FRANCISTOWN: The downfall of the country’s economy and lack of job opportunities in this era has motivated the Newman sisters to venture into a bankable and innovative business of manufacturing roofing tiles and building blocks.
Margaret Newman (30) and Merina Newman (38) started operating their business, which trades under Hansonic Concrete Products (Pty) Ltd so that they can put food on the table for their family. Hansonic Concrete Products (Pty) Ltd started operating in 2014 and it is currently located at the Dumela Industry.
Margaret, who is the company’s co-director, told Business Monitor that their company manufactures roofing tiles like Double Roman, Tapered Ridges, V-ridges, Hipstaters and different types of bricks.
The businesswoman said they started their business after they assessed the market and found out that there was a niche in the production of tiles in Francistown.
She stated that five years ago the demand for tiles was higher than the supply in the locality, which made the Francistowners to purchase tiles as far as Gaborone.
Margaret further said they then conducted a research on roofing tiles, which they found could be a great deal of profit.
She said when they started doing business it was blossoming but due to the current economic meltdown their business is collapsing. “Our business is currently not doing well, but we are keeping it afloat by injecting our personal savings on it so that it can continue its daily operations,” she said. The manufacturer said they are currently selling tiles at P5.50 per tile, which they used to sell at P6.00 per
She revealed that their business was self-funded with close to half a million. Margaret said like any other business, they also face numerous challenges, which include shortage of water. She indicated that their site has no water pipelines and they only use water-browsing system.
The trader said due to financial constraints, they could not afford to purchase a plot for their business hence they continue to use an expensive rented facility.
She said the other difficulty includes sourcing pigment from South Africa as their orders often take more than two weeks to arrive in Francistown.
She said the prolonged period for the order to arrive inconveniences both the customers and company.
The entrepreneurs said they have a lot of competitors from big retailers but always win their customer’s hearts through their quality products. She said they beat their competitors at their own game by complying with the international standard for producing tiles, which have everlasting colours and prolonged durability.
She also said they conduct follow-ups on their customers to get feedback on how they can improve their products.
Margaret encouraged young people to challenge themselves on different business concepts and define their market before venturing into any business.