Do you have what it takes?
There are many successful South African entrepreneurs who would have reached millionaire status a lot sooner if they’d avoided a few mistakes.
Some that reached it, though, just as quickly lost it. This means you need money management strategies and tricks to reach the top faster than anyone else.
You can learn from their journeys to develop your own strategies about what mega money-savvy tips to employ in your start-up, and which pitfalls to keep an eye out for.
This will help you increase your chances of success and boost your business’ growth, allowing you to reach your goal of being a millionaire before 30.
Here are 12 mega money-savvy tips to make you a millionaire before 30 from a group of highly successful entrepreneurs:
Don’t take money for granted
Despite how obvious this sounds, many young entrepreneurs fall for it. It is so exhilarating making that first million that many spend it all on fancy cars and overseas trips. Lebo Gunguluza, did just that.
By the age of 27, Gunguluza had made his first million, but he managed to spend it all in a year instead of reinvesting it into his business. By the end of 1999, he was completely broke, his car was repossessed and he was blacklisted.
“I hit rock bottom for a few reasons. Aside from the flashy lifestyle, I realised then that you have to choose your market sector carefully. Entertainment is a fickle industry and promoters can be unscrupulous. Often we would not get paid on time. I made up my mind that whatever I went into next, it would be in a space that pays well and has structure,” explains Gunguluza.
“At that time I was sharing a townhouse with my cousin, and I was so down and out that I would walk to the CNA and stand in a corner reading business books that I could not afford to buy. Often the staff would come and chase me away so I’d go home, change my clothes and come back. I read about Aristotle Onassis, Richard Branson and Donald Trump and realised that if I wanted to succeed, I would have to change my mind-set. These people had huge personalities which impacted their business lives,” says Gunguluza.
From here Gunguluza clawed his way back and today is a successful entrepreneur of multiple businesses, but how much faster would he have risen to the top if he hadn’t had this money management set back?
Focus on income, instead of image
When Vusi Thembekwayo launched his business he already had seed money from when he worked in corporate and from his motivational speaking. However, he still made one of the biggest mistakes young entrepreneurs make when first starting out.
“I used that money to get set up in fancy offices, with a PA. I thought that was what you needed. And then it took eight months to get my first client.”
Eight months of no income and expensive overheads resulted in Thembekwayo sleeping in his car, fending off the bank who wanted to repossess it because he wasn’t meeting his payments.
Eventually, Thembekwayo captured his first client and his business went from strength to strength, but he could have avoided all that stress if he hadn’t gone for fancy, expensive offices, which actually set his business back. Keep this in mind when deciding where you’re going to base or relocate your business and if you’ve got customers ready to increase your income.
Keep your business lean
Now this doesn’t sound glamourous, but starting up a business usually isn’t. This strategy paid off for Geldenhuys who was able to create a name for himself selling good quality supplements at an affordable price.
Even after his business took off, he continued to keep his business lean, but putting all revenue back into the product, which allowed him to ramp up sales until the income from his business grew to the point that it could support offices and product development.
Geldenhuys says: “I could only buy raw materials as and when I had the cash. Everything we made went back into product. We kept our overheads incredibly lean, and just focused on growing sales, and having enough product to meet demand. I was always stingy with money. I liked a nice healthy bank balance. We’d enjoyed massive growth without spending anything on marketing, and that was the way I liked it.”
Keep this in mind when formulating money-burning activations or growth tactics.
Know how to work your own numbers
When Kerryne Krause-Neufeldt launched her business eyeSlices Manufacturing, she was so focused on customers and making sales, that she didn’t learn the inner-workings of her own company. “I wasn’t particularly good with numbers,” she says.
This would be her biggest lesson, and could be yours too if you leave your finances to someone who isn’t a partner with skin in the game. Krause-Neufeldt explains:
“It’s easy to leave the numbers to the ‘finance guys’, especially if you don’t have a background in finance. I didn’t even know we weren’t paying PAYE, and ignorance is no excuse. You need a basic understanding of numbers at the very least.”
Krause-Neufeldt realised her start-up’s finances were in shambles, and she needed to get a handle on what was happening within her own company.
“I did Accounting for Dummies, followed by financial management workshops. It was time consuming, but worth it. It was the only way for me to truly be in control of my own business. Now I can spot problems in figures at a glance.”
Test it out, before you invest in it
They would run small experiments, keeping the risk low, but allowing them to get some initial data before they invested any more time or money into the strategy.
“Try stuff and if it works, keep on doing it; if it doesn’t, stop,” advises Robertson and Cronje.
One of these experiments happened to be the original Big Blue store in Rosebank. The concept was a hit and generated a flood of magazine and television publicity, along with a healthy increase in sales.
