I was able to register my enterprise business with RM 0.00 capital. That was my first step to involve myself into small business. I managed to get approximately RM 500.00 – RM 550.00 per month. That is depending on the demand from the customers. Good thing about IT business in Labuan is that I have to compete with private limited companies and free lancers in the tiny market place. The rule is that whoever is diligent, he will reap the opportunities. I could not get any government tender due to my capital matter and I am not registered with e-procurement.
The best I can do is to approach any key person in every government department and making friends with them. My last transaction with KPDN was amounting RM 2300.00. I was given an opportunity to supply computer hardware for the department. That was my first big transaction in 6 month of business. Besides, I approached students in UMS and introduced my business to them. I managed to get 5 to 6 home-users customers. Their requests are computer upgrading and maintenance services. As an employee for an employer, I take my free time to meet with new customers and visit my present customers.
I was thinking of making a personal loan to enlarge my business but due to PTPTN unsettle loan, personal and my car loan, my application was rejected. Then, I made my walk to MARA office and asked for an advice. I was told that I have to run my business for 6 month then I am entitled for Business Loan which is not more than RM 50K. Then I forgot about it as I am not going to stay in Labuan for long. It is just my introduction to small business.
There is no rest in doing business. In fact, I even spent 4-5 hours to repair and troubleshoot computer, notebook and printers. With job experiences that I had, I make it as an opportunity to do more and to earn extra money. Time is gold. Everybody said that and I am totally agreed with it. If my customers call me at 8.00pm to troubleshoot their PC, notebook or Streamyx line, I will rush to his house to help them. Time is really a matter in business and I convert my time with penny.
To maintain my customers and the best I did is to provide them quality outcome of my service. There was no customer returned to me with his same problem. In order for me to attract my customers, I have to reduce my price from RM 5 – RM 10 lesser than the other computer shops charge. The pricing method is depending on who my customers are. As for students, the service price is different with private companies and government department.
As the competition is getting more and more, I have to work hard to contact my customer especially those in government department and private companies. There is one time when I was asked by an IT company to install laser jet printers. It surprised me when the mentioned price was RM 5.00 per printer. I installed 10 units and get paid then. Normally, the standard price is RM 50.00 as my previous boss charges his customers. It is unbelievable but this is competition. I get less pay but I have more experience and that is my advantage. That was my best experience installing printer for RM 5.00.
Business need to be planned and managed as it is my purpose to get more income. I set my target every month to get as many customers as I can. Everything was from scratch and I do not have capital to setup my business. What I have is my feet and mouth to tell the people about my business. I paid RM 3.00 per week rental for my advertisement at a public notice board. I do not wait for customer to call me but going out to meet with new people and asking them if I can assist them for their IT need. I visited several cyber cafe and introduce my service to them. I managed to get 2 clients.
I believe that if there is opportunity for me to expand this business, it will grow. The only matter is capital and market volume as Labuan is a small place to make IT business. There are several IT companies have to close down their business due to less contracts from government and more competitors. The survival companies are those who have secured contract with government or being a sub-contractor to a big IT company.
The young generations have to think what they can do instead of waiting to be employed. There are many ways for us to get help as government has granted us with MARA, SME Banks and SEDC. I applied for a graduate training from SEDC but somehow I cannot make it as I have to work for my household. The training will take 6 months time and I am not willing to take it due to financial reason. It is a good training for fresh graduates and I was told that many of the participants have succeeded.
Agriculture is a good business for Bidayuh too. Dragon fruit is now on demand and the market price is high. There is much Chinese making money with it. In Hong Kong, Dragon Fruit is like hot bread. In fact this fruit has penetrated the Australian and Brazil market. Many farmers have benefited from agriculture as the government has put a lot of efforts to help the agriculture-based industry. Poultry is another option to make money too. Chickens, lambs, fishes, beef are the daily food and the market is guarantee. The only effort is to seek for the potential and long-lasting market.