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Why Do Entrepreneurs Have Big Stories, And Inevitably, Die Broke?

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Have you been in a conference room full men and women seemingly ambitious and aggressive? They tell big and seductive stories about business, taking risks, savings, pooling resources and suddenly later you hear they bowed out very broke.

Nearly everyone would want to swim in riches and live a luxurious life but not everyone knows what it takes to reach that level.

It should also be noticed that different societies or countries pursue different forms of economics and this will dictate the manner, style and routes of financial success.

If we pick on advise from billionaire Warren Buffett, CEO and chairman of investment company Berkshire Hathaway, there are some rules one needs to adhere to in order to become a millionaire.

Pay your savings first

As Buffett has noted and demonstrated on multiple occasions, you should “pay yourself first” by putting a portion of your funds away first.

Too many entrepreneurs go all in on the company they create and live for the promise of “the big exit.” But then it goes wrong. Even worse, some founders have done this multiple times.

An expert and friend who owned 29 companies before the pandemic made a funny statement: “You can always tell the entrepreneurs in a room. They have the biggest stories. And then, nearly inevitably, they die broke.”

Statistically, the people who are most financially secure are the ones you wouldn’t expect. They are ordinary people who practiced financial discipline. They didn’t wait to save and invest until “we can afford it” (that would be never) or “when we exit our company.”

With or without advisors, they calculated what they’d need to retire and learned to put away savings first (sometimes in a hard-to-access CD or at a separate bank). Then they covered their needs.

They used the smallest share of their funds to indulge in luxuries and high-risk investments. They simply practiced and taught financial discipline consistently and early.

For example, the young teen daughter of one of my friends is working a part-time job not for the chance to indulge in movie dates or brand-name fashion, but to begin her own retirement fund.

In a similar vein, I learned that an entrepreneur I’ve known since childhood was homeless for an extended time as a teen.

He worked multiple part-time jobs as a high school junior and senior while living at first in his car, then later acquiring a trailer. He was even severely hungry at times, but as he was paid, the first thing he bought (after braces) was gold coins, recalling the principles he’d learned from his great grandfather as a boy.

Today, in his early-mid 60s, he’s been retired 14 years. He launched, owned and exited multiple companies but continued to save and invest in gold, stock, real estate and other assets throughout.

Be careful about splurging on brands 

In the example of Buffett, consider buying your cars (luxury or not) lightly used.

If you purchase a luxury home, choose a house and location that could allow it to resell easily or serve as a permanent or part-time rental for extra revenue and tax benefits.

Or consider owning and living in a conservative home and occasionally renting a luxury home yourself from time to time for a family holiday or a vacation with friends.

A wise advisor I know advises allocating only 20% of your income or investment revenue to “the three ‘f’s’”: food, fashion and fun. However, my own business partner, Lauren Solomon, a professional image advisor, is quick to remind clients that working remotely or living on a conservative income is never a justification to ignore “the business of being you.”

You shouldn’t become so casual and lax that how you show up is a contradiction to the standard of quality you uphold. Even casual clothing can be used to create an aesthetically fitting result.

As she often remarks, “You can’t ask other people for money if you show up looking like you’ve never had any money of your own.” Here’s a helpful way to think about luxury brands. When you do indulge, consider the purchase as a form of investment. Are the quality and style timeless and classic? Is it something you could adapt and continue to wear two or more decades from now?

Be careful about taking out loans 

“If you buy things you don’t need, you will soon sell things you need,” Buffett has said on many occasions. Credit cards can be the highest potential waste of earnings and savings. If you follow the example of Buffett, you operate nearly entirely in cash.

If you use cards, learn the systems that allow you to optimize your usage to keep your credit score high and stay eligible for maximum credit when needed while paying the minimum amount of interest (or none).

Be even more careful about investing with borrowed money 

For the record, Buffett has cautioned against borrowing money to invest in securities many times. A possible exception to the avoidance of credit, however, is an interesting detail Buffett delivered to investment advisor Adiel Gorel in the form of a personal note.

Gorel tells about hearing from Buffett following an MSNBC interview in 2012. Gorel noted on air Buffett’s oft-stated opinion about the wisdom of purchasing or refinancing homes on the fixed-rate 30-year mortgages that are canonical in the U.S., but not so readily available in most other countries.

A fixed-rate loan on a single-family home (as opposed to multi-tenant dwellings of any kind) carries the advantage of allowing inflation to make the payment and balance of your loan an increasingly good deal over time while also allowing the rent your tenant pays contribute to repayment of the loan principle each month.

On the air, Gorel applauded Buffett for acknowledging single-family homes as an attractive investment, saying he (and Berkshire) would purchase many if they had the mechanism to do so.

Afterward, he learned Buffett was watching. So he began a correspondence, offering the assistance of his company to facilitate the mass purchase. Buffett responded with a note that said, in part, “to make it justified for Berkshire, we’d need to invest about $10 billion.

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Business

Kiwi Pay Group Launches Largest Online Marketplace In Sub Saharan Africa

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With millions of product SKUs from various categories and a strategic partnership with Bolloré Logistics, one of the biggest transport and logistics business in Africa, with more than 5,000 employees on the continent, Kiwi Pay Group is ready to launch the biggest online marketplace in Sub Saharan Africa.

Now Singapore-based fintech firm Kiwi Pay Group has been building its newest mobile application in stealth mode for the last few months, and is about to launch it in Cameroon first with a strategic partnership with the french group Bolloré Logistics, allowing them to offer millions of products from European retailers to the African market, with affordable price, local payment methods including credit cards and mobile money, and 4 to 5 days shipping by air to various delivery collection points in the country.

Customers in Cameroon will be allowed to purchase products like books, DVDs, computers, cosmetics, games, appliances and millions of other SKUs through this strategic partnership and thanks to their mobile application in the weeks to come.

Kiwi Pay Group, Bolloré Logistics and the Customs Bureau of Cameroon signed a strategic agreement on Wednesday 4th November 2021 in Douala to officialise their agreement. Before then, Kiwi Pay Group has been signing strategic agreements with different economic zones on the African continent like CEMAC, GIM-UEMOA and others, allowing them to offer transactions in the local currency, FCFA.

“This strategic partnership with Bolloré Logistics and the Customs in Cameroon is allowing us to benefit from the strong growth of the ecommerce in the country, while leveraging from decades of experience from our partners to ensure a trustworthy experience for the customers and compliance with the local tax system” declares FONGOD NUVAGA Edwin, Director General of Customs in Cameroon.

Serge AGNERO, regional manager for Bolloré Transport and Logistics states, “We are thrilled to initiate this strategic partnership in Cameroon and the region with an experienced player such as Kiwi Pay Group, to allow millions of local customers to benefit from attractive prices from retailers in Europe, and be able to order quickly and securely the products they are looking for, delivered at their place within a few days with our smooth service.”

Earlier this year, Kiwi Pay Group also launched its token KGO, that will be used as a way to reward users of the app, on all sides, vendors, drivers and customers, to allow them to hold it and use it later on for benefits on their e-commerce platform.

The company plans to push the token rewarding process as soon as they launch their e-commerce platform in Cameroon and other markets in the upcoming few months.

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How AGRA’s Financial Support Made His Quality Seed Company A success

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Back in 2018, Protais Musanganya, the CEO and owner of Top Quality Seed Company came into contact with Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) after the agro-based company visited farmers and their activities in the area Musanganya operated in.

He says when AGRA and Rwanda Agricultural Board visited him they were attracted by his activities of multiplying seeds and due so he was placed in good position to benefit their financial support because he couldn’t get enough capital to fund his agricultural bossiness on the large scale.

However, his projects became a reality when AGRA selected him among the beneficiary of financial boost and as an added opportunity to be trained by RAB.

“AGRA selected me to benefit from its support. Initially, the company helped me to rent more land, pay staff salaries for a whole year and buy inputs. By their support, I also managed to produce 60 sacks of quality seeds from 5 sacks in the past.”

Musanganya started his venture in agriculture back in 2017 using only 3 ha of rented land but now his company multiply seeds on 80 ha land.

He has exploited AGRA’s financial support and bought 35 ha land in Ndego, 20 ha in Ngoma, and the remaining land is in Rwamagana.

He expects to harvest 180 and 200 tons of land this season and When he sold multiplied seeds, he managed to get money and re-invested by buying 50 ha of land from his former landlord. “Then I had to clear 30 ha land. I exploited the land and managed to produce 120 tons of top quality seeds.”

Musanganya produces top quality seeds of maize, soybean and beans.

