I'm Malaysian Startups

What businesses to start NOW in Malaysia?

It is already June. Today marks the half point of 2017, and for most of us, this means we should at least be in the middle of completing our New Year’s Resolution. For those of you, who are still struggling on your future plans and looking for business ideas, this article is for you.
This year has been a challenging year for all Malaysians. The Malaysian economy is hit by higher inflation, volatile capital flows and lingering uncertainties in the global economic and financial environment. It is common nowadays to hear people saying “Business isn’t as good as it used to be”, ” We do not see substantial tourists coming nowadays” and the usual “Prices of everything especially household essentials are going up!”
If you are one of them, what are you going to do about it?
I would like to share this statement that has profound meaning to me. “The quickest way to become rich is to change your realities faster“. ” Most people would rather live within their means, than to expand their means“.

Does this sound familiar? How often do you hear people telling you, “As long as i live within my means, i will be ok“. This is an over simplification of someone convincing us that, if i earn RM 1200, and i can spend and live within this money, i will be well and ok. (Its ok that i dont have any insurance, because i am still young now and i can use the money for insurance on other better things now. I will worry about it when i am old).
This is common, because to expand and to think of how to earn more than RM 1200 requires additional effort, and hard work. Hard work which not many people are willing to sacrifice for. Read; Richest Man in Asia advice’s on how to spend to be rich.

“Malaysia should further diversify away from traditional export sectors towards higher value-added segments to support economic growth,” 

What are the best small business investment opportunities in Malaysia? Are you interested in starting a business in Malaysia but you are short of business ideas? Then I advice you read on as we explore the best business opportunities in Malaysia.

Top 5 Business Investment Opportunities in Malaysia for 2017

1.Observe and take advantage of the situation

Election Paraphernalia
 There is talk that the 14th General Elections for Malaysia is coming around the corner. After attending a talk organized by Lelong.com, the presenter revealed that the hottest selling items were T-Shirts during elections!

bersih shirts
(Picture used is for illustration purposes, as I couldn’t find a picture that could represent the election. This does not in any way represent the ideologies of the writer)

The message to learn here was to observe the trends. In Malaysia we are a land of many seasons. Rainy Season, Flooding Season, Hot Season and now Haze Season. Should you already know when the Rainy Seasons are, you would be selling umbrellas and any other device that could help flood prone areas. For Haze, you could be selling N95 masks online. The message we are trying to get through to you, is to be observant and notice what does people need or anything that can make their lives easier. If you fulfill this criteria, your product will sell.

2. Tourism Related 

The chart below shows the domination of Budget Airlines flying through Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Travelers that use budget airlines, need not necessarily represent the lower income group. Most of the time, the travelers are often just realigning their budget, saving on flights and giving them more spending power on other things like hotels and experience.

air asia

Business Oriented Services
Malaysia is strategically sandwiched between service and technologically inclined economy of Singapore, consumer hungry Indonesia and the growing markets to the north, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia.
As a business hub, many people travel through Malaysia. This amounts to huge opportunities for travel agencies and businesses that cater to travelers directly or indirectly. Among the ideas that are feasible would be

Travel Agency
Questions to ask are

  • Think of how can you service people who already have flights and hotel bookings. Is there a gap that you can fill? We are now in an APP dominant society ,and with Booking.com, Agoda, Skyscanner, UBER and Tripadvisor to name a few different apps out there that enables business people to self book. How can we compliment these services to make their trip more complete and fulfilling?
  • What do business people need? Find out what their needs are, so you can find out what to provide in return.
  • What are the popular businesses within your area? You will need to drill deeper into specifics to identify the differences in each business.

Holiday Tourist Oriented Services
Malaysia is blessed with beautiful beaches, diverse culture and abundant flora and fauna. Any service related business that caters to tourists does have this opportunity.
Read: Step by Step on how to start your own beach resort
Read how to start your own Hostel

Medical Tourism Oriented Services

  1. “Medical tourism expected to hit RM1.3bil in revenue this year”
    Chief executive officer Sherene Azli said the industry was experiencing a 30% growth year-on-year.
  2. “Malaysia has the ecosystem and infrastructure to provide quality end-to-end healthcare system and services that are globally competitive,” she told reporters after the launch of ShareMyLove campaign here.
  3. The top five treatments sought by medical travellers were cardiology, oncology, orthopaedics, IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation), dental and cosmetics. The travellers came from the Asean region, with China and India not far behind.
    (quoted from the Star 14 February 2017)

The challenge again is to set up a business idea or an application to help people come to Malaysia for Medical Treatment.
An idea that i used to have way before UBER and GRAB car came into play. This was probably 3 years back. I noticed that patients coming to Malaysia were usually accompanied by a few family members. When the patients were getting treatment, family members did not know what to do and were lingering around in the hospital or around the hotel. There fore, if we could set up tour vans that could shuttle the families to do some sightseeing and then back to the hospital, it would be AWESOME.

Read: How this medical APP became a hit

3. Logistics

With more people setting up businesses online. There is a greater need for reliable logistics. People are coming up with Food Delivery Services like FoodPanda,  Wedapao and Delivereat

As you already know, there is a great disparity between the North of Malaysia and South of Malaysia. To send goods over, people used to rely on the KTM Trains (Keretapi Tanah Melayu), Flights or Slow Trucks/Lorry. Lorries were owned by companies or private owners and it was hard to get their contact or even get a proper price comparison or quotation. Addressing this disconnect is another company called Thelorry.com which provides a selection of various lorry’s for rent.
There is still gaps that you can fill up in terms of logistics that you can fill.

4. Fashion/Online

Malaysians, like every other people, love fashion. They show great concern for what they wear and what they look like. Though there are many fashion outlets spread all over the country, there is enough room for new investors to make money. If you’d like to start a fashion business in Malaysia, keep in mind that local fashion sells best. So, you will need to learn about this if you are not a native of Malaysia.
One company that has done great online is FashionValet

5. Food and Beverage

Malaysians LOVE and are passionate about their food. The basic greeting when you see some one is “Sudah Makan Belum” which means “Have you eaten” in Malay. Their enthusiasm can be seen when the food comes, and they take pictures of the food first, and then start sharing comments about the food even before they try it.
The food and beverage scene in Malaysia is unique. There are the Malaysians who are attracted to FOOD TRENDS and those that will patronize as long as it is good food and not forgetting those who eat just because its cheap!

Because Malaysians are blessed with abundant choices of food. You might notice a few gimmicks to attract customers that come up like:
BIG BOWL NOODLES 

Big Bowl Noodles at Captain M Bistro de Cafe Miri
(Credit to: Big Bowl Noodles at Captain M Bistro de Cafe Miri- Miri Food Sharing)

Not forgetting Boat Noodles
31494362a62dbfe04c21116288_original-
(Credit : Burpple)

Depending on the F&B business you have in mind, you will need to look back at your core business plan and ask these questions:

  1. Does the service cater to the public in that area?
  2. Will you be employing gimmicks to gain traction?
  3. Revisit your costings

Food Truck Business
One of the businesses that has been gaining some attention are the Food Truck Business. We should not confuse the term Food Truck with traditional Road Side vendors. There are different rules and regulations for each different state in Malaysia. Selangor however was the first state to launch and support Food Truck Initiatives.

TheRoadChef
Read: Why you should own a Food Truck Business
The state of Selangor is the first state in Malaysia to come up with a official standard guidelines for owning a Food Truck Business. See video below. 

smart trak

This is a SMART Trak bay that is reserved for Food Trucks. Read: Food Trucks in Selangor
I would like to end this article with a sentence from the Rich Dad Poor Dad series, ” The World Has Abundant Money, we need to change our reality in order to make more money“.

We would like to hear your thoughts and business ideas so we could share them.

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