In business, you should always think like you’re operating a start-up. So even if you expand to fifty franchise locations, always be of the mindset that it’s an uphill battle.
I’ve had to restart my firm a few times, so I know what it’s like to take that point of view. We recently discussed some ways to help small businesses and start-ups survive year one, but it doesn’t mean always looking 365 days from the exact date you started.
Keep It Lean
Whenever you think you want to spend, try to show some serious restraint and spend on the necessities. The goal is to quickly get the company to to break even and then to eventually profit.
Of course, each business has different necessities. There is no ultimate list. However, if you’re in a typical office setting, you can trim down on amenities to start. In your first year, if you can live without it, then live without it. One of the more obvious items from which I dissuade clients is a company car. My Manhattanite clients, for example, don’t need it.
Extremely fancy meals need to be kept to a minimum, too. Major restaurants like Delmonico’s shouldn’t be frequented unless you’re positive it will woo a client or you’re celebrating the successful wooing of one. Those sorts of expenses need to be kept in check. Even hitting Dos Toros too often can eat into your funds (but it’s sooooo good).
We’ve discussed home office deductions and how you can start your business out of a small space, like your apartment. The goal is to eventually move out of that space, but that doesn’t mean you need to go office space hunting.
I’m a proponent of the pre-arranged office space locations like WeWork and Regus suites. You’re subletting space and those little money eaters — like coffee, refrigerators, and even stirrers — are taken care of. They’re built in to your rent, sure, but if you have a caffeine addiction like mine, it can save you some dough and help you focus on getting the work done.
Don’t think of day #365 as an expiration date. The key to running a small business in the early stages is flexibility, which these sorts of locations provide.
We’ll be continuing this discussion again shortly. Your comments are making their way to the posts, so always feel free to leave more or contact Brinen & Associates to discuss how you can keep your business fiscally fit.
For those of you who just can’t get enough of my thoughts on small businesses, please visit here to hear my time as Michael Kessler’s guest on Business Profits in the Real World.