Starting a business for busy professionals!

The Money Engineer

The wealthiest people in the world are not employees, they are business owners! So as you are very busy and loyal at your job just know that you will probably never be as wealthy as Patrick Bitature. As working people we need to gradually transition into business ownership. As an employee there is a maximum amount of money that your employer is ever going to pay you. As a business owner the amount of money you can make is only limited by your imagination.

The advantage of being employed is that you have access to a stable flow of income from your job which you can then convert into business ownership. You can also easily access credit through salary loans to put into business. Working in a formal environment exposes you to good managerial practices which are not generally available in an informal setting.

First it starts by saving a definite proportion of your money which you intend to put towards business ownership. At a minimum strive to save at least 10% of your gross income from your job.

The easiest way to become a business owner is to start realizing that you are already a business owner in your current job. You are providing a service to one customer, who happens to be your employer. You receive an income in the form of a salary. Your personal expenses are your business expenses. Your savings are your profits. The way you increase your profits is by increasing your savings. You can increase your revenues by acquiring more customers if possible like working part time over weekends and in the evenings. You can also increase the value of the service you are offering and then negotiate with your customer (your employer) for a higher price (salary).

The next easiest way is to simply buy shares in a listed company on the Uganda Securities Exchange. The minimum required number of shares is 100. So if say the share price of Stanbic shares is UGX 30 then all you need is UGX 3,000 to own a very tiny bit of Stanbic Bank. Actually if you are a loyal employee of Stanbic Bank you should become a shareholder of Stanbic. In fact if you work for a publicly listed company it is inexcusable that you work there every day and yet you do not own any shares. Every month simply buy a few shares in various listed companies. Over time you will gain a large diversified portfolio of shares. Owning shares entitles you to dividends and capital gains. I have owned shares in Safaricom, Umeme and CIPLA. Through NSSF I also own a cross section of several businesses within the Country and across the continent.

You can also buy and hold shares in a SACCO or an Investment Club at your work place or among your networks. As your savings increase the group will be able to invest in various asset classes e.g. apartment units which you would ordinarily not be able to afford on your own.

You can also do some angel investing in startups. You can invest in a family member or friend’s venture. Personally I have invested in my young brother’s business, Fab Creations Ltd, which makes food condiments under the brand name Shake. It also provides innovative IT solutions to businesses. I am not involved in the day to day. My role is limited to providing financing and strategic/managerial guidance. However before you invest make sure there is a proper business plan. Also make sure you have agreed on how to share risks and rewards in a formal contract. You also need to clarify on the exact roles each of the parties will be responsible for. However you need to understand that these investments are high risk, long term and you may not recover your money at all. Because of the high risk involved the potential rewards can be quite large as well.

Finally you can form your own company and run it on the side until it picks enough momentum to be able to pay you. At this point you can happily resign your job. Just make sure as you hustle on the side it does not compromise the quality of work in your current role.

The time to start a business is while you are still in employment. It is less risky and you have enough time to keep trying, failing, and trying again until you figure it out. Don’t wait until you retire or lose your job and then attempt to start a business! The few people I have seen doing this end up very miserable!

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