Entrepreneurship

5 Phases Of A Start-Up

About 15 months ago my partner and I started a business we knew nothing business exists in a highly regulated industry in which we had no experience and in which we (personally) lacked the professional licenses demanded by nearly every government known to our business, success often comes as a result of referrals from other professionals within the industry.Professionals who we didn’t know and who didn’t seem too interested in knowing us.

Nevertheless, 15 months later Revita Rehab,a specialized physical and rehabilitation therapy clinic, is still open for business. Through a lot of hard more a little bit of luck. And an unwillingness to cry “uncle,” we’ve kept the lights on and are now moving quickly into the next phase,our third, of this start-up. Over the next few posts I want to share our journey. If only to remind myself of where we’ve perhaps to help anyone reading this to hang onto their own start-up dreams.

First some background. I’ve been consulting for a long time and am living proof of the saying, “Those who can’t do, teach. And those who really can’t do but are too inept to teach, consult.”Several years into it, I took a detour from the world of independents to the more structured world of public accounting. Although they may not be willing to admit it, I worked for a time at Moss Adams, a fine (and fairly large) company filled with CPAs and governed by a non-sensical need to measure “billable hours” to validate success. It’s a goofy system that no one seemed to like including both clients (why am I always charged for these phone calls) and professionals (I know that my clients hate it when I charge them for being on the phone).I became “unfunded” – which had the same effect of being laid off, and went back on my own.

In all this time I worked with engineers, architects, law firms, financial advisors, manufacturers, contractors, retailers, butchers, bakers and candlestick makers (okay … I’m stretching things a bit) but never anyone in the medical experience there was limited to a twice yearly visit to my dentist (who always seems to find things to fix that cost right at the amount of my insurance coverage) and a rare visit to get a physical (where my doctor didn’t even buy me a drink before … ).

My partner, Steve, had even less experience than me. He was however a lot more enthusiastic. And he still is. Which is sort of like having a happy paddler in front of the canoe when closing in on a know you’re going to die, but dang, before you do you’ll have the time of your life! Steve keeps me excited about what we are doing. I keep him grounded.

In August of 2009 we looked at a company needing some money to had been in business for 20 years and asked us to help them raise a half-a-million should have been a warning, right? Why does a 20 year old business need private equity investments to grow when the costs are at least two times more than debt? We met with the CEO and looked over the business plan through eyes clouded over with the promise of making a bazillion (or more) for our efforts,we asked for the rights to develop therapy clinics using the company’s recently patented equipment.I’ll talk about that next when I cover Phase 1:The Big Idea.

Real Entrepreneurship is Focused on Creating Positive Cash Flow

According to Wikipedia an Entrepreneur is someone who is willing to launch a new venture or enterprise and accept full responsibility for the outcomes. He or she is seeking profit through the use of initiative and the acceptance of personal risk. And yet at some point in the mid-1990s entrepreneurship became subverted. Every man and his dog became an overnight entrepreneur – due in no small part to the easy access to money. All that was needed was a well crafted business plan, a snappy PowerPoint presentation, inspiring “elevator pitch” and sufficient persistence to convince some institution or sceptical stranger to lend them the money. Whether the plan was viable, thought out beyond “secure funding” or whether there was genuinely a market for the offering seemed secondary as more and more people declared themselves an “entrepreneur” and hopped aboard the dotcom express.

People would cite companies like Amazon as examples of companies that didn’t make a profit for years and yet are valued in astronomical figures. But for every Amazon there are thousands of failures who chewed through the funding with lavish offices and slick marketing campaigns only to fold before making any profit whatsoever.

But let’s get real here – a business is not a business and you are not an entrepreneur until and unless you are generating positive cash flow. Cash flow is king. It is the lifeblood of every business. The business people we really respect are the ones who have lifted themselves up to success through sheer hard work, determination and strategy. They are the people who couldn’t get “seed funding” or “capital injections”, the ones that had to be smart and savvy to make ends meet and find ways to generate income from the start. They are the real entrepreneurs.

The real entrepreneurs are still using their initiative to manage risk and generate a profit but their focus is on acquiring or creating cash flows not on creating endless business plans that look good on paper but deliver nothing of value in the real world. In an era of easy money and get rich quick schemes we have forgotten one of the golden rules of successful entrepreneurship; create something that people want and are willing pay for.

What is the point of being in debt if the business you own or the assets you own don’t produce an income that is greater than the money needed to service the debt? In business we sometimes talk about the size of the entity as a means of avoiding the issue of cash flow and profit. Who cares if your business has a turnover of $50 million, if the business is spending $51 million there is no positive cash flow and no real business. If you’re still unsure about this distinction;

Repeat three times daily until the delusion goes away;

With cash flow I’m an entrepreneur; without it I’m not…

It’s impossible to create genuine wealth without income or cash flow – a fact that has been known for thousands of years although conveniently forgotten in recent history.

