Goals Vis A Vis Resolutions

Goal Setting: Part 1

The Three Financial Cancers

Could you be a patient?

The Cash Flow Quadrant Board Game

Cash Flow 101 and 102

Investment Clubs: The Ugandan Rats Inside Story

How well have you positioned yourself for a great financial future?

The Wealth Builder

‘Are you willing to dedicate yourself to being a consistent wealth builder?’

Six Money Lessons for 20 Somethings

‘Six Money Lessons for 20 Somethings and 30 Somethings’

BATU: A cash cow or a pig waiting to be slaughtered?

It’s any investor’s dream to buy into a stock that will maximize his wealth. This is made possible by the dividends paid out by the company overtime and obviously the appreciation of its stock price. The dividends paid out depend entirely with the company’s dividend policy. As such, the company’s management determines on its own volition whether shareholders deserve a payout or not. On the other hand, the company’s quoted price on the stock market is normally dependent on a whole lot of factors one of them being the dividends paid out year on year. We could therefore argue that a company’s management can possibly massage a depressed stock by manipulating the dividends payout to possibly attract the ‘greedy’ investors on board who will in the end cause an upsurge of the price. Well, the only way to determine that there is no manipulation behind the curtains is to simply do a review of the books. The question is, ‘Is the payout fair vis-à-vis what the company can actually afford?’ 

BATU’s (British American Tobacco Uganda) shareholders took home a remarkable dividend payout amounting to Shs. 228 (Us$0.09) per share held for the financial year 2010, which effectively translates to 100% dividends paid out of profits. Superficially, it is such a generous token to shareholders. Fundamentally, even the smallest business owner is careful not to reward himself out of profits extravagantly as the business is bound to require capital input in future for expansion purposes. These retained earnings of a business are obviously the best means of expansion as they do not attract interest payments. BATU’s retained earnings in the financial year 2009 stood at a worrying Nil, however in 2010 the figure was reported to be a meager Shs.170 million. We could presume that BATU is not in dire need of expansion in future given the fact that it’s no longer internally manufacturing the leaf and has instead turned to exporting it. The move has since then turned out to be ingenious with a weakening shilling against the major currencies. It also meant that BATU had to sell off its surplus assets that were rendered idle after the decision. On this basis, we could probably okay the extravagant dividend payout.

On the flip side however are some quite disturbing facts. BATU reported a negative Shs. 38 billion as the cash flows for the financial year 2010, partly attributed to a Shs. 7.8 billion generous payout to shareholders. Attributing to the cash flow downside is also the reliance on bank borrowing and overdrafts to the tune of Shs. 40 to 50 billion year on year. It’s no rocket science to figure out that BATU is indeed incurring hefty interest charges and worst of all during a period when we are experiencing an upsurge in interest rates. Does such a disappointing performance guarantee the handsome dividend payout? Your guess should be as good as mine.

Well, history has it that tobacco and beer companies are always generous to their shareholders. Actually their pompous annual general meetings (AGM) tell it all. Most investors therefore have a natural liking for these stocks definitely due to the maximized return availed by them. However, in the event of a downside in performance these companies are bound to come hurtling like a rock down a cliff due to the weak fundamentals in place. In my view actually, BATU is not a cash cow but a pig waiting to be slaughtered.    

Markets 101: What are ‘Blue chip companies’?

The term ‘Blue Chip’ comes from poker where the highest and most valuable playing chip is colored blue. It therefore goes without saying that a company dubbed such a name will exemplify; high profitability year on year, probably the market leader in its sector, lucrative dividends yearly and will be mostly regarded by investors as a ‘safe haven’. Blue chips however have reputations of being outdated (have been in the market for a long time) and boring, they will therefore feature on portfolios of retirees, non-profit foundations and conservative investors.

Based on the above understanding; this stock counter at Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) can or should be regarded as a ‘blue chip’.

