A stitch in time: The importance of timing in managing business cash flow

#MotherlandMoguls be aware that poor cash flow management could ruin your business Click To Tweet

A stitch in time saves nine…whoever said that was right. The saying is a warning against procrastination. Putting off doing important stuff until it is more convenient is never a great strategy in personal life and especially in business.

When it comes to your business, it needs to have a minimum amount of cash to remain afloat. Maintaining liquidity requires intentional effort and coordination to ensure that you meet this requirement.

Poor cash flow management has been known to floor businesses. At the root of the famous Enron scandal was the management of cash flow. That is why #MotherlandMoguls who are their own #Bosses need to pay attention to it.

Managing your business cash flow

There are three major warning signs you need to pay attention to when managing your cash;

  • Slow Collection: When your sales are not moving as fast as you expected them to or you are not making sales at all.
  • Excessive short-term debt: “Short term” usually refers to debt that is due in 90 days or less. The larger this figure is, the higher the chances that your business is cash strapped.
  • Overtrading: Making sales is a good thing; the problem is having more credit sales which means that the cash your business should have is stuck with your customers.

Sometimes what happens is that businesses ignore some warning signs and fail to respond to them on time which leads to bigger problems. One of the most important things to do here is to monitor and coordinate when money comes in and when it goes out. The moment you recognise a situation that is likely to put your business at cash flow risk, deal with it at the earliest opportunity. This is one of the lessons that Julia learned.

Timing is everything when it comes to managing cash in a business Click To Tweet

A business at standstill

We met Julia in one of our Financial Education workshops. Julia runs a small milk delivery business and she was having a few challenges with her cash flow. A majority of her customers bought her milk on credit which she let them have for a period that was not specified.

When we met her, her main problem was that she was not able to pay her milk suppliers because she didn’t have enough cash on her. Some of her customers owed her for more than two months and the fact that she could not pay for the milk meant that her business was at a standstill. Julia also rents a storage unit where she stocks up her milk; she was in arrears for one month and was about to throw in the towel when we met her.

Lessons from Julia

Timing is everything when it comes to managing cash in a business, you must be sure about the dates when major payments (out and into the business) are expected and when. Some of the tips we gave Julia for her business were:

  • First to consider taking a loan as she tries to stabilise her cash position
  • Not to rely on her sales to make basic payments such as rent and wages since Julia might not always meet her sales targets. Rather she should have savings that she can dip in when the going gets tough. This savings can be built slowly over time when business is good.
  • Not to order excess milk if she doesn’t think she can sell it.
  • To compare the credit terms of different suppliers and pick the one that works best to her advantage.
One way to ensure money moves through your business is by saving up to make basic payments Click To Tweet

A couple of months later, Julia who had decided to continue her business reported that her business was doing much better as she had found another supplier who had better credit terms. She also instituted stricter credit terms with her customers.

If your business is cash-strapped consider taking on some of the tips we have given and you just might end up with a smile on your face like Julia did.

Webinar with Samke Mhlongo-Ngwenya: Planning your personal finance and investments (Mar 23)

It doesn’t matter if you’re making a little or baller is your middle name, we all have to deal with important money matters such as investments and personal finance. If you’re climbing the corporate ladder, trying to launch your own business, or managing your family independently, join us on Thursday March 23rd as we discuss personal finance and investment options for young women.

We’ll be chatting with Samke Mhlongo-Ngwenya, one of South Africa’s most recognized personal finance experts who offers one-on-one personal finance consultations through her company TNC Wealth. Samke obtained her expertise in debt management and wealth creation during her 7-year tenure as a private banker, now she engages in corporate speaking, panel moderation, career management and women’s issues as well.

Register below to get the exclusive link to the webinar.

Some of the topics we’ll cover:

  • What you need to understand about investments
  • 3 financial questions every woman should ask herself
  • Planning a budget
  • Top 3 things to look out for when selecting an investment advisor
  • Identifying your investment goals (safety, income and growth)

Webinar Details:

  • Date: Thursday March 23rd, 2017
  • Time: 12:00pm Lagos // 1:00pm Johannesburg // 2:00pm Nairobi

About Samke

Referred to by CNBC Africa as a “personal finance goddess”, Samke Mhlongo-Ngwenya is not just a personal finance expert, but also the youngest board member of State-owned mineral technology research council MINTEK, and founder of The Next Chapter “TNC” (coming soon) – Wealth Partners.

