An important point to remember is that nobody who coming to Senga Bay,can by-pass Senga Centre - there is only one road into the bay area and for business, this fact is worth its weight in gold!
Sadly, the Standard Bank ATM is closing down at the end of June this year...but one could always try and get another bank to take over the venue...or...even the Post Office could be encouraged to open offices that would include MSB (Malawi savings Bank) who could utilise the facility...over to your ideas...!
These are some of the ideas and plans I would have wanted for myself and my family, Sadly, my sister and her husband could not relocate to Malawi due to their age and health issues and my son opted to go and study in New Zealand, where he still stays, with his sister.
Alone, I could not do it...due to my age and also the lack of Cash Flow, which is why I have made a very generous offer to someone and will rather consider a Lease Option, in the hopes that they buy during the Lease period, but I will sleep better, knowing that I will get a rental every month as opposed to someone who has tied all their Cash Flow up in the property with the result that they are limited to doing the things that will generate income...!!
So What follows are some of these ideas...some filled with grandeur, but ALL viable and sustainable:
SUPERETTE: The need for a Food Eporium in Senga Bay is essential as there is not even one and Salima, our closest town has two shops that are laughingly described at supermarkets...! . My thinking would be to perhaps do a deal with one of the big Supermarkets such as Spar, Shoprite or 7-Eleven in Lilongwe to buy directly from them at a negotiated price to stock your shop. This will ensure that you do not have to take the time and trouble to import for yourself.
The bottom line is that there are more than 26 lodges and hotels in Senga Bay (not to mention the two big army facilities) and large expat community who comes down at weekends to their cottages. Most lodges and hotels, if not all of them do their shopping in Lilongwe, where some will buy their provisions from Shoprite or Spar with others buying from from Chipeku Plus, FoodZone, Foodworths or Metro...!
Your Superette will ensure that all of them will buy from you and that is big business; for you and for your supplier! I believe that this is a powerful idea that is worthy of further investigation and a Business
Plan and meeting with all of the Big Supermarkets could bring you tothe Threshold of a Dream.
You could perhaps even negotiate to buy some things from GAME - your stocks do not have to come from one place...but consider that the strength of the idea - that one Supermarket who can supply you will be getting ALL the business from Senga Bay and you in turn would supply the ALL the local businesses...!
The Superette I would put in Shop No. 3 that inter-leads to the house with the potential of opening up Shop No 2 should this prove that a bakery and/or butchery would further enhance the business. We have an Ori Meats and my favourite, Kapani that is owned by Leon Swart, a South African who sells meat at wholesale prices and you could stock pre-packed meats bought from them. The standard is fantastic of both these suppliers...!
I would push and push until I got a bank to open a sub-branch in Shop No 2 with its own ATM albeit that the Standard Bank ATM is closing down at the end of June this year. Senga Bay needs a bank...!
RESTAURANT AND TEA GARDEN: This would ideally be in Shop No 1 as it has French doors that lead you out into a cool and shady tea garden and would be a winner with the following small business units in it:
* Internet (only two computers needed)
* Western Union desk (may be an idea to try and get WU to take up space in your shop as there is always a need for forex!). Or, rent space to a reputable Forex Bureau.
* Booking Agency for Accommodation: rent desk space to a reputableTour Operator such as Land and Lake Safaris or Ulendo Safaris or do it yourself for a 10% commission - even if you then just limit your
operation to the local lodges and hotels, if you would prefer to keep it small.
* Ice-Cream: An absolute must and here your ideas are what will make this successful and what you serve could range from just soft serve in cones or cups or, with the amazing fruit here, such as mangoes, bananas, guavas, pineapples, strawberries and mulberries, you could sell in quantity to the lodges and hotels, earning yourself an excellent reputation that will ensure that the large number of expats here almost every week-end would also be customers.
* Food: I managed to confuse myself, big time on this subject as anything you do will work well. If you did something like a pizzaria,then you may limit your client-base. So I would think that the best idea would be to model you shop on a type of "Something Fishy" or a
"KFC or Nando's"...but for sure not a franchise as this would cost by far too much and would not give a good Return On Investment...! Or just daily barbecue's with a limited menu of fish, T-bones and Chicken..?
* Snacks: In the fullness of time I believe that a big business would be to have freshly baked cakes, quiches and pies and you may well find yourself supplying lodges and hotels as well.
FACTORY PROCESSING/PACKAGING: If you did not want to have the Aquarium in the Factory Premises, then it is ideal for all factory processing and/or packaging...there is so much to consider and to mention just a few ideas...FISH!...dried, fresh or frozen...!
MANGOES...dried (google the export potential!) or as a fruit juice even if only to supply the local hotels and lodges as well as your own restaurant.
CANDLE MAKING (both fancy for lodges and standard candles, all with citronella for mosquitoes would be a winner)...
SOAP MAKING (fancy and standard for lodges - with citronella oil would make it a winner)...!
The Factory/Warehouse: Absolutely ideal as a SOBO depot (Carlsberg Beer, Coke, Fanta, Sprite etc.) would be an excellent idea as there isn't one in Senga Bay and when you consider that there are 26 lodges...not to mention all the little stalls and local beer halls...this idea is a WINNER!
PROCESSING AND EXPORT: A good recipe for Atchar and all kinds of chutneys...hmmmmm...some great ideas could flow from this one! And what about a new brand of Chilli sauce...? Google Nali Chilli Sauce (in Malawi) and you will see one of the most successful businesses in Malawi...!!! They are in need of some serious competition and Malawi grows outstanding chillies...!!!
PACKAGING AND EXPORT..packaging...packaging: This is one of the BIG IDEAS that is a WINNER! Malawi produces excellent coffee, tea, macadamia nuts, ground nuts and fantastic rice, of which Kilombero is one of the best...!!! Then, under your own funky family label...export these products and generate your income in FOREX...!!!!
CHEESE MAKING: There is virtually no cheese-making in Malawi and what you can find is so expensive that one begrudges pay the price...! Consider just how fantasic a small "goatery" - my eie woord would be, for a small, but highly lucrative cheese-making operation that could generate income beyond your wildest dreams and I assure you that the demand will by far exceed your ability to supply! This ensure you can develop this business according to what suits your needs...!
Bring baby milk-goats from SA for this and any surplus to requirement baby goaties in the future would sell for top dollar to the various projects within Malawi! We are not talking Dairyboard proportions here...but something that could be defined as a medium sized business that will be wonderful as it will also create much needed employment in the area
The latest product that in my opinion, is a WINNER, is MORINGA POWDER (google Moringa and see to see the value of it). This grows here in abundance, but one does not even have to re-invent the wheel and do the processing. There is a company in Lilongwe who already supplies the finished product and who would like to supply the powder in bulk...! You would then package under your own label and export...!
There are so many opportunitiesand I have just focused on the businessaspect, but if you make a mind shift, Senga Centre is ideal as a Private Hospital, Private School, Training Centre - vocational training, Orphanage, Bible College and/or suitable for many other projects such as a Drug Rehabilitation Centre or Rehabilitation Centre for Prisoners - I heard recently this is something that the Prison Service is keen on. One thought just leads to another and there is no limit to the number of ideas that would work well at Senga Centre...!
DIVE OPERATION: If this is your passion, then great and if not, bring volunteers who are able to do the dives for you, with your clients...! This is a top dollar operation and is worthy of more investigation...!!!!
OK - enough from me. It is what YOU would do with Senga Centre - not me!
THERE IS NOTHING AS POWERFUL AS AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME!
... and it begs the question...if not Now...WHEN...?