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Realise your Wealth Potential

Eight epiphanies about money that every entrepreneur must have.

Douglas Kruger

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Last week I witnessed a truly bad day for some wealthy individual. A Ferrari and a VW Golf had met by accident. By the time I drove by, nearly R3 million worth of bent, beautiful, ex-sports car was being loaded onto the back of a tow-truck, probably never again to roar from 0-100 in 3.9 seconds.

I posted a comment on Facebook and Twitter (after pulling over – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it), in which I described the incident as ‘utterly heartbreaking,’ and called for a moment of silence for ‘The Mighty Fallen…’

How we view wealth

The responses I got were an interesting commentary on how people view wealth. One lady wrote that it served him right for probably driving drunk, and deigning to own a sports car in a country where the roads were not made for it. She stopped just short of calling him a racist and a child molester.

Her palpable bitterness, and that of a great many others, surprised me. With no supporting evidence, this hapless ex-Ferrari owner was presumed guilty by virtue of wealth. Couldn’t have been the Golf-driver’s fault, because common folk are apparently acceptable. Couldn’t have been a pothole in the road, either.

If I didn’t value my Facebook friends, I would have answered, “Why, that rich bastard! How dare he accumulate wealth through hard work and the application of entrepreneurial principles, then reward himself with a nice car! We should flog him, behead him, lock away his family and redistribute his wealth to less enterprising, poor people! This will surely address the imbalance his offensive existence causes in the universe and assuage your throbbing bitterness.”

But I like my friends.

Jeremy Clarkson has noticed this phenomenon too. Test-driving the Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé, he was astonished by the level of outright hatred the car received. He wrote, “I don’t yearn for many aspects of the American way but they do seem to have this dreadful bitterness under control. When they see a man pass by in a limousine, they say, ‘One day, I’ll have one of those.’ When we see a man pass by in a limo, we say, ‘One day, I’ll have him out of that.’”

The roots of wealth

The unspoken, unexamined logic seems to be that rich people obviously stole their wealth from the poor, or, alternately phrased, “I am poor because you are rich.” The logic is unfounded. In a recent New York Times article, Among the Wealthiest 1 Percent, Many Variations, authors Shaila Dewan and Robert Gebeloff give some interesting stats on the super rich inAmerica: they earn just under a fifth of the country’s pretax income, but pay just over a fourth of all federal taxes. In other words, their giving is greater than their getting.

While it’s also true that most one percenters were ‘born with socioeconomic advantages,’ they also tend to do more with what they have, working longer hours, and being ‘three times more likely than the 99% to work more than 50 hours a week.’ When all you see is the Ferrari, it’s easy to overlook such inconvenient facts.

I believe that the way we think about money not only assigns us to a social class, (If we’re PC-free enough to admit that those still exist), but also determines how much of the stuff we’ll earn. And while I don’t pretend to be an expert in personal finances, I believe that the following principles are immensely important for entrepreneurs. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that failure to grasp them could mean an absolute full-stop in the pursuit of your life’s goals. And that’s a big deal… …even if you hate Ferrari drivers.

So, here they are: the eight epiphanies about money every entrepreneur must have:

1. Hating the wealthy says more about you than it does about the wealthy

Here is a simple question: Why hate rich people? Are you able to justify your belief that they obviously slept their way to the top and stomped on the Little-Man to get there? Or was this belief handed to you by your parents? Because if it was, that’s how racism is propagated, and we’ve spent a great deal of time in this country examining that flawed belief. Could this simply be the same thing?

2. Money is not the root of all evil

The saying has been corrupted. It originates from the Bible, 1 Timothy 6:10, which actually says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” That’s very different. In and of itself, money is morally value-neutral.

3. Money is not embarrassing

And thinking that it is, or that it should be, is a limiting belief. How can you pursue growth while simultaneous feeling shame about it? How can you charge correctly if you’re embarrassed by big numbers? The workman is, after all, worthy of his wages.

In practical terms, shame and guilt will prevent you from:

  • Educating yourself on the topic
  • Seeking out experts and gleaning their advice on it
  • Teaching others what you have learnt, thus consolidating your own level of knowledge and expertise.
  • Pursuing it with any vigor, because you will view work as noble but remuneration as impure
  • Set you up with a poor mindset regarding your own fees and remuneration, because you have been culturally trained to play down the worth of your industriousness.

4. You have to lose your awe of it

Unless you learn to wield it with agility – as essentially an energy source, a tool that is useful for getting things done – you will be too cautious ever to use it properly, and hence, make more of it. Money is an action, an activity, a flow to be harnessed, guided and used to your ends. Live in awe of it, fear losing it, and you will never acquire agility in using it as a tool for growth.

5. Aspiration to wealth is normal, natural and healthy

Think big and go get it! And as you do so, pay your taxes, create employment and help others. There. You’re a good person. Now get over yourself and get wealthy.

6. Your value is perceived in relation to your fee

A great many entrepreneurs actually undercharge. Position yourself as the cheap alternative, and, ironically, you might find yourself doing less business. That’s because people judge value and quality based on price, which, in turn, is why Mercedes hasn’t gone broke, in spite of its premium pricing. Don’t do miniscule profit margins. You’re only hurting yourself.

7. It’s your job to be your cash-flow advocate

Money that is due to you, but outstanding, is as good as no money at all. Problem cash-flow kills more start-up businesses and bankrupts more entrepreneurs than does an actual lack of earning.

When you earn money, it’s your job to ensure it gets into your account sooner rather than later. The person paying you is not your advocate. They have their interests, and the interests of their company, at heart. It’s your job to be your own advocate and fight for timely payment.

8. The Most Important Principle:

If more is coming in than going out, you’re getting richer. If more is going out than coming in, you’re getting poorer.

Money is merely an energy. Wealth is just a celebration of success. And yes, there’s always a mob on the sidewalk, ready to sneer at the Ferrari-drivers. But when I finally get there, the mob can sneer all it wants. I’m not sure how much it will concern me as I tool by in a gleaming Italian V10…

Here’s to your prosperity!

Douglas Kruger is the only speaker in Africa to have won the Southern African Championships for Public Speaking a record five times. He is the author of ‘50 Ways to Become a Better Speaker,’ published in South Africa and Nigeria, ‘50 Ways to Position Yourself as an Expert,’ and co-author of ‘So You’re in Charge. Now What? 52 Ways to Become a Better Leader.’ See Douglas in action, or read his articles, at www.douglaskruger.co.za. Email him at Kruger@compute.co.za, or connect with him on Linked In or Twitter: @DouglasKruger

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Billy Bekker

    Jul 26, 2012 at 14:16

    This is a nice article, Douglas

    Regards
    William

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Personal Finance

(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.

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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.

Related: 7 Critical Things Your Financial Advisor Must Meet

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.

1532099434_2-cents-worth-infographic

Related: Financial Wellness Coach Nelisiwe Masango Shares Retirement Wealth Advice

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Personal Finance

14 Ways To Make Quick Cash On The Side

If you need money quickly, here are some solid ideas.

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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.

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Personal Finance

Take Advantage Of Financial Democracy Made Possible By The New Stock Exchanges

Why should financial democracy matter to entrepreneurs?

Etienne Nel

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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.

What’s changed?

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.

Related: The Role Of Foreign Exchange In The Economy

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Related: 27 Of The Richest People In South Africa

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?

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