Samke is also a personal finance consultant, corporate speaker, thought leader, media commentator, and financial inclusion advocate.

Armed with an Accounting degree from the University of Cape Town, a Postgraduate Diploma in Management from Wits Business School, and an MBA from the same college completed with a research report titled “Factors contributing to over-indebtedness in black South African females”, Samke aspires to continue developing content that educates, entertains and empowers her audience.

Union Bank celebrates its rich heritage of women in banking at International Women’s Day 2017

Union Bank, one of Nigeria’s longest standing and innovative banks, celebrated International Women’s Day 2017 themed Be Bold for Change, with an event held at the bank’s Head Office in Marina, Lagos.

Union Bank IWD CelebrationThe event featured a panel discussion which was moderated by Dr. Anino Emuwa, with participants such as Ifeoma Fafunwa, Chief Creative Director, iOpenEye Ltd., Achenyo Adachaba, Head, MitiMeth, Tayo Oviosu, Founder, Paga, Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Founder, Life Bank and Adenrele Sonariwo, Director, Rele Gallery.

Union Bank celebrates its 100th year anniversary this year and this was for them a celebration of all the women who have contributed to its rich heritage in banking in Nigeria, and all the women building the legacy for the next 100.

Other guests were Emeka Emuwa, CEO, Union Bank, Simi Nwogugu, Executive Director, Junior Achievement Nigeria, Oyinkan Adewale, Chief Financial Officer, Union Bank, Bikiye Graham Douglas, Spoken Word Artist, Lola Cardoso, Head, Group Corporate Strategy, Ogochukwu Ekezie-Ekaidem, Head, Corporate Affairs and Corporate Communication, Omotola Oyebanjo, Head Communications and Media, Union Bank among others.

Union Bank IWD CelebrationThe event was also held to commemorate the first-year anniversary of the Women Empowerment Hub (WEHUB) an initiative created by Union Bank to motivate, connect and provide support to its women. The initiative was born out of specific internal needs identified which include mentoring and networking opportunities.

Union Bank IWD CelebrationUnion Bank IWD CelebrationUnion Bank IWD Celebration

Union Bank IWD CelebrationUnion Bank IWD Celebration

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Emilia Dias: I learned to let my work speak for itself early on

Emilia Dias is the only lady as well as the youngest on her board, here's how she does it Click To Tweet

The versatility of marketing allows me to navigate into any sector as long as I’m dedicated

There must be programs to attract more women to the Telecom sector – Emilia Dias

Emilia Dias is an incredibly hard working young woman whose achievements speak volumes. She is a founding partner of Evision Consultores, a start-up focused on strategic consulting and marketing services founded in 2009. Emilia is also a founding partner of the first online consulting portal for entrepreneurs in Angola, ABC do empreendedor.

Divided between management, marketing, and entrepreneurship, Emilia left the banking sector 7 years ago to pursue a career in the Telecommunications sector. She currently works as Sales and Marketing Director at Infrasat, a satellite business unit of Angola Telecom.

Emilia is a winner of the Star award from Moneygram International for the implementation of the Brand in Angola in 2009 while working for BPC Assessed Moneygram International in Angola.

SLA contributor Anelisa Nokoyo recently had the honour of interviewing this dynamic young woman to find out what fuels her drive and passion for life and work.

Tell us about yourself, who is Emilia?

I’m Emilia Filomena Dias, 36 years old born and raised in Luanda, Angola, with no significant other and with no kids. I’m a very enthusiastic person who believes in the multitasking capabilities of women to change society.

My career path started as an intern at BPC, at the time the biggest and oldest state-owned commercial bank in Angola. Later on, I was recruited as a junior marketeer, then promoted to a marketing analyst, and two years later was again promoted as Head of Strategic Marketing.

While working on strategic management, I was also part of the team assigned to do the implementation of the microfinance division and was then invited to be part of the FIPED program (financial institutions for private enterprise development) at Harvard university in USA where I got a certificate in Microfinance.

evision emilia diasWhat encouraged your foray into the largely male-dominated world of finance and marketing?

I consider myself a natural born entrepreneur and marketer, but I went into finance because it was the first option I had after university. Once there, I found that I really enjoyed it and became passionate about my work.