Stanbic Bank Uganda (SBU) – It is the largest company at USE by market capitalization (market value of total shares issued). A close comparison to other listed financial institutions, i.e. Bank of Baroda and DFCU, SBU enjoys a lion share of the market evidenced by its annual revenues. SBU’s dividend payout history can also give a semblance that it’s indeed a blue chip. In 2008 the dividend per share stood at Shs.5.86, in 2009 this increased by more than 100% to Shs. 13.08. In 2010 however when it reported lower distributable profits compared to those in 2009, SBU went ahead and paid out Shs. 7.03 per share held.

Remember there is no clear cut definition that will pin point a ‘blue chip’ it’s a combination of several cues characteristic of a stock that will do so.

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Why you should be investing at Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) now

The Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) is currently a quite enviable ‘buyers’ market. A snapshot of the market reveals a free fall on the major stock counters. Precisely, 5 out of the 7 local listings have been trading south over this last quarter of the year. This situation is a result of various factors that have converged to push stock prices to levels that are out of whack with the fundamentals on the ground. These factors include a stringent economic environment that has been perpetuated by a weakening shilling (which has finally begun to stabilize), escalating food and fuel prices and a regional political uncertainty due to the fourth coming general elections in Kenya. The situation has been further aggravated by the fact that almost 50% of investors at USE are Kenyans. The big question to the average Ugandan investor is, ‘Could the time be right to go shopping for shares?’

Warren Buffet once said
,‘Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down’ Warren meant that in buying a stock, it’s quite important to determine the stock’s intrinsic value and compare to its market price. The concept is therefore to buy an undervalued stock which will appreciate in value overtime, one commonly renowned as ‘value investing’. Most of these companies at USE, especially those in the banking sector, reported above average half year 2011 financial results. Well, not to forget, the Bank of Uganda (BOU) legislation early in the year which required all banks to increase their reserves by a massive 400%. We could therefore argue that listed banks at USE are more valuable than before. Below are recommended ‘buy’ counters basing on several cues.

Bank of Baroda (BOBU)
Top on the list is Bank of Baroda Uganda (BOBU) which reported an impressive 48% in net profit growth during the half year results. Despite such an admirable performance, the company’s share price which stood at Shs. 700 after a 1.5:1 bonus issue early during the year has steadily been falling (mainly due to the bonus which culminates into a cheaper share) to the current Shs. 200. This implies the share is selling at PE ratio in the regions of 9.5, which is slightly higher than the sector average. Impressive though is the bank’s huge retained earnings. In fact, it easily responded to BOU’s requirement by capitalising some of these earnings through the bonus issue. The bank’s growth prospects are also quite high given the fact it enjoys a sizeable share of the Indian business community in Uganda. With such strong fundamentals and an expected average annual net profit growth north of 20%, we could consider BOBU undervalued and hence a perfect buy that will lead to sizeable future gains on its price.

Uganda Clays Limited (UCL)
The infamous brick maker has been loss making for the last three consecutive years. 2011 half year financial results however saw it edge into profitability with a meager profit of Ushs. 1.2 Billion. Could this have meant the dawn of a new day for UCL? Well, quite worrying is its huge loan book which resulted into huge interest payments that led to negative 3Billion half year operating cash flows. Thanks to NSSF (major shareholder) for extending a cheap loan to the brick maker, the company would otherwise be a bed time story now. With cheap cost of capital at hand, UCL presents one of the best opportunities for gains on its stock price which currently stands at Shs. 45. Notably, the company substantially upgraded its manufacturing front last year (2010) which led to significant cost savings in 2011. Basing on the current turn of events it’s a must buy evidenced by the fact that it’s currently selling at an impressive PE ratio of 35.2(Based on half year results).

