In the course of the year, entrepreneurs can get consumed with loads of activities that it becomes difficult to keep track of all that’s happening.
The end of the year is the time when most business activities wind down, therefore, it’s a good time to pause, take stock, plan and take a position for the year ahead.
Here are 10 things to do to make that happen:
1. Review your financial statements (balance sheet, cash flow, income statement) and prepare tax returns.
You need to know:
If your business is profitable
How profitable your business is
Where all the money that passed through your business in the year was spent
How much the business owns
How much the business owes
Exemptions you can get on taxes
2. Review business expenses. Its important business expenses are directly linked to the bottom line of the business.
3. Compare financials from the year before to that of the current year. Pay attention to any rise or drop in figures, investigate reasons for them.
4. If you have made a very good profit for the year, this would be a good time to consider buying or replacing any equipment that will directly result in increased revenue.
5. Reconcile your goals for the year with your achievements; take note of goals you could not achieve. Also, be careful not to discard these goals instead try to find out why you were unable to, and devise new ways to go about achieving them.
6. List and celebrate major accomplishments, you can share with your staff, this should motivate them and make them emotionally invested in your business.
7. Reward your employees and customers, it does not have to be much, could be in form of bonuses, gifts, personal notes…
Also get in touch with your vendors/suppliers and inform them of any change in the business that might affect them.
8. Pay attention to your numbers; identify your metrics, this varies from business to business – website analytics, the source of customers, customer growth rate, customer return rate/retention, subscriber list, downloads, number of monthly orders e.t.c.
Identify patterns of growth in such areas, trace down these patterns to identify much bigger opportunities and devise ways to multiply effects of these patterns.
9. Review your systems, operations, and processes. This is a good time to review and update (if required) contracts, license agreements, and technology, Identify your strengths and work on your weaknesses.
10. Create a vision for the coming year, based on this vision, set goals, write down your action plan and ways you intend to implement these plans.
Hope these tips help you end the year with sufficient knowledge of your business even as you prepare and position yourself for growth and opportunities in the coming year.
How are you wrapping up the business year? Share your ideas with us here.
In August 2016, my friend and I took the plunge and decided to launch our very own social enterprise. Born out of many long conversations and brainstorming sessions, we finally settled on creating an organization that could help address some of the challenges Nigerian girls are facing stress-induced their educational development. That was how Give Girls A Chance came about.
We were giddy with excitement as we embarked on the process of registering the organization and launching a fundraising campaign. In January 2017, we had raised enough money to sponsor the first group of girls in the program with full scholarships including tuition, fees, books, and uniforms. We also recruited five amazing volunteers to serve as mentors through our dedicated mentoring program. With all of this in place, we set to work running the organization like the bad-ass boss ladies we are.
Half a year later, we can honestly say that this been the hardest undertaking of our lives thus far, but also the most rewarding thing we have ever done. Mind you we both decided to do this right at the moment when our other professional careers were taking off. I had just joined the UN in August and was posted to Zambia. My partner Hauwa was wrapping up her youth service and about to start working as a full-time doctor.
But this idea was something that had been on both of our minds for a long time and we did not want to wait any longer. We are both deeply passionate about public service and believe that it is our duty to contribute to the development of Nigeria. What better way to do that than by training up the next generation of women and future leaders of our country? So, we took the plunge, and for better or worse, we have survived to talk about it.
For every success that we have had, we have had twice as many failures and faced countless roadblocks. When it comes to laying the foundations for your businesses while holding down your day job, here are some of the experiences we’ve had and advice we would like to share with the readers.
Say goodbye to sleep…at least for the time being
Before you take this flirtationship any further, imagining the idea of starting a side hustle, business or organization while keeping your day job and still managing to get 8 hours of sleep, stay fit and avoid stress-induced acne, let me stop you right there.
Unless you are Wonder Woman (and who knows some of you very well may be), you should know now that you’re going to have to make a choice between bringing your business to life or getting the daily recommended 8 hours of sleep. I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights we’ve had and how many things we’ve had to miss out on because we choose to invest our waking hours and our resources into growing our organization.
There is so much research, planning, and coordination required to grow a business and if you have to do this alongside a job that demands the 8 hours of the day when most people are typically productive, it simply means you’re going to have to cut into your sleep and leisure time to stay on top of everything.
The good news is that the joy of seeing your idea come to life is unparalleled. Nothing beats that feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment you will have when you start to hit your targets. And if all it takes is skimping on sleep every now and then, that’s a small price to pay, right? You can always make it up later when your name is up in flashing lights and you’re rolling deep in that moolah.