Keep this lesson in mind when trying something out, because not every experiment will become successful. Test it on a small scale with low risk to see how customers respond and then if it does well, invest in it. This will save you investing large amounts in a concept that isn’t going to go anywhere.
Don’t fall for exposure when you already have a track record
Mongezi Mtati is the Founder and MD of WordStart, a word of mouth marketing firm that connects brands with influencers. He fell into the trap that many young entrepreneurs fall for. There are businesses that will try to convince you that they are doing you a favour by working with you and that they are offering you exposure. The only problem with that is exposure doesn’t pay the bills or keep the lights on.
“Your time is yours to pour into the business, not to use on non-paying efforts that present themselves as opportunities,” said Mtati’s mentor. His advice was not heeded adds Mtati: “Unfortunately, he was right.”
“The reality is that most of that exposure doesn’t amount to billable work. It ends up being a waste of time that could have been used to either make money or spent in the business waiting for the phone to ring or drumming up sales. It could even have meant going to SARS for an hour or two, which saves you pain and punishment later in the year. The rule is simple, don’t work for free, you’re there to make money, so do it.”
Research your industry, before it costs you
Chris Ndongeni, co-founder of Twin Cities Cleaning Services says: “We should have done more research about the contract-cleaning business industry before we started. We’d landed out first contract with Man Truck and Bus, and on our first day we were shocked to find that there was absolutely no cleaning equipment or detergents and the previous contractor hadn’t left anything behind. We scrambled and made expensive purchases because of that.”
If Ndongeni had come prepared with chemicals bought weeks before in bulk or at a reduced, negotiated price, his business wouldn’t have had a significant cash flow problem to overcome in their very early days.
Ensure you know what is expected of you so you arrive at your first client with the resources you need. If your client has never worked with someone who offers your services, perhaps go above and beyond and let them know what you need from them and what you will supply so that everyone is on the same page.
Money isn’t everything, if you have the skills
AMC Gold is worth more than R3 billion, but when the brother and sister team were trying to get it off the ground it was a very different story. Irfan Pardesi and Hina Kassam had to convince a South African platform operating in the UK to let them get new clients on the platform without paying the monthly premiums.
“After saving and losing my start-up capital, and then saving up again only to realise it wasn’t enough, we needed to find a way to bootstrap the business. My aim was still to reach for the stars, but first we needed to start building a brand, earning a good reputation and securing a client base. We needed to start small to become big,” says Pardesi.
“Hina approached Global Traders and negotiated a deal with them. She was already a client of theirs, plus we’d been working with them for over a year. They knew us, and we were always aware of how important relationships are in business, so we’d fostered the relationship we had with them.
“We told them we’d be trading in Pakistan and getting them new clients in an emerging market, but we needed their platform for free. Their model was to charge monthly minimums to businesses that used their platform, but we couldn’t afford those fees, so this negotiation was essential to the success of our start-up.
“All trades would still go through their offices in London, and they’d make the commission, of which we took a small percentage. We were working off low margins, but we needed the platform to get started, and eventually they agreed. We were in business.”
Be cautious about over diversifying, it could take you years to recover
Over diversifying is when you offer too many different services or products and stretch your resources so thin that you can’t perform anything very well. It’s a case of performing everything at half effort and not shining in anything.
“Urbantonic was a successful, growing business, but I’d been building it for almost a decade and I thought it was time to branch out. My ego was sky-high. I thought I could do anything, in any industry.”
It took Ross Wilson, founder of Urbantonic, 20 months after buying a joinery business, to close it down, and it would take a further three and half years to pay off the debts associated with that business.
Wilson says: “I kept thinking about that Top Gun quote, ‘Son, your ego’s writing cheques your body can’t cash’. We built up Urbantonic slowly. We offer incredible customer service, because we’ve never overextended ourselves, so our growth has been organic and self-funded. We’ve never spent what we don’t have. And most of all, we know this industry inside out. The joinery business was none of those things.”
Trust your gut and invest in your future
George Sombono, Chicken Licken, assisted his father in managing a roadhouse restaurant. He went to the US in 1972 with a mission to learn more about the industry. In Waco, Texas, he found an amazing chicken outlet, but the recipe would cost USD5 000. He managed to negotiate for a different, untested recipe with his last USD1 000 in travellers’ cheques.
He sneakily introduced the recipe in his father’s restaurant and their sales rocketed. The demand was so high that he secured a consistent supply for Rainbow Chicken, and had to import wings from Brazil. In the quick-service industry, great taste and good value for money is everything. Getting that right and you’ll strike gold.