British American Tobacco Uganda (BATU)
The leaf business has overtime been a ‘must invest’ for most seasoned investors. Actually, Warren Buffet was once quoted to have said, ‘I’ll tell you why I like the cigarette business. It costs a penny to make. Sell it for a dollar. It’s addictive. And there’s fantastic brand loyalty.’ A snap shot at BATU relative to other listed companies at USE should tell you it’s the cash cow to scramble for. This fact alone has made BATU a bullish counter unlike all the others. Notably, for the year ended 2010 shareholders bagged an impressive Shs. 228 dividend per share. Tell you what... no other company at USE can match this. What makes the difference? I suppose the dividend policy at BATU. Notably, during the financial year 2009 when BATU’s retained earnings stood at NIL, the company went ahead and paid out Shs. 2.8 B to shareholders. With such a generous dividend policy you can only expect loyal shareholders, hence at the current price of Shs. 1840 there is still room for appreciation.

Ultimately, it’s worth noting that we are likely to experience a reversal of the current trend (plummeting stock prices) at USE in the near future as the effect of different economic and non-economic factors on share prices evens out. The average Ugandan investor will therefore moan at the complete change of events but I guess it will be too late.

Markets 101: What is an IPO?

Initial public offering (IPO) is an offering of stock or shares to the general public by a company which wants to raise capital for the first time. Following an IPO, the company gets listed and its shares are traded on stock exchanges. Most financially savvy investors will often refer to an IPO as the primary market of a share, which implies that on listing it begins trading on the secondary market. In the East African region, the year 2011 has seen through several successful IPO’s namely; Bralirwa and Bank of Kigali (Rwandese), British – American Investments (Kenyan) and the Tanzanian airline Precision Air.

An IPO is bound to occur where the major shareholder sells a substantial percentage of his/her stake to the general public for the first time in the company’s history and subsequently leading to listing of the company on the stock market. This major shareholder could be the government which in its divestment policy sells a part or its entire holding in a public sector company. For instance, the recent Bank of Kigali IPO saw the Rwandese government offload 20% of its stake in the bank. In such a case proceeds of the sale of shares go to the government. In other cases however, proceeds are injected back into the company to improve probably the operating cash position or for purchase of equipment.

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An analysis of Corporate Governance: A Uganda Clays Typical Scenario

This year’s Uganda Clays AGM (Annual General Meeting) was rocked by an outrage of shareholders with their deep concerns being the directors’ failure to apply corporate governance principles in the running of the infamous brick maker. Well, though the debate was centered on poor corporate governance, the question is whether there is indeed a lack of corporate governance or the shareholders claims were simply unfounded and inclined to punish the directors for the company’s continued loss making year on year.  

What is corporate governance?  
Corporate Governance is the system through which companies are directed and controlled by senior officials (directors) on behalf of the shareholders and other relevant stakeholders. The burden of good corporate governance without any doubt therefore falls on directors. Good corporate governance will entail;
  • The institution of an effective board of directors.
  • A balance of directors involved in actively running the company and those who do not have a day-to-day operational responsibility.
  • An Annual re-election of directors subject to continued satisfactory perforance.
  • The institution of a formal, transparent policy on executive remuneration.
  • The achievement of a satisfactory dialogue between management and shareholders .
These and many more corporate governance principles are generally referred to as ‘best practices’ hence implying their applicability globally.
Uganda clays typical scenario
Uganda Clays may seem to have adopted corporate governance principles but a closer look should tell that the adoption is actually on a patchwork basis. The annual report does not for instance include a statement of compliance or non – compliance to corporate governance principles. The statement is a vital one given the fact that it gives a detail of significant aspects to the user’s understanding of financial statements. They include; directors’ remuneration, composition of the board (executive and non - executive), a list of directors and their corresponding age, skills and competences, directors’ attendance of board meetings, the roles of the different sub committees of the board and many more. So what good corporate governance practices can be handpicked from our dear brick maker?  
At the helm of the 61 years old brick maker is Mr. Charles Rubaijaniza, a man who has been on the role of the chief executive officer since 1st of January 2011. His appointment to the post was following a competitive interview process and we could therefore assume good corporate governance regarding his appointment. On the other hand, the chairman of the board is Prof. Eng. John Senfuma (an independent non – executive director), hence implying a clear division of responsibilities between running of the board and the company’s business. 
The board of directors comprises of a majority non – executive directors most of whom were reappointed during the 2010 AGM. As such reappointments should be based on individual directors’ performance and their contribution to the board, we can again assume good corporate governance. 

