The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Never Lose Your Capital

Throughout this year I've been sharing with you my inspirational thoughts, experiences and views, with emphasis on the aspects of personal finances.

I now feel that somehow we cannot end the year without having a message based on the area of capital because it plays a big role, not only in businesses and investments, but also in growing personal finance.

The term 'capital' is commonly used to refer to the money and other resources that one uses to begin a business or any other organised project. To add some explanation, the term 'capital' originates from the Latin word 'capitus', which refers to the 'head'. You notice that the word 'capital' also appears in other concepts such as 'capital city' (which refers to head city in a given country) and 'capital punishment' (which used to be executed by cutting off someone's head or by hanging).

Thus, capital has something to do with the head. This is because all ideas that can earn you money, retain it and grow it come from the head (mind). Even if you do not have any money to start with, those good ideas will always attract people who will fund or buy them. That's why someone should never say they have no capital to start business because that would imply that they do not have good ideas at all.

My message today is that we should watch over our capital to ensure that we may never lose it. Once you have something you treasure, you watch over it closely. If you love your spouse, you will keep an eye on him/her to make sure you don't lose them. When I was dating I would meet my fiancée regularly even if I had nothing special to say to her. I just didn't want to lose her. And I never did. The same should be done for our capital.

Allow me share with you two key rules that have been guiding me in business when it comes to money:

First, "Never lose your capital". Second, "By all means, never forget the first rule". No matter what you go through; even if you make loses, always make sure your capital is secure. This is because once you lose your capital then you have nothing to turn to but rather to begin afresh. It's like easting your seed and leave yourself with nothing to plant except buying or begging from other people.

There are several reasons why people lose capital. One is excitement that makes one overspend, especially on luxuries that do not bring returns. Secondly, there's investing without good research which makes people put their money in unviable ventures. Thirdly, some people lose their capital because of entrusting it to other people (relatives, employees or business partners) who are not trustworthy. Lastly but not least, some people simply make wrong decisions. For instance, I know someone who paid 6 months' rent for a room in a new arcade before deciding what business he was going to do in that premises.

My experience in business has taught me that losing capital is one of the grave mistakes anyone can make. Note that, sometimes your capital is not necessarily money, but rather what you started with that bring you money. Personally I started with so little money that my major capital was mainly in form of my skills, talents and networks of people that I knew. It's those that brought me money.

As we prepare to close the year, I would wish to challenge you to think about what your capital really is and then lay strategies to watch over it, day and night, so that you may never lose it. Your capital could be your creativity, customer care or quality of products. Never lose it.

Bake is the MD WORLD OF INSPIRATION & Founder, AUTHORS' FORUM +256-704666851.

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