10 lessons I have learned since quitting my job to start a business

It’s been almost two years since I officially resigned from my job at a top consulting firm to start a business. For the last 20 months, I have been filled with either extreme anxiety or euphoria and sometimes, both feelings have coexisted from running my own business(es).

It has been an experience like none I had had before, extremely excruciating, but also immensely fulfilling.

Taking the leap to quit a comfortable job with potential for growth was not a difficult decision for me to make. I grew up believing I had the “Midas” touch — that everything I touched would turn to gold. I was optimistic.

The prospect of extreme success was very exciting. I wanted to build the next Bloomberg or the next Warby Parker, in fact, I was like a child on their first day to school.

And interestingly — my entrepreneurship journey has been more of a school than anything I had imagined.

Here are just a few of the lessons I have learned and feel anyone planning on quitting their job to start a business should know.

regina king black girl magic GIFAbout to quit your job to start a business? Here are 10 lessons you should learn from @Kazville Click To Tweet

1. Do not quit your job unless you have actually started your business

Yes. They say no one wants to work for a part-time CEO. But no one wants to work for a broke business either. If I could do it again, I would wait till my business has clear-cut cash flows before I take the leap. Sometimes strategy works easier and more efficiently than hustle.

2. Have enough savings to last you at least a year

Nothing sucks like having to invest in a business and worry about your house rent at the same time. Stowaway enough cash for yourself to survive for at least a year before taking the leap.

And by “survive” I mean your budget should also have an entertainment budget line — to fund those business coffee meetings and social gatherings.


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Do not start a business thinking your business will feed you from Day 1 because the reality is that it won’t. And yes, some people will argue that you can never save enough. I disagree!

3. Your 9–5 job is just as important to your dream as your dream itself

I have read a lot of social media articles bashing employed people for building other people’s dreams instead of their own and I feel that these “motivational” quotes and articles are in such bad taste.

A lot of my progress and support have come from connections I made while at my job. My job taught me so much about managing my business and through it, I interfaced with top CEOs and management people that have since become personal friends and supported my business.

My first client came from my former employer. I am mentored by my former boss. The beautiful people modeling Wazi glasses on our website are my former workmates. If I had not had that job, I would not have much mileage today.

Sometimes strategy works easier and more efficiently than hustle - @Kazville Click To Tweet

4. Start a business you understand

Nothing takes longer and costs more than a business you have no experience in or understand. I cannot begin to count how much money I wasted paying ‘experts’ to make me furnaces that did not even work or molds that were defective.

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Don’t even get me started on how much time I wasted back and forth with excuses from the said experts as to why work was not getting delivered on time.

Although I eventually pulled the business model off and actually started to make revenue, I think it gets any entrepreneur more mileage, success, and fun doing something they actually know and understand.

5. Get a mentor or two

I have been lucky to have mentors throughout my entrepreneurship journey. They have not only offered me invaluable entrepreneurship advice but have also opened up their networks and shared their skills. They keep me accountable and on my toes every time I slack.

6. Keep your business simple

Always keep your core business simple. Simple to implement. Simple to understand. Simple to pitch. Simple to share. Simple to scale.

Innovation does not always equate complexity and just because your concept is complex does not mean it will be profitable.

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7. Do not stop learning

The best investment you can make is an investment in yourself as an individual. Of course, we have heard success stories of people who have made lots of money with no education.

But education and business success are not mutually exclusive. As long as you have the opportunity, learn as much as you can. Do that online course. Take part in that workshop. Do that masters. Do that professional course.

Granted, you may not need the degrees and certifications in the short run, but they will come in handy later and add to your credibility.

Just because your business concept is complex does not mean it will be profitable - @Kazville Click To Tweet

8. Beware of the busy bee syndrome

Many times entrepreneurs get busy with everything. Busy driving to meetings to discuss new ideas or running up and down to make meetings that add no value to their business. They are always busy trying one idea after another day after day and applying to every startup competition.

Busy busy busy busy.

Busy does not always equal efficiency and entrepreneurs need to treat their time like they treat their money.

9. Grow some thick skin

If anyone had told me entrepreneurship would make me lose sleep in the middle of every night for a week straight, I would probably not have started.

I have wanted to give up an average of twice a day over the last one year alone. As an entrepreneur, something will hit you so hard you will want to close shop and with your tail between your legs, go ask for your job back.

You will hear terrible things about yourself and about your product and get aggressive competition. Your workers will go on strike, and your most trusted ones will leave. Trust me, you will want to give up.

But every day you don’t, your skin grows thicker and you go harder. Eventually, it gets easier.

10. Do not be a parasite

Over time, I have learned that as an entrepreneur, you are as good as your network. But sometimes we forget and become the parasitic types of entrepreneurs.

Always calling people only when we need favors. Keeping people’s phone numbers only to tap into who they can introduce us to. If you want to build a strong network, add value to it. Call your advisor just to take them to lunch to talk about anything but your business. Buy a present for your neighbor’s dog.

Offer to connect other people in your network to each other. Encourage someone to apply for that opportunity. Buy another entrepreneur’s product.

Whatever you do, always add value to the people in your network instead of only being on the receiving end.

This article was written by Brenda Katwesigye

Brenda Katwesigye is the founder and CEO of Wazi Vision Limited a company incorporated in Uganda that builds eyewear and construction material from recycled plastic.

She is passionate about creating sustainable and affordable solutions for critical health care and housing challenges.

Brenda is an Alumni of Vodafone’s FLANE program, a 2018 Westerwelle Foundation fellow, a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow and has served on the Regional Advisory Board of the Young African Leader’s Initiative (YALI) and the Board of the STARTS Prize of the Ars Electronica.

10 Reasons Why You Should Get a Job Before Starting a Business

When starting a business, it is important to know that entrepreneurship is a growth process that you ease into, rather than rush in. There are a lot of processes that are often skipped with the hope that things will turn out well. Sometimes they don’t!

Because of this, we can’t skip crucial processes and expect success to fall on us like ripe cherries. Success in business naturally comes to people who have paid their dues in full. If you’re experiencing serious issues with your startup and you’re considering quitting altogether and getting a job, I think you should too. Yes! You read that right, QUIT!  

We have a lot of half-baked, unskilled and rebellious entrepreneurs all over Africa today who are frustrated with their full-time jobs. They escape into entrepreneurship hoping to find some solace for their undisciplined minds. Truth is, if you can’t handle a job successfully, then a business would be harder. 

A lot of entrepreneurs need to swallow their pride, dust their CVs and go get themselves some more training.  A lot of the issues we face as startup business owners can be prevented if we are humble enough to stay somewhere and learn.

Before starting your business, take the time to objectively define your true motivation Click To Tweet

1. It Will Help You Find Your True Motivation

Why are you starting a business? Think about this for a moment before you read on and be sincere with yourself. Are you starting a business because you don’t have a job or because you can’t stand working for someone else? Is it that you want your own work schedule and no instructions? 

These are wrong motivations for entrepreneurship. So, before starting your business, take the time to objectively define your true motivation. Is there a passion you have that you cannot fulfill your current job?

2. You will Master Your Skill and Hone Your Craft

When you’re just starting out in business, you don’t always know everything you need to know about your target market, products and industry. Running a business is not the time for trial and error else you would have ruined your reputation while still trying to gain grounds.

But if you take on a job, you will have superiors that can correct you when you make mistakes and they can help you get better. Just make sure you get a job in an industry that can enhance your knowledge and exposure in your field. You will never be able to quantify or pay for the volume of experience you will get from there.  

3. You Will Build Confidence

Have you ever met the CEO of an organization jittering in the face of a problem or challenge? Entrepreneurs are bold people and their confidence has a way of winning others over to their side and inspiring trust in their employees and clients. This confidence arises from the experience and knowledge they have acquired over the years.

That boldness doesn’t just drop on anyone, it is built over time of making mistakes, being corrected and taking to corrections. You need that confidence to run a business successfully and you can get that from your job.

5. You Save For Your Startup

Savings is one of the biggest sources of funding your startup. With a job, you can save enough initial funds and deposits to get your business started. If you’re smart and disciplined enough, you can join a co-operative society so your savings accumulate and give you access to more funds.

6. Build your Network

A lot of entrepreneurs run a one-man show without external influences and inputs coming from anywhere. While doing your day job, you can start building solid relationships with your superiors and associates. Their inputs will come in handy when you eventually start your own business. 

Your network is your net worth Click To Tweet

7. Learn about your industry

Having a skill is not enough reason to start a business which is what most entrepreneurs do nowadays. Once they acquire a skill, they open a business immediately. There are also other key areas you need to put into consideration before launching your business.

