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Try our new web app- Asaqeni Business Pro

Hi guys, My name's Likhwa, and I'm a self taught developer from Zimbabwe. I'm also the founder of Asaqeni- a help-kit for aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners. Over the past decade, less than 0.5% of global venture capital has gone to the African continent. This is ironic considering that an estimated 75% of the continent's working population are self employed. We have lots of informal traders and we consider these people entrepreneurs in their own right. However the majority of these small businesses are stuck in survival mode. They struggle to make ends meet and their ventures rarely ever grow. After some research and analysis we came to a number of conclusions. Apart from the obvious obstacles such as funding, failing economies and poor infrastructure, many small businesses fail because the owners lack a clear strategy. Oftentimes the owner is so focused on survival they hardly ever think of growth. This can be attributed to a number of things, but the ma

The why behind Asaqeni

As I document my entrepreneurial one of the fundamental questions I need to answer is: Why? Why am I doing this? Why did I choose to work on this specific project and not something else? This article will talk about the problem on a macro level as well as the desired outcomes. The problem Some days back I was joking with a friend about how someone who left our city, Bulawayo 30 years ago, would probably return and find it virtually the same, if not worse. They definitely wouldn't get lost and neither would they be in awe of what's been built in their absence. Mainly because nothing significant has been built in the City since then. Some background Just to put things into perspective- Bulawayo was once considered the industrial hub of Zimbabwe. It's strategically positioned to connect Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa and Botswana. Thus the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is headquartered here. We had huge engineering companies like O'Connolys, Hogarths, Nimr & Ch

Part 6: It's a lot harder than I expected

It's been months since I wrote and I'd like to apologise for the silence. I have no excuse besides that its freaking hard! Everything's much harder than I thought it would be and here I was thinking there wasn't a punch I couldn't take.  What distinguishes a startup from traditional businesses is growth. A business can be profitable and all, but if it's not growing rapidly then it's not really a startup. So with that in mind, I built the foundation which is Asaqeni , a web platform to link aspiring entrepreneurs with useful startup tools. Since I'm starting from a zero-budget, my plan was to get users via organic means such as SEO, social media and blog posts. I started with LinkedIn since it's the network for professionals. After about 4 or so months, we're still stuck at 7 followers.(What are you laughin' at? #angryFace) Facebook is also a great starting point, considering I have close to 1000 friends on the platform.  However the page is s

Cashflow Simplified: This is probably the easiest way to write a Cashflow statement

When starting a business or applying for funding, you will be required to prepare a cashflow statement. This is basically a simple projection of your cash inflows and outflows. It's main purpose is:  • to ensure that your business doesn't run out of money. So the document will show you any potential pitfalls, and that way, you can plan ahead e.g. proactively request a loan, defer payments etc. While business is unpredictable, most financial institutions(including investors) will need to be convinced that you've done your best to anticipate any possible events that could occur within your budgeting period. A Cashflow statement is a great tool to achieve that. HOW SMALL BUSINESSES RUN OUT OF MONEY: • You get a tender You have a small profitable business but you think a tender is what you need to take your business to the next level. You apply for one and that uncle of yours helps you get the deal. You get the tender but you don't have the money. So you borrow from friend

Part 5- Why I had to change my startup's name

I'm a 'NOW' person. When I say I'll do something I do it, or if I get excited about something I start working on it immediately. Not tomorrow or next week, but NOW. Nah, I'm just kidding... but its sounds cool when I say it, doesn't it? I won't lie, I do try, but I still have quite a long way to go when it comes to self mastery and discipline. One thing I've mastered though, is to cover as much ground whenever I can.  I do this for a number of reasons. The first one is that I know I won't always feel fired up. I work in bursts of superhuman energy- so much that at times I amaze myself, but at the same time I also have my off days (not sure what the opposite of superhuman is). So I try to cover as much ground during my ON days. The second reason is that I believe everything happens for a reason. So I take that inspiration and use it as a compass, to guide me towards my dream. While it may not always makes sense most of the time, I believe it will all

Avoid making this mistake when setting prices

When it comes to setting prices one thing we all seem to understand is that we need to add a markup to our cost. While this may seem easy, many small business owners take it at face value. e.g. I bought this for $5 so if I sell it at $10 I'm making 100% profit.  While that's a good start, it is not the end. They are making one critical mistake:  ignoring their fixed costs - and as a result, they undercharge. That's because most small business owners will tell you they don't take a salary or they understate their fixed costs. I work from home so I don't pay rent but at the end of the day, you still need to live, don't you?  Examples of costs that small business owners ignore How much do you deduct from your business for: • lunch • airtime • the electricity you use to bake • water • transport • the money you gave your helpers to 'buy a drink' and so on.  These amounts may seem inconsequential but over time they become significant... and they need to be fac

The Journal of an African Tech Startup Founder: Part 4- Bringing my A game

In previous articles, I shared my backstory, my biggest risk and the motivation behind everything I'm doing. In this article I'll talk more about my personal plan and roadmap towards the vision. First and foremost, I make apps- Android apps to be specific. My flagship app is called the Business Builder- Small Business Management Suite and I've made a more advanced version of it called Asaqè Business Pro . Which is the one I'm currently pushing and hoping will bring us the big bucks. Both apps are available on the Google Playstore and they are intended to help people especially in lower income economies to start and grow sustainable businesses. When most people think about apps, or software in general, they consider the technical functions... what does it do? What technology does it use and so on. I've since come to realize that there is more to it. To quote George Berkowski: It's not just an app, it's a business. Creating the software is the easy part. I'