When Mas Lizawaty Muslan divorced eight years ago, she had to find a way to earn an income to care for her five children.
She then decided to provide transportation services for schoolchildren. Sadly, the pandemic and school closures last year left her stranded and without a major source of income.
“I knew I had to quickly find another way to support my family. I noticed a lot of people were afraid to go out of the house for groceries and basic necessities, so I used the last of my savings to start a small business providing fresh chicken to the nearby community. ”, Explained Mas, 38, from Bukit Jalil. , Kuala Lumpur.
However, over time her daily sales stagnated and she could barely make ends meet.
“I didn’t know how to promote my business or set myself apart from the growing number of competitors in the neighborhood. My lack of knowledge on how to run a business has also contributed to my lack of confidence in growing my business. I knew I had to make it bigger to earn more income, but I didn’t know how to do it, ”she recalls.
Her friend then told her about a program run by People Systems Consultancy that helps equip marginalized communities with entrepreneurial skills.
After joining the program, Mas was able to expand his business from two to seven stalls: six provide fresh chicken while one sells chicken rice.
“One of the most important things I learned from the program was how to identify big customers. I started targeting F&B business owners to supply chicken to their restaurants.
“Using the sales strategies taught in the program, I was able to get huge orders from different restaurants nearby, which drastically increased my sales and income,” Mas said.
“The chicken rice stall is also next to my fresh chicken stall. It has created a convenience for my clients as they can get their grocery needs and their food in one place, ”Mas said, adding that people were still worried about being too outside due to the pandemic.
Before joining the program, Mas also had problems managing his finances. “It was difficult for me to manage my money and separate expenses and income for my personal and business use.
“Before that, I only saved money when I had too much because I didn’t have a specific goal or goal for my savings. “
Thanks to the program, Mas has become more aware of her spending and saving.
“I opened up suitable savings accounts for specific purposes, such as educating my children, and another savings account for donations and community work,” said Mas, who also puts the emphasis on hiring orphans to give them a chance to earn a living.
As the pandemic has affected the economy, it is suspending its expansion plans.
In recent months, she has also been operating at 50% capacity due to the dwindling supply of fresh chickens from her supplier.
“Due to the drop, I have to limit my orders. Fortunately, the three operating stores still supply my regular customers fairly well, ”said Mas, who recently partnered with a hotel to provide personal hygiene products to Covid-19 patients during their quarantine period.
Mas can certainly give himself a big pat on the back for his success.
“One of my proudest moments was when I was able to stop receiving monthly financial aid of RM400 from Baitulmal (a government agency).
“After my business improved and I managed to generate a fairly decent profit, I myself went to Baitulmal and asked them to cancel my name as an aid recipient.
“I am also happy to be able to offer employment opportunities to the orphans by asking them to help me with the day-to-day operations,” said Mas, whose four surviving children are between the ages of seven and 17.