Those areas include your target market, industry trends and competition. Then a good knowledge of your products and services and other opportunities that might be open in your field. Take your time. You can get it right once and for all

8. Learn how to build a business or how not to.

Running a business is an art that must be learned if you are ever going to make it. You need to learn from people that have gone ahead of you and organizations that have achieved what you’re hoping to achieve someday.  

You will also be able to learn the inside operations, behind the scene activities, financial and people management that goes into running a business. While learning, if you discover any great idea you love, imitate it.

But if you come across an uncomfortable experience that opposes how you think things should be done for instance the way the management deals with staff, then at least you would have learnt how not to handle things when you start your own business. 

Take to corrections and watch out for subtle things that can cause your downfall. Click To Tweet

9. You’ll Learn Discipline.

Many entrepreneurs are undisciplined in the way they handle their businesses. They see entrepreneurship as an opportunity for less work and to work anytime they like. I wish that is true but it’s not.

Entrepreneurship means more work and more discipline than a regular worker. Your 9-5 job is where you get the basics of personal and organizational discipline.

10. Law of Karma

 Lastly, while doing your job make sure you are faithful. Do it wholeheartedly and give in your all. Don’t reserve your best until when you start your own business. Use your best ideas. Use your creativity. You’re sowing a seed you will reap very soon when you start your own business.

Take to corrections and watch out for subtle things that can cause your downfall. A lot of businesses are failing today because of the wrong seeds their owners have sown while working with other people. Remember the law of Karma and always ask yourself, would I want someone to do this to my business?

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8 Innovative Ways to Fund Your Startup

Dear Motherland Mogul, anyone who said starting a business is fun and easy told a fat lie and worst still, have never started a business.

One of the biggest hurdles an entrepreneur in Africa (or anywhere in the world) has to cross is the hurdle of financing their business. It’s the reason why many fabulous and potential million dollar ideas die every day or remain mere ideas.

Like it or not, money is everything in an entrepreneurs world. Without it, ideas are buried and passions are watered down while frustrations set in, making even the strongest of personalities call it quits and go back to their corporate jobs.

I’ve come up with 8 innovative ideas you can use to fund your startup without necessarily borrowing money. Depending on your situation and kind of business, you’ll find at least one or two you can apply immediately to get your business running.

1. Sell your valuables

Yes! You saw that right. If you’ve been struggling with acquiring funds to finance your startup and nothing seem to be working, maybe it’s time then to look inwards.

Search your house thoroughly for any valuable item that could fetch you a fortune when you sell…that gold wristwatch, expensive jewelry, MacBook, or iPod, whatever.

It’s time to let them go for the bigger stuff. If you aren’t ready to get rid of these precious items to make your ideas work, then it doesn’t matter what you say, you are not ready for business! Or better still, you are not convinced about your ideas.

Entrepreneurs are people that can give everything including their lives for something they believe in. That is one skill you need to survive in this overcrowded business space.

2. Dip into your savings

This is what your savings are meant for: to invest in opportunities and ideas that can transform your life and change your world. Your savings are not meant for spending, fixing urgent situations or paying debts.

You can have separate savings for that but primarily we save to invest. Just in case you don’t have any savings, you might want to take some time making some money at first. So try to get a job where you could work for some time and save before starting your business.

3. Your Rich Friends

What big money is to you is nothing to some of your rich friends. You know this is true. Instead of dying in silence and wondering if they will be willing to help you, swallow your ego, take the bold step and pitch your ideas to them.

You’ll never know if they’ll support you unless you ask. If one rich friend says no, walk up to another until all of them have said no and at that point, you know something else is wrong. Maybe something that has to do with your approach or the feasibility of your ideas.

Your friends should be willing to help you make your dreams come true especially when they can. After all, what are friends for?

4. Crowdfunding from family and close relatives

Crowdfunding is a good fundraising alternative for entrepreneurs. It involves raising a small amount of money from a large number of people. Crowdfunding can be done through online platforms.

The best people to start fundraising from are your family and relatives. You can start by listing down all those who can potentially fund you and write down how much you think they can conveniently donate.

Once you’ve located your potential donors, go reach out to them. Pitch your ideas so that they know what you’re capable of doing. For some other family members, you can ask to instead borrow money and then pay as your business yields profits.

5. Leverage on funding opportunities 

Governments, NGOs and other private and public bodies are providing support to entrepreneurs all over Africa. Since more people are participating in entrepreneurship, these bodies come up with initiatives and CSR projects to provide financial support to budding entrepreneurs. Be sure to leverage these opportunities when they show up.

Other funding opportunities include idea-pitching events. For example, the upcoming SLA Accelerator gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to pitch their ideas. Then the top selected ideas get to win large sums of money, partnerships, and mentorship. 

Such events provide you an opportunity to not just fund your business when you win, but also learn from your mistakes if you lose. In the end, it’s a win-win situation where you get to build on your ideas either way. 

6. Partnerships

Regardless of the kind business you run, a partnership is a smart way of funding your startup. Strategic partnerships will not only afford you funds, but also help you leverage the experience, expertise, resources, and network of the other party.

Just make sure you go about it the right away and involve a legal personnel in all your dealings and agreements. 

7. Microloans and peer-to-peer lending

While I always discourage small businesses from starting up with loans, at times, that might appear to be the wisest step to take. Microloans are small business loans offered by microlenders to help small or relatively new businesses finance their business.

As a new business, you might not qualify for a bank loan because of the collateral requirements and others. But with microloans, you can get your business started without acquiring too many debts or paying high-interest charges.

Similarly, peer-to-peer lending is a new debt financing method that provides a platform where lenders are connected to borrowers. You don’t need a financial institution for a p2p lending. The interest rates are also at an all-time low and less risky and safer than other methods.

8. Angel and seed investors 

Angel/seed investors are wealthy and affluent individuals who provide a business startup with capital or funds usually for a convertible debt or ownership equity in return.

Most small business owners don’t buy into this idea of business funding. This is because it involves sharing their business ownership with another business even if it’s a small percentage. However, you will consider this option when you think of the bigger advantage, to you as an individual and to your business as an entity. 

 In conclusion

No amount of funds will cover up for your incompetence, ignorance or poor products and services. At the same time, nobody will be willing to invest their money in a business you’ve not invested adequate time and effort into.

Test your ideas. Hone your craft. Know your industry. Understand your target market. Study your competitors. Identify trends. Research. The goal isn’t 100% perfection but at least do so much background work that anybody will want to invest in your idea. Life is not a dress rehearsal, neither is running a business.

So before you go about looking for funds to finance your business. Ask yourself one very vital question? “Is your idea worth investing on?”

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5 Simple Steps to finally launching your business idea

Was one of your new year’s resolutions to finally get that blog, podcast or business idea off the ground? Well, if so, I’ve got great news for you!

I recently sat down with the amazing Tobi Olujumni who shared 5 simple steps that you can take to turn this dream into a reality.
For anyone unfamiliar with her, Tobi is the founder of the WTALK, a Multiplatform Entertainment & Faith Network which empowers Women to explore Faith via entertainment.

W360 is the membership streaming service of WTALK set to redefine Faith within global entertainment.

Tobi Olujumni

She is a powerful communicator and sought after preacher of the Word of God. You can read the tips that she shared in our interview below:

1.  Start small but do something

First of all, I would say, start small. Start small but do something. I think that in the day and the society and the culture in which we live now, everyone expects you to have ten thousand followers or a hundred thousand followers, or what have you.

And you’re almost deemed unsuccessful if you haven’t attained that. All of these things are just massive distractions. If you have something on your heart to create, I would say start small. If you want to start a blog, start writing. Start writing on your notepad.

For example, it’s so funny because someone asked me about how I do status updates. Well actually, some of my status updates come on the train and I put it in my notepad. Then I get a kind of a nudge a few weeks later and I think “Oh, that’s for this time!” and I post it.
So first, I would say, start small but do something. That’s big! Because, you know, I have a lot of people that come to me and they’re like “how?” or “what should I do” and I’m like “just do something!” It doesn’t have to be fantastic.

I am a perfectionist but sometimes that can work against me because sometimes some things need to go out.

Some things need to resonate. It’s not about the camera angles, it’s the message that needs to reach the person who needs it most. So that’s why I would encourage whoever it is to start and do something.

2. Be consistent

And then I would say, be consistent. Be consistent because people like to trust that you’re going to be around. That’s how you build a community.

That’s how you build a following- if people trust you; that you’re going to be around. And, if you think about it, if we look at any of the big, massive brands, we trust that they’re going to work.

For example, if I log onto Netflix, I trust that the shows are going to be there. That’s because of their consistency and I think, as you show up and you’re consistent, people will build a trust towards you. People will build a trust towards your voice.

