h1

How To Save Money as an African Startup

May 7, 2009

I found a African version of the previous post…by http://appfrica.net

I\’m waiting for your comments and experiences about this \”African\” version

Jason Calacanis recently wrote a blog post entitled “How to save money running a startup (17 really good tips)” that got me thinking. Does any of this apply to my business here in Uganda? If so what and why? It turned out a lot applied. I’ve bootstrapped this company from nothing, and now I’m still bootstrapping for the sake of my investors at Kuv Capital so I do have some insight into cutting costs. So I decided to do a redux of the Calacanis article for Africa, specifically Uganda, to let you know my tips for keeping costs down as a startup here…

  • 1. Buy second-hand laptops, spend a lot on ram and run Ubuntu on them. In most parts of Africa the power grid isn’t stable resulting in frequent outages or ‘hiccups’. Laptops will be immune to these drops in powers as the battery is always ready to kick in when it needs to. Also, if the Internet drops, you can send your employees to a cyber cafe to work so they don’t lose any days. For most office tasks the processing power of a computer is irrelevant, all you need is a lot of storage space and ram. Even in a software company like mine, all my guys are running nothing faster than 2.0ghz processors. You can always buy one powerhouse machine for compiling but in most cases this isn’t necessary. Another point is that laptops can be used from anywhere. I have a few guys who work as hard at home as they do at work. This not only saves time, but helps projects get completed faster, thus saving money.
  • 2. Buy an inverter. Here in Kampala, we lose on average about 5 hours a week to power outages. That’s twenty hours per month, nearly a whole day! Across a year, that’s nearly an half a month you’re paying your staff to sit around and do nothing. Do the math on that. Actually, the more you spend on your inverter and batteries, the longer it will last. I have friend who spent about 5 grand on a power solution that can last him up to three days if necessary. Very rarely is there a lost workday due to power for him.
  • 3. Hire a cook. Most African cities have massive traffic problems. Even if you designate a ‘lunch hour’ most people will be late or they’ll spend a lot of time waiting around to reheat their lunches. Instead I’ve hired a cook at about 100 dollars a month. I spend about 300 a month on food but I’ve also factored that into everyone’s salaries so it’s not an unaccounted for cost. From an accounting perspective, the staff has already paid for their lunch, I’m just providing it for them.

more tips here

Advertisements

One comment

  1. Cook at the workplace?
    It’s very funny. you should also have an ermergency line to the firemen lol…



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: