Starting your business with a spreadsheet

I get a request a week from someone in my network looking for advice in turning their concept into a business. There are a ton of talented people with great ideas but I like to get people thinking about,  “Does your idea support enough margin and a large enough market to build a business?” The reply I usually get is; “All the people(read friends & family)  that I have talked to LOVE the idea.” There is a big difference between a hobby that you love and business that can support you paying the rent. Just because you love to cook does not mean you are cut out to build a menu with the margin needed to pay the rent on 5,000 square feet of restaurant on Church Street. The majority of people I talk to might be better off keeping their endeavor at the hobby level. Where it is still fun, the time commitment is manageable, and the extra money makes for a nice winter vacation to the Caribbean. Don’t get me wrong I’m a huge supporter of starting your own endeavor. I’m on my 6th and we clearly need more entrepreneurs/small business owners in America. All I’m saying is start your dream with a concept and a spreadsheet. Then get realistic feedback from current business owners in your niche/industry.

Resources:

sba.gov – Actually has some good resources especially around Loans

score.org – Can hook you up with a local mentor and has extensive online courses on the basics

Jaxworks.com – A set of free basic excel files

inc.com – Has many good articles and tools. I’m also a fan of there one page worksheet to get the concept grounded.

ShipIt – Seth Godin’s great workbook on helping you to be inspired and ship often.