No Romance without Finance
by Thokozane Maloka
The title probably reminds you of an old song by Gwen Guthrie, yes that’s what I had in mind when I wrote it. Let’s reminisce a bit before I get into the real story…
The song is entitled “Ain’t Nothing Goin On But The Rent” and came out in 1986. I used to sing along to this song when I was a kid but never understood the lyrics, and for some funny reason the song has always been regarded as controversial. I think I know why now. The song has been regarded as one of the golddiggers’ anthems but let’s admit it, there’s some truth to it.
What has love got to do with business? Everything. We start businesses based on our passions and we always bet on our strengths to sustain them. I’ve been attending a few pitching sessions and participated in a few — one thing stood out in all of them, entrepreneurs love their ideas, justifiably so. In fact, each time I saw a young start-up entrepreneur in front of a panel of judges and audience, an image of a lover advocating for a bad lover came to mind. As they say love is blind, which may not necessarily be a bad thing but in the business world, the kind of love you have for your idea or business will be forever tested, doubted, and rejected.
Ideas are born everyday, they come and they go, only a few get to be implemented when starting a business. Going back to my title — no romance without finance, the point I’m putting across is that passion or the love ou have for your business is not enough to sustain it, let alone scale it, but it forms a good foundation.
Finance — this is the heart of any business, otherwise without it, you are doing a hobby. You love your idea, and it makes sense to you (obviously it will) but the big question is — can it make you money? After listening to a few pitches, I noticed that the entrepreneurs have fallen so deep in love that they forgot about the finance part that actually sustains the romance. Many struggle to generate money from their brilliant ideas. Before we even talk about the bottom line, let’s consider the top line, revenue. Will the idea, as brilliant as it is, make you money — if not now, then when?
It is hard to start a business from scratch, it is like finding yourself a partner when you have nothing yet, then build assets together, you appreciate that partner even more when money starts rolling — so will you appreciate your business.
My cousin shared an idea that he believed what brilliant, I must admit it was not too bad. I could see the passion in his eyes, and his joy was short-lived when I asked him if he can quantify his idea. Generating an idea is easy but putting it to life is the hard part, you have to get your hands dirty — this is the part that separates men from the boys. For most, it’s just love.
The message is that you need to consider the finance when pursuing romance — it will make more sense in the long run, and remember, ain’t nothing going on but the rent.
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