SECRETS TO A THRIVING BUSINESS

Do you have the sustainability mechanisms to survive when the business is facing challenges? Will you be able to meet your business expenditure when the sales are low?

Growing-pains-15517.jpegWe all dream to start a business and make our way to financial independence. A business can be the gateway to climbing up the ladder but due diligence, sacrifice, and determination is key to a successful business. We have seen many businesses establishing and collapsing mid-way. Just what does it take to take your business to the next level? We will dig deeper into some of the lessons one can employ to gain success in the business.

  • Pursue what you love

Many are the times we have a passion for something. This comes way from your childhood and is nurtured as someone gets older. It may be a passion or even a hobby. I know of a friend who really has a passion for baking. It took him a while to invest in his passion, and after the establishment of his business, he is doing so well in the market, competing with established brands. It is all about what you do with your passion.

  • A business has its ups and downs

Every business has its challenges and strong points. There are times that the business will perform so well and on other times performance will be so low. It all depends on how you will play your cards. Do you have the sustainability mechanisms to survive when the business is facing challenges? Will you be able to meet your business expenditure when the sales are low? These are some of the questions that you have to consider.

  • Save up during peak season

The trick to the survival of any business is saving up when the business in on a high season and utilize the funds when the season is low. This will enable the business to meet its own expenses and guarantee normal performance. Open a savings account for the business and control the withdrawals of the deposited amount.

  • Customer is king

In any business, the customer will be the sole reason for your establishment. How well do you treat your customers? Are you the rude type towards your customers? A good relationship with your customers will bring forth new customers hence maximizing on your sales. You may craft new ideas to attract your customers including giving discounts, gifts, after-sales services, e.t.c

  • Walking with your customers

It is important to keep a record of your customers. Have their contacts and frequently organize events to bring them closer. Check on them regularly. Inform them of new stock, with their permission.

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THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA

What strides have you made to make your business more marketable through these applications?

Social media has taken the world to another level. The same is increasingly being used all over, posing both productivity and challenges. The invention of social media applications has assisted most business enterprises to sell off their products and services to the world. Businesses are able to reach out to more people in the world with a simple click.FB Logo.png Example of these apps includes Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Instagram and many more.

Facebook, for example, allows a user to post their services and products and also indicate their targeted audience if only friends or everyone. People have also created groups and pages that facilitate buying and selling of goods and services. These groups are either open or closed depending on the trading in the group. Some groups are solely created to market products from a particular company.

An important question to ask yourself is the impact social media has had on you as an entrepreneur or even a client. What strides have you made to make your business more marketable through these applications? Linkedin.jpgA typical example is a group I am a member of by the name “Royal Dash Importers” that allows people to pool resources and import goods together. Importing together is easy since everyone takes the number of items they are comfortable with.

We also have Vloggers who post videos on YouTube advertising products on behalf of businesses. They earn commissions on referrals. Instagram.jpgSome deal with one particular product while others have several products at hand. Most of these Vloggers, however, are celebrities who have a large audience as followers. They also have a great influence on the audience hence a perfect advertising medium.

We cannot narrow down the power of social media on the benefits only. It has its fair share of trouble too. Cyberbullying has been brought about by most of these applications. Fraudsters are all over the internet posing as entrepreneurs or clients and end up conning potential clients.Whatsapp logo.png

HURDLES IN HOME-BASED BUSINESSES

“Hobbies cost money to finance while businesses earn money.”

Starting up a business comes as a breakthrough and in most cases happens to be the greatest achievement in anyone’s life. Having yourself as your own boss is the best thing that anyone would ever think of. On the other thing, starting a business is not easy. It needs capital, sacrifice, time and utmost dedication in-order to attain the business goals. Despite cutting down on rental expenses, working from home can be the most challenging thing to ever come across. This article will highlight the dangers of working from home.

Not treating your business as a business entity, rather as a hobby.

Most people decide to indulge in what they love most. Hobbies cost money to finance while businesses earn money. Many entrepreneurs start their businesses from their hobbies in a form of a side hustle. 3.jpgThis, however, changes when the business enjoys a smooth ride. There is, however, a fear that the business will only remain a hobby and the income will in most cases not meet the expenses incurred.

Starting a business at home demands seriousness and commitment. It demands to craft a business name, register the name with The Registrar of Companies, have a business plan, set the business working hours and formulate the business goals. These goals should be achievable within a specified time frame. It is also important to have books of account and keep a record of any activity concerning the business.

