#BounceExclusive: 5 Businesses Fresh Graduates Can Start (1)
In Nigeria today, it is no longer a secret that the labourers are plenty and the harvest is very, very few.
As a graduate leaving the one-year compulsory contract with the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, nothing else tops your mind other than the quest to get a job, wake up early and join the city rush.
But it needs not be so. What you envy are the mistakes the people you think are happy celebrate openly but regret quietly.
What they did was to learn how to sell fish, they still don't know how to catch fish. If they did, they won't be in line to join the team of sole-dependence on their monthly salaries.
You have a chance to create for yourself a stream of income to sustain your youth and old age.
If you are just leaving school, there are several business ideas you may consider investing your NYSC ‘allowee’ savings on.
It will not only keep you busy, but bring much needed financial reprieve while saving you the desperation that comes with job hunting on an empty pocket.
Bounce News has compiled a list of some business ideas and provided detailed guidelines on how to execute them.
Washing, Ironing and Dry-cleaning - Me ke?! How can I be washing other people's clothes? Yes, you can! At your own time at your own pace as long as you never fail to meet deadlines.
This has become a money spinner. In cities across Nigeria, many people are so busy they have no time to do their laundry.
But since they must wear clean clothes to work; you can render a service and make significant profit.
Below are 5 things you need to do to start your dry-cleaning business.
1. Passion - "Your first consideration as a dry-cleaner should be your passion. You must be passionate about clean clothes. I used to wash my own clothes three times a week.
"I didn’t like anyone washing my own clothes. So, I thought, well if I am passionate about it, I could start a business along the line,” said the CEO of UC Dependable, a Surulere-based dry-cleaning outfit, Desmond Njoku, who started his dry-cleaning business immediately after his national youth service in 2013.
According to Mr. Njoku, fresh graduates should not start by calculating how much money they are going to make from day one, instead they do some deep research into what makes some laundry outfits the people's preferred choice.
“You should consider the challenge and find out if it is something that you can handle. If you already hate washing your own clothes, chances are it is not a business for you since you do have not money to even hire workers,” he added.
2. Get A Training: Dry-cleaning as a business requires some level of knowledge. There is a difference between dry-cleaning and laundry.
According to Mr. Njoku, “It is not everybody who is doing laundry that is a dry cleaner. For dry-cleaning, you must understand it is about using chemicals and machines to remove stains.
“In laundry however, it is all about using water and soap to clean clothes. So, for fresh graduates looking to start, you must not go to get a job in a dry-cleaning outfit or intern with them.
“But you can make friends with dry-cleaners, interact with them and ask questions about how to remove stains and clean the machines.”
3. Learn How To Wash With Hands: This is why it is important to be passionate about what you are getting into. In the beginning when you are getting started, you do not necessarily need a washing machine.
"You can get the chemicals and wash with your hands. However, in order to attract customers, you can get a used-machine and put it in your shop. As you get the clothes, you can then wash by hand."
“This is to please some of your customers who may believe that the presence of machine is a sign that you know what you are doing,” Mr. Njoku said.
He added that use of washing machines also depends on where the business is located. If it is in a small town or city suburb, you can do without the machines because people may be more interested in your service than what machine you use.
4. Choose A Location Without A Pre-Existing Dry-Cleaner: You can start your dry-cleaning business from your apartment. All you need to do is tell people about what you and encourage them to tell others after you have washed their clothes.
Word of mouth remains the most efficient marketing tool - don't underrate it.
But if you have money to rent a place, it would be wrong for you to start your dry-cleaning outfit in a street where there is an existing dry-cleaner.
You would be better off in a place where there is no direct competitor. You stand a better chance of survival.
5. Commence Marketing Before You Start: “An Igbo adage says that if the hunter does not chase a frog as if he is crazy, he stands no chance of catching it.
“That is the way it with attracting your first customers as a dry-cleaner,” said Njoku who has since grown his dry-cleaning business to a 5-man team.
“Tell everybody who cares to listen. And you should start telling people about it long before you even start operations. Tell your relatives, friends, neighbours, church members etc about your service. If you have money, print a flier.
“You must go out and talk to people about it. That is how you land your first set of customers,” he added.
There are actually your family members, your friends, mentors (especially the men to whom you have been directed to drop your CV); you would notice the look of respect on their faces when you say "I am not here to find a job, I am here to request that I wash, iron and dry-clean your clothes every week. My prices are fair and affordable and for you there would be a special discount".
Go to your church and tell members of your group including the head pastor that you now do laundry. You do not need their pity anymore but their clothes to wash and deliver.