“At about that time Kaizer Motaung of Kaizer Chiefs fame and his gang started eating at the roadhouse. When people saw Kaizer eating at our place they wanted to eat there too. And regardless of the Apartheid laws, we served everyone, no matter who they were. My father thought I was mad and that we’d lose our licence, but my grandfather told him to keep quiet and count his money and leave the selling of the food to me. By changing the recipe and giving people some dignity, we went from taking R25 000 a month in 1972 to taking R200 000 in 1978.”
However, just because it worked out for Sombono, doesn’t mean every gut feeling will be right and sky-rocket your business. So, it’s always better to be cautious and test it out before spending capital on an idea and introducing it to your customers.
You can’t plan for everything, but once it happens manage the situation
“When we made the decision to convert from a product-based business to service-based business. We lost R1.8 million, we owed SARS half a million rand, and grossly under-estimated the complexity of the change and planning for it. What we thought would take six months actually took two years.”
“We recovered through management pay cuts, we froze salaries, cancelled outsourced providers, managed expenses like crazy, managed to get clients to pay upfront for a small discount, and convinced shareholders to give a little bit more money,” says Yossi Hasson.
“Now we always get advice and manage expectations before we start, so we have a realistic timeline of how long something will take.”
It’s always good to plan in advance, but if you can’t, then manage your cash flow and finances to the best of your ability. This will help mitigate any stagnation and continue your business’ growth.
Develop a track record by offering limited free work
“As long as you work with integrity and deliver on your promises, you’re consistently building a great brand,” says Bokang Seritsane, founder of Under35Mavericks, SA’s first entrepreneurial awards programme that exclusively celebrates young entrepreneurs.
When you’ve just started out you have no track record, customers don’t know if you’re trustworthy or even good at what you do. This is when you can do your first few jobs for free in order to build up trust and experience with customers.
When Jerusha Govender started her business, Data Innovator, she also needed to do initial work for free, as she was a new business owner. She had a track record in the industry, but not as a business owner.
“It was important that I was upfront and transparent about what I was willing to do. I had spotted a gap, and I needed to prove it, but going forward I would be charging. As long as I was straightforward, my clients accepted being charged down the line.”
“It might sound counter-intuitive, and it’s important to not set a precedent of doing work for free, but often that first ‘no’ is because you lack a track record. If you can prove yourself in a risk-free way, you can turn that ‘no’ into a ‘yes’,” says Seritsane.
Next slideshow: 15 Wise Money Quotes From Millionaires And Billionaires
(Infographic) The Financial Advice Millennials And Gen Zers Want To Know
Having a grasp on your financials is tricky, but it’s crucial if you want to be successful. And that starts with getting the right advice.
Whether it’s saving for retirement or paying off credit card debt, money management can be a challenge. Of course, different people have different concerns – and that often comes with age. While a 60-something baby boomer might be organising their savings for retirement, your 20-something millennial might be focused on paying off student loans.
In a recent study, financial intelligence company Comet surveyed more than 1 000 people to uncover the top financial concerns of various age groups, as well as the financial advice millennials and Gen Zers want to know and what they hear instead.
Overall, saving for retirement was the top concern across all age groups, with saving for an emergency and affording monthly bills following in second and third. However, it’s no wonder these are some of the most pressing worries – according to the research, 23 percent of people admit they don’t have a savings account, and 43 percent reported not being on track towards their retirement goals. Perhaps that’s because they didn’t hear the right advice growing up. At least that might be the case for Gen Zers and millennials.
According to the research, these young people want to learn things such as how the stock market works, how to manage an investment portfolio, how to invest in real estate and how to build credit. Instead, they’re simply told how to create a budget, save for retirement and pay credit card bills in full every month.
Having a grasp on your financials is tricky, but it’s crucial if you want to be successful and comfortable. To learn more, check out Comet’s infographic below.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
14 Ways To Make Quick Cash On The Side
If you need money quickly, here are some solid ideas.
Need to make some fast money on the side, whether it’s to pay off a credit card or to make your rent?
Keep in mind, making quick side cash isn’t about making a lot of money or getting rich. It’s about getting a shot of capital to help tide you over and put something extra in your pocket. However, some of these side-income ideas can build up your wealth over time. There’s many ways to accomplish this: By participating in the gig economy, the sharing economy, online sales networks, passive income techniques and more.
If you’re looking to make extra money in a relatively short period of time, check out these 14 slides.
Take Advantage Of Financial Democracy Made Possible By The New Stock Exchanges
Why should financial democracy matter to entrepreneurs?
Because it creates a society able to afford products and services. Without it, even the innovative products and services that are entrepreneurs’ bread and butter will fail.
What is financial democracy, exactly?
It’s both the right and the ability of the (wo)man in the street and business people to make the decisions that affect their financial circumstances.
Financial democracy does not automatically follow political democracy. For almost 25 years after South Africa’s political transformation, the exclusiveness of our financial markets continued to deprive the vast majority of South Africans of the means to invest, save, and build wealth. South Africa has, therefore, never developed a retail stock exchange environment. So, it has deprived the majority of small and medium sized business of access to capital.
