Small business owners are said to be perpetual optimists. I believe optimistic yes–and savvy. Use your savvy this fall to build a success team. Here’s how:
1. Surround yourself with positive people. Stay focused and upbeat through turbulent times. Check out Barry Moltz’s book on resilience. Don’t let the economy get you down, bounce back with a focus on the future and what you can do to influence positive outcomes.
2. Seek out mentors. Don’t go it alone, when you can get an experienced mentor for free and confidential advice. Ask SCORE. SCORE has helped small businesses make it big. Check out Vera Bradley Designs.
3. Search for niche opportunites. Look at your product or service line-up carefully. Are there product or service extensions that will help you increase sales with existing clients. Is there an unmet need that gives you a way to customize a current offering to make it more appealing. Set up 2009 with a focus on adapting what you offer–to what clients may want in this economy.
4. What’s on your mind? What questions do you have? Is there a burning issue you would like to see answered on the blog? Share a comment or question. What do you need to know to succeed in 2009?
It’s hard to estimate expenses for a startup business. Yet those numbers are critical to your success. They are also necessary to convince investors or bankers that your startup will be profitable.
First, a couple of assumptions. I presume you have identified all major expenses. Use a checklist of expense categories like those on the score.org website, so you don’t miss anything. And while some costs are fixed, many expenses depend on your sales projections. We’ll assume you start with reasonable projections for the first two or three years and now just need to identify the related business costs.
Let’s talk about three ways to make the numbers reasonable and believable: competitive quotes, breakdown/roll up, and industry sources. Finally we’ll take a quick look at “free” activities.
1. Competitive Quotes
Researching quotes for outside products and services is THE best way to estimate your costs. Examples of “researchable” costs are rents, build-outs of space, equipment, insurance coverage, attorney fees, outside marketing, PR, software consultants, raw materials, shipping costs, even internet and phone services.
I strongly suggest three competitive quotes for large costs. You will learn about features, and more importantly about exclusions, in the process. The first estimation method, then, is to get competitive quotes.