Cheat Sheet Q&A:
Today’s topic: Best practices for a startup business or one that’s ready to grow
Bottom Line: I recently met with a local entrepreneur who is in consideration for the TV show “Shark Tank”. He has made it to the second round of consideration for the show and wanted input to refine his business plan and maximize his business opportunity. I shared customized best practices that I’ve developed based on my own entrepreneurial experiences as well as ideas I’ve learned from successful entrepreneurs over time. Here are those best practices in generic form for you to customize for your venture:
- Define your target market
- Define a plan to succeed with your target market with your MVP (minimum viable product) here is a link to further the thought process: http://theleanstartup.com/principles
- Use hard numbers to demonstrