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Screwing your Business Partner

The indecipherable expression on a young man's face as his business partner threatens to sue him for everything is definitely the best scene of Andrew Sorkin's The Social Network. Mark Zuckerberg just stares at his best friend Eduardo Saverin who is flipping out after being screwed out of their business.  Jesee Eisenberg potrays  Zuckenberg the youngest (self-made) billionaire in the world ($6.9B as at Oct 2010) who built facebook into a network of 500 million friends but lost his only friend along the way. No, this is not a how-to get into your business partners pants post. Rather I want to talk about the little considered but very important relationship that you have with your business partner  and how to balance the pursuit of profit with keeping the friendship going. I cannot overstate the importance of maintaining a healthy friendly relationship with your business partner. As Eduardo found out, the minute the friendship starts deteriorating, so goes the business r

We will send the auctioneers tomorrow

My friend Roger clearly remembers those particular words from the telephone call. After many days anxiously spent waiting for it the bank had called him that sweltering December afternoon. The call effectively put a nail in the coffin for Rogers’ fledgling insurance agency. Twelve months earlier, Roger had started his business with unbridled and unstoppable optimism. He quit his well-paying but stressful job as a marketer in a large company, much to the distress of his pregnant wife.  But Roger quit because he had a dream. He dreamed of giving his unborn son everything he ever wanted. He dreamed of an end to the despondent dependancy on his pay cheque. He dreamed of hours of relaxed recreational family time. Driven by a lucid, Technicolor vision of his dream Roger took a one million shillings loan from the bank to start his agency, only to have the bank take it from him one short year later. The auctioneer came the next day, a greasy-faced, pot-bellied, squinty eyed man wearing a

Differences between a Business Name (Sole-Proprietorship / Partnership) and a Limited Liability Company

While consulting for our online company registration service, Incorporator I find myself answering the question "What is the difference between a sole-proprietorship and a company?" Anybody who is considering starting a business must consider what type of business structure is needed for his or her particular situation. In Kenya there are three types of structures that one can use to start their business. 1. An LLC, or Limited Liability Company 2. A sole proprietorship 3. A Partnership A Sole-proprietorship and a Partnership are registered through the same manner (Form BN/2) with the exception that a partnership has more than one owner and although not necessary, entrepreneurs are advised to register a partnership deed as well. In this article all references to sole-proprietorship also include partnership. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each structure is important when deciding which one you want to use for your company.

Internet in the village

One of my most exciting projects last October/November 2006 was setting up cyber cafes in rural areas. It all started like a joke. A friend of mine wanted to start a business in Njoro (a large shopping centre in the Rift Valley about 25 km from Nakuru town) and he was asking for ideas on the kind of business. Being a self-confessed techie, I spewed out technology dependent business ideas. He politely pointed out that my ideas though good were not viable in Njoro as they needed email/internet facilities to work. We got to discuss how the internet could stir economic activity in Njoro, an area depressed of economic activity after the government ban on forest logging. (Njoro lived of the timber industry pre 2004). My friend then threw down the gauntlet. "Hey Harry, you claim you're an entrepreneur and a techie, why not setup the internet infrastructure in Njoro?" I started to protest but then held off as I thought about it. Could it really be done? What were the challenge