15 February 2012

selling beans

Owning a business is hard.

Marie can buy dried beans in big bags for about US.70cents per kilogram. She then carries those big bags to the market every day where she lays them all out on a table. At the table to her left, is a woman, selling dried beans. To her right, another table filled with dried beans. The competition makes it difficult to secure customers - and she must keep her prices low to attract buyers who will choose her table above the others. The beans she bought for US.70cents, she sells for US $1. Only a .30cent profit on each kilo, assuming she is able to sell them. And then, those small profits need to be split up into many directions - the rent for her market stall - the materials she needs to sell; bags to put people’s purchases into, a scale to measure her product on. She needs money set aside to be able to buy more beans when these are all sold - and then, if there is anything left, she can use that to take care of her family.

A loan from Turame Microfinance Bank, gave Marie the ability to start with the capital she had not been able to save up from her small profits. Capital she used to find different suppliers for her beans, suppliers who offered new varieties that would make her stand out from the competitors in the market and attract more customers. She was also able to buy in even larger quantities, which brought down her cost and instantly raised her profit margin. Now instead of making US.30cents profit on every kilo of beans she sells, she sees a profit of US.50cents - or even more on some of the fancier varieties. In her first loan cycle, she’ll have to use the extra profit to pay back her loan in every other week installments, and if she uses the rest of the profit to start a savings account, she’ll qualify for an even bigger loan in the next cycle. It will take a few cycles for her to begin seeing the rewards of her hard work - but by then, her business will have grown a lot - and she’ll find herself with a savings account full of her own capital so she no longer needs to borrow from a bank, but has the resources and new business training through Turame, to be independant and successful.

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