Even the ancient Babylonians knew this truth over 8000 years ago. George S Clason talks of this Commandment in his classic little book The Richest Man in Babylon. He refers to it as “The Third Cure” to a lean purse which states, “Put each coin to labouring that it may reproduce its kind even as the flocks of the field and help bring to thee income, a stream of wealth that shall flow constantly into thy purse.”

Successful entrepreneurs are always looking for streams of wealth that will constantly flow into their purse. They do that through buying or creating entities that generate income or cash flow with or without their daily involvement. That could mean buying positively geared investment properties, shares that provide a dividend or investing in or creating a successful business. It is the positive cash flow that makes these equity investments viable because they generate money instead of spending money. A real entrepreneur is not interested in “paper profits” or inherent value – they are seeking positive cash flow which can be used to buy additional wealth creating assets or re-invest in the business. A business is only viable and genuinely wealth creating if it makes more than it spends and generates cash flow for growth and investment. It is the cash flow that feeds the business, allows it to prosper so that the business can eventually be sold and its value realised.

If you’re a business owner seek out every possible way to reduce your expenses, increase your sales and improve your ability to generate not just one, but many cash flow positions. This is what the most successful business people do to become wealthy. They create or acquire ‘cash flows’ for a future sale or exit. If you own assets ensure they are positively geared and that you are generating and acquiring positive cash flow[s] at all times. The future success of your enterprise depends upon it.

Couple of Non-Business Books For Must Entrepreneurial Reading

Every couple of months I like to take some time to share with others any books I’ve read that are particularly great, or helped change me for the better…- Entrepreneurial reading helps expand my personal and business world, and often is focused on personal development.

It might surprise you, but I don’t only read just books on real estate and investing, marketing and internet marketing, but a lot of what I DO read gets filtered through those glasses- searching for ways to incorporate what I’ve learned into my life and business. These are some recent books I think you, too, should check out if you’ve got a business of your own or plan to have one some day.

Recently I read Mitch Albom’s “Tuesdays with Morrie”, AGAIN. This slight little book is one that could fit in your hip pocket, but packs an emotional punch that’ll hit you right in the gut. We truly do not have forever to live, and that can be a humbling thought. More humbling still, is how little what most people do will last beyond their own passing. This book shows how much influence just ONE person you touch can have on the world, taking what you yourself hoped to accomplish in life and rocketing it off into the stratosphere. It really makes you keep yourself aware of opportunities to help OTHER people grow, in addition to looking out for yourself.

Tony Robbins’ “Awaken the Giant Within” is also a great journey between pages with a personal development focus. Tony Robbins didn’t invent the self-help genre; he just branded it his own. While I don’t know him personally or particularly agree with all the values he seems to espouse, he definitely knows what he’s talking about when it comes to developing your own personal power. Each of us has within ourselves a tremendous capacity to achieve the results we dream about- are you ready to unleash it? This book can help you change yourself, and change is what it’s all about for those seeking to increase or improve.

I’d consider Robert Cialdini’s “Influence: The Science and Practice of Persuasion” book entrepreneurial reading, a must have for anyone who wants to learn how we as human beings respond to the influence of others around us. If you can’t figure out a business application, or fifty for that kind of knowledge, then I just can’t help you! Cialdini talks about how and why we make decisions, what automatic mechanisms control us in the increasingly fast-paced world where decisions are made on the fly and most (to a VERY high degree) are made beneath a conscious level by our subconscious because there simply isn’t enough time in the day to consciously stop and make all the little decisions we need to make to move through our day. Of course, he shares a number of strategies on how we can develop our own selves through channeling the power of communication to influence and persuade others. The more I get out there into the business world, the more I see how tantamount this skill is– of enlisting the aid, cooperation, or blessing of others is to our pursuit of success.

Conrad Hilton’s “Be My Guest” is another excellent book. That is a man with a dream that wouldn’t quit. I may write an entire article on this one alone. If you have real estate interests, just go read it and thank me later!

If there is a book that has touched your life in some way, visit one of my websites and contact our offices to tell me about it. I’ll check it out and share the results with all our friends and the tens of thousands of members of Real Deal Community, our free social network for Real Estate Investors. For now, be blessed and remember: when you read something that means something, do something about it and it’ll mean even more.- Be committed to entrepreneurial reading, and share the wealth of knowledge!

Get To Fnd Out Just What OC3 Can Perform For You

Among the foremost tool for online entrepreneurs to do well in their line of business is to be up to date with the most current technologies profitable to them. One of many prime reasons that an online business works is due to its net connectivity and also the networking tools applied. Should you be among those online entrepreneurs who needs to make it big in the online world, make certain assessments of what you have and most importantly, what you do not have.

Escalating your business on-line is not as really easy as it seems, but then once again, not that complicated if you really understand what you have to have and do. To start with, a high speed net connection is really a must. You need to know by now that high speed net connectivity can get you ahead each competitor concerning security, data transmission and also a lot more. In the event you are not acquainted with OC3 technology or the third optical carrier, this tool is really a must have for you on-line business to be on top. OC3 is a modern networking tool which is truly great because it is actually directly proportional to a data transmission speed making usage of its digital signal.

