Twitter Chat with Laila Macharia: Understanding What Investors Want (Apr 14)

Laila Macharia

There seems to be a major disconnect between what investors and entrepreneurs are looking for. Investors continue to say that they can’t find good businesses to invest in while entrepreneurs are getting frustrated that they can’t get the funding they need for their businesses to grow. With this type of situation nobody wins.

Join us on Thursday April 14 for a twitter chat with Kenyan investor, entrepreneur and business mentor Laila Macharia on understanding what investors want. If you’re not sure how to effectively communicate with investors, get them interested in your business or even find them, then you need to join this chat.

Follow She Leads Africa on twitter and use the hashtag #SLAChats to ask your questions and participate in the discussion.

Topics that we’ll cover: 

  • What are investors looking for in a new business?
  • If you don’t know any investors how can you start to develop relationships with them?
  • What areas do you believe young entrepreneurs are the weakest?
  • What are the industries and companies that you’re most excited about to change Africa?
  • What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about leadership?

Twitter Chat Details:

  • Date: Thursday April 14, 2016
  • Time: 12:00pm WAT // 2:00pm EAT
  • Location: Follow She Leads Africa on twitter and use the hashtag #SLAChats
Understanding what investors want - Laila Macharia
About Laila Macharia: 

Raised in Kenya, Namibia and Somalia, Laila Macharia is currently an Angel Investor based in Nairobi. The current Vice Chairman of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, the leading national business association, she also serves as a non-executive director at the Barclays Bank of Kenya as well as at Centum, the largest listed private equity firm in East and Central Africa.

Admitted to practice law in New York and Kenya, Laila holds a B.A. from the University of Oregon, a JD and LL.M from Cornell University and a doctorate in law from Stanford University, all in the US. She was honoured in 2010 as a Fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Africa Leadership Initiative and in 2012, was named one of the Top 20 Women to Watch in Africa by the Times of London.

Webinar with Bola Onada Sokunbi: Setting Up A Big Girl Budget (Mar 25)

We’re not sure we need to use too much grammar for this webinar. If your life follows the pattern below then you need to sign up ASAP.

When that paycheck alert hits your phone:

Two weeks later when you need to pay your bills:

Two weeks later when you get paid again:

And then later that night:

GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!! You need to get it together. We are too grown and too ambitious to be playing games with our money. While money certainly isn’t everything in life, it can provide security and long term stability for you and your family. You don’t have to wait until you’re older and more settled to start caring about your personal finances.

On Friday March 25 we hosted a private webinar where we got real about Setting Up A Big Girl Budget. Personal finance expert Bola Onada Sokunbi walked us through how to set up a budget that is practical and designed for young women like us.

Some of the topics we covered:

  • How to find the spending areas that are bringing you down
  • What are the major categories your budget MUST include
  • The tools and apps you can use to keep your budget on track
  • How to motivate yourself to stick to a budget

About Bola:

Bola Onada Sokunbi is a money coach, business strategist and founder of Clever Girl Finance, a platform that empowers and educates women to make the best financial decisions for their current and future selves. Clever Girl Finance inspires women to pursue their dreams of financial independence in order to live life on their own terms.

Webinar with Janet Asante: Negotiating For What You’re Worth (Mar 10)

Janet Asante-Sullivan Photoshoot

Young African women know how to bargain and do whatever it takes to get the best deal. It doesn’t matter what you’re buying, we’re going to make sure we walk away happen. But something happens when you call the conversation a negotiation and move it from a shop or market stall and place it inside a boardroom or office environment. We lose our nerve and we miss out on opportunities to advance our careers.

Harvard Business School research has shown that across the globe young women don’t negotiate and this contributes to thousands of dollars in pay inequality over a lifetime. We don’t know about you, but we want that money in our pocket!

On Thursday March 10 we hosted a special webinar with Janet Asante on how to negotiate for what you’re worth. With more than 18 years of experience in the corporate world she helped us build our negotiating toolkit to make sure we’re getting all we deserve at work and in our businesses.

Some of the topics we covered:

  • What is negotiating and how can it help you succeed at work and in your business
  • How can you build your confidence before entering a big negotiation
  • Ways to practice your corporate negotiation skills even when you’re not at work
  • What things you should negotiate for and what topics should be left alone
  • The five phrases you should NEVER say during a negotiation

About Janet Asante:

Janet Asante is a human resources executive with 18 years of proven leadership experience and a successful track record serving as trusted advisor to executive leadership team members including CEOs, Board of Directors, General Counsels and Executives. She has comprehensive HR leadership experience in private, non-profit, government contracting, and information technology industries.

She is also the co-founder of Guiding the Journey, a nonprofit committed to improving the lives of African youth in America and Africa. Over the years they have helped over 200 high school students with the college preparation process and adults with career advice.