3. Know your voice

The third one I would say to everyone is, what’s your voice? It’s incredibly crowded. It’s incredibly noisy. People are getting notifications left, right and center.

So, what is your voice? It goes back to knowing your identity because I think your voice flows from your being. For example, I’m not creating anything today that doesn’t flow organically from who I am.

You only have got to spend about an hour with me and you’ll know that’s true. So, I would say, what’s your voice? I hear people say they want to be the next Oprah. Good for you but Oprah exists and she doesn’t look like she’s going anywhere for now.

What’s your voice? Because your voice will resonate to the place it’s supposed to be sent.

4. Be persistent and be determined

And, after consistency and knowing your voice, be persistent and be determined.

Your idea is not going to grow overnight. If you get it overnight, you’ll probably lose it overnight. It’s about legacy. It’s about building deep roots.

Like at this moment, I’m not overly concerned with having millions of followers but what I am concerned about because we’re in our infancy at this stage (we’re under 5 years as a company), is building deep roots. Roots that are so deep our infrastructure is laid and it’s tight so we can build upon that.

If your infrastructure’s dodgy, if the foundation’s dodgy and you’re trying to get to 100 followers, the whole thing’s going to collapse. The fact is, if you don’t want the long endgame, I would challenge you to question why? What is your why?

If you just want to make a little bit of money- you can do something else that is less stressful. If you want it now, I would challenge you to question your why. If you get your why, then you’ll know it’s definitely a long run.

5. Be passionate

You must be passionate about what you’re doing because you have great wins and you have days where you’re just like “oh my goodness!” And I just think, the thing that keeps me going is my why and my passion.

It’s the passion- seeing who you’re hoping to help or who you’re hoping to bless or who you’re hoping to communicate with, it’s those things.

Having a little reminder on your phone is really helpful too.

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Divorce, a must for every entrepreneur

Divorce Just Ahead Sign Green highway sign with words Divorce Just Ahead with stormy sky background
Divorcing your business from your personal life is a must for every entrepreneur Click To Tweet

A business is often registered and largely seen as a separate legal entity from the owner; however, this divorce does not really take effect between these two lovers as both can’t just resist the temptation of mingling together. This is a major reason why most SMEs fail.

Business owners most of the time tend to muddle up the operations of their business with their personal life; and where there is no line drawn between the two, the business will be unable to review her growth independently. Even if you use a home-office, you should be able to demarcate between your home and business expenses. Concentrate on using just an area of the house and keep all home affairs out of this area. This is what the divorce is about. It is that bad!!!

When you start out in business, as an entrepreneur, it is normal that you have to perform multiple roles. At the same time you need to be the management, director and shareholder. This multi-role, maybe even multi-personality, can become ingrained in a way of working which leads to problems when the company expands and involves others in the operation of the business.

Every entrepreneur must put machinery in place to separate the personal from business Click To Tweet

Drawing the line between your personality and your business

Even though it is a hard discipline, every entrepreneur must put machinery in place to make this divorce come to effect. So, my advice if you really want the break up to be permanent;

  • Maintain separate accounts for your business (in the business’ name, not yours) and personal transactions
  • Employ a knowledgeable and skilled accountant
  • Have a small business version accounting software
  • Keep sound accounting records
  • Periodically get help from a professional financial advisor
  • Discipline yourself not to borrow from the business. Avoid borrowing from the business as much as possible. It is easier saying: “I’ll pay back when I have the money” than doing it. Better to take a loan from the business (there must be a standard loan application procedure in place) and pay back using the established system.
  • Pay yourself a marketable salary. It is very important for the business owner to pay herself a marketable salary. Don’t pay yourself so high above the salary level just because your business is doing well: save for the rainy days. Paying below the market level is not also recommended. This can negatively impact your family life and sustaining may become a problem. In short, what will you pay somebody who replaces you? Pay yourself that amount.

Why you need a solid financial system

One of the most important steps that will aid you in measuring the growth of your business is setting up a solid finance system. One that is not only fashioned for your business model but that helps ‘think tax ahead’ and measure growth effectively. Setting up that system does not require ‘money’, proper advisory is only needed.

Accounting systems have been set up using Excel and as the business grows, it moves to simple ERPs. A finance system review is a necessity for businesses already running who can’t evaluate their businesses effectively, or are in various tax mess.