I grew up with a banker for a father and he tried his best to instill in me the spirit of budgeting and saving. But I like shiny things too much and I’m always ready to take on the challenge of seeing how much stuff I can get for all the money in my account.
I am so thankful that Hauwa is in charge of the finances for Give Girls A Chance. We managed to raise a significant amount of money when we first launched and true to form I wanted to go big and sponsor as many girls as we could but Hauwa talked sense into me. We decided to start with 11 girls, put some money into savings so we could pay for events and plan for the future.
We knew that it would not be cool if we sponsored 200 girls for one semester or two, but then had no money to keep on going. The girls would end up right back where they started, having to drop out of school because they could not afford to go. Instead, we decided to take things step by step, prudently accounting for every kobo and making sure we were getting the best return on our investments.
As the new school year approaches, we are thrilled as we can now comfortably take on more girls for an extended period of time. My advice is to use the resources you have wisely and always have some money left in the bank.
Because we both have full-time jobs, the only times we are able to work on Give Girls A Chance related activities are in the evenings and on weekends. In fact, that’s not true. We end up replying to emails, texts, and requests during our lunch breaks at work too!
Saturday mornings at 9 AM are set in stone for our weekly check-in meetings and Sundays at 8 PM we check in with our strategic support team. Without fail, every week. Yes, this means even when one of us is on vacation in Zimbabwe or busy with bridesmaid’s duties at a friend’s wedding, we still make time to check in and get work done.
From the beginning, we also agreed that even though we had to start small, with a limited budget and resources, we would always strive for consistency. This means that we have set the organization’s calendar to run a major event or campaign every month. It’s been hard, but we have followed through on that promise.
Slowly but surely, we are building our presence and making a name for ourselves in the NGO space in Nigeria and people are starting to take notice.
If you plan to grow a business successfully from scratch, you’re going to have to get very comfortable saying the word, please. From the beginning, Hawua and I were clear about what our strengths were and what things needed to get done that we were not capable of doing ourselves.
We knew that if we were clear on what our vision was, along the way, we were bound to run into people who believed in our vision as well, or at the very least believed in us. These people would be willing to lend us their time or money to show their commitment.
We got my cousin to build our website for free (shout out to Urey Onuoha), we got help from our parents and friends as we drafted and refined our strategy, our friends and family were also the first to contribute substantially to funding the organization.
At the SheHive in Joburg last year, I met the amazing Yetunde Dada who heads her own social enterprise CRNCH. CRNCH has been instrumental in helping us get our strategy right, making our grant proposals look amazing and spending hours brainstorming and working with us on everything from how to fundraise to how to make our mentoring program more effective. All of this for free and in their spare time.
So my advice is to network like crazy and don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and ask people for help even before you are able to afford them.
Plan for your growth so you’re not surprised when it happens
Having a plan from the beginning will help you avoid a lot of confusion further down the line. A good question to consider is, “Do I want this to remain a side hustle or do I eventually want to get this business to the point where I can quit my day job and focus all my attention on this?”.
Another question could be, “Do I want to keep my business local, take it nationwide or global?” For Give Girls A Chance our vision is to grow the organization to the point where it becomes a major player in terms of work being done at the intersection of educational development and women/girls issues in Nigeria.
We want to have a presence nationwide, basically, anywhere there are large groups of out-of-school children we want to be active there. So while we are currently focused on our activities in Abuja, and limited by bandwidth and resources, we are always on the lookout for new opportunities and partnerships.
We are exploring diverse fundraising streams and we are learning from best practices globally on how to structure and deliver educational development practices. We may be small but we are agile and easily adaptable. The question is not will we grow but rather how soon?
There are going to be many days where you will look and think to yourself, but why am I killing myself softly with all this wahala. After all, I have a daytime job to fall back on so why not just focus on that?
You have to be ready for those days. At the beginning of the year, we compiled a list of the top 10 goals we wanted to achieve through Give Girls A Chance and I printed and stuck those to my dream board so I am reminded every morning of what we are doing and why I must remain committed.
The cause is also one that is dear to my heart, helping other girls succeed and make the most out of their lives. So at the end of the day even if GGAC were to only change one girl’s life, that would still have made all the difference for me.
What is that one thing fanning the flames of passion in your heart? What is it about this idea, business or organization that you know you must achieve and won’t stop until you do? Remind yourself of that as often as possible, especially when the going gets tough. It will help you keep you on track.
These are just a few of the things that we have learned along the way that we hope could serve as encouragement and motivation to other women who may be thinking of embarking on the same journey and establishing their own businesses or organizations.
Wherever you are in the process, we would love to hear from you and hear your thoughts. What have you learned from starting a business while keeping your daytime job that you would like to share with us and with the other readers?
