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How Can I Be Cost-Conscious But Revenue-Driven in my Business?

Dec 24, 2007
You're getting pulled in two different directions. As the owner of a start-up business into which you've probably put a bunch of your own (or the bank's) money, you're in a battle from minute one to get the business cash flowing so it can survive.

As you fight to stay in the black (or minimize how far into the red you go), you'll be looking every day at two aspects of your business: your costs and your revenues (sales). I know one of the most exciting things for a new business owner is to see some real revenues coming in. The problem with revenues is they're very deceiving.

If all you do is let yourself get caught up in the excitement of having people actually give you some of their hard-earned money, you run the risk of not noticing that you're not keeping any of it. In fact, you might be spending more than they're giving you.
I know there are a lot of "entrepreneurs" out there who say "Don't worry about it. All businesses lose money at first. It's part of the game." That may be partially true. But I'm guessing if you're reading this article you're not amazon.com that can afford to lose money for years because of the nearly endless pool of venture capital at your disposal.

So how can you be cost conscious but still focused on growth in your business? You have to be willing to stop and evaluate everything you're spending your precious cash and your precious time on. If you come up with a list of one hundred ways you're spending your time and money right now, you should rank them according to which ones will have the greatest short term benefit in terms of cash flow.

Here are some things that should immediately be cut out: frivolous "networking" expenses (lunches, conventions, gifts for prospective business associates, etc), excessive office toys (use your home computer and printer, get cheap furniture, etc), and "branding" expenses.

Money spent on branding is my favorite thing new entrepreneurs do. Do they really believe buying eight thousand ball point pens with their logo on them is going to create sales? Be smarter than that.

Use your business capital in ways that will only take one or two steps to cause business to close. For example: pay per click advertising with bids that you can afford, but still allow you to test what will make you profitable.

You can spend $50 on ppc advertising and learn a lot about the quality of your ad copy and whether anybody wants your product. You don't need to get a $2000 per month billboard with a one-year lease you won't be able to get out of once you realize billboards aren't the right move for you.

If you look up 'temperance' in the dictionary you'll see that it means self-restraint. What does that have to do with entrepreneurship? It means you have to be temperate in your drive toward your financial goals.
Throw all your passion, determination, and creativity into your dream. That's the only way it will survive and potentially thrive. Just make sure that in your zeal to succeed you don't move so quickly you rob yourself of the most precious, and most scarce, resource you have - cash.
About the Author
Jeremy loads his extra gear into his hitch mounted cargo carriers. He shares his towing knowledge and experience at www.trailerhitchuniverse.com.
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