The role of audit in a business cannot be over-emphasized. If the business was set up for profit making, then the tax authority will want to have its share. Thus, having good and accurate records saves you from digging through scattered records of receipts of personal and business expenses when it is time for tax audit. This will also help avoid “tax headaches.”

Maintain supporting documents to serve as proof of separation as this is essential if you want to stay on the “right side of the law.” It may be difficult making this separation at the beginning but as time goes by, with determination and dedication, it will get easier and more efficient.

13 questions to ask before starting a business

she leads africa shehive business
Do I need a business plan? and other common business questions answered by @BiznessVirgins Click To Tweet

Q&A time!


There’s no perfect way to start a business, the key is to arm yourself with the right knowledge and set the ball rolling. And to help you set the ball rolling, we’ve answered 13 questions we’ve come across over and over again in relation to starting a new business.

1. How do I get funding?

The best way to fund a new business is to bootstrap (from personal savings/funds, family, friends and revenue generated by the business). Pitch your idea to close family and friends, get them to believe in it and fund it.

However some businesses require high startup costs; such businesses cannot be bootstrapped, funds for such businesses can be acquired from investors, banks, crowd funding, grants …

2. What kind of business should I start?

Its always easier to go for something you know about, have talent and passion for.

Find your talent and passion, do your research, this makes it easy to identify the right kind of hustle for you.

3. How should I choose a name?

A good business name can quickly get your brand the right attention it needs. Put some thought into picking a name. Avoid random names or names that restrict you.

Go for a name that won’t confuse people about what your business does. A business name should set you apart and protect it. Search the internet, especially social media platforms to see if the name you pick is available for use.

4. Do I need a business plan?

When you are setting up a business on a low budget, you do not need a business plan. Simply do a lot of research, then put down your mental model for it. Be sure you reconcile this mental model with the bootstrap model as you go along, this will give you a working business model as you scale up.

In the case of a business with high startup cost, a plan is required to create structure; it is important that this plan allows for flexibility as you go along.

5. How do I employ?

For a bootstrapped business, at the beginning of the venture, try as much as you can to involve yourself with the various aspects of the business so you able to determine the skills required when employing. Except you are on the look out for a specialized skill, employ interns and smart inexperienced people, they are usually trainable and eager to learn.

For bigger startups that are run on business plans, you can hire human resource consultants to work out the employment process. To save on costs you can use professional networking sites like LinkedIn to find qualified individual for various job roles.

6. What licenses and/or permits do I require?

This depends.

Find out what permits, licenses or registrations clients/customers look out for in your kind of product or service. For certain businesses you can obtain permits/licenses from local councils at a minimal cost to operate within a particular scope, you can later upgrade the permits/licenses as you go along in business.

7. What do I need to know about book keeping?

Understand financial statements and bookkeeping terms; Balance sheet, income statement and statement of cash flow, net profit, gross profit, revenue, cash investment…..

Keep a close eye on your cash flow, cash investments, net profit and revenue. Software applications like Waveapp can be used for bookkeeping. Also keep record of your business activities.

8. Can I operate my business from home?

Again, this depends. Some businesses require a space where customers can come walk in while others do not.

This is one good way to save on cost as a start-up so except its absolutely necessary, work from home and let the business grow itself to acquire and maintain a work space.

9. Should I operate a franchise or start a business from scratch?

A franchise comes with structure, this reduces the amount of risk involved in setting up a business. On the other hand, a franchise requires a good amount of capital to set up, there are usually many clauses in the agreement and you never really get to build the business structure you want, instead you manage an already existing structure.

Before becoming a franchisee, make sure the model is viable in your choice area, work with a lawyer, make sure its something you are ready for otherwise simply start from scratch.

10. When can I expect to become profitable?

Most new businesses take up to a year to become profitable; Here are a few tips to help you stay afloat during this time

  • Keep your expenses low
  • Keep a close eye on financials.
  • Engage in quick cash transactions/turnover
  • Generate extra cash along the way by offering products and services relating to your business, make sure this does not distract you from your main business.

11. How will I cope with competition?

  • Always stay aware of what your competition is up to.
  • Regularly update your knowledge of what’s going on in the industry you operate.
  • Listen closely to customers.

12. How much do I pay myself?

Put yourself on a minimal salary; even if the business cannot pay you yet, keep a record of it, you can later convert it to sweat equity.