My take
Uganda Clays has been trading on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) since the year 2000. To the best of my knowledge, compliance to corporate governance principles should be a pre – requisite to such a listing. The big question is, ‘should we therefore pass the back of inadequate governance principles at Uganda Clays to USE?’ Well, to some extent, in my view, ‘YES’. In addition, I believe the onus to good corporate governance at Clays lies on the shoulders of Prof. Eng. John Senfuma. It’s his role in ensuring effectiveness of the board in all its aspects.

Good corporate governance will not only safeguard our wealth as shareholders but also rust off the mechanics necessary for profitability. 

Tribute to the late Steve Jobs

Here is one of his quotes that I must thank him for:
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
 For all of his years in the spotlight at the helm of Apple, Steve Jobs in many ways remains an inscrutable figure — even in his death. Fiercely private, Jobs concealed most specifics about his personal life, from his curious family life to the details of his battle with pancreatic cancer — a disease that ultimately claimed him on Wednesday, at the age of 56.

While the CEO and co-founder of Apple steered most interviews away from the public fascination with his private life, there's plenty we know about Jobs the person, beyond the Mac and the iPhone. If anything, the obscure details of his interior life paint a subtler, more nuanced portrait of how one of the finest technology minds of our time grew into the dynamo that we remember him as today.

Markets 101: Who is a ‘Fat Cat?’

The term ‘Fat cat’ is one that was quite synonymous to the various corporate failures (such as the collapse of Enron) as well as the recent financial crisis. It has been argued that the main reason that the financial markets suffered the above hazards was in part due to these ‘fat cats’. Who are they then?  

A ‘fat cat’ refers to a senior executive in a company whose framework of decision making is not regulated by the owners (shareholders). This unwarranted decision making and powers result into wanton expenditure by these executives. Wanton expenditure may take the form of senior executives awarding themselves pay increases as well as fat end year bonuses irrespective of the company’s performance and hence the term Fat Cat.

Watch this space to know what measures have been put in place to safeguard shareholders wealth from these Fat Cats.

Owning East Africa: What are the ramifications?

The year 2011 has seen the successful initial public offering and consequent listing of three stock counters in East Africa namely; Bralirwa brewers (A subsidiary of the Heineken Group), Bank of Kigali both at the Rwanda Stock Exchange as well as British – American Investments Company (Britam) on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.  While the public response to the Rwandese offers was overwhelming, the Britam offer proved a lame duck having recorded an under subscription by 40%. One of the reasons for this outcome has been said to be its coincidence with the Bank of Kigali IPO. With the benefit of hindsight on the exemplary performance of Bralirwa, I believe, investors in East Africa braced themselves for a gold rush on Bank of Kigali (BK). True to their perception, the stock seems to be a performer having been listed at Rwf 125 and closed trading on the first day at Rwf 200. The stock has since then been oscillating above its listing price with its most recent pricing at Rwf 137. As we wait to see which way the wind is blowing at the young Rwanda Securities Exchange (RSE), it would be wise to understand the region and probably pre – empt future offers. 

Building Wealth: Derrick’s One Brick At a Time Story Part II

‘When I get married, this will be my children’s bedroom so that implies that I’ll have to shift to the master bedroom, the beauty is that it will be complete soon. The reason I broke that wall is because I’ll want my wife to have a spacious kitchen,’ said the jolly Derrick as he gave me a guided tour round his three - bed roomed house. A brief view on the outside, the house occupies half the plot (100ft by 76ft) and beside the house is a kitchen garden. The remaining section of the plot is occupied with banana stems and his future plans are to set up a few rental units on it. As I sat back on the comfy sofa at Derrick Ssekitoleko’s living room, he continued to reminisce about his humble beginnings and hardly did I notice a chilly breeze that had me butt in on his narration to lament that it was getting cold. In reply to my interruption, he said, ‘sorry kid, this place is a little chilly in the evenings, but I love it. It’s my home,’ briskly rising from the sofa to shut the open door as well as the windows.