For entrepreneurs to truly flourish, they need a mechanism that easily and seamlessly connects the investor pool with every size of business. And, they need affordable ways to enter both the retail and institutional market.
In short, they need stock exchanges. Ones on which listing takes weeks rather than years, doesn’t break the bank for listing fees, and provides the shortest route to the largest possible potential investor base.
That’s not been possible in the stock exchange monopoly that existed for six decades. Now, it is.
We now have four new stock exchanges. The resulting competitive environment will significantly reduce the cost of listing – and the cost for investors of buying and selling shares.
Instead of restricting share trading to people or organisations who already have tens of thousands of rands to invest or millions to spend on listing, by licensing four new stock exchanges, the Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA, formerly the FSB) has recognised that most financial decisions do not call for high levels of education.
Most people know how to spend their own grocery money. Most know that it’s better to keep their R1 000 monthly income in a coffee jar than spend R50 of it on bank account fees. People who can barely read and write are immensely skillful at manipulating air time deals to their advantage.
There is significant financial savvy in all social strata.
In the same way, although the mechanics of bookkeeping and accounting may be unfamiliar territory to many entrepreneurs, most have a clear understanding of the difference between profit and loss.
The FSCA has therefore enabled democratisation of the financial markets by enabling the broadest possible spectrum of entrepreneurs and investors to use stock exchanges to participate in and contribute to the economy – on their own rather than prescriptive terms.
How do you take strategic advantage of this democratisation?
- Base your business strategy on people’s instinct for making decisions in their own best interests. Trust financial decentralisation, such as one sees in crowd funding and in digital environments such as block chain, where people would far rather trust one another than institutions and governments. This is democracy innately at work in the financial environment and it’s accelerating organically as digital technologies give people more means and the confidence to help themselves – to information and opportunities. Ride the wave.
- Tap into people’s desire to innovate. Consumer organisations have proved that letting people interactively help them develop products is a powerful growth engine. Apply the principle by letting people grow your business by buying shares in it, giving you capital and themselves a platform on which to build wealth.
- Remember, the ultimate loyalty reward is equity.
Your financial democracy business plan
Look to list on an entrepreneurial stock exchange; one that was founded by entrepreneurs on entrepreneurial principles.
That means: A stock exchange that is already built on financial democracy and decentralisation. One that has, at its core, a single operational concept that keeps things simple for you, automatically gives you an immediate competitive advantage, and, ensures that no matter what your business needs in terms of attracting capital, the exchange can provide all the options in the same, consistent way.
What does such an exchange look like?
It has fintech capabilities. So:
It slashes your listing costs. It achieves this, among other things, by enabling you to populate an electronic prospectus, demonstrating your financial viability, and self publish.
It gives you control by having the granularity and agility to impose relevant governance right down to the individual investor. You get to decide the types and quantities of investors you want to attract. This also enables you to achieve black economic empowerment in perpetuity.
It leads the world by clearing and settling trades in T+0. No-one in the value chain has to hold large sums of money for days following a transaction. Small transactions become profitable. Investors don’t have to risk their life savings on a single large trade. A retail market is opened. An investment and savings culture is entrenched. The economy expands. Your business grows steadily.
It enables anywhere, any time trading via a mobile app that allows investors to see share value in real time. See economy expansion point above.
It integrates processes and procedures, simplifying them and ensuring rapid onboarding of issuers and, therefore, speed to market with new concepts and alignment with the digital economy.
It operates a principles-based regime. So:
It treats you, as an executive, with respect. It’s not prescriptive. It does not insist on excessive oversight, allowing the Companies Act to guide you to sustainability.
It does not attempt to squeeze your company into a pre-defined business or listings format. It recognises and works with your uniqueness.
It obviates the need for expensive specialist listings advisors.
It focuses on financial inclusion and access. So:
Shares can be bought and sold for no more than R1 000. See economy building point above.
The new world of stock exchanges is integrated, synergistic, holistic, organic, self-fulfilling
Decentralisation of financial control, democratisation of opportunity leads to a whole new economy. One in which, for instance, a taxi operator can finance a minibus through a company in which his purchase gives him shares. A single purchase gives him two benefits: a vehicle on which to found his business and a longer-term investment in shares that he can trade. The funding company gains liquidity through access to a wider base of investors while being able to control who buys and sells and the conditions on which trading takes place. Increasing black equity in business becomes an organic, natural, self-perpetuating process.
Everyone wins in a decentralised, democratised financial market. And it’s the stock exchanges that drive the process.
As an entrepreneur, can you afford to ignore the acceleration that listing could give your business growth?