Successful business start-ups do not just happen. They have to be well prepared, analyzed extensively, and carefully cultivated. HISG is helping entrepreneurs understand the business process as they build businesses that are creating jobs around the world.
A garment business in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay is demonstrating how flexibility and careful attention to the market have positioned it for extraordinary success. The business launched with a desire to provide children’s clothes in the city. There were some significant obstacles for new clothing startup. Specifically, low-priced clothes were already being imported from Asia, making it difficult to gain traction in the market, and secondly, retail space was expensive, adding to the business’ overhead. HISG and the business owners recognized these potential threats and fine-tuned the business plan to ensure that the garment shop could establish a market without burning through their start-up capital.
The business launched to modest success. The clothing was well-received, but the physical distance to the marketplace, combined with the lack of a separate sales staff made it difficult to produce a high volume of inventory. Balancing the time between manufacturing and selling was always a challenge.
Then the business took an unexpected twist: a commercial retailer approached the business with a need for life jackets. And because it was already harder to produce children’s clothing in the winter, the business transitioned into manufacturing life jackets. The venture was so profitable that the shop now has six employees instead of just one, and they have enough capital to overcome some of the weaknesses in the original business plan. The business can purchase a vehicle to strengthen their supply chain, and can afford retail space in busier marketplaces.
HISG staff visited Ciudad del Este and were inspired by the success of the garment shop. The owners avoided the temptation to think that just because they had a good idea, that they could overspend in the business’ embryonic stages. Instead, they waited until they had an established customer base, a steady stream of profits, and a growth strategy. They were able to adjust their operation to take advantage of a prime opportunity, while still retaining a commitment to the original business plan. Now, as the Paraguayan summer months begin, they are in prime position to build on their success.
HISG’s Business Development Initiative is designed to help entrepreneurs in emerging countries create jobs through profitable businesses that empower the population. Businesses like the garment shop are helping people move from dependence to independence and to the dignity that comes from being able to provide for their families.