Saturday, February 21, 2009

How about a multi-fulfillment business?

Well, we all know that 2009 is a year that will see quite a few hardships and those graduating this year will have to be more innovative in getting jobs.

However, there are many other opportunities than merely seeking employment.  For a start, many are encouraged to be entrepreneurs, there is a sudden interest in retaining students to pursue postgraduate studies to boost University rankings and of course, they can also opt for direct selling.

There is this other in-between option of being an employee and an entrepreneur, some may call it franchising programs or even consider direct selling agents to be in this category.  A company by the name of DropZone is offering Malaysians to be “your own boss”.

Basically you apply to be a dropzone partner to operate their services and since they are new, they would require you to help them out.  You will not be employed by them, but you will be provided with financing facilities (if you qualify), training and a few other things that are normally associated with being an employee.

If you are interested to know more, it would be best to email them at for exact details of the program.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Photography studio

In the past, each local community had at least 1 photo studio where films get processed into photos or even just to get their identity sized photographs (e.g. passport).  These studios have either closed (or in the process of closing) as digital photography and the Internet makes photo printing at a local photo studio unnecessary and the many small kiosk where you can print your photos cheaply.  Some of them re-invent themselves to provide photography equipment such as cameras but many can’t utilize the space that they used to have for the large film processing and the large studio.

However, with the number of novices taking up photography as a hobby, it would make sense to provide the following service:

  • Studio for rent, equipped with changing room, dressing table and generic studio equipment such as reflectors and flash stands.
  • Short studio and indoor photography courses for beginners.
  • Short post-processing courses for beginners.
  • Small cafe with Internet access.
  • Photo printing and sale of photography accessories, e.g. filters, memory cards and so on.

All these can be probably housed in less than 1,800 sq ft, a typically size for a single floor of a shop office which will be cheaper than the ground floor shop rental.  You will need

  1. 500 sq ft studio
  2. 500 sq ft classroom
  3. 300 sq ft office
  4. 500 sq ft cafe

Partner with a company that can provide models and locate it near colleges (for part-time models and also to target the growing number of students with DSLRs) and IT companies (as many IT geeks are into photography).

Saturday, February 14, 2009

3rd Party DSLR Products

Lately, I have been spending sometime with my Sony Alpha 200 Digital SLR (DLSR) camera.  This is my first DSLR and hence the minimal investment into something that I am unsure. I have also been spending time looking for 3rd party accessories, such as filters and flash.  The main purpose is to learn about the different types of techniques that can be done with a DSLR (see my other blog at without incurring too much damage to my pocket.

I have bought stuff online and with further exploration, I think there is a business that one can do part-time.  The thought is as such, from my observation, most Malaysians would prefer to transact COD or through a face to face meetup, quite evident from (LYN) trades.  As such, many would shy away from purchasing from places such as and  This maybe because some of them do not have credit cards or a paypal.

So here a simple and old idea.  Buy from ebay for yourself, go to Teh Tarik sessions and show what it can do, then return to the forum and advertise.  For each product, you may be able to turn over a 20% margin.

Stores such as sainidigital do provide reasonably priced items and shipping and I am sure with small volume (3-10 qty) you can firstly save on shipping and secondly maybe negotiate the price.

I may try this for side pocket money too …

Friday, February 6, 2009

Small Low Cost Cafe ...

Recently, a colleague of mine said that we should have a nice quiet place to hang out near work. Being in a new "city" with very limited places to "hang out", it got me thinking about how much does it really take to have a small low cost cafe. The main ingredient is probably the coffee machine and the coffee.

A few months back, I was visiting a friend's office and they offered me a cup of "freshly" brewed coffee. I went to the pantry and what I saw was that they took out this round flat vacuum packed sachet and placed it into an espresso machine, squeezed it and out came a very aromatic smelling coffee. It taste good too! And surprise, surprise, it's not a Krups machine but a Nescafe branded machine. Of course I went on to ask about the setup cost as most espresso machines cost a bomb. Anyway, it doesn't cost much but you will be bound to purchase all your coffee needs from Nestle.

So, back to business ... what is needed. A small unassuming shop of around 500 sq ft or less, seats about 10 people or less, serves "nescafe" fresh brew, maybe freshly made finger sandwiches and of course "designer" furniture. Only need 1 staff to man it and if you are a programmer or works online, it can be a good additional income (especially if you are a coffee drinker yourself). So, what's the cost ...

Firstly, what's the name of the contraption I was talking about ... it's called nespresso (kinda predictable name isn't it?). The website basically tells you all you need to know. So back to cost ...

Renovation for 500 sq ft: USD10,000 (USD20 per sq ft estimate)
Nespresso and food stock: USD5,000 (machine, coffee sachets and cash flow for finger food)
Rental and operations Cash Flow: USD5,000
Miscellaneous: USD2,000

USD22k to start a business instead of paying more than that just for a franchise fee for one of those coffee chains. Errr ... how to make money, that I will leave it to you ...