The versatility of marketing is a plus, as it allows me to navigate into any sector as long as I’m dedicated and willing to learn and that’s how I went from finance to Telecoms. Both sectors are still male dominated, and I believe there must be a network and programs to attract more women to the Telecom sector.

I’m the only lady as well as the youngest on the board. I feel that I have to dedicate more time in everything I do and be proactive, working by anticipating. Most of all I look at each new day as a new chance to be the best I can to inspire and promote young women to enter the Telecom sector through entrepreneurship.

Each new day for Emilia Dias is a chance to inspire young women to enter the Telecom sector Click To Tweet

What obstacles have you had to overcome in order to excel the way you have?

Being a dedicated Sales Manager in a sector with fierce competition and the need for constant innovation really places a lot of demand on my time, but the drive to make it happen and excel in every project I dedicate myself to has always been strong.

Emilia Dias: My drive to excel in every project I dedicate myself to has always been strong Click To Tweet

On the professional side, I didn’t really face many obstacles as I let my work prove my worth and it happened naturally. People considered me a young woman with no experience and no brain, so early on I learned to let my work speak for itself. Now, it has become easier because I’ve been successful to an extent to build a reputation and I’m taken as the professional that I am.

On the entrepreneurial side, I’m still struggling to find my dream team that shares the same vision and will help me achieve my targets and conquer my dreams. My main dream is to have my swimwear brand, +244 Moda Praia, sold beyond Angola as well as having any of the brands I helped to create being recognised worldwide.

How do you balance your work and personal life and what challenges have you faced in that arena?

I had to put aside some quality time, and really have my time dedicated to my objectives, being employed and working on my personal start-up dream company focusing on different areas from marketing consulting to fashion and software development. I’m still building my dreams, paving my way but feel that I still have a long way to go before I accomplish them.

On a candid note, it has had its drawbacks and I won’t lie about it –it can be difficult to keep a relationship alive when you as a woman seem to work more than your partner and when that is misunderstood it proves to be hard on the relationship. This has been a challenge which I feel is not mine to take on alone in a relationship, so here I am still waiting while continuing to do my work.emilia dias

How do you stay disciplined and focused?

I try to maintain an equilibrium, I usually define month and weekly goals and have a daily to-do list which I try to stick to (not easy I have to admit).

I work non-stop from 8 to 5 for Infrasat and from 6 to 9, as well as on weekends for my personal entrepreneurship projects.

What are your other interests outside of finance, marketing and telecommunications?

Outside finance, marketing, and Telecom I’m engaged in promoting entrepreneurship. I take part in different events aimed at gathering, assisting and promoting entrepreneurship among youth and women. I’m also passionate about fashion, and I’m currently working on the launch of my swimwear line designed to promote Angolan and African culture.

With regards to all the above, I see myself working and establishing successful endeavors that will put the stamp of my work out into the world. My personal goal is to reach higher by the time I’m the big 40!

What advice would you give to young women wanting to go into the industries that you’ve paved the way in?

I would advise young women to stay focused, dedicated and most of all explore the multitasking ability that we naturally have as women. Do your best and never accept mediocrity.

Young women need to explore the multitasking ability that we naturally have - Emilia Dias Click To Tweet

Make sure you continuously strive to learn, do and be the best you can be –success can be in the smallest of details so don’t lose focus!

If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here

Christine Sesay: Africa’s Moneypreneur

Christine Sesay
Christine Sesay: Most Sierra Leonean entrepreneurs are struggling to survive, this lead to the idea of Africa’s Moneypreneur Click To Tweet

She won’t say money is her hobby but Christine Sesay enjoys advising people on finances. Christine is the founder and CEO of Africa’s Moneyprenuer, a financial education platform created to help make discussing money and finances easy and fun.

With a background in accounting, Christine Sesay has always done some accounting —even when she wasn’t working in the field. Her professional interests have taken her across the African continent, Christine has lived in Niger among other countries. However, her career isn’t limited to finances, Christine also works with Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation, an opportunity that arose during the Ebola epidemic in 2014.

Why did you decide to study accounting?

Like most high school graduates, there is the insecurity of being unsure of what one wants to do. I started taking an accounting course and enjoyed the different aspects of the course.