The government of Rwanda also provided subsidized fertilizers and irrigation equipment through the subsidy program to him and he was linked to buyers.

Musanganya say that AGRA’s funding helped him to boost his activities and sustained his expenditure on the salaries of the employees.

“My company employs between 150 and 200 casual laborers who work on the farms on a daily basis. We pay them their salaries on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The biggest part of the staff salary I pay is from AGRA.”

“My business of seed multiplication is important to local communities as it creates jobs. I also equipped 200 local farmers with skills in seed multiplication and they are now my out growers.” he adds.

He says AGRA’s financial support worth 100 Million Rwandan Francs said surmounted far the value of the money he benefited.

“This support largely exceeds that amount of money I got. As I said, I started this business renting 3 ha land. Now I own more than 50 ha of land that I purchased with money from AGRA support.”

Despite the Government subsidizes with provision of certified seeds, Musanganya believes hybrid maize farmers need to have skills in the domain and exploit the seeds at their potential.

As a result, he has signed agreements with the out growers whereby he provide them with technical assistance and buys their seeds.

“Thus, our company conduct promotion and extension activities (variety demonstration, distribution of seed packs, etc) to create awareness of new seed varieties and improve crop management.” he says.

Though he has benefited AGRA’s partnership but he wishes the company continue supporting them.

“Our partnership with AGRA is still ongoing as they organize quarterly trainings for our staff, pay agronomists and assist us in the audit of our activities but AGRA should keep helping us to grow into big companies that will carry on activities even when AGRA support is no longer there.” he wishes.

Plans of establishing a seed processing plant

He believes that with the help of the AGRA, they will be able to establish a seed processing plant that will prepare their produce, dry, treat and label our seeds.

“We have made initial steps whereby we bought a plot of land and started negotiating with a company that will construct the plant. We are now at the step of acquiring a bank loan that we will invest as our company’s share in the plant.” he says.

“It will be a joint venture business involving three companies. We hope that by next year our plant will be producing seeds that will be based Kayonza. I am also in talks with irrigation technicians to see how we can expand the irrigated surface using solar powered irrigation systems. They conducted a feasibility study and are now at the costing step. That is the direction that we are giving to our business with the support of AGRA.” he adds.

“As the manager of Top Quality Seed Production, considering where we came from and where we are today, I believe that our investment will have increased three fold by next year. I wish the support from AGRA is maintained because I have made tremendous progress. Of course I am making profits but I am also happy that farmers have access to locally produced seeds.”

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German, Rwanda Sign € 8.666m to Support Exporters

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Rwandan exporters that had suspended their activities due to the grinding effects of covid-19 pandemic, now have reason to smile following a new financing opportunity that will revive their activities.

According to details German and Rwanda have today signed a financing deal worth 8.666million for the expansion of the long-term refinancing line for on-lending to export-oriented Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The signing involved the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) represented by Chief Financial Officer Vincent Ngirikiringo and Minister Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana of the Ministry of Economic Planning and Finance, Honorable Ambassador Dr. Thomas Kurz of the Federal Republic of Germany alongside Rwanda’s Minister of State, Richard Tusabe.

“The purpose of this financing is to support Rwandan Exporters who have postponed their planned exports investments due to the economic impact of COVID-19 by providing them with affordable long-term loans under the Export Growth Fund (EGF),” the presser reads in part.

This financing will empower exporting Small and Medium Enterprises to exploit the recent re-opening of foreign markets. Indeed, EGF replenishment will provide for BRD to provide affordable additional capital to a unique opportunity to enable local partner Financial Institutions (PFIs) to serve exporting SMEs’ thereby creating employment opportunities to more skilled workers.

Since the inception of the Export Growth Fund in 2016, BRD has operationalized the EGF by providing affordable loans directly to SMEs and through participating Commercial Banks.

With the support of the German Government through KFW, 34 projects have benefited from the fund through 5 partner Public Financial Institutions (PFIs), with total loans approved amounting to approximately EUR 12 million.

These approved loans are distributed in different sectors including textile, essential oils, horticulture, coffee, pharmaceuticals, tea, food products, and minerals.

Compared to 2020, loans extended to exporting SMEs as percentage of the total commercial loan portfolio increased by 8%; average revenue of these SMEs grew by 20% along with an average export revenue growth of 40%.

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