A note from Kola Oyeneyin
When founders earn above their companies
Two months ago, I heard that a founder was paying himself $15k monthly, the company packed up. This past weekend, I heard another founder was paying himself $50,000 monthly, the company packed up. Both of them, on investor funds. Like many people like me who invest in and/or back early stage companies, I was horrified if I’m being honest. I think it’s about time we begin to talk about what it really takes to build successful companies.
I’ve recently found that there are really only a few founders in Africa who set out to solve real problems and create thriving businesses, others are just offering “entrepreneurship as a service” (EaaS). They set out to solve their own problem, poverty.
Whenever a founder, director or owner doesn’t understand or practice the principles of ‘delayed gratification’, the death of whatever they’re building is around the corner. Cash flow in business is like blood in your body, once there’s an area of serious bleeding, death could become inevitable.
For context, I founded my first company in 2011. It broke even & became profitable within 15 months. The company was unbelievable liquid by year 2 ending, but I (the founder) wasn’t. I didn’t have an office or earn a constant monthly salary. My then two senior managers earned more than me, this is still a practice in many of my companies today. I pay exec hires more than I pay myself, if at all I earn anything.
Power of strong balance sheet, healthy cashflow and frugality
Call me an old school entrepreneur, but I don’t like paper valuation. I like:
1. Strong balance sheet
2. Healthy cashflow
3. Frugality (keep cost down at all costs)
I am brutal with cost. I do not like to run a company like I’m Santa, spending like there’s no tomorrow. Now as a fund manager, this means I’m able to return higher ROI to my investors than your favorite hedge fund managers; because of the low cost of running our funds.
Whether it’s fintech or farmland, the principles behind starting, growing and scaling a company are the same. Break them and they will hunt you down!
My note: Praise Fowowe
Once you see a young CEO start to live like a celebrity with all sorts of cars and trips please take your money or investment off that organization because something is not right.
Posted by: Tony Aspire Kolawole
COVER IMAGE: Vakilsearch