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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Don't be fooled... starting a business isn't as easy as it looks!

Any one who has tried it, knows starting a business is anything but easy. What you will agree with however is that successful entrepreneurs do share some of the traits mentioned in this article entitled "7 things that entrepreneurs don't do". Not many of us would contemplate even going past No. 1 on the list, yet that level of single-mindedness in the beginning is often what makes the difference between success and failure. What you may call sacrifice, treps do naturally without a second thought; after all whats the point of going to bed when all that will happen is that you will stay up thinking about solutions to the latest business crisis.

Monday, October 7, 2013

To Tax or Not - The Capital Gains Conundrum

In a recent article in the Business Daily the writer argues for re-introduction of CGT (See article) giving illustrations of situations where the current legislation disproportionately benefits the wealthy. In one example he described a taxpayer who had a 'side-hustle' buying and selling land, earning income which apparently wouldn't be taxed because the gains would be considered under CGT. I disagree with this on the basis that the side-hustle amounts to trading and income derived from it will be taxed in the normal way. The differentiator is that the plots he was buying and subdividing were bought primarily for that purpose a fact which would be easily established by KRA if they were to catch up with him. If for example he had bought that plot years ago, perhaps planning to build a home on it sometime in the future

Monday, July 29, 2013

Death by mobile

Could the phenomenal success of mpesa have rang the death knell for non-mobile innovations? I have sat through over 30 pitches in the last year and all but 2 of them were for mobile related applications. Having said that, I should also mention that of the 2, both were 100% internet based. During the same time, I have also met several foreign investors who all came here with a bulging wallets looking strictly for mobile solutions to invest in. The reason this worries me is that in-as-much as mobile connectivity is a development game-changer in Africa, there is still so much more outside of the net that is just begging to be exploited. I am also worried because the focus on mobile apps and web solutions has starved the inventors of tangible technology of the cash that they need to work on their inventions, build prototypes etc. 

What I haven't quite figured out yet is, what should be done to give the 'inventors' more opportunities to access funding for R&D, access to incubators to nurture their business skills and access to markets for their products? Let me know if you have any ideas....


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tax Payments Made Easy- iTax by KRA

On Friday KRA and UBA gave us a sneak preview of the new online tax portal dubbed i-Tax. As explained by the Commissioner of Domestic Tax, Alice Owour, i-Tax is the latest iteration of the ITMS that we all love to hate. i-Tax which has been in pilot phase for some months now with a few medium and large taxpayers is scheduled to go-live in July 2013.

The major feature of i-Tax is the ability to facilitate both e-filing and e-payment. Another feature I like is that you can now upload simple Excel files, doing away with the cumbersome TSW (Taxpayer Software) application previously used to generate upload files. The upload process now has validation and when you make a mistake it churns out error descriptions that actually make sense (anyone who has tried to update something on ITMS knows what I'm talking about). Withholding tax certificates are auto-generated and emailed to the taxpayer as soon as payment is made. Taxpayers can now access their ledger directly and check payment status at will. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Is this the #1 mistake entrepreneurs make?

According to veteran entrepreneur Michael Lazerow, the #1 mistake entrepreneurs make is lacking focus. Having worked with a number of tech start-ups I would like to put Failure to Structure and Implement an Effective Sales & Marketing Strategy at the top of my list. You see without an effective sales strategy, when sales are slow the "techies" tend to looking inwards at the product, instead of outwards at the customer. Its almost as if they believe that adding new features to the new product will automatically increase sales. For new products, first potential customers need to find out that it exists, secondly find out what it does, then understand how it could work for them, before they even think of buying it. These are the things that will be addressed by an effective S&M strategy, so techie-led businesses especially, need to get that aspect right first instead of spending hundreds of man-hours re-jigging the product to cater for every whimsical need expressed by the first few customers they made their pitch to.