Janet was born in Ghana and immigrated to the US when she was 8 years old. She is passionate about all things Africa and helping people bring their best selves to work.

For young African women II: How to build wealth at every stage of your life

young african women

In Part One of How to Build Wealth at Every Stage, I discussed how to build wealth at the younger stages of life, from childhood to 19 years old. Here I discuss how to build on those stages.

Stage 3: The Young African Woman

This is known as the accumulation stage and is typically between ages 20-30/35. At this point, a person has just graduated or has started working and has some disposable income. Income is typically larger than expenses at this stage. Some may live with their parents while some may begin to consider getting their own accommodation.

This is also a stage when people begin to think about settling down etc. This is the best time to begin to develop a personal financial system. The earlier you start the more time you have for your money to grow and enjoy the benefits of compounding.

I love Albert Einsteins quote which says “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it…he who doesn’t pays it”. Basically, compounding interest simply means that the money you earn as interest is put back into your account or investment thereby allowing your money to grow faster. An individual at this stage should develop a savings and investment culture, learn and practice the principles of personal finance which is budgeting and also consider setting up an emergency fund. In terms of investing, this is a good time to invest in riskier assets and take advantage of long term growth opportunities.

 

You can also begin to buy valuable jewelry like gold, which appreciates over time and can be sold when cash strapped. It is very important to withstand peer pressure at this stage. Focus on your vision and goal.

Key things to consider at this stage include:

  1. Have a vision board
  2. Set financial goals
  3. Prepare monthly budgets
  4. Establish a savings culture
  5. Invest in the stock market
  6. Pay off any debts accumulated in University such as student loans, credit card debts etc
  7. Invest in yourself.
  8. Start a business

Stage 4: The African Woman

This is called the Consolidation stage and is typically between ages 30/35-55. At this stage your expenses are rising higher than your income. You may be married or starting a family. You may have moved out of your parents’ home and live on your own. Needs include education for kids, rent, mortgage, planning for retirement, higher education etc. Financial discipline is required at this stage.

It is important to be strict with budgeting and not forfeiting savings and investments. In terms of investment it is also important to begin to diversify your portfolio. This is also a good time to take some risks depending on the side of the spectrum you fall on.

Key things to consider at this stage include:

  1. Set up an education trust fund
  2. Buy land and or get a mortgage
  3. Health insurance
  4. Life insurance
  5. Build up your assets
  6. Plan for retirement
  7. Create multiple streams of income
  8. Invest in yourself

It is also important to note that you are never too old to dream. Mrs Betty Irabor started her magazine at this stage. Mo Abudu  started her tv station, Ebony Life TV in her late forties.

Stage 5: The Older African Woman

This is called the retirement stage and is age 55 and above. At this stage most individuals would be getting ready to retire or be retired. In most cases there is no steady income except from pension allowances. Needs include healthcare, retirement home, and vacation, maintaining a standard of living, estate planning and leaving a legacy.

A woman who was financially intelligent in her younger years will enjoy this stage. She may have set-up a business that is running on its own and therefore be enjoying the fruits of hard work during her youth.

This is also a time to ensure you are fulfilling purpose and at this stage you may even start a new business.

Please note that these age ranges are just a generic template and not cast in stone. Individuals may past through these stages at different ages.

Once you have determined the stage you are in your financial life cycle, it is important to set financial goals and to determine action steps required to achieve your goal. An important point is to ensure that you create a plan to achieve this goal and that your plans are as flexible as possible.

For example you could have a goal to set-up an emergency fund of 6 months’ worth of living expenses by 30/12/16.

Action Steps:

∙         Track spending

∙         Create a budget

∙         Pay-off all outstanding debts

∙         Reduce excess spending on eating-out and eat home-cooked food

∙         Reduce spending on aso-ebi

∙         Set up direct debit with bank

What are some of your goals for your financial future? What phase of life do you find yourself in? Could you begin to implement some of these key elements now?

For young African women: How to build wealth at every stage of your life

Multigenerational black women

This is part one. Read part two here

The Young African Woman – How to Build Wealth at Every Stage of Your Life

I recently attended a seminar where one of the key speakers mentioned that there are three main categories that are forecasted to thrive and succeed in this season: Youths, Africans, and Women. It is therefore a good time to be a Young African Woman.

In order to succeed as a Young African Woman and to ‘win’ in all areas of your life, you must be in control of your finances and build wealth. It is therefore important to understand the different stages of life i.e. the financial life cycle and how to build wealth at each stage.

I would start from the girl child, in order to ensure that we also empower our children, sisters, students, mentees etc.  This is the most important stage because if you get it right at the stage, you are likely to be wealthy.

There are different theories on the number of stages in a financial life cycle, however, for simplicity they’ve been split into 5 stages.

