We started our own business without any money from friends, relatives or a bank loan. The reason why we started our own business was because we were desperately unemployed but again we had the vision for the future. At the beginning nothing was encouraging and nothing seemed to work. The only asset we relied upon was our own ideas and our biggest challenge was to transform those ideas into reality without any initial capital investment.
Our first idea was to start a newspaper business. We started a newspaper not because it was the best business idea but because we loved newspapers and we happened to be inspired by role models who invested in newspapers. But after one year the newspaper business collapsed and we went broke. Then I met a friend owner of Imalaseko Supermarkets and Lamada Hotels. Mr. Kishimba gave me this piece of advice “ you do not keep cows because you love seeing cows but because they give you milk”.
Do you want to start your own business?. It's very possible because you do not need a lot to start  a business. But it’s not a good idea to start a business with money from the bank as they demand high interest rates. It is important to start as small as possible; be your own boss, your own secretary, your own accountant, your own salesman and your own cashier. I once heard Rev. Getrude Rwakatare speaking in a women entrepreneurship forum and she said " when we started, I was the CEO and the school bus conductor at the sametime".
Again try to come up with business ideas which can push customers to pay you an advance before you deliver the service. Or look for products that are common and mostly demanded by customers. And if you are in the consulting business eg) IT professionals, you can ask your clients to allow you work from their offices to avoid office space rental charges.
But there is always one challenge in starting a business. I know many people would want ideas that are unique or ideas that have never been seen before. But the truth of the matter is that there are very few new ideas you can come up with unless you are the next Steve Jobs. Apart from that, when you start a business you need cash to pay for various bills so it is advised to think of a business that get you cash on daily basis as you can’t wait three month for a cheque. On top of that, avoid paying cash on services that you need for running your business, instead make use of available facillities eg) your own sitting or bed room for an office and or a hotel lounge as a meeting place for your customers depending on the type of business you are in. This model has been very successful for chinese start-ups.
Because you may not have enough money to promote your services or products, take advantage of social media including facebook and twitter. There is no cost involved in opening up a facebook page and this is the best way to start promoting your business.
Reginald Mengi owner of IPP Group ever told me that business is an organized friendship. People who know you better including your relatives, friends, schoolmates or workmates can be your first customers. Create a network of friends who will buy your products and or refer you to their networks. Through this way, it will be easy for you to penetrate the market using a network of friends who can buy your products or services as much as they trust you or they have been referred by people they trust. The same model has been agreat success for network marketing companies such as GNLD and Forever Living.
When we started the newspaper, we did not have money to employ journalists. We relied upon friends to write articles and when we started the Speakers’ Burea business , we also requested friends to volunteer speaking in our events. Again, when we started the car hire business, we didn’t own any car and we relied upon friends' cars for sub-hire whenever we got clients who wanted to hire cars from our company. I have learn't through experience that business is about networking, the more you can network, the more the potential to attract customers.
My vision is to be an industrialist because I come from an industrial background. I was groomed by a cousin brother Mr. Robert Edward owner of ALEA Properties USA who used to operate the biggest office furniture factory in East and Central Africa. Since then, I wanted to become like him and I dreamt of owning a factory one day. But opening a factory needs a lot of initial capital investment for land, machines, manpower, taxes etc. But since I was a graduate with no capital to start a business, I decided to work out an altenative route. I knew that there is always an altenative way to achieve a dream. I therefore did put a long-term plan to accumulate capital through a set of businesses that are within my reach.
One day I was invited for a radio show on Radio One Stereo and I shared a plattform with an entrepreneur who had made a fortune in electrical products under the brand known as Tropical Power products. After the show, I asked him " how did you manage to start a manufacturing firm? He replied, “We envisioned manufacturing electrical products but we didn’t have enough capital. We were two of us both graduates of the University of Dar es Salaam. We were well trained in electrical engineering and we had the know how. So we designed various types of electrical products including power cables and we registered the Tropical Power products as a global brand. We did that because we researched and found that it would have been very expensive to set up such a high-tech factory in Tanzania. We therefore negotiated with overseas manufacturers to manufacture for us on large quantity order basis and todate the business is a big success”.

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