No hefty job offers
With the warm aura in the house I recollected a fact that had caught my attention previously....

Building Wealth: Derrick’s one brick at a time story

Amidst this current hue and cry due to high commodity prices and the high cost of living, it would be insane for a low income earning man to dream of achieving any major financial milestone other than to probably diligently pay his bills in time. Well, that’s why one muganda philosopher called this city a ‘Kibuga’ (a city). Another muganda philosopher has continued to build on this earlier work and he has been reportedly heard to spread a Luganda proverb that ‘Kibuga sikya ba fala’ (Kampala city is not for the uncanny). With all due respect, this young philosopher has been aiming to communicate the fact that Kampala city is a ruthless one and only by beating the odds that come along with ‘Kibuga’ can you then claim your share of success. This simple truth had dawned on Derrick Ssekitoleko way back during his graduate studies in accounting at Makerere University Business School. He knew that going back to Mityana, his home town, to live rent free after his university education was not an option simply because it’s only in the city that he could easily eke out a living. He therefore dreamt of owning a house and hence significantly cutting his cost of living in the city. The logic here is if he kept the landlord at bay, chances are that he would only worry of how to commute to the city and obviously his belly. 

Investing in Foreign Stocks: Could it be a nightmare?

Statistics show that approximately 20,000 native Ugandans participated in the Safaricom initial public offer (IPO) back in the year 2008. To the best of my knowledge, many of these were first timers that had heard of the Stanbic Bank Uganda (SBU) windfall and thought Safaricom, vis-à-vis SBU, to have been a Toyota Corolla compared to a black mamba bicycle. Well, the informed investor had learnt his or her lesson with the earlier Eveready Kenya IPO, a company which till to date is grappling to survive amidst meager profits. Whereas 20,000 native Ugandan investors were caught up in the Safaricom hype, you should be shocked that there are approximately 15,000 native Ugandans that have proudly decided to invest at the Uganda Stock Market.   This rather odd behavior with Ugandans, pardon me if you think otherwise, is what I would liken to the preference of Gucci branded items yet there are similar cheaper and quality local products in abundance. The sad story is that the first time investors at the Safaricom IPO now view the stock market like another casino. Could investing in foreign stocks therefore be a nightmare? What do you stand to benefit from on the other hand? 

Investors’ Dilemma: How to steer clear of common misconceptions.

In the previous issue we looked at common investing misconceptions at the Uganda Stock market. In this issue, we continue to unearth these misconceptions and know just how well investors can avoid them. We laid emphasis on the need to shop for an investment advisor. Understanding share price ramifications takes skill and experience. Currently in Uganda, all stock brokers are licensed by Capital Markets Authority to offer investment advice. However, just like any other type of advice, say marriage advice, investment advice can always be availed by who ever has the opportunity and the platform to do so, hence the term ‘cheap investment advice’. This cheap investment advice will however always come in handy to bite you in the long term. My take is that you look out for an experienced investment advisor who will be willing to pay close attention to your needs whether retail or institutional. Crested Stocks and Securities are by far the largest brokers in terms of retail clientele, the beauty is that they offer tailored investment advice at no cost.

Cheap doesn’t imply future value
I presume that at this stage of the debate, you have already secured yourself a Securities Central Depository (SCD) account. Well, I’m no exception. Not only have I signed up for one but I have gone a notch higher and purchased some 400 shares of ‘company XYZ’ that I prefer not to mention here.

Common Investing Misconceptions at the Uganda Stock Market

Statistics have it that there are approximately forty thousand investors on the seven companies listed at the Uganda Securities Exchange. Fifty percent of these are amazingly Kenyan. Simple arithmetical reasoning will definitely tell you that there are approximately twenty thousand native investors at our bourse. Statistics at the Nairobi bourse are however quite enviable as there are approximately one million investors on the fifty - four listed companies. Well, you could argue that the Nairobi bourse is roughly half a century older than the Ugandan bourse. Such an argument could however appear far – fetched given the fact that for the solid twelve years of trading the bourse has only attracted a meager one thousand seven hundred new native investors per annum. The same analysis at Nairobi reveals that the bourse attracts roughly twenty thousand new investors per annum. If my simple analytical skills are anything to go by, then, something is definitely amiss. As I turned each and every stone to unearth this great disparity in statistics, several investing misconceptions that Ugandans hold came to light. It is my great pleasure to detail them to you.

