The biggest failure I experienced in life was when I lost my business and the shame associated with it.
I was so excited and my eyes widened up when I first learned about VSLA at a Micro-finance meeting I attended in Ghana.
Hmmm, this is a good idea for these women (the women my organization was supporting to know how to have a livelihood and take care of their families), this will help them support their families financially, I thought.
My excitement to help the women with this new concept over-shadowed the reality of what goes into the project to achieve this goal, finance.
The administrative cost and managing VSLA is a lot of financial investment, which cannot be retrieved back or brings you any profit in return.
So getting corporate sponsor support is very important, which I was hoping to get, but when it was delaying, I borrowed money to manage the work which backfired on me because I didn’t get the donor support I needed.
Consider Your Cost
“As the Bible says, For which of you, wishing to build a farm building, does not first sit down and calculate the cost (to see) whether he has sufficient means to finish it? Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation and is unable to complete (the building), all who see it will begin to mock and jeer at him, saying the man began to build and was not able (worth enough) to finish, (Luke 14:28-30).”
This was exactly what happened in my case, I did not calculate the cost of how I was going to pay back the loan I borrowed for the work.
Though, we were able to complete the first cycle of the first group of Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) concept for the year.
The group members were excited because now they have capitals to expand their petty trading and also take of their families, but I was in ‘hot’, financially.
The Cause of Joy and Sorrow
It was a joy to me to see them happy and sharing their testimonies of how the concept has help them and their farm work and small business, but I couldn’t sleep at night because the debtors were by now at my neck.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I made.
So before you begin any project in life, be it for the family, friend or business, consider the cost of all that will goes into it. Your time, money, energy, manpower, the end result, how much you have to put into it and is there a positive plan ‘B’ if it backfires?
Also, ask yourself these four (4) questions; why, where, when and how you will accomplish this project you’re embarking on?
“The blessings of the Lord-it makes (truly) rich, and He adds no sorrow with it (neither does toiling increase it), (Proverbs 10:22).”
I was doing a good work by helping these women to have a better life, but I wasn’t wise for not considering the cost which intend became a sorrowful move and brought a lot of shame to me.
It wasn’t God’s fault that I went through what I went through, His blessings makes rich and adds no sorrow but the decision to allow Him help me with what He has given me in every stage is a choice I have to make.
I remember He gave me the ‘red light’ of not starting the concept right away by using my board and my husband to talk me out of it but I was thinking of how the women would be liberated from their financial hardships and did not listen to any of their advices.
The thing is, you only can give what you have, and I did not have the means but I still wanted to give out of an empty shell.
You may want to consider these points before taking any financial decisions;
- Consider whether it’s the right timing to start the project
- Have a plan and an expected goal.
- Think of how you plan to finance the project, whether from your own pocket or get support from somewhere else.
- Have an alternative or backup idea, if the project doesn’t succeed as you expected.
- Involve people who have knowledge of what you want to do and ready to help.
- Always separate business finances from housekeeping monies.