Lack of a workspace

This poses a great danger to the success of the business. Many entrepreneurs will create space in a corner of the lounge, use the dining table, or use the bedroom. This is prone to distractions from radios, televisions, kids and many other factors. Working too from the nearest joint too poses a great distraction from friends and also other clients. This can be avoided by having a specific room in the house, maybe a study room or any other empty room. bring in a desk, a chair, business books, a computer, and a printer. Make the room have the complete officer setting.

Lack of motivation

Starting a business is always exciting and gives a feeling of completeness and success. Motivation issues at the beginning is not an issue as the entrepreneur is with anxiety to see the business succeed. This, however, fades with time, as activities take the entrepreneur to the drain. Since there is no one else to keep the entrepreneur on the track.2 If the entrepreneur decides to go out and play, watch a movie or listen to music, they have given themselves the opportunity since there is no one to supervise them. This can be avoided that formulating a schedule and strictly adhering to it. It is also important to prioritize your role and keep in mind that what you do determines your income at the end of the month.

In order to fully realize the business capabilities, it is important to bring in some expertise. Outsource or delegate some functions, as this will bring in new ideas to the business.

RETIREMENT

“Your desk at your workplace is not permanent. Plan for your retirement early.”

1. One day you will retire.

You won’t be going to work. You won’t have office power any more. No influence or at best, a reduced influence. Your cash flow will also reduce! Check retirement date on your payslip.

2. Always go for your 30 days annual leave.

Whatever you do during your leave, is what you will be doing when you retire. If all you do is to sleep or watch TV, then that’s what you are likely do do in your retirement. Remember the book of Proverbs. A little sleep and a little slumber, so shall your poverty multiply.
Watching Big Brother Naija will not save you heartache in retirement. Learn a trade or a skill during your leave. It will come handy. Spend your after-office hours learning something. Don’t spend it sleeping, Gossiping, watching TV!! Same goes for your weekend. Make them productive. You will thank yourself for spending your time productively.

3. Invest for your retirement.

Your children are not retirement investment. Don’t bank on your children’s support or the support of friends or relations. That’s a BIG risk. It may not happen. Be ready to take care of yourself!! Everyone has his own responsibilities. They won’t be able to help you that much. You will also lose your dignity and respect if you adopt a life of begging.

4. Start a hobby.

Early in your working days to take you along when you retire. Rearing chicken, farming or own a shop. Acquire marketable skills ( not useless paper certificates) Etc

5. Where shall you retire.

Build yourself a home. Don’t retire and start to rent a house or refuse to vacate government house. You will be at the mercy of your landlord at a time when your cash flow is not only reduced but unpredictable!!

6. Who shall be your dependants.

By the time you retire, your children should be above 18, and self reliant.

7. Don’t retire and stay in a big city.

Unless you can TRULY afford it. You can’t continue living in a big city after 60 with limited financial resources. The language and the hustle will be hard for you. images (34)Where possible, Relocate to a less expensive town where your reduced take home (pension) can go further.

8. Have property which can be rented or converted into cash.

Have shares that pay good dividends. Plant cash trees. Rear goats, cultivate vegetables etc. these activities will not only give you income but will also keep you healthy.

9. Live a simple life.

If you never built a house at your rural home, dont use your retirement package to build. It is unwise unless you plan to live there on a permanent basis or you are super rich and therefore can afford the luxury. The choice is yours.

Note that many of retirees die early because of the following: –

1. They are Not mentally prepared to retire.
2. Lack of finances
3. They Lapse into Depression
4 They develop Hypertension/ Diabetes because of worries, anxiety, uncertainty and financial pressures.

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INSURANCE COVERS

An insurance can be defined as a cover from any occurenceI that is meant to bring you down financially. According to Wikipedia, “Insurance” is a practice or arrangement by which a company or Government agency provides a guarantee of compensation for specified loss, damage, illness or death in return for a payment of a premium.

Various insurance companies in Kenya offer various covers against various risks.

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Depending on one’s lifestyle, potential, profession and needs, one has the ability to choose which cover(s) to chose from. We will highlight a few of them.

a). Health.

This has been defined as the most important aspect in the insurance industry lately. It is important to secure your health. Have a cover that will cater for your hospital bills once you are unwell. An example is the National Hospital Insurance Fund that has improved its services to cater for ordinary mwananchi and members of the business community. Various organisations also offer their members of staff various covers depending on the job cadre and scale.

b). Permanent disability/Death.

This has been introduced by almost all insurance companies. This is where you make a monthly premiums contribution and you are disabled or dead due to an accident or specified risk, your nominated next of kin is paid the sum assured. The pending claims are dine away with. This has really helped many as the hustle that comes along with the death of a bread winner is reduced.

c). Motor vehicle insurance policy.