Stage 1: The African Girl Child

This is typically between ages 0-12. At this stage, we begin to understand the value of money i.e. N200 can buy more sweets than N100. We begin to have conversations like

Kid: “Mum, why can’t we buy a bicycle?”

Mum: “Because we do not have enough money at the moment.

Kid: “But mum, what about the money in my piggy bank? I have a lot of money in my piggy bank.”

Mum: “Honey, N500 is not enough to buy a bicycle.

Generally, we believe that money is to be used to buy junk food and also to buy toys. At this stage we receive pocket money.

Financially intelligent parents would begin to teach their children the basics of savings via a piggy bank or a kids’ account. They would also learn the concept of earning money by being paid for household chores as well as through mini businesses such as making and selling lemonade or bracelets etc.

I attended a conference where a speakers stated that when she was younger, her parents paid her whenever she did her household chores and that was how she learnt the value of hard work and earning money.

My daughters started their first business at age 6 and 3. During their Christmas holiday, they made personalized bracelets from beads and with virtues such as love, faith etc, and sold them to their aunties, uncles and friends. Shortly after, they received an order to make personalized bracelets for a birthday party. Within two weeks, they made about N30, 000. I introduced the concept of a piggy bank and also taught them how to give as well.

I also had a very proud moment the other day. My daughter had received some money as a gift from her uncle at Church to buy ice cream. A blind man came to ask for money and she heard me say I didn’t have any cash left. She then said to me “Mummy, he can have this money” and she gave him her ice cream money.

At a very young age, I opened investment accounts for my daughters with a monthly direct debit in place. Warren Buffet began investing also at this stage. He has also created an online club for kids called the Secret Millionaires club where kids learn the basics of entrepreneurship and wealth management. This is a good place to start.

Stage 2: The African Teenage Girl

This is typically between ages 13-19. At this stage, we develop a better understanding of money. Our needs include buying top-up cards for mobile phones, shopping and entertainment etc.

We understand that it is not everything you want that you can get. We also start earning money via jobs like baby-sitting, etc. In developed economies, at this stage, teenagers are sent to work in fast food restaurants or retail clothing stores to earn some money. Some teenagers are also required to work in companies as interns during holidays. Ty Bello, Nigeria’s renowned photographer started her hair styling business at age 15. One of Africa’s youngest billionaires Ashish Thakker started his first business at age 16.

When you get to University, you begin to understand the importance of managing your finances. In University, you are also introduced to the concept of credit cards, over drafts etc. It is important to educate teenagers on the pros and cons of credit cards and overdrafts. A lot of students get it wrong and end up in a lot of debt once they graduate from university, and this affects their ability to build wealth in other stages of their life.

Key things to consider at this stage include:

  1. Learn the value of hard work and earning money through internships, holiday jobs
  2. Start a business using your talents and gifts
  3. Start a savings and investing culture
  4. Be involved in the process of managing bank accounts and investing.
  5. Read books on personal finance

How did you fare in these stages as a young person? If you have passed these 2 stages, you can still share them with a young person or a parent who might need it.

In Part II, we discuss – stage 3: The Young African Woman,  stage 4: The African Woman, and stage 5: The Older African Woman.

10 excuses to give friends when you are too broke to go out

As Motherland Moguls, we know that every kobo, pesewa, and cent counts while chasing your dreams. So while we love our friends, going out often can be a financial burden. If you’re fortunate (or unfortunate – you choose) enough to live in an isolated town where eating out requires an hour commute to the city center, then you must be doing your fair share of saving.  If you live in a major city – Lagos, Johannesburg, Nairobi – that new pop up down the road that sells overpriced cereal is tempting.

To add to all of this, we all have that friend who always wants to eat out. But there are days when you really know you cannot afford to go out but don’t want them to know you’re skint. Yes, we know that, cause we’ve been there and had to come up excuses like 10 below.

1. “I didn’t do my BVN so my card is not working”

See Your LifeThis applies if you live in Nigeria, or all your money is deposited in a Nigerian account. If that is the case, you have the new banking policies to thank for this excuse.

2. “Oh, I’ve been eating at *insert restaurant name” too much”

RHON - Eating feelings

This excuse could come back and bite you, as it insinuates you go out to eat often.

In the same vein, you could be left with the burden of deciding what restaurant, which leaves you with two options: either suggest somewhere so awful that you know nobody would agree to venturing near, or suggest something completely different and free!

3. “I forgot my card at home”

Kandi - RHOA Really

This only works if you are actually out and about with them, or in their house and you have not brought out your card at all. This also means if you are dying for a bottle of water – no can do.

4. “Sorry, I have an appointment/meeting.”

Mad Men - Tell Them Im In A Meeting

Please do not Snapchat anything other than your coffee mug after making this excuse.

