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6 Frugal Ways To Save Your Start-Up Pennies

The Business Development Center prepares and nurtures entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses ethically

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Success Story: Darrell Frick

This article is about with our long-standing friend, ambassador, distance consultant, and visiting executive, Darrell Frick, about his....

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6 Frugal Ways To Save Your Start-Up Pennies

If you’re setting up a business, cash flow is king. And cash flow is a function of cash inflows and cash outflows. In other words, you need to be frugal.
The easiest way to make a profit is to not spend money. You need to be frugal. Keep your costs down. Remember, you’re not spending your parent’s or your employer’s money anymore.

You’re spending your own money, so try to hold onto as much of it as possible. Here are some suggestions on how to accomplish this.

1. Do not hire an IT guy

Especially when coming out of a big company, the world of IT seems so intimidating that it feels absolutely necessary to bring in an expert. Apart from the danger of adding overheads, an IT guy lets you abdicate responsibility for an important part of your business that’s actually not so difficult nowadays.

Don’t try be cool and go with the latest craze. If you know Office, stick to it. Don’t want to start with a fully functioning system.

For email, domain registration and web hosting use its local (fast) and it’s dedicated servers are in the USA so it always works. Best of all, if you have a problem, all you have to do is to give a call.

Do you want to start you own business? Attend BDC Rwanda entrepreneurship. See more

2. Nail your brand early; it makes life easy going forward

Find someone (an individual) who provides the full bouquet: Logo, letterhead, website. Do not use a pricey ad agency! If you become a monster corporation one day, sure, go ahead and use the same companies as MTN or Bralirwa. Until then, be frugal.

Also, design your own business cards. Use genius printers. Best quality cards in Rwanda. I have been impressed by their service and support, (Always available and charge no design fee) and when you’re a start-up, you need as much help as possible when it comes to working with less money.

Even more important than business cards is a sign. You’re not a real company until your office has a sign.

3. Buy the stationery yourself

When you come from a corporate, you’ll be at a loss as to how to do things yourself. Finding printer paper, booking flights, etc. will seem awfully complicated. Fear not, you too can do it. You’ll find you get better deals than big companies do, even though they supposedly have much greater buying power. Also, you’ll get a feel for how much stuff costs in the real world. Like one litre of milk (250 Frw). Or a 15 minute flight from Kigali to Kamembe(80000 Frw). It’s difficult to be frugal if you don’t know what stuff costs.

4. Use the cloud

Ignore the noise of all non-cloud vendors. Use the cloud for document storage (Box), sharing (Slack), CRM (Salesforce), hosting (AWS), websites (WordPress), etc. Don’t do it yourself. Let someone else worry about encryption, back-ups and data security.

5. When in doubt, don’t do anything

There are many things that seem essential when you’re in corporate, but which are in fact superfluous — like meeting in expensive coffee shops and hotels. Generally speaking, the quality of a meeting does not depend on the venue rather on the content and your persuasiveness, learn to do it yourself, buy a coffee machine and have most of your meetings at your office. If you can’t figure it out, ask friends how they do it. If you don’t know how to do it, Google it. If you don’t know how to Google it, stay in corporate.

6. No matter what, be frugal

Some companies boast of valuation or revenue or profit or users or share values. Outside of Silicon Valley, these metrics are meaningless. The only meaningful metric is cash flow. You need to spend less money than you make. The starting point of positive cash flow is to be frugal. Don’t spend money unnecessarily.

Ignore the accountants, ignore depreciation, ignore goodwill, ignore your balance sheet, ignore your income statement, ignore your valuation, ignore your revenues. Instead, pay attention to your cash flow statement. Revenue is vanity. Profit is sanity. Cash flow is reality.

Success Story: Darrell Frick

This article is about with our long-standing friend, ambassador, distance consultant, and visiting executive, Darrell Frick, about his experiences while being involved with RCE.

It all started in 2012, when we first encountered Darrell, a Chick-fil-A Owner/Operator out of Elkridge, California, through our kingdom business partnership with LifeShape International. He was able to join a cross-country trip in 2012 with a colleague, and found himself at BDC Rwanda as a Visiting Executive (VE). From the get go, he felt connected to a number of the BDC graduates he encountered, who openly and willingly shared their stories and experiences from the Rwandan genocide with such rawness and courage. These people whose lives and families were wrecked by death and destruction were embodying principles of grace and forgiveness; redemption and renewed conviction.