13. How do I pick a partner?

A partner can make or break a business, choose them with care. A business partner should complement you in such a way that makes the business stronger. A partner is supposed to bring in something you do not already have.

Have a good knowledge of who your partner is to avoid surprises, make sure you are aware of all the risks involved in partnerships. Make the partnership agreement tidy, involve a lawyer, please do not set up a partnership on a gentleman’s agreement.


5 things you must know before starting a business with your husband

married couple husband wife
What could possibly go wrong when you start a business with your husband? Everything! Click To Tweet

Relationships have a lot of milestones, and one you could add to your cherished-memory collection could be of starting a business with your husband. You may be thinking, “We’ve been married for five years now”. You’ve obviously thought of the cons, you have even imagined how much of an adventure it would be —what could possibly go wrong??

Now, you may have a point, but before you go on and tell hubby you want to start a business together, here are a few things you may want to have in your knowledge basket…

tyra-banks-excited-gif1. Compatible marriage partner does not mean compatible business partner

So you dated the man for 3 years, and have been married to him for the past 4 years. You’re thinking “we make a great team!” Sure you do —but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will work out the same way in the office too.

When thinking of a business partner, regardless of whether they’re your husband or not, a lot of things come to consideration; such as your personality types and your skill sets, and personality traits for success. Does he want to take charge everywhere? Would he be willing to let you be an equal partner and leave the ‘head of the family’ cap at home? And your skills; are they complementary or overlapping??

If you both love to do paperwork, there will be a problem because no one will want to do some fieldwork. Who is sitting behind the desk and who is meeting the big guys? While complementary skill sets are a bonus in marriage, the same just doesn’t apply in the work field.

2. He will still need his wife…

This is definitely something you need to talk about along with your job descriptions. You probably already have some rooster at home  for who is taking out the trash or picking up the kids from school and what have you. The same will need to apply in the office.

Who makes the final decisions? Who talks to the employees (if any) in meetings? Having the who-does-what conversation will be fruitful, and will help you carry out your wifely and/or motherly duties effectively. After all is said and done, you are his wife and he will still need you to be such before and after work.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that just because he saw you slaving away at work he will understand not having his favourite meal on the day it’s served. Will you need to hire a maid? Will you be too tired to cook? Talk everything out, but remember to not neglect the fact that you are his wife above everything else, and that as lenient as he may be, he’s still your man and his needs are yours to cater for.

You'll need time alone...and other things to consider if you want to start-up with your husband Click To Tweet

3. Your marriage will take strain…

Your funds and the time you spent together being a couple will take strain, and it will show. Is it manageable? Totally. Are you and your partner strong enough to weather the storms that will hit?

That is a decision you should both be willing to make because things can get ugly…In the meantime, be warned my sister.

4. You’ll need alone time

If you decide to start a business with your husband, consider the fact that you are spending pretty much all your time with him. To add on to that too, you are married to the guy, so you’ll be living like this forever, God-willing. Believe it or not, you will get tired of your husband.

To avoid this, make sure you find hobbies and activities outside of your marriage and work. Get that work-life balance. This way, you avoid having your conversations revolve around work and home. You get to spice it up with some news about how you beat your girls to the tennis game you had that weekend. Spending too much time with him should not be an excuse to neglect your life, or not keep him on his toes.

5.There is no guarantee it will work out

Start-ups can fail, and having your husband as your business partner does not make you an exception. Work on a contingency plan before you start your business.

Besides, who says the fear of failure should hold you back? You can always bounce back!

Is there a correct way of handling conflict in start-ups?

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To answer the question, no. There isn’t a right way to handle conflict.  Processes in start-ups are never linear, especially in the beginning stages. So when a disagreement arises between members of the start-up, there’s almost always a third party involved to resolve the issue.

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People are different, and can also react to situations very differently. Processes and policies put in place in big corporates solve this issue. But when issues arise in start-ups, processes and policies are thought of.

What can start-ups do in the early stages to handle conflict?

Acknowledge that conflict will occur

Having to acknowledge that it will happen might seem cynical. But because people are different, the acknowledgement helps the start-up be realistic. Getting recognition in the beginning stages of a start-up is usually key. The beginning stages also include getting your product and service out to your target audience.

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At this stage, handling conflict by creating processes would be the least of your worries. Or so you may think. Being in an organisation that was being run like a start-up before —I’ve seen that if there is no process behind handling conflict, operations may come to a halt, especially if you’re working in a small team.