From that point, I continued to pursue accounting and financial courses in school. I still work in the accounting field, I am in charge of operations in the organization I work and I am responsible for the finance department.

Do you feel your careers have always been linked to your degree in accounting?

Yes, in my current job I am responsible for all monthly financial accounts as well as final yearly accounts.

In past jobs where I was not responsible for day-to-day running of the finance department, I have had budgets that I was expected to manage.

Let’s talk about your time in Niamey, Niger. How was life for you as an African living in another African country? What sort of cultural barriers did you have to navigate?

I enjoyed my time in Niamey. I have lived in other African countries while growing up and therefore it was no strange idea to move to Niger. So, I am used to living in different places and I adjust quickly to my environment.

I found the environment quiet which suited my personality. It was a place ideal for doing my other hobbies such as arts and craft. Niamey had a few spots to hang out and most of the time we had curfews, so I had to find a form of entertainment that was workable.

Niamey provided a lot of time I needed to quickly concentrate on communicating better in French but also to grow in my career.

What was your main motivation to study French?

I have a grandparent who is of Senegalese origin so it somewhere in my lineage. But also, I had a parent that worked in an environment that required the language. Therefore it was an easy motivation for me.


How did you come to start working with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation?

During the Ebola outbreak, a lot of foreign agencies came to help Sierra Leone and they all had different ways of doing things. The Ministry of Health was unable to determine the best course of action for the country.

In the midst of other job offers outside Sierra Leone, I chose the job that avails me the opportunity to work with Ministry and assist with system thus strengthening it.

Christine Sesay: With the Ebola epidemic, I was determined to help in whatever way I could Click To Tweet

Why was it not an option for you to leave Sierra Leone when Ebola struck?

Sierra Leone is my home. I was devastated to see how things had become within a short period of time with the disease infiltrating the country. Leaving the country at this time, would have been the easy way out. But then, what would I say to my children in the future?

I was not in Sierra Leone for the war, and was much younger to make a decision to help. With the Ebola, I was determined to help in whatever way I could.

Christine Sesay: In the midst of other job offers outside Sierra Leone, I chose to work with the Ministry of Health Click To Tweet

Why did you start Africa’s Moneypreneur? In what ways can discussing money and finances be fun?

While working in private sector, I would talk to small groups of women about their finances and advice on taxation issues. However, due to the demands of my job at the time, I could not continue.

In 2015, I watched a lot of families leave Sierra Leone. This was mostly the middle class who could afford to leave Sierra Leone due to Ebola. Therefore, we have a very broken economy once again. Most entrepreneurs are struggling to survive, seeing this, the idea of Africa’s Moneypreneur was born.

It is platform that teaches others how to implement effective financial strategies that support the lifestyle they aspire and deserve. For this reason, I am keen to talk to people on their money and finances.

Would you say money is your hobby?

Advising on finances is one of my hobbies. I also enjoy doing arts and crafts, especially making greeting cards.

Want to see women you know featured on SLA? Tell us what amazing things women are doing in your communities here.

Making #MotherlandMoguls money savvy: The big bad B-word of personal finance

shehive lagos she leads africa budgeting
Smart budgeting is how you get rid of the guilty feelings that come from spending Click To Tweet

“Budgeting is fun!”

Said no one ever…oh wait; that’s actually  what renowned Personal Financial Management Guru Bob Lotich says. The first time I read that I laughed myself silly and with good reason. However, the more I read his thoughts the more I understood what he was talking about.

You know that feeling you get when you spend money that you don’t have, to do something that is probably not that important, like buying yourself a new pair of stilettos.

That feeling that lets you know that in a couple of days or weeks you’re going to regret spending your money like that? It will probably come to you when you don’t have cash for fuel a couple of days to payday. Or when you have to borrow money for lunch or fare, or both to take you through the last stretch of the month. That’s when you remember the money you spent on those stilettos and how absolutely unnecessary it was.

Guilt, that’s what that feeling is called and budgeting is how you get rid of that feeling. It’s liberating to know that you are buying a new pair of shoes or a new dress or going out for a drink when you know that you set aside some money specifically for that purpose.


Either you do, or you don’t

Generally, when it comes to budgeting people fall into three broad categories. You either don’t do it at all and you spend as need or want arises. Or, you budget only for the fixed major expenses like mortgage, rent, school fees etc. Or you’ve got budgeting OCD as far as your money is concerned and you have to know exactly how every shilling you have is going to be spent.