How you could redefine your income this financial year; part 2

Last week, we laid out the necessary steps to commencing an online income stream through trading currencies (Forex), stocks, futures, options, Contracts for Difference (CFDs), commodities like oil as well as metals, say, gold. In a snapshot however, CFDs can be used to trade the rest through a buyer-seller contractual arrangement. Well, it’s quite reasonable to understand every nook and cranny of the trade because investing has its rules. One such rule is, ‘Never invest in something that you have no knowledge about whatsoever.’ Mike Tyrell, our informant from part one of this feature, comments that, ‘I don’t know how to buy and sell matooke, so I keep away from it!’ Mike’s humble beginnings on the trade were not an exception as he took one year of learning before he undertook any trading exercise. Once you have bagged enough concerning the trade, you can then join me for a roller coaster ride as I examine what exactly will make you tick amidst this rather turbulent and yet a pretty rewarding trade.

How you could redefine your income this financial year

Have you ever wondered what the definition for ‘insanity’ is? A learned friend painted to me his version of modern insanity. It sounded appalling and definitely worth a second thought. To him, ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different outcome.’  He went on to pose a question that left me mum. He asked, ‘What happens then when the republic is inhabited by ‘insane’ folks?’
With all due respect, it would not be my pleasure to discuss insanity on this platform. However, in a nutshell, what my friend was trying to drive home was that modern day problems are as a result of our failure, or may be fear, to adopt new solutions. Roughly three weeks ago, the budget for the financial year 2011/12 was read implying the country had turned on a different financial page. This happened despite most of us still treading on our aged financial plans that are highly characterized by fixed incomes. With the recent hue and cry against the surging commodity prices, many of us have been bent on controlling costs and paying no regard to incomes. Well, just how then can you redefine your income this financial year?

My journey into making money off a blog

Below is a guest post by Felix Wakweika. He is a passionate blogger who writes mainly about his personal experiences. For more of his work, visit the address www.wakweika.comxa.com. You can also connect to him via Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/wakweika).
Felix Wakweika
I have always wanted to write about anything but mostly write about things I experience in my life. I tried making a journal but I realised I was missing lots of  days and finally I gave up. Then I discovered blogging. With my fascination for computers and technology, this was a really awesome fusion of my two passions; writing and technology. I set one up recently. I was told by a friend who is more versed in the field that I could blog and make some money while am at it so I ventured into finding different ways of making money off a blog. As I read various posts on how to succeed in this field I noticed that when most people think of monetization, they think AdSense, sponsored posts, affiliate sales, or text links. But the biggest sites in the world don’t use any of those techniques. They get more creative than that. Here are two examples I can illustrate this with...

The Cash Flow Quadrant Board Game Review

This week on Investor Watch, Wealth Building Strategies is reviewing the electronic version of the Cash Flow Quadrant Board game. Designed by the author of the famous book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, the game is known for its ability to instill basic financial skills and quite uncommon, a business acumen to individuals that barely learnt rote finance in school. The game is available in three collections; Cashflow 101, Cashflow 202 and Cashflow for kids.

Cashflow 101 
According to the author, Robert Kiyosaki, Cashflow 101’s design is based on the fundamentals of trading. Also commonly known as the ‘Rat Race’, Cashflow 101 depicts the lay man’s financial life, one characterized by ‘Go to school, get a job, go to work, go home and pay bills with no hope of ever accomplishing anything else’ Well, I wondered why on earth Kiyosaki chose to call it the rat race... A few days ago, a rat sneaked to my bed room. Fortunately or unfortunately, am really petrified of these small creatures. I didn’t manage to kill it but after pelting the floor with shoes and empty boxes, it narrowly escaped. The following day, the same rat showed up but this time I mustered my courage and killed it. Had the rat known of the imminent danger in my house, would it have bothered a revisit? 