Handle conflict according to its levels

To fast track my advice on how to handle disagreements between people, it’s important to first rate the level of conflict. The different levels could be a low, medium or high. It may also be hard to rate the different levels. How would a start-up actually measure which conflict is more important than the other? This, I believe, is at the discretion of the organization.

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Identify each level and put processes in place to handle each level. Handle low or medium level disagreements internally within a few days or even hours. But a high level conflict means that a third party can be brought into resolve it and only the people involved should be addressed so that operations continue.

Culture fit

With any organisation, a culture fit between team members is important. People have different personalities, attitudes and different ways of reacting to situations. However, it is still very important to bring people into your start-up that know and understand the value of what the start-up is trying to achieve.

Eliminate continuous conflict by involving people that believe in the values of the start-up. Align your goals and values with that of the start-ups to become the right person to work with. This way even if conflict does arise, as it always does in any organisation, people know what their purpose of being in the organisation is.

With knowing and understanding the value of being in the organisation, the resolution stage can be much easier situation to reach.

Starting and sustaining an NGO in Nigeria: 3 important things to consider

You can actually set up the next big NGO, and maybe win a Nobel prize for your wonderful contribution to the society. Isn’t that amazing? But wait! Before rehearsing your Nobel prize acceptance speech, have you given enough thought to the sine qua non of setting up and sustaining an NGO? No? It’s not too late. Let’s start with the basics.

A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), according to www.ngo.org, “is any non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group which is organized on a local, national or international level.” In Nigeria, they play important roles, often filling gaps which the government is unable to while complementing existing government activities. These organizations, small or large, work in the health, civil society and other sectors of society. Individuals and groups often set up NGOs with altruistic motives, with the intention of impacting positive societal change.

Having worked for an NGO for several years, I know that most people assume that starting and sustaining one is a laid-back affair. On the contrary, it is in fact as critical as starting up a for-profit business. It really does not matter if it is on a small-scale basis, or whether you have vast amounts of cash, there are key guides to consider. Here’s what you need to know.

Legal requirements

A lot of times, enthusiastic newbies fail to consider the legal requirements of embarking on such a venture. Someone wakes up, scribbles an interesting name for a proposed NGO, then proceeds to print branded T-shirts. That’s not bad for effort, but you need a more structured process. For proper legal status, your NGO must be registered with the relevant body; the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). Take ownership of the process, and as much as possible, avoid using a proxy. That way, you will be in possession of all necessary documents and minimize the chances of a disaster.

Now, you’ll need to establish the following:

  • The legal obligations it will be subject to.
  • Your goals and objectives.
  • The problems you intend to solve.

Equally important, you’ll need a lawyer during this process. Having a lawyer at your side will keep you updated on the rights and obligations of the registered NGO you’ll soon be running.

Acquiring and sustaining funds

When setting up an NGO, you must be very clear on the source and availability of funds. You can’t begin with the, ‘Well, I just started’ or ‘Let’s see how it goes’ attitude.

Having said that, let’s see if you can answer these questions:

  • Do I have funds for the activities I’d like my NGO to embark on?
  • Are there government or other organizations’ grants I can apply for?
  • Can the NGO sustain itself on a long-term basis?
  • Do I have an efficient structure?
  • What are my planned activities, and who will be responsible for each activity?

Run your NGO like you would run a business.

Look, I get it. The society seriously needs solutions and you’re revved up for the challenge. Your idea is the best, most unique and different one and you’re in line to becoming the next Mother Theresa. Listen though, other NGOs are profit-oriented and well, only focus on making profit. If you want your NGO to be around for a long time, you’ll need to integrate these profit-making elements to your operations:

  • Have a defined strategy for hiring, operations and other organizational processes.
  • Have a strong financial system.
  • Have a target audience? A robust marketing strategy will cater to them.
  • Have a marketing budget.
  • Decide on what strategy to apply. Person-to-person? Social media? Flyers and posters? Or a mix of different strategies?
  • How about record-keeping? Do you have a plan?
  • How often would you produce reports? Bi-monthly, quarterly or annually?

The above requirements are essential, especially if your NGO’s activities are grant-funded (which means you’ll have to submit regular reports to your handlers).  The sad reality is not everyone gets grants at the start, but proper record-keeping would prove very helpful should you decide to apply for funds in the future.

#MotherlandMoguls should know that NGOs are businesses too. Your profit is in the satisfaction of helping people in profound ways.