Generally, when it comes to budgeting people fall into three broad categories. Click To Tweet

I fall in the second category as most people, where any other expense that is not considered major falls under the ‘’miscellaneous’’ box. I have come to learn that my miscellaneous box is where my money disappears to. It’s the hole in my pockets so to speak, every small expenditure planned or unplanned falls here.

Most financial management experts will tell you the first rule of budgeting is to know where your money is going. Now, this is a tedious process and can be far from fun. It’s going to need some discipline, but you can do it.

Know where your money is going

If you have never sat down to look at what your spending looks like on paper you will be shocked at what you discover.

Start by using one or two months —possibly even three for good measure, take note of every shilling spent.

The first rule of budgeting is to know where your money is going Click To Tweet

Not only the big stuff but the little stuff as well, every time you buy airtime, every time you buy a bottle of soda for yourself or someone else or any time you have to get something for your children, whether you knew about it in advance or didn’t. This is the cash that slips through the cracks and easily goes without notice.

At weekly intervals sit down to put it all together and see what your spending looks like. This is the first step of budgeting. Once you have this on paper, cluster the expenditure into the major categories: household expenditure, bills, entertainment etc.

This process is important because once you have this picture in your mind,  you will know where you’re overspending or you’re likely to overspend. Then, you’ll start making decisions on what needs to be cut off so that what goes out is equal to or less than what comes in.

Knowing how much you spend on an item on a weekly or monthly basis will also help you know when you can take advantage of some great offers when you shop in bulk. Are you ready to give this a go? Have a look at these exciting downloadable budget spreadsheets to get you started. Thank me later.

Nomsa Daniels: Putting capital in the hands of women #SheHiveJoburg

nomsa daniels shehive joburg she leads africa
Through New Faces New Voices @nomsa_daniels aims to link more women to financial institutions Click To Tweet

On the last day of SheHive JoBurg, the audience heard phenomenal woman share her equally amazing story. Nomsa Daniels is CEO of the Graça Machel Trust, she heads a team of specialists that support the trust’s work on women and children’s rights across the continent. Nomsa is working to ensure that more women in business are able to access the kind of capital they need to start and grow their businesses.

During her talk, Nomsa Daniels focused on the initiative, New Faces New Voices.

What is Nomsa Daniels’ story?

Even from a young age, Nomsa was already interested in development issues. She received a bachelor’s degree in English Literature & History and a Master’s degree in Geography and Environmental Studies. Her first job involved working for the US government where she was able to focus on issues pertaining to Africa.

This experience, while enlightening, made Nomsa realize that rather than look at Africa through the lens and agenda of a third party, she would much rather be on the continent, immersed in its issues and dealing with its development there.

As a result, she moved to South Africa in 1987. There, Nomsa was involved in several different projects before she was approached by Graça Machel to join the trust. At the trust where Nomsa, along with her peers, came up with the idea to start New Faces New Voices. This is to give the new generation of young, enterprising black women a space where they could be seen and heard.

What is New Faces New Voices and why should we be interested?

New Faces New Voices is an initiative established by the Graça Machel Trust in 2010 to deepen women’s participation and influence in the financial sector. Its three main objectives are to:

  • increase women’s access to finance and financial services,
  • build capacity and skills of women to access finance and,
  • promote women’s leadership in the financial sector.

Initiatives like this are particularly important because studies have shown that countries that have greater gender equality have more inclusive growth. Also, women tend to invest up to 90% of their wealth into improving the education, health and economic well-being of their families. This investing in women and ensuring that they have access to finance will not only benefit them but their families and countries.

In South Africa, only 7% of adults are engaged in entrepreneurship and the typical entrepreneur is male Click To Tweet

What is the landscape in which New Faces New Voices operates?

In South Africa, only 7% of adults are engaged in entrepreneurship. This figure is alarmingly low when compared to other African counties, also considering the fact that unemployment levels in SA are high. The typical entrepreneur is male, between 25 to 44 years old and lives in an urban area. He is involved in retail and wholesale sector and has a secondary or tertiary education. So where are all the women?

nomsa-danielsResearch on the topic shows that businesses run by women are most prevalent in the following sectors: retail trade, manufacturing clothing, professional services, restaurants/bars and social work activities. Comparing the activities of men and women, it is clear that there is a lot of potential for women especially in atypical areas where they have largely been under-represented.