Itching to be an entrepreneur but not ready to give up your day job?
Lots of people begin their businesses as a side hustle. It definitely makes sense. When you first start your venture might not be the time to leave your full time job. Or you are still learning from and enjoying your day job. And let’s be honest, it pays the bills and entrepreneurship is a huge risk.
Whatever your reason may be for doing it, juggling your day job and a business is hard. But it’s not impossible. This guide will teach you the essentials you need to hold on to both AND keep your sanity.
Topics this guide will cover:
Deciding if this is the right choice for you
How to stay accountable to yourself and your new business
How to not burn out
Staying motivated through rough times
Don’t let this be you:
Complete with worksheets and lots of ideas for helping you manage your time and energy, this guide is a can’t miss for anyone trying to juggle it all.
Getting access to this guide is easy: just fill out the form below to join our community and get access to this guide, as well as AWESOME weekly content.
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A lot of you Motherland Moguls out there are busy chasing that diploma, but you still have entrepreneurial dreams floating in your head between classes and exams. You’re wondering how to leverage your school network to get your business started and how you will balance it with your studies.
Introducing: Nene Mboweni who has started two businesses, Mkweni Groundworks and Nnua Cakes, all while forging ahead in her biomedical science studies. On top of this, Nene volunteers her time and is actively involved on her campus and around her community. Did she clone herself? How does she juggle it all and what are her future plans for marrying all these interests? We’re about to find out.
Join us for a 30-minute (don’t be late, o) webinar with Nene Mboweni on November 1st, 2016. We’ll be discussing what it takes to be a student with a side hustle and answering your burning questions about the entrepreneurship/student life. Register below to get the exclusive link to the webinar.
Some of the topics we’ll cover:
Turning your side hustle into a business
Networking on campus and beyond & leveraging your connections
Balancing your business, your studies & other responsibilities
Preparing for post-grad life when your studies don’t match your business
Don’t miss another inspiring webinar! Join our community today! Click here.
About Nene Mboweni
Nene Mboweni (21), matriculated in 2013 from Crawford College, in Sandton. She is currently enrolled at Wits University studying Biomedical science and to complete her final 3 years in Medicine at Wits. Nene works part-time at the Natalspruit hospital in Vosloorus on weekends and during her vacation. She is an avid baker and founder of Nnüa cakes an online virtual patisserie and decadent catering company. Not only has she done work for reputable companies such as Transnet, Vodacom and Primedia, she has collaborated with Jimmy Choo and Luminance on a luxury line of cupcakes and also worked with various high-profile clients and governmental organisations, having recently just done the 80th celebratory cakes for the late former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela’s wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
She is also the co-founder of Mkweni Groundworks, a women owned construction company providing services in civil engineering, Rail and other sectors. Nene has been featured in Forbes Woman Africa, Destiny Woman, Cosmopolitan for a lot of the work she has done .
She is a part time tutor in science and Mathematics at Bophelo Impilo School. Nene is extremely passionate about education and contributes all of her profits towards providing bursaries for students on campus. She has incubated several community initiatives including but not limited to the Courageous Ladies and the AfriSun Trust.
Although undoubtedly one of the most fun events of the year, SLA’s SheHive is also one of the most informative gatherings for smart African women. This weekend, the city of Lagos pretty much exploded thanks to #SheHiveLagos.
We could wax rhetoric about all the wonderful ways you can achieve some balance, but let’s be real. At the end of the day, you need a way out of those particularly uninspiring mornings where you just want to give up on everything.
To help Motherland Moguls shatter glass ceilings across all industries without breaking a sweat, Arese Ugwu, founder of Smart Money Africa, Nimi Akinkugbe, founder & CEO of Bestman Games and Nibi Lawson, founder of The Kinky Apothecary gave the best advice ever.
You’ll need to bookmark this!
What is balance to you? What does it mean to be able to balance work with life?
Arese: I believe in balance but not in the way most people view it. I spent a lot of time in my 20s trying to find balance. But you can’t have it all put together all the time and that’s fine.
You should be able to focus on your career and not feel guilty. Learn to live with it. Find out what best works for your lifestyle.
Nimi: I have never had total balance in my life. Some things have to take the back seat and that’s totally okay.
Nibi: Find out how things work with you. Compartmentalize them. Do things at the time you’re able to and when at your best.
As busy women, how do you cope with handling personal responsibilities?
Arese: There are times when my daughter says, “Mummy, you work too much”. I used to feel bad but I found a way to make her understand that my working hard is tied to the quality of life I am able to provide her.
