papers (Budget: Ksh1,800)
If making strawberry jam sounds more like a “mboche’s” idea to you, then you might want to put your in-born interior design knowledge to good use. Most people live in houses with a dull paint done by their landlords. A number of them would like to have the exterior looking better – but without necessarily repainting it.
This is where wall papers come in handy. You simply get ready-made wall papers either from local wholesalers or by importing from countries such as china.
|Wall Paper Roll||Ksh1,600 per 10 meters|
You can then sell each roll for Ksh3,500 and include a Ksh1,000 charge for installation. That translates to more than double profit. The more aggressive you are, the more sales you can make and the more revenue you can generate from this.
8.Distributing black coffee (Ksh6,600)
If you live in towns like Nairobi, I am sure you have come across some guys who distribute black coffee in matatu termini. Have you ever stopped to inquire how much they make per day? Well, at it turns out, this venture is one of those “opportunities dressed rags” kind of things.
For starters you will require a 10 litre capacity flask, some disposable plastic cups and well…a bit of hard work.
|Thermos Flask||Ksh5,000 for 10 litre thermos|
|Disposable plastic cups||Ksh1,000|
|Sugar||Ksh400 per Kilo|
As long as you are willing to give it your best, there is no reason why you should walk away with less than Ksh1,000 per day in profits. How? You might want to ask. Well, a 10 litre coffee thermos contains 65 x 150ml cups of coffee. Sell each cup at Ksh10 and you will make Ksh650 per flask.
If you can make three trips per day – once in the morning and twice in the evening – then we can talk about Ksh650x3 = Ksh1,950. Subtract cost of water, sugar and coffee and you realize you can make a cool Ksh1,500 per day.
7.Making jewellery from bones (Ksh1,010)
Carving jewellery out of beef and camel bones. Boiled bones. You collect discarded bones from restaurants and slaughterhouses. Sounds like a “chokora’s” job…right? Not until you realize how much potential it has.
Here’s the drill, you acquire waste bones, sharpen them with a circular blade and then smooth them with a sand paper. You then boil them using hydrogen peroxide to remove oil. You then apply candle wax to them (in pattern) and then dye the bones for one hour.
Finally you design the bone into either a necklace beards, bracelets, rings or even earrings. See how it is done here.
|Bones||Free or purchase at small price|
|Blades and sandpaper||Ksh500|
As with any other design business out there, this business rewards the creative mind. So if you are not ready to sit down for hours coming up with some nice concepts; don’t risk it. If done right, this has the potential to make you a force to reckon with in the multi-billion jewellery industry.
6.Chia seeds farming (Ksh10,000)
You will be surprised to hear how this little, wonder seed is causing ripples across the world. In fact, just recently, chia wholesalers in Europe were sold out. Why? Because the seed has many health benefits ranging from omega oil to protein supply.
With a fast growing market, you can take advantage of this opportunity to start a small farm. It grows in moderately warm areas with well-drained soil e.g. places like Nakuru, Uasin Gishu and Western Kenya. Best of all, the crop thrives organically and you need no fertilizer or pesticide to sustain it.
|Chia seeds||Ksh4,000 for two kilos|
You only need 2 kilograms of it to establish a quarter acre. That will in turn give you a harvest of 75 kilograms after just 3 months. With each Kilogram fetching Ksh2,000 on the market, it means you can comfortably raise Ksh150,000.
5.Car boot sales (Ksh12,000)
So, you have been fired yet you still have a personal car loan to finance. Don’t panic. You can convert that car into a business by making car boot sales.
It’s very simple, you identify a few fast moving goods, transport them with your car to crowded places or busy streets and sell from your car’s boot. Some fast moving goods include chicken eggs, used toys (Read about EX-UK Toys), traditional vegetables and exotic fruits.
The benefit with car boot is that unlike a permanent shop, this one allows you to move from one place to another. You can also avoid a bulk of county council costs when operating this way.
|Products to sale||As little as Ksh10,000|
|Fuel and car expenses||Ksh1,000|
|Any other||Ksh 1,000|
4.Making beaded sandals and handbags (Ksh3,870)
You need beads. A kilogram of beads goes for Ksh370/= at Kariakor Market in Nairobi. A kilogram is enough to make bead an entire handbag and a small pouch which you can sell for as much as Ksh3,000. This represents a profit of Ksh 2,230.
You will also need to take a few days to learn the art of beading (around 4 days). Luckily for you, our very own success story, Ms. Cleopatrah Wanjiku, is always on hand to offer this kind of training. You can find her on her Facebook Page and plan for a session or two.
|Beads||Ksh370 per kilo|
|Training||Ksh3,000 (may vary)|
|Needles & strings||Ksh500|
Being in the creative industry, this business gives you the freedom to set the price. You can therefore rake in anything from as little as Ksh1,000 per day to as much as you want depending on your entrepreneurial prowess.
3.Making beads from scratch
You don’t just need to settle at the idea of making beaded sandals and handbags. You can actually make the beads yourself and supply them other fashion designers. All you need is to acquire some polymer clay (the one used by urban kids to make mould) which you can use to mould different bead designs.
You can follow this article for a step-by-step guide on how to go about this. Luckily, for you, there are not many Kenyans doing this and you can therefore take full advantage of the market dynamics. Where do you get polymer clay in Kenya? Well, it is readily available in supermarkets and bookshops. Alternatively, you can import it in bulk.
|Oven-bake clay||Ksh100 per bar of clay|
|Clay sculpting tools||Ksh1,500|
|Needles & strings||Ksh500|
|Polymer clay oven||Ksh10,000|
|Labour||Ksh200 per labourer per day|
This is yet another venture that depends on one’s creativity. Returns may vary from as little as Ksh1,000 per day to much more depending on economies of scale.
2.Processing and selling natural oils
You don’t need a whole factory along Mombasa road to start producing oils. You simply need to invest in an oil press machine and a few raw materials like avocado, macadamia, sunflowers and even chia seeds.
Things like avocadoes are readily available in most parts of the country and you can obtain them at throw-away prices. You dry them up and then squeeze them using the machine to produce pure, organic oil.
Once you get the oil, you can package it in bottles and supply to your clients. With the need for quality skin care and demand for 100% natural oil emerging, you can rival for a sizeable pie of this lucrative industry right from your living room.
|Automatic cold press machine||Ksh50,000|
4 avocadoes can produce 50ml of pure oil. You can sell this oil for as much as Ksh100. Yet each avocado would cost you about 5 bob which comes to a total cost of 20 bob. A small set-up can produce and sell 1 litre of avocado oil per day – this loosely translates to Ksh2,000 in sales. The sales can increase further if you approach supermarkets and cosmetic shops in your area.
1.Become a clown
Yes…what the heck! If everything else does not work for you consider becoming a clown. All you need to do is acquire clown costumes. Then start approaching party planners – especially kids’ parties – and request to be hired as a clown or entertainer.
In the west freelance clowns fetch as much as Ksh10,000 ($100) per hour. So why not try it locally and set your price depending on how popular you become? You can expand this to include services like face painting, trampolines, puppet shows, animal mascots and so forth.
|Clown costumes||Ksh5,000 (Polyester)|
As you can see, there is no limit as to what business you can engage in. With money as little as your relatives give you for pocket money, you can always start a business. So don’t sit there and complain. Get up and do something.