By Bimbola Oyesola
With the growing number of schools in Nigeria, chalk business is still one of the most lucrative activities today because the demand is strong. Even in spite of the current economic situation you can still smile to the bank with cool cash as you don’t need much marketing to sell your product.
The advent of marker boards likewise has not affected school chalk business from thriving in this part of the world. So for somebody who wants a fast return on investment, most especially those looking for business that could be started with little capital, school chalk business, is it! At least researchers say it’s a business you can start with under N100,000.
Besides, that chalk is used in schools, it is also used by tailors, furniture makers, surveyors, construction workers, machine fabricators and many other people for making marks on the materials they work on. So, the market for chalk goes beyond schools. In addition, starting this business requires no technical expertise.
Chalk making mold is used for making school chalks as the name implies. In the business of chalk making, it plays an important role because without it the business of chalk making would not be possible.
However, these are the things you must take note of when buying your chalk mold or when trying to procure one; elasticity of the mold is very important, smoothness of the cavities, durability, closeness of the mold when they are coupled together.
Chalk molds are of different types, we have the rubber type and the metal type. The rubber type is the most commonly used of the two because of flexibility in usage and it’s more convenient when producing with it. You can produce faster with it than with the metal mold, it is also easy to maintain.
Just like any other business, you need some basic information before venturing into the business of chalk production. Hence some of the guidelines below would be valuable to your success in this line of business:
Before taking the plunge, it is important to take on some study on the market you intend to service. It is very important to check if the market is large enough to sustain your business in the long term.
One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is to plunge into a business out of sheer enthusiasm and optimism that a business idea will work. Such entrepreneurs who don’t take their time to analyse the market usually end up failing woefully. So, avoid this deadly mistake.
Take further steps at starting this business only if there is a good market for it in your locality and probably state. If the market size isn’t encouraging, there’s no point going further, since there are thousands of alternative business ideas you can exploit. If you are convinced that the market is favourable, and you have made up your mind to kick-start your chalk production business, then go ahead.
After the research, the next step to take when starting a new business is the plan. With a business plan, you will be able to highlight your goals and objectives, your target market, your financial projections, your budget, the market and competition, and so on. A business plan gives you more insight into your business and allows you to stay focused as your business continues to push its way to success.
One of the most important points central to the success of your business could be how to source for the funds you will need to start and run your chalk production business if you cannot afford all of the startup costs required, then consider seeking financial help from friends and family.
You will need money to acquire the site you will use for chalk production. You will also need money for procuring the necessary equipment and raw materials. Even after starting the business, you will need some money to run the business until the profits start to trickle in. Remember marketing costs, too. If your business plan is comprehensive enough, then you shouldn’t be caught unawares by any hidden costs.
You may need to learn the rope from an established organisation. No doubt this process would come in handy as theoretical knowledge of chalk production is not substantive. You would need to either volunteer to work for one who already has a chalk production business for free so as to have some practical knowledge, or you serve as an intern to acquire the same knowledge.
Its equally essential to give your new business an identity. Hence you may need to register your business with the Corporate Affairs Commission. Decide on the name you would settle for and begin the necessary documentation. A lawyer as stated by the law of each country would be needed to help you do this documentation. In this age of technology the CRC now offers an online service which speeds up the registration.
The best location for any business is near the target market. Most of the time, a chalk production company would do fine when located in an urban area where there are many schools as well as individuals who use chalk very frequently. You can either purchase a site or take the cheaper route; that is renting it for a specified period. Or rather you can also start from home if you have some space.
Below are the equipment you will need: Chalk moulds, Scrapers, Paint brushes, Dryer, Hand gloves, Packaging materials such as branded cartons and nylon bags.
The following raw materials are needed for chalk production: Plaster of Paris: commonly called “POP,” this is the major raw material required for chalk production. Scientifically called “calcium carbonate,” it quickly forms a hard paste when mixed with water. Aside chalk production, it is also commonly used in hospitals for molding casts around broken limbs.
Cooking oil or coconut oil is also used as lubricant during chalk production. It is usually mixed with kerosene and the mixture is used to line the interior of the mould used for shaping the chalk to prevent the chalk from sticking to the mould.
Colors such as ultramarine blue will be needed to give your chalk the desired color you want.
Clean water is used for mixing the ingredients to produce chalk.
Before starting your chalk production business, you must find suppliers from whom you will be sourcing the raw materials you need. You need to have two to three different suppliers for each material because you never know when a supplier will run out of the commodity.
To succeed, you will need to hire right hands, that means getting the experienced workers involved in the day to day production of your business. It is very expedient to do a thorough job during the recruitment. This is because you do not want to be at the mercy of inexperienced operators who might slow down your production.
After production, getting the products out is as important as others. So it is good to put in place a good and concrete marketing strategies. Know the various distribution channels that are available to you, also because of the level of competition that abounds, you might have to look at ways of getting your already packaged chalks to those in demand ahead of others.
For instance; you might have to device means where your production is done at the wee hours of the night, so as to reach consumers pretty early enough. Also you might consider giving freebies to wholesalers who would be willing to push your products.
If you produce high quality chalk, your customer base will grow, and you will make more money as your business continues to expand over time.
It is also the age of global marketing through social media, so it would not be out of place if you can create a niche for yourself by launching an online presence. Make good use of all the social media like facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others to push your products.