Now, while she’s doing homework, I work. This works for us as we have a routine for homework, conversations and play dates.
Nimi: Guilt trips are real. Most times, I’m not able to do school runs but I’ve found a way around that. I decided on 3 days, a week.
Support systems are also critical. You need the help of friends, siblings and a spouse (if you have one). My mother-in-law is my greatest support. She kicks in just when I need her.
Nibi: I’m not married yet and I feel guilty about not having time for my friends (and weddings).
But I find ways around these things. Priority is key.
How do you decide on what to prioritize? What models do you make use of?
Arese: I think everyone has to learn how to say, ”No”. It’s really that important. If you have to spend all day responding to emails, DMs and tweets, you will never get work done. How then do you pay your bills?
I remember being on a board where their expectations for my responsibilities were quite different from mine and of course, I politely declined.
Figure out your priorities and focus on them.
Nimi: I have a broad picture of what I do. I don’t have idle time. And yes, even my thinking time is planned! I’m definitely not one to attend four weddings and a funeral on a Saturday.
It takes a lot to juggle family, friends, business and a career but you can’t sit and worry about how hard it is. You’ve simple got to prioritize.
Nibi: My hair business started as a hobby but even as a banker then, I had to decide between the two. You simply have to be courageous enough to decide what you need to do.
Looking back at your 20s, what would you have done differently if you knew better?
Arese: Maybe I would have gone harder on building my career.
Ladies, balance should not exist in your dictionary. Understand that this is a time to build yourself and go hard on yourself.
Nimi: Financial knowledge and discipline are very important as a lady in your 20s.
Also, develop yourself and don’t wait for things to happen.
Nibi: In my 20s, I waited for suggestions on what to do but now, I would say, do you and be focused.
How do you manage people’s expectations of who you are with who you really are? What drives your desire for success?
Arese: What drives me fundamentally is my child. I want to be successful so I can provide her a better life. And so, I don’t keep friends or people who question my drive and desire for success.
Nimi: It’s about purpose. That one thing you love and won’t mind doing for free. Gradually, you would make money out of it.
Nibi: I’m driven by success itself and I try to hang around smart and driven women who motivate me to great heights.
Final words to Motherland Moguls
Arese: If you haven’t found your purpose, that should be your priority right now. You know those issues that make you argue on end? That’s probably your passion. Start thinking of a way to make it work.
Your awesome, smart, and lucrative idea isn’t going to achieve itself if you don’t start doing something about how you’d make it happen.
Nimi: There is so much abuse of everything these days. So look after yourself, exercise and diet properly.
Give back. Have social empathy —think of that one thing you can do to change lives.
Nibi: Your health is very important. If you’re not healthy, you can’t be talking of success in business or career.
You can’t afford to be ill when there is money to be made. Taking a whole lot on yourself can make you flounder out somewhere along the way.
I have three children ages 4, 6 and 12. I also run three businesses, my legal practice NKS Advocates, Law Query Kenya, an online legal resource portal with an android app and an entrepreneur empowerment company plus online directory with Mpower Limited. Then, I also have a social life.
As you can imagine, it is hectic. What surprised me a lot is that the hardest task is attending to my family. The needs of the family are financially, emotionally and time consuming.
My family need to be listened to, acknowledged, praised, and identified as individuals. This, I assure you, is quite time consuming. Yet, it is extremely rewarding when the family member feels happy and loved.
The number of hugs and kisses I need to dish out per day keep on increasing. I don’t complain because, I brought my children to this world and I must take care of them. They are a priority! Still, the greatest resource they consume is time!
The effect of being a mother is that, now, my hours are spent more on the children. My businesses are really affected by this. When it comes to this balance, a woman needs to decide what is important.
To me, my family and business are important. And yes, I have friends and social obligations that are important too. So, how can I possibly manage?
Focus on important things first
I struggle with this because I usually like to get everything done.
So, nowadays, I need to balance my day according to importance and urgency. Important means tasks that leave more impact or need more personal input. Sometimes, ME time trumps everything!
Make sure your to-do list not a wishlist!
How you execute your operations or business may need to be revisited. Do you really need to have physical meeting with a client? This takes up a lot of time in travel and may disrupt (in a positive way) your day.
Reducing physical meetings and focusing on deliverables can free up some time. Many companies now have self-help options to reduce physical contact while addressing routine issues.
Technology has helped reduce disrupted time and create more time for actual quality work. This should be used optimally as it can also become a disruption in itself or distance you from your customer.
Without relinquishing responsibility, consider getting someone else to help you get things done. The domestic help can ensure homework is done so you only need to check it and sign the diary (clearly you cannot delegate this). I rely on school transport and lunches for my children. It saves me two to three hours a day.
