Succeed Magazine – www.succeed.co.za – December 2009
Owning a business is a potentially life-changing experience that can lead to a financially secure future. Unfortunately, many people who would excel as entrepreneurs or franchise owners never achieve this status because they are unable to take the first step and make money available to realise their dreams.
Of course, when we work daily to pay bills and do not have a cent left at the end of the month, this dream seems far away indeed. However, saving towards a new future can be a reality through setting goals and finding ways to achieve them.
Setting the goal
Because owning a business takes commitment and sacrifice, those who want to achieve it have to know exactly why they want to do it to make it all worthwhile. The end goal of a successful business and financial independence should never be forgotten. “The clearer the intent, the greater the emotional desire becomes to get what you want, and the sooner it becomes a reality,” says top business speaker and chairman of Knowledge Brokers International SA, Bill Gibson. “Goals have to be smart. Smart is an acronym for: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-limited.”
Although this first step sounds blatantly obvious, it is vital. Research shows that only 4% of people actually write down their goals. Of those who write them down, 95% achieve these goals. Once the larger goal has been set, achieving it depends on breaking it down into smaller, manageable pieces.
For instance, let us say that you have set yourself the goal to save up your own contribution to a franchise of R240 000 in two years,” says Gibson. “You break it down into 24 months – which means you have to save R10 000 a month – although it would probably be somewhat less as you earn interest on the money you put away.
“It would be very hard to put away this amount from the start if you have not been able to save up to this point. Therefore, it is better to build up the amount you want to put away over time. For instance, set a goal of putting away R5 000 for the first six months, then R7 500 for the next six, R12 500 for the next six, and R15 000 a month for the last six as you near your goal.” This money has to be invested at the beginning of each month, as if it were a debit order. These forced savings ensure that achieving the goal is on track and that the budget is adjusted to include these savings.
Save on your expenses
Once the decision has been made to put the money away, the money has to come from somewhere. By paying themselves first, people are obliged to look closer at their expenditure to ensure that their phone bills or insurance debit orders do not bounce due to insufficient funds. “Let us assume your monthly disposable income is R20 000.
If your bond is R8 000, your car is R3 000, groceries R5 000 and other expenses come to R4 000, that means you spend R20 000 and you have no money left at the end of the month.
“Starting a business takes sacrifices and expenses have to be limited,” says Gibson. “You would have to look at things like eating out, clothing accounts, belonging to clubs and going to sporting events. Instead of trading in on a new car, rather hang on to the one you have.
“In the process, you are coaching yourself and your family to live leaner for a while, because that is what it takes to achieve your goal. Once you start your franchise, there is a good possibility that you are going to be earning a lot less than what you are earning on your present job for the first few months.” By making these sacrifices, it could be possible to drop expenditure to R17 000 a month on the aforementioned monthly income of R20 000. This saving of R3 000 comes to R72 000 over two years and puts a large dent into the goal of saving R240 000 in two years.
Find an extra source of income
In the end, only so much can be done to save on current expenses and an additional source of income has to be found, such as a weekend or part-time job.
If the example of R20 000 of disposable income is earned over a normal 160-hour working month, it would mean after-tax earnings of R125 per hour.
If additional employment could be found at R80 per hour, most people would turn it down because it is R45 an hour less than they earn at their day job. However, there is another way to look at the offer. Twenty hours of part-time work a week at this rate means R6 400 a month of discretionary income. This amounts to R153 600 over the two years.
“That is how the wealthy become wealthy,” says Gibson. “They do not mind doing things beyond the break-even point that are less than they earn now, because that money could turn into more money.”
Taking on extra work should be viewed as a learning curve, because 90-hour weeks for the first year are extremely likely when a new business is opened. Extending the normal working week from 40 to 60 hours will not only provide extra income, but also valuable time management experience.
Achieving the goal of owning one’s own business will not come without sacrifices, but biting the bullet for a short time is a necessary step towards owning that franchise and taking control of one’s financial future.