Reflection point for Motherland Moguls: Challenge yourself to think more broadly and to think outside the box!

Women are faced with cultural constraints that limit their ability to participate fully in business Click To Tweet

Looking at the numbers, there is definitely a business case for investing in women and they represent a sizeable and viable market that can yield a return on investment. Given that this is the case, why are there not more women in business?

Part of the issue is that women face a number of challenges, which although not unique to them, do affect them uniquely. These challenges include that women tend to have lower levels of education and lower income levels. Women also lack collateral, exposure to the market, mentors and role models.

On top of all that, women are faced with cultural constraints, norms and belief systems that limit their ability to participate fully in business. In addition, women face several funding constraints such as lack of business training, lack of information on where to find funding, lack of understanding of what funders look for and lack of business track record.

Reflection point for Motherland Moguls: How do we reform the educational system to ensure that young girls and women are exposed to entrepreneurship at a young age?

How is New Faces New Voices tackling this issue?

New Faces New Voices aims to link more women to financial institutions and funding vehicles that target women. A lot of women are not aware that a lot of institutions have funds ring-fenced specifically for women. These institutions often complain that they cannot find enough women to give these funds to.

New Faces New Voices is working to bridge that gap by helping to connect the right women to the right institutions so that they can access capital that is ready and waiting for them. On the one hand, New Faces New Voices works with the women to bring them to the level they should be at. This is so that they can present an interesting value proposition to these institutions.

On the other hand, New Faces New Voices works with the institutions to help them tailor their programs. This way, their criteria are more realistic and actually suit the needs of the women they are targeting.

Reflection point for Motherland Moguls: Access to finance is important, but so is access to markets!

Final words of advice to all women out there looking to get into business.

  • Do your research. Who funds the type of business you are looking to establish? What is their funding criteria?
  • Understand the type of funding your business requires at various stages (working capital, bridging finance, overdraft).
  • Undertake “investor-readiness” training.
  • Be on the lookout for new ways of finding capital like crowd funding.

Bottom-line: Know what’s out there in the market and take advantage of institutions that support what you want to do!

6 top tips you need to crowd fund well!

When you’re ready to crowd fund, at first, it might seem like a lot of math and very little reward, but that is not always the case. After you read this, you will be one step closer to creating a campaign that will achieve great things.

In this article, I will help you pin down some key tips you need to do well in this often techy, jargon-wrapped industry.

1. First, break it down! “What are you doing and who is doing what?”

What exactly is your product? Many of us tend to think of the beautiful things we want to create but have no idea how to put pen to paper. And certainly, no idea on how to make it work in a format that fits the crowdfunding world.

My suggestion is to break it down into bite size pieces. If you want to be the next JK Rowling, remember she started with just one book. Start with a bite-sized chunk and make sure it is something you are able to do. You have the knowledge and the connections to make it happen!

That goes for the campaign as well. Make sure you have the right team around you; everyone has to know exactly what their job is and how that fits into the big picture.

For the basic team structure, I recommend as follows:

  • The administrative lead ensures that you get the most out of the chosen crowdfunding platform and keeping with their regulations.
  • The creative director, depending on the platform, may need a campaign video, or snazzy graphics to make campaigns stand out).
  • The logistics lead handles all the costing and shipping of rewards (more on this later).
  • The marketing and communications lead should be two. One for press and influencer marketing, another for social media and community marketing.  Yes, you should already have a supportive community of “fans” before you crowdfund.

Successful campaigns are coordinated by successful teams. Remember that.

2. “Will your second favourite Aunty support your campaign?”

This may seem like a no-brainer because you are passionate about this thing. But don’t forget, only your friends and family can primarily support your campaign. The first 30% of money raised will come from your close, first degree connections. The rest will come from second and third degree connections.

If you are even remotely shy/embarrassed about talking about this to the people closest to you, or you know they will disapprove of your efforts, I suggest you save some money and start smaller than you planned to with crowd funding.

Crowd funding isn’t for everyone. There isn’t an imaginary crowd living in the cloud somewhere. It is the people you see everyday —your work colleagues, your friends and your family that are going to make or break your campaign.