The Power of Prayerful Provision – Yet Darrell and his colleagues didn’t just get to hear their stories and give them business advice, they were able to become active participants in their journey. Around the table, they prayed for these aspiring entrepreneurs, many of whom, had never experienced an intercession on their behalf or a time of communal prayer. One graduate even later shared with them:

“It’s meant so much to me that you would take your time to come here. And then to pray with me? You’ve lifted my depression to hope, and I’ve never experienced that element of faith before. It’s truly meant so much to me, I’m going to name my son after you.”

Staying Connected

Back at Home- Upon returning from his trip, Darrell’s desire to stay connected remained fueled. The Lord led him to RCE’s Distance Consulting program. Darrell admits:

“Honestly, at first I felt overwhelmed and inadequate for the level of business experience need. Yet I still chose to step out in faith as a Distance Consultant (DC), and started making the calls to Herve [an entrepreneur I’d met in Rwanda and was connected to]. I approached the conversations with a simple coaching framework. By asking questions, and walking him through current hot topics, it gave Herve the ability to clarify what was going on in his business, what was a priority, and simply gave him a grateful heart for someone who was also invested in his interests.”

Darrell goes on to tell us that, “Culturally, the availability of mentorship is largely lacking in Rwanda (as a result of the genocide), so even hearing, ‘Good job’, is so meaningful. What also transpired from the calls, were unique opportunities for me to serve as a professional reference and advocate for Herve in his future endeavors.”

When asked what he’d say to someone considering getting involved with the DC &/orVE opportunity he stated:

“Make connections and check in with people—the kingdom impact you can have in talking to someone for 1 hour is pretty amazing” – Darrell Frick

How Did They Make It Work?

Read more about how Darrell and Herve pushed through the challenges and obstacles associated with distance communication, as well as his secrets for lasting connection and success in next month’s newsletter.

We are grateful for and encouraged by all of Darrell’s investments and contributions.

Where Were We? –  Last month, we left off talking about the experiences of Darrell Frick, RCE ambassador, distance consultant, and visiting executive to BDC Rwanda. If you missed Part 1, you can catch up and check it out here.

As anyone can imagine, there are often challenges associated with trying to communicate cross-continentally and cross-culturally. In order to push past these barriers and physical limitations, Darrell and Rwandan entrepreneur, Herve, primarily made use of Skype, Whats App, and email for their correspondence.

Darrell and Herve’s sessions were simple in format, but powerful in production. They walked through open-ended, reflective questions such as:

  • What was your greatest challenge this week?
  • What was your greatest success?
  • What is a hot topic you’d like to walk through?

This format kept the calls focused, while enabling authentic dialogue. By empowering Herve to think, reflect, and make recommendations for himself; the learning continued long past the classroom setting for both parties. Having someone to bounce ideas and situations off of in confidence, can make all the difference between pushing forward into growth and settling in familiarity.

Why Distance is Still Rewarding  – After having the physical experience of interacting in Rwanda, Darrell tells us consulting at a distance remained rewarding because:

  • “Thanks to technology, it broke down borders and fulfilled the desire to be impactful in Rwanda, while still being in the US.”
  • “Then, when I’ve been able to get back in country (1-2x/year), we don’t have to start where we left off. We’re already in motion. It makes each of my travel experiences that much more rich and worthwhile for the time and resources invested to do so.”
  • “By continuing to grow in relationship with the connections I’d made, I’ve been able to plan out my team’s time there. That way I could really be intentional and best utilize their skills, talents, and gifts. By sharing this with our hosts in advance, it would really set us up for a productive visit.”

Lessons & Best Practices, As Shared:
We’ll also be applying some of Darrell’s wise recommendations and best practices for our program(s) by:

  • encouraging organic relationships
  • fostering a mutually engaged dynamic as much as possible
  • engaging mutual connections
  • having a “right fit” mentorship mindset as an organization (for both our executives & graduates)
  • allowing both parties to build trust with one another on their own terms

Consulting with a Kingdom Mindset
What we love most about our Distance Consultant and Visiting Executive opportunities is the ability to share one’s faith testimony. Our personal stories get their power by being shared, just as one gets rich by giving what they have to offer, away. In doing so, we are making room for what else God has to entrust us with—in the marketplace, in our ministry efforts, and in our hearts.

Giving a few hours of your time and attention can truly propel a nation into advancement.