The law in Kenya demands that all motor vehicles must be insured. There are basically 2 covers, Comprehensive and Third party insurance covers. Both have the specified guidelines issued by the insurance companies providing the cover.

d). Fire/burglary covers.

These are covers issued against various risks at a business enterprise. An individual/company can request to be insured against such risks as burglary, fire, terrorism, floods e.t.c. The guidelines are also provided and t he business pays regular premiums.

e). Education policies.

These are taken by a parent who want to save money for their children’s education. The savings are purely meant for school fees and a parent would specify if it is for secondary or University education.

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In the event of retrenchment/death, the company pays the remaining premiums and one can be sure that their children’s future is taken care of.

As we toil everyday to make both ends meet, it is important to note that an insurance cover is an important aspect in our lives as one may never be certain about tomorrow.

Beating Inflation

Life has become almost unbearable lately. We have witnessed prices of major and important commodities go up to a level that most of us cannot afford, while the salary scale still remains at a stand still. An example is the price of a 2kgs maize floor that has shot to Kshs. 189, a 2kgs packet of sugar going for Kshs 380, a 500ml packet of milk going for Kshs. 80 e.t.c.

Many have take to social media to criticize the Government of the day, basing their critics on corruption, high wage bill and misuse of public funds.

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The Hash tag #CostOfLivingKe has been trending on Twitter for the longest time possible, with Kenyans relieving their anger. With the high cost of living, majority of the youths remain jobless hwmce influencing crime rates. As an individual, what can you do to beat the inflation rate?

Side hustle 

Make use of every opportunity that you may have. You may have marketing skills. Solicit for capital and buy commodities at wholesale price and sell them off at a retail price. You will realize that you will make some extra cash that can supplement your budget.

Invest wisely 

When making a decision on investment, ensure you make am ingormed decision that will give you the maximum return on what you have invested. Security of your money is also a key aspect whem choosing an investment plan.

Budget cost

With the rising cost of living, minimise your budget as much as possible. Conduct a market survey and establish a shop(s) selling commodities at a subsidised price. Buy only what is necessary. Avoid impulse buying as this could have a serious implication on your finances.

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It is also important to teach your children about money matters to avoid random demands on non-important stuff.

Pooling resources 

It is important to join groups that mostly deal with buying household commodities in large scale and subdivide among the members. This will mean attaining products at a subsidised price.

Farming 

Did you know that you can use your verandah to grow your favorite vegetables. Invest in sacks and fill them with soil. SuSupplement the nutrients with the kitchen waste.

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This will help in cutting your budget cost.

Whatever you save on budget, invest it wisely or rather deposit it in an emergency fund.

SIDE HUSTLE

“Ever thought of a side hustle?”

We all work and earn a salary but it is never enough to meet our daily expenses and make investments. In real sense, money is never enough no matter how many billions you have in your account. This explains the reason why billionaires are signing business deals everyday with an intention of securing more and more profits. It also explains why we are blinded by the greed for power all around the world.
Ever thought of a side hustle? This is a term commonly used by the young generation who are trying to make both ends meet.

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This is a business opportunity that an individual undertakes while still in his formal employment. He/she might undertake it during his/her free time. Are you using your free time well? Can you account for it?
Majority of us just sit idle in offices when we are not working. You may have a talent in baking. Go ahead and bake the cakes or even cookies and sell them to your colleagues at work. You will be surprised by the customer base that you will build with time. If you have a passion for planning and gardening, share your ideas with your colleagues and friends and you will be sure to secure the contract once any of them has an event.
Always offer an introductory price when you are starting off in order to win customers. This will actually come in handy since you won’t be paying house rent for the side hustle neither any licence hence not much expenses. Make sure to give your best. You can also allow new customers to sample your products.
It is important to manage your sales and secure the income collected from what you sell. Make sure you open a specific account for your side hustle and operate from it. Make sure to record every information concerning the business. Avoid the temptation of using money obtained from the sales.
When you observe all this, you will be surprised at how much transformation you will have and you just might quit your job for your side hustle and feature in the leading newspaper or magazine.

SALARY MISCONCEPTIONS

We all have perceptions about our salaries. Having the right perception about your salary is a key step to financial independence.

1. Saving after spending
It is a sad reality that we always contemplate to save the left overs after spending. It is important to note that true and serious saving is where one saves before spending even a single coin. Do this by having a standing order against your salary account that will debit your savings account once your salary is remitted every month.

