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Biz tips

FINANCIAL STANDARD
By Kagure Gacheche | January 27th 2015

My tip for entrepreneurs is: Don’t feel you have to reinvent the wheel.

Last week, I was having a conversation with my sister about her investment options. She wanted to put her savings to good use by starting a business.

We went through a long list of ideas: importing high-end lotions and body splashes, opening a clothes boutique, starting a tuck-shop, getting into the errands business, and on and on. For each one, there were reasons it would not be viable for her.

Finally, I told her to do what I do: Invest in people who already have amazing business ideas and just need a little financial boost.

It has worked very well for me. However, be warned, it requires a lot of involvement and you’ll probably make a couple of missteps along the way.

With my first business investment, I thought I would just check in at the end of the year to find out how much my investment had grown. The business I got into was with a lady who runs a salon. I gave her the capital to help her buy hair and beauty products.

We bought the items in bulk and worked out how much more we would make on top, and agreed to share the profits 50:50. However, we did not set a timeline for when I was to get the money. Also, we did not have proper records, and she did not note down how much stock was left, or how it was moving.

Bottom line, it ended up being a very messy affair, and while I did get back my initial investment, we are yet to finalise on the profits part.

With my second and third investments, I took on the lessons from the first business and keep meticulous records, as well as checking in regularly on my business partners.

I invest in people whose businesses I consider viable and whose owners I find motivated and dedicated. It is easier than starting from scratch and allows me to continue with my main job while still being an entrepreneur. Consider doing the same thing if you are not ready to branch out alone. — Maureen G

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