OC3 is also termed as synchronous transmission line Module 1. It’s a simple transmission rate of the International Telecommunication Union standard plus the Synchronous Digital Hierarchy. OC3 is a strong tool and has similar speed with that of a Synchronous Transport Signal 3 Line which bears electrical signal. When OC3 is not a multiplexed signal, Point C is included to it.

The next key thing to look into once you’ve already discovered the very best tools and applications for the business is certainly the costs. OC3 prices are versatile and so you should really do your study and watch out for bids principally on specialized service packages out in the market. It’s imperative to master what your business wants concerning systems prerequisites to set its operations flowing smoothly. Look for the ideal service providers that will give you not just very good technologies yet will even provide you with good costs as well as support teams to support you as you go along.

Writing a Business Plan Effectively For Free

Writing a business plan can be a daunting activity if it is the first time you’ve tackled such a detailed, thorough project. Too often, entrepreneurs rely upon templates or a sample business plan as an example for their own proposal, and in the process lose the creativity and energy that they have about their idea. There are many options for writing a persuasive and effective business plan without spending a lot of money on a writing coach, proposal writer, or additional resources.

Web Resources

Chances are, you’re already relied on the internet to gain guidance about projects you’ve never done before, or looked up instructions for a complicated process. There’s a lot of information online about writing a business plan and you can easily find a sample business plan, but not all of that information is quality, or worth your time. So how do you effectively search for web resources that will actually help you instead of wasting your time? Much like any kind of internet research, the tip is to begin by using only credible resources. In addition to searching for “writing a business plan”, or “sample business plan”, type in “business school” as well. Many business schools around the nation have free, available information for the public on how to write a business plan. They may include links to area-specific resources, or provide tutorials or downloads for a sample business plan.

Another great resource for writing a business plan is your local Small Business Administration center. Most major cities have these types of small-business assistance resources, either in a brick-and-mortar office or online. These SBA websites almost always offer comprehensive resources for start-ups like a sample business plan, business plan development ideas, events, counseling and training services, and local resources. Check to see if your SBA website has free, online business planning webinars. Even if you local chapter doesn’t offer them, you can easily find a website in another region that does. These online seminars are typically self-paced, 30-minute long resources that help you understand the components of writing a business plan (which provide much more insight than a simple sample business plan), and may be offered in a variety of languages.

Podcasts are another web resource that not many people think of when they think “business plan”. True, you don’t get the same visual education from a podcast as you do from a webinar, but listening to someone describe the process might be just what you need to motivate you while on a long commute, at the gym, or sitting at home. And with a lack of visual information, they might seem less overwhelming than looking at an online presentation or sample business plan.

Books and Printed Material

The internet is a fantastic resource for writing a business plan, but for some people, nothing beats a good old-fashioned book. Your local library has entire sections dedicated to the multiple aspects of business development, and you can be sure to find several books about how to write a business plan. Best of all – these are free! If your local branch does not have the book you’re looking for, check the catalog and request a book transfer. Sometimes, the perfect books about writing an effective business plan or ideas for a sample business plan are just an inter-library loan away.

Be sure to check out your local college library as well. Often, academic libraries will have more comprehensive business planning books than local libraries, and may offer a wider selection of in-depth materials regarding not only writing a business plan, but strategizing how to continue with your business development afterward. Keep in mind that many university libraries are open only to students, so call the resource desk before you make a special trip onto the campus.

Seminars

If you do have a SBA resource center in your area, check their calendar of events to see if they offer periodic classes or workshops, or can help you rework a sample business plan. Often, an SBA will offer a class dedicated to writing a business plan – at no cost! The advantage of attending a live seminar as opposed to an online seminar is that you can often ask the facilitator questions at the end which you can’t do online. Typically, the person leading the course is a professional with years or decades of experience crafting effective business plans. They’ll likely be able to assist you with tips, tricks, and shortcuts to develop a plan.

Finally, it’s important to consider that when you’re writing a business plan, you don’t want to cut corners or rely on a sample business plan from a book or website. The business plan is a representation of your professionalism and your desire to succeed, and the quality of your content should reflect this. So while tips and tricks are good for making the most out of your time and resources, it’s never a good idea to gloss over important aspects of your plan – namely, the quality of your writing. While writing a business plan necessitates the inclusion of facts, figures, numbers, graphs, financials, etc., the narrative surrounding the why of your proposal is what will likely draw people into helping you achieve your vision. Do you sound passionate about your product? Do you sound knowledgeable? Does it sound like you have what it takes to not only start your business but develop it and work through anticipated and unseen challenges? No? Does it sound like you relied on a sample business plan instead? Well it may be a good idea to check out some of the writing seminars available for assistance with writing a business plan. Many of these seminars do cost some money, although others can be attended for a very nominal fee. Courses like these can help you find your “voice” and deliver a more compelling proposal.

The most important thing to consider when writing a business plan is to take your time, be thorough, be accurate, and above all, believe in yourself and your product. Don’t just rely on a sample business plan, create a proposal that you’re proud of, and that you are convinced will compel others to help you realize your dream.