The Small Business.

Today I visited a small business.

When this small cut-and-sew company reached out to me on TikTok to visit them I was eager to go and take a look. Why? Ah, this answer is simple. This person sent me a short video to me about her company and this is what reminded me of our small business, 30 years ago.

Why am I so excited? Well, these photos and videos reminded me of how we started our business. We bought out a small business for $150 in 1979. What did we make? We made aprons and thus that is where our business was born.

The small business that could dis and did we do. That makes little sense but we did grow this small business into a very large business and then worked with the biggest retailer in the world. The store with the yellow and blue logo from Sweden, whose name I refuse to mention.

So what am I to do?

Well, as my TikTok goes, I support and try to help small businesses in Indonesia. I am based in Bali so the business visits are in Bali. When this person reached out to me I was eager to visit. Located near the Denpasar airport.

So off I went to visit this small place and see what good I may be able to do. Upon arrival, everything was familiar. Patterns hanging on the wall and the rhythmic sounds of sewing machines and cutting knives running. These were all familiar to me. From the scissors to the machines and all the parts that go with them.

What was it like?

Well, it was a small shop, just like our basement set up and while it did bring back memories it also wanted me to run away from it a little. This brought back so many memories of the struggles we had that wanting help was not on my mind at that moment. I was taken back to the time when my mom, dad, and brother worked together in the basement of our house.

When we would all be doing our thing at the age of 7 and 10 and other kids were outside playing. Our thing was making aprons in the basement while others rode their bikes and skateboarded outside.

What did these guys do?

They make bags and other items but are mostly set up as a garment manufacturer. While this is a little different from what we did, the end result is the same. Improve production and they needed investment for more machines as well as some money for operational costs.

But that is not why I was there. I was there to do an interview and to visit a small cut-and-sew operation. To see how they manufactured things here in Bali.

Their biggest drawback was the lack of space. There was no production flow or order of operations didn’t exist. The lack of funding for machinery made me laugh a little. The one thing the owner missed was putting in a second shift. Use the same space, double the output and hire more staff instead of investing in more machinery.

The biggest problem was, she has no idea what the products cost to manufacture. Her employees run the business and not her. She is burning money and the more products she makes at a loss the more money she is burning.

After talking to her for 2 hours we came up with a plan for her to revamp, clean, and set up a proper production line. This is to be followed up by a proper costing sheet from her and see if this gets her going. Burning money is no fun and pouring money into a business is not fun either. So let’s revisit this in two weeks!


Published by Zsolt Zsemba

Zsolt Zsemba has worn many different hats. He has been an entrepreneur, and businessman for over 30 years. Living abroad has given him many amazing experiences in life and also sparked his imagination for writing. After moving to Canada from Hungary at the age of 10 and working in a family business for a large part of his life. The switch from manufacturing to writing came surprisingly easily for him. His passion for writing began at age 12, mostly writing poetry and short stories. In 1999, the chance came to write scripts. Zsolt took some time off from his family business to write in Jakarta Indonesia for MD Entertainment. Having written dozens of soap operas and made for TV movies, in 2003 Zsolt returned to the family business once more. In 2018, he had the chance to head back to Asia once again. He took on the challenge to be the COO for MD Pictures and get back into the entertainment business. The entertainment business opened up the desire to write once more and the words began to flow onto the pages again. He decided to rewrite a book he began years ago. Organ House was reborn and is a fiction suspense novel while Scars is a young adult drama focused on life’s challenges. After the first two books, his desire to write not only became more challenging but enjoyable as well. After having several books completed he was convinced to publish them for your enjoyment. Zsolt does not tend to stay in one specific genre but tends to lean towards strong female leads and horror. Though he also has a few human interest books, he tends to write about whatever brews in his brain for a while.

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