5. “Oh my gosh, I wish you had told me earlier, I just ate and I AM STUFFED!”

Zendaya - gif

This works better with people who do not know you that well. Why? Because if you love food the way I love food, then your friends know the truth and will know you’re lying.

6. “I’ve been really busy, and need to take time out to rest”

Pokemon falling asleep

I like this one because even if all you’re doing is watching show re-runs with a tub of ice-cream, it makes you sounds somewhat important and occupied with life.

This is less of an excuse and more of a genuine reason. Again, stay away from Snapchat.

7. “My parents want me home”

African dad meme

This excuse varies in effectiveness based on your age. But if you and your friends are from traditional African homes, I’m sure it would have a decent level of effectiveness.

8. “I’m not feeling too well” – ties in with number 6

I’m slightly wary about this one because it may come to pass. However, if you’re have a little headache, a little exaggeration would not hurt.

9. “Stuck in school/work/at a family event… rain check?”

Tommy from Martin - straight out of work

It’s always nice when an excuse has a reason behind it, followed by the possibility of rescheduling. This is probably the most respectful of the bunch.

10. * Phone on flight mode * “Did not get your call/message, my phone just does that.”

Big Sean - looking at phone

Not a big fan of this one. I think we can all agree it’s pretty rude. But a friend suggested this and it worked. It also helps to remember all the money you are saving from ignoring those calls and messages…

Business Tip: Anytime you cancel on your friends, put that money into your savings accounts. It always pays to pay yourself first, ladies.

The smart entrepreneur’s guide to cutting startup costs

The Smart Entrepreneurs Guide To Cutting Costs

Just when you thought entrepreneurship was a walk in the park. Fantastic idea? Check. Grit? Double check. Money? Not so much. Let’s face it, getting a startup off the ground requires money and costs can quickly pile up.

Often times entrepreneurs who are starting out have to operate on a tight budget until they get major funding. Raising money from investors is not an easy task either and it does take time. So how you do you make your dreams a reality with limited finances?

Be realistic

You may have envisioned working out of a glass-walled office on the topmost floor of the tallest building in your city. The reality however, is that you can only afford a co-working space or the vacant room in your parents’ house.

If you are running an online business you don’t immediately need an office space. Avoid the nice-to-haves at all costs and focus on the most important things for your startup.   

Hire freelancers

There are thousands of Nigerian youth willing to offer the services you need at a fraction of the cost you’ll incur hiring full-time staff members. They are flexible with their time and can be hired on an as-needed basis.

They have specific sets of skills and are used to working independently so you don’t have to invest in training them. Use that to your advantage.

Learn something new

In order to thrive, you need to know something about everything. So before you get to the “Hire people who are smarter than you are” phase, learn some basic accounting, be your own salesman, and run your errands.  

One of the benefits of this is that you are eventually able to wear more than one hat with ease. Trust us, it works.

Advertise through word of mouth

Word of mouth has for a long time been the strongest form of marketing for startups. You need your money to provide the best product or service not to make the most noise. Got a few happy customers? Great!

Ask for an in-person referral or a social media shout out. Leverage your network to get the word out to potential customers.  Get as much free marketing as possible – that way you’ll know when and what to spend on advertising.

Keep track of everything

Always remember the books. Keep in mind that you are running on a lean budget and those little expenses easily add up. Document how much you spend on a daily basis regardless of how irrelevant it seems.

Make it a habit to keep records. This will go a long way in both saving you money and supporting your pitch to potential investors.

 

Quick Read: Your 1 minute guide to startup financing

You already know that it takes more than a stellar business plan and an ace team for your startup to thrive. You also need financing to get your ideas off the ground. COLD. HARD. CASH.

But what type of financing is available for me, you ask? Well, you have 3 options:

1. DEBT FINANCING 

Your company receives a loan and gives its promise to repay the loan. It includes both secured and unsecured loans, and can be long-term or short-term.

Pros: You aren’t giving away any part of your business.

Cons: Defaulting on the loan = signing your life away.

2. EQUITY FINANCING

Your company obtains finances from potential investors, family and friends, business angels or by issuing an Initial Public Offer (IPO).

Pros: You are not obligated to pay a dividend

Cons: Equity finance generates capital from external investors in return for a share of the business.

Shark Tank Gif - Cash Flow and financing

3. MEZZANINE FINANCING 

This is a combination of both debt and equity financing. It begins as debt capital that gives the lender the rights to convert to an ownership or equity interest in the company if the loan is not paid back in time and in full. This type of financing allows the owner both debt and equity options.

Pros: Allows you to get the money you need without giving up a huge chunk of your company’s ownerships…as long as you pay your debt on time.

Cons: Interest rates are much higher than traditional debt financing.

Want to learn more about financing and savings options for your business? Visit PAL Pensions to learn more about their unique products for young entrepreneurs.