One of the greatest challenges with trying to do a start-up on a tiny budget is that I can’t afford to take as many risks. In fact, as as my savings get smaller each month, my strategic risks taking has almost comes to a halt because of cashflow.
As an example, when I need to make a decision between buying 5k of shea butter or 10k of the same product, it would make sense from a unit cost perspective to buy the larger amount. However, not only do I not want to tie up cash in inventory, I don’t have the physical storage space to house much more than I have already.
And so, my margins are smaller because I’m making tactical decisions (instead of strategic ones) which is not good for the business when I have a much bigger vision.
A bit of courage
This past week or so though, things have started to change for me mentally. An opportunity for part-time government contract work has come up, and that potential for personal income has allowed me to think bigger again. So big in fact, that I’m finally advancing work on my recycled plastic ideas at larger scales.
Yes, I can make tiny things like jewelry, but I have greater ambitions than that. For how else will I really fulfil the mission for reducing plastic waste where it actually makes a difference?
Making recycled plastic furniture
Specifically, I’m looking at making furniture from recycled plastic.
Right now, there are some concerns that outdoor recycled plastic products from less qualified manufacturers are creating other environmental problems.
Some products are not lasting as long as promised, and/or resulting in degrading microplastics. Some of those issues are related to the beating these products take outdoors in the elements. Of course, the better manufacturers have overcome these challenges even so.
However, if the recycled plastics infrastructure in Canberra is getting a $25m upgrade, there should be cleaner plastics available locally for recycling – as well as a potential bottleneck with no demand.
I think that I should be able to take some of their less valuable plastics like PP (#5) and PS (#6) and turn it into something nice like furniture that will not have to stand-up to external environmental factors the same way.
And I think there could be a demand for Australian made, recycled plastics indoor furniture too. Right now, most furniture of any kind appears to be imported and cannot be recycled. The supply chain bottlenecks from Covid are making these foreign dependencies obvious, and when local jobs are in need, more people want to support local businesses too.
So, with grant money readily available right now for business ideas like mine, I think it’s time to push forward and to take more strategic risks.