Recently, I received this question from one of my blog's followers. I will conceal her identity to safe-guard her privacy.
Hi James Keru
"I have small Capital, lets say Ksh150k. However I never seem to know from what point to start.
I had this idea to start farming because I have a plot around Nairobi but after spending over 120k just fencing it and trying to plat some trees and kayaba, I gave up. I wanted to rear goats and chicken.
I had another idea of starting a charcoal business in Machakos, after doing some calculations it was not worth it, I didnt know where to get the charcoal from, the suppliers where over charging, so that is gone after spending a few thousands. My family has plenty of land and I have been advised to get into the business of selling land but I just don't know how to get started.
Now I have another idea of starting a shop where I will be selling I don't know what....just a shop I guess, I want to get a good location in my estate and see how it goes.
In the end I have no clue what I can do without just wasting my money. I seriously need help."
First, the mistake you’ve been making all along is investing your money without researching on the viability of the idea at hand. You rush to commit your money before you are even sure how the system works.
Now, the best way to come up with a business idea is to identify what problems the society around you face and then try to resolve that problem. For instance Safaricom noticed that Kenyans were being exploited in the telecommunication market and so they brought as “the better option”. Dasani noticed that there was a shortage of clean water to drink and they brought us “Dasani Mineral water”.
I would give you some ideas based on the resources you have.
Join a group on Facebook Called Uza/Nunua Plot or Shamba (Click Here). Then go to the land, take a few photos of it and post it there regularly with details such as Title deed availability, size, price and your contact details. You can also try multiple platforms like OLX. I have seen them work because personally I’m in the process of buying land which I got contacts for on Facebook.
(2)Farming on Land
This farm seems to be near Nairobi but in a relatively dry area. Can you do some green house farming in it? You can plant onions, tomatoes and capsicum. These have a ready market in Nairobi and Machakos especially if you sell them in bulk. I have a friend in Eldoret who feeds his family through green house farming.
(3)Idea of a shop
Normally, shops in estates are tricky to run due to extreme competition. Before you pursue this idea, first sit down and see if there’s an unfilled gap that is existing that you would like to feel. E.g.
*Lack of fresh grocery>>set up a grocery shop
*Lack of quality grains>>set up a cereal shop
*Lack of clean affordable water>>set up a small water bottling plant
If you don’t see an unfilled gap, then don’t invest, better keep your money safely in the bank. Another way to spot a gap is if the current person who is providing a particular service is sleeping on the job.
For instance, your local butcher could be providing poor services. Your best business bet in that case would be to start a small, clean butchery that offers best of services so that you can penetrate the market.
Given this whole story, and given what you’ve been thinking about for the last few months, sit down, reflect and then do a bit of ground research. May be you could grow groceries in your Kyumbi land and then set up a shop in Imara Daima to sell the same. Think about it.