For my businesses too, I get good help. It costs a lot but the peace of mind is worth it. Of course, I still take meetings but after putting my schedule on my phone calendar, I’m rarely double-booked. Also, I make sure my meeting locations are as near each other as possible or in a logical sequence. One of my top peeves is rushing through traffic.
What I have learnt with getting help is you can’t just instruct and wash your hands off it. There is need for supervision and direction. This requires periodic meetings and checking of all deliverables constantly. I manage this through emails and phone calls. I have all my office emails transferred to the email on my phone so that I don’t miss anything.
One thing I don’t delegate is strategic planning, and money matters! Also, when there is a crisis you need to show up!
Have good systems in place
Having standard systems and templates helps to manage quality control and brand equity. The customer satisfaction should be the same whether you are serving directly or through your staff.
The system should be linked to your phone or home computer so that you can check on things at any moment. I have installed an internet based management system in one business, and I’m still trying it out.
Talk to people who are successful in your field and get enormous insight. In particular, I realize that they have managed the same challenges I have and succeeded. It is amazing how mentors are ready to answer questions and give practical and workable tips. I used to stumble in the dark until I got a mentor who put on the lights for me.
Talk to peers (other entrepreneurs) who can share tips or information on opportunities and are more frequently available. Take thirty minutes out of your day and have coffee with your peers. You’ll always leave re-energized, not just from the coffee but from having learnt something new. Of course, I don’t mean idle chat sessions, that’s for your ME time!
Learning, networking and growing are key for any progress and success. You cannot know everything, there are new models and concepts coming out every day. Take some time to know current trends and news affecting your industry. Same applies to bringing up children, keep abreast with latest threats and trends.
When you have knowledge of what you are doing, it becomes easy and you can teach someone else. An entrepreneur must have knowledge on key aspects of the business human resource, operations, procurement, customer care, marketing, finance and strategic planning.
Don’t have time to attend conferences and seminars (this is highly recommended due to the diversity of participants)? No problem, the internet is your university. There are loads of excellent programs online.
I personally love TED Talks, webinars, and online courses e.g. Alison, Coursera and EdEx. These are free resources that can build capacity and keep you abreast with latest trends.
Schedule ME time to re-energize and refresh. A tired mind is worse than a tired body. I refresh through service clubs, socializing, pampering/exercise, travelling, reading and quiet time. Schedule this and make sure it’s in your list of Things to Do!
To have it all, the key thing is, “First things First, Important things First”. It doesn’t have to be either/or. You can have a life, a family and a business!
Entrepreneurial travel typically consist of meetings, conferences, summits, pitch competitions and networking events. As such, entrepreneurs rarely experience the places they visit. Due to their busy schedules, they miss out on interacting with residents, immersing themselves in the local culture, and sightseeing.
Last week, I returned to Chicago from my trip to Colombia. It was a rich and fruitful month of travel as I visited seven different cities.
From my experience, I have compiled seven reasons entrepreneurs should travel for leisure.
1. You learn more about yourself
When you visit a foreign place you are pushed out of your comfort zone. This is the best time for you to see your “true colors”. Your reaction to different cultural norms, unexpected tough situations, and interactions with fellow travellers will reveal traits you didn’t know you had.
As an entrepreneur, it is critical to know yourself. This self-awareness will allow you to recognize your strengths and weaknesses, your effect on others, as well as areas that you need to improve on.
2. It opens your mind
People tend to assume that they are experts in life because they have a wealth of social, academic and professional experiences. Once you are exposed to a different environment and culture, you realize how the knowledge you have is limited. Travel helps shift your perspective.
It becomes clear that your way of thinking is not necessarily the only one or the best out there. As an entrepreneur you need to be open-minded. That way you will be able to collaborate effectively with your team, investors and even clients in order to fulfill your vision.
3. It boosts your emotional intelligence
Travel gives you the opportunity to meet diverse individuals with incredible stories. It enables you to gain a better understanding of others and become more sensitive to happenings in the world.
Being book smart is necessary, but many of us forget about the experiential importance of emotional intelligence. Entrepreneurs need that to be able to understand both their workers and clients. The knowledge from books can’t help you relate to others through compassion and empathy, for example.
4. It fosters relationships
If you don’t trap yourself in a resort for the whole trip, then you will make new friends in the area you are visiting. You will be able to learn from and share knowledge with each other.
Through these new friendships, you may potentially meet a future business partner, mentor or investor.
5. It spikes creativity
Being stuck in the same daily routine can stifle your creativity. You may have “entrepreneur’s block.”