Photo credit: Cash Flow Dairy
Photo credit: Cash Flow Dairy

3. “Build it and they will come” doesn’t work here

No matter how much people like you, they tend to like their money just a little bit more.

Remember that friendliness counts. We live in a heavily-networked society, so you are going to have to go even further to encourage people to part with their money.

Make phone calls, meet people for coffee, drop your product idea into these conversations. Make sure they can hear your voice and they can feel your passion when you are talking about what you want to do.

Asking someone out of the blue to support your campaign to create a line of high quality stationery, when they haven’t spoken to you for three months is not smart.

If someone did that to you, how likely would you be to support them? P

articularly when they have never mentioned stationery in the history of your friendship?

4. Making your rewards count

Depending on the type of crowd fund you are aiming for (donations with or without rewards, investment and equity based or debt based), and the platform you are have settled on, you may or may not need to think about rewards.

If you are listing your campaign on a reward-based platform, please do your homework.

There is a good amount of math involved in this so if that isn’t your strong suit, ask someone for help. There are number of things to consider —shipping costs, printing/manufacture costs, the admin and follow-up time, and whether or not what you are offering is what people want and are willing to part with their money for. Every type of product requires a type of reward that is unique.

Try to keep your rewards cost under 15% of your fundraising amount —especially if you are shipping items (check the weight, plan your packaging, know your postage cost). At Do it Now Now, we have a universal perk system. That means we handle all the perks for all of our campaigns.

We realised this was a major pitfall for members of the Diaspora in the UK when in came to crowd funding, so we decided to take it off their hands, releasing them to do what they are truly passionate about.

5. Have an open evening. Share your ideas!

When we were starting on our journey with Do it Now Now, we had a mini-party that has turned into monthly open evenings. We invite potential advisors who have shown an interest in what we do to join us for coffee. They ask as many questions as they want about our plans, ideals and practices.

I suggest you start doing this as early as possible. Invite people who are going to be a benefit to you on your business. Tell them what you are doing and what you think the pros and cons are.

Invite them to have their say. Invite them on the journey. Make sure to invite people who have crowd funded before; their insight will be priceless.

If you don’t know anyone who has been on this journey before, contact campaigns that are similar to what you want to do and ask to meet them for a coffee separately —most people will oblige you, especially if you are buying!


6. Identify your Mariahs in advance

How to combat the Mariah Careys in your network —talk more.

Have a series of individual coffees with all your financially capable friends (try not to make it too obvious). Let them know what you are about.

Talk about how much it means to you. Invite them into your world. When the time comes (1 to 3 months later), they already know what this is and would want to be involved in your story.

I really hope this helps you on your way to achieving crowd funding greatness.

Webinar with Archel Bernard: How I raised $65,000 using crowdfunding (Sept 23)

Missed this event? Make sure you don’t miss the next one by joining our community today.

Archel Bernard had a vision for a high quality manufacturing facility that could upgrade the production of her fashion company and provide sustainable jobs to women and Ebola survivors in her native Liberia. While she had experience running her business over the past couple of years and a passion for helping her community, what she didn’t have was lots of cash to invest in the brand new factory. That’s when Archel turned to crowdfunding over a two month campaign, raised $65,000 to create the Bombchel Factory.

Bombchel Factory

Archel is going to share the strategy she used to turn her crowdfunding campaign into a project even the Kickstarter team loved by having it on the front page of their site! She’ll share the dos and the don’ts so you can create a crowdfunding campaign that gets you closer to your business goals.

Some of the topics we’ll cover:

  • The best way to develop a story that will really sell your campaign
  • How to build early support for your crowdfunding campaign
  • Creative ways to get media coverage and have people pay attention
  • How to develop prizes and rewards that won’t have you suffer after the campaign is finished

Webinar Details:

  • Date: Friday September 23, 2016
  • Time: 3:00pm Monrovia // 4:00pm Lagos // 6:00pm Nairobi

Watch this webinar:


About Archel:

Archel Bernard is owner of The Bombchel Factory and Mango Rags boutique in Monrovia, Liberia. She moved to the West African country after graduating from Georgia Tech in Atlanta. She now specializes in dreaming up contemporary African womenswear, training disadvantaged women to sew her designs, and helping the women to become self-sufficient.

