One lesson that Blantyre-based entrepreneur Ali Paseli has learned is that business owners should closely monitor their businesses to ensure that everything is under control. This is why Paseli visits his business units every time.
Born in 1968, Paseli took over his parents’ business in 1988. His parents sold seeds, which he would supply across the country.
Seeing that he was making a lot of money from the seed distribution business, Paseli says he diversified into a minibus business.
“I bought my first minibus in 1992. When I observed that it was making a lot of money, I bought another one. I later went to Dubai where I bought five more minibuses,” he recalls.
The success of the minibus venture led Paseli to lending institutions such as the Leasing and Finance Company (LFC) where he would get loans to buy 15 minibuses at one in Dubai.
He now has a fleet of 25 minibuses, which he says, he replaces every six months.
The idea behind the constant replacement of the fleet, he says, is to pay off his loans to get more loans and grow his business further.
The businessperson also opened a shop at Ndirande Township, which stocks grocery items as well as hardware equipment and cement. Paseli has also diversified into lodges and is currently running one in the township and he is building another. Paseli also says he wants to buy a lodge in Mpingwe.
Paseli believes entrepreneurship is the way to go if Malawi is to develop.
“Most Malawians think of employment first when they complete their studies. This is why Asians lead [in doing business] the country and have taken over the country,” he says.
Paseli says he is one of the successful business persons in Blantyre today because he is disciplined and hard working. He also attributes his entrepreneurship spirit to his father, whom he says taught him a lot about running a business.
“A lot of entrepreneurs in the country will buy very expensive vehicles the moment they start making money. That way, they leave a lot of money tied up in things that do not really add value to their businesses. I feel the best way is to buy a car, or cars that simply take you from one place to the next in running your business instead of blowing money on expensive cars just so that people should praise you,” he says.