How to save money as a startup in Africa


How to save money as a startup in Africa

"We have to be inpatient in moving Africa forward" - Akinwumi Adesina (President, African Development Bank)

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Starting a business is hard. Whether you have a co-founder or not, there are so many tasks that need to be done and the responsibility mostly falls on you. When you are just starting, you will be investing your own money into the business more often than not. Here are three things to consider when trying to save money:

1. Get a part-time job

Initially, I just wanted to dive straight in and give 100% focus and effort into the business. However, companies usually take longer and cost more than you thought before starting. There are always going to be blind spots. Therefore, you should ensure that at least some cash flow is coming in. Your savings will drop to 0, trust me. Then, if you’re not careful, it will deteriorate your mental state and introduce stress, or it will lead to cheap and poor decision making for your business. You will be left buying cheap equipment and services and building your business out of fear – not cute. Drop your ego and get a job: physically or online.

2. Look for free credits

If your business involves tech development, you should look for places to get free credits for Google Cloud, Alibaba Cloud, AWS, Microsoft Services etc. I can’t underestimate how much free credits can reduce the strain on your business spending. For example, if you are accepted onto the Microsoft for Startups program, you are given 365 for business free for one year, amongst many other benefits. Compared with paying $6 per user per month for Business Basic or $22 per month for Business Premium.

3. Do things yourself – at least, at first

This one may be controversial; however, I believe that you should try to complete most tasks you need yourself for personal growth and cost savings. Udemy is your best friend. The courses there are reasonably priced and of high quality. For more technical skills, you can go on, which has courses from institutions such as Havard and Microsoft. Even a logo design can be sketched out, and a basic design is done yourself. Then, you can give it to a professional on Fiverr, Upwork, Bookings Africa, AfriBlocks etc., for the finishing touches. You can even be clever and offer freelance services on this site as a part-time job.

I think it is critical to start yourself because as your business grows and you begin to hire people, by trying it yourself first, you will have a vague idea of what they are talking about. You may even be able to guide them in the right direction for your business to save time on errors you will face later. Don’t have blind spots in your business, as not everyone you work with will be trustworthy. Try first, then pass it on to someone better.