Archel’s mission in life took a significant turn amid the deadly Ebola outbreak in Liberia. She saw the devastation in the country she loved; a country still struggling to overcome civil war. Archel decided to open a factory to help the people of her ancestral homeland to rebuild. She named it The Bombchel Factory and herself, the Head Bombchel in Charge.

Bombchel Factory has been featured in The New York Times, CNN, Forbes Women Africa and other major news outlets. She is also a Richard Branson Scholar. Her designs have been worn by actresses in the online drama “An African City” and models in several international magazines. Archel’s successful Kickstarter campaign almost doubled its goal! She is a force. A visionary. A fashionista. But more than anything, Archel is a savvy and relentless business woman, determined to use her business to build lives. She’s come along way from selling dresses in her pick up truck, but there’s still so much more to do!

Pricing as a start-up: Where do you begin?


You finally registered that business or online store, and already considering setting up packaging. Or maybe your website is up and running and you’re ready to pull out all stops to get your marketing underway. But there’s just one thing missing, how much should your products or services cost?

Pricing isn’t easy; there are several factors to consider. You don’t want to seem too expensive and therefore alienate your target market. But you also don’t want to price it so low that it connotes less quality or cheapness.  So what’s a girl to do?


We all know that end at the end of the day, you’d want to cover your production costs and still make a profit. Because we all know those red bottoms won’t buy themselves.

However, pricing has to be based on the value transferred to customers for using your product or service. Consider the cost of production and make comparisons between your prices and that of competitors.

A general rule of thumb is to use the 10% rule by using the customer’s derived value and adding 10% to it. Got it? Good. Let’s explore some more.

Know your customers/clients

The better you understand your customers’ needs, the more accurate your pricing will be. Looking to your competitors for a pricing comparison should be based on the assumption that their pricing is ideal.

giphyYour competitors may be over or even under charging. So it’s still important to do a personal cost analysis and figure out the pricing that works best for you.

Is your pricing above or below theirs? Does location, staff, size of the company, quantity, and quality of the products come into play? These are all worthwhile questions you should ask when looking to your for answers.

“Profit is not something to add on in the end, it’s something to plan for in the beginning” – Megan Auman

Price sensitivity

It is important to note that clients and customers will only pay more if they have the assurance of value. So don’t be scared to test out several different prices at the beginning.

It’s the same when you walk into a boutique, see a dress and instantly know it would be far cheaper at a regular clothing store. But because it’s an exotic brand, you believe it is of better quality and therefore, worth the high price.

getting_moneyThis is where price sensitivity comes into play. Price sensitivity is the degree to which the price of a dress in this analogy, affects the customers’ willingness to buy it. I like to call it the fine line between “too good to be true” and “dirt cheap” and therefore a bargain.

You do this by offering a different price, typically with a 5% difference, to individual customers for the same service or product. The general idea is that if you aren’t getting pushback from at least 20% of your customers, then you’re on the right track.

Also, it is important to note that there is less price sensitivity when the product is unique and hard to find. So make sure to distinguish yourself from competitors in a big way. The price would be worth it if the boutique is making just one dress per size. The exclusivity is almost like getting a custom-made dress.

“The reason it seems as though price is all your customers care about, is because you haven’t given them anything else to care about”- Seth Godin

Smaller versus bigger

Giving customers a choice between several tiers in pricing helps establish how well your products/services are priced.  Have you ever come across the low, middle, and high price offerings? This is called ‘Goldilocks Pricing’. With this, you get to choose between the inexpensive but not ideal and the expensive but full package.

You then end up with the pricing that is just the right fit, like your very own Cinderella shoe. It typically has just enough features to get you started and is often the bestseller. More often than not, it’s a few steps away from that ‘premium’ package which you can upgrade to anytime.


money_3For instance, if  you sell an 80-gram tub of shea butter for R60, then a 160-gram tub would cost 10% less than buying two 80-gram tubs. Chances are, the customer will go for the bigger tub which means more money for you, provided the production cost is not higher.

Similarly,  a “buy 3 products and get the cheapest one free” sale in a specific high-end product range/ service market will ensure that you still get your money’s worth. Make sure that you always capitalise on these opportunities by offering any extra features that come with the package. For example, 10% to upgrade to the premium package from a 7-day free trial.

In summary, if your product or service is amazing, of standard quality and worth the price, customers will come flocking. Good luck!