Thinking Outside Your Financial Box

The internet is definitely a world of possibilities, may be to be precise ‘Limitless possibilities’. In other words, you can make money while resting on your couch at home and on the other hand, chances are that you can also be stolen that way. Well, there can never be an uglier scene than being stolen on the internet. At least if such happened somewhere in Kikuubo(Downtown Kampala), all you would do is alert the public and I bet the idiot would be chased down the street and with everyone pelting him with at least something solid, he would vow never to repeat such an act. The internet is different. Your macho and the fact that you are loyal to gymnastics would be of no help. That fact alone cannot hinder us from learning the many revenue streams possibilities that the internet offers. The greatest asset therefore remains to be our knowledge of authentic revenue streams on the internet as we are bound to come across a lot more dubious streams than the authentic ones.

You don’t have to rent shop space.

The advent of mobile technology and consequently mobile money has without doubt boosted business a great deal in Uganda. Not a wonder when I recently visited Nalongo’s Kafunda (my favorite drinking place) in one of Kampala’s suburbs, one folk wished to distance himself from the rest of us by requesting to pay his bill via mobile money. Despite seeming richer than the rest of us, I did not fail to relish my drinks while pondering how technology had elevated a man’s status at Nalongo’s Kafunda. This eye opener and probably a dent to my ego challenged me to think of better ways to vend my merchandise. I hence came across a Ugandan based online platform that allowed me to display my products and services for sale at no cost! 

Business Lessons from the Facebook Story

I have been a hunter and gatherer for quite sometime now. Ask GNL and he would probably call me a hustler. The intention here is not to discredit myself but quite vividly I happen not to be the type that will pop into a casino full of billionaires and gamble buildings like they reputedly do. My gut tells me that I’m probably not the only one. That may sound consoling, nevertheless, its time for you and me to board a roller coaster destined to the haven ‘billionaires club’. It’s a tough journey but we can learn from experiences of those that smartly struggled and today they smile all the way to the bank. One such experience is the Facebook Story, the story of a US$25 billion company that was built from scratch by a group of Harvard University undergraduate students.

Should Tipping Waiters be a Norm?

At the slopes of Mt. Kenya where I come from, tipping is a common concept. It’s so common that the sons of the soil can hardly differentiate it with bribing. My hope is that you, my reader, can differentiate these two terms.
After relishing a fast, efficient and reliable service, you are sometimes inclined to pay a little more. On the contrary, many or probably few are the instances when you almost defy paying. Not a wonder that the public eye has indefinitely spotted squabbles between service providers and customers. Should you be curious to know why the squabble, am pretty sure someone will not fail to scream out the dreaded phrase ‘What a poor service?’

Investment Clubs: The Ugandan Rats Story.

How well have you positioned yourself for a great financial future? Hang on a second… Are you confident that your current investment efforts will yield a much better return? May be you have strategically positioned yourself for that huge ‘insider deal’ at your work place and before you know it your name will have flooded on the local print media. Hope not because this is your wake up call!

It’s just hilarious to hear them call themselves ‘The Rats’. I guess you abhor these small creatures like I do unless you come from Tororo where am told they can eat them to convey their anger. My perception of them though, as I write this, has changed.  Certainly there is a brilliant reason why a team of seventeen Ugandan ‘moguls to be’ prefers to be called ‘The Rats’. Together they boast as one of the few modern investment clubs our mother country has ever had, The Rats Network Savings and Investment Group(RNIG). We may be making some unforgivable assumptions here, what is an investment club?  Jesse Ibanda, the chairman, RNIG confidently defines such a club as ‘a group of friends or co – workers who typically meet regularly to, create a pool of money and discuss investment ideas so they collectively make decisions on investments, members usually take turns reporting and researching on possible investments.’