2. Salary increment
Many of us yearn to have a salary increment from our employers. We always have in mind that the increment will boost out well being and also our financial independence.

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What we forget is that an increment comes with a change in the lifestyle and also added responsibilities. It is important to prioritise saving once you secure that increment. Save more for a better tomorrow.

3. Actual salary
We tend to think that our net salaries are our true salaries. This is however not the case. The actual salary one earns is the gross salary i.e. before any deductions are dine e.g. NHIF, PAYE, loan deductions, NSSF, Insurance premiums e.t.c. Calculate your personal value based on the gross salary.

4. Salary value
It is important to note that an employee’s salary value/scale should be calculated based on job responsibilities, qualification and also their performance. It should however not be based on sexual gratification, ethnic background neither personal circumstance e.g. demanding an increment since one has moved from their neighborhood to a posh neighborhood.

5. Salary in business
Many are the times we run businesses and forget to pay salaries yo ourselves. Set a salary scale that is competitive with the outside world and remit your salary every month whether the business is making profits or losses. This will restrict the urge to take business cash for personal use.

Lessons I have learnt from “Njaanuary.”

Remember that sweets worth as little as Kshs. 10 have a great impact on your financial life.

January has always been a tough month and has prompted many people all over the world to brand it the name ‘Njaanuary’ to explicit the swahili word ‘Njaa’ that stands for hunger. The month is associated with lack of funds i.e. ‘hunger’ for money. The events during the month has taught me various lessons which include; –

a). Paying school fees.

It is important to pay off your kids’ school fees on or before the festive season. This ensures that you do not mis-use the money meant to cater for school fees. You will also experience shorter queues at the financial institutions.

b).Back to school shopping

When kids are closing school thesong december vacation, ensure you have with you the full list of what they will need in January for the first term of the year. This is allow you do a budget of the items. It is also important to shop for the items before 20th December. This gives and advantage because most venders hike their prices when the demand is on the rise mostly during the first week of January when everyone is in a rush to purchase  neccessities for back to school.

c). Debts

Having debts in January is the most challenging and annoying  thing you can ever experience. This is because all your creditors are expecting a payment from you failure to which you are subjected to numerous calls and messages to offset the same.

d). Utility bills

It is important to make prior deposits for all your utility bills. This includes water, electricity, telephone, pat television e.t.c. This will ensure that you continue accessing the services even if you have no amount of money with you during the month.

e). Savings challenge

It is important to take up savings challenge with a group of people that are tabulated and distributed across the year. This allows you to deposit money into a fixed account that you can only access at the end of the year. There are various guides and groups e.g. the Facebook group ’52 – Week Savings Challenge Kenya.’

f). Impulse buying

Avoid at all cost the temptation pf indulging in impulse buying. When going to shop, ensure that you have a list of what you really need and strictly stick to the list. Remember that sweets worth as little as Kshs. 10 have a great impact on your financial life.

Whatever you do in this ‘Njaanuary,’ do your calculations right. Have a rewarding 2017 with great financial break through.

Procrastination

I am sitting in a matatu as I travel back to Nairobi. The journey is boring bearing in mind I am with total strangers in the Psv vehicle. To add an insult on the wound, I am super tired having worked in the farm the whole day. Oops I will embark on the problems some other time. I drown in deep thoughts of how procrastination has really affected our daily and financial life.
imageI tend to imagine the millionaire I would be if I did everything in time. I will consider various things that we always procrastinate on.

We always procrastinate on saving. We tend to live a life today and forget that we will still be here tomorrow. Someone has lately invented the swagg line “YOLO (You Only Live Once).” Yes we must party and have fun, but do we put into consideration the life ahead of us? Think about your current employment terms. Suppose you lost your job today and you had no savings in your account to sustain you? And please remember  your bills will still remain as usual. You will end up desperate and chances are that you will end up reaping where you have not sowed or you will be admitted at bed No. 41 in Mathari National hospital. Avoid this and save.

Another important aspect we always procrastinate in financial world is getting back to school and securing more  papers to add you value in this conpetitive world. I overheard a conversation of a middle aged man, possibly in his early 40s bragging how her daughter is doing well in one of the prestigious universities. His colleague asked why he cannot get back to school and secure papers as well and was quick to point out that he cannot get to class with her daughter. He has been procrastinating all along to get back to class. Lets think about it this was. Imagine the power these papers have on your life and career? Better papers will secure you a better position at work which means better remuneration.

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In view of the above, I have realised that procrastination is a habit that slowly develops into a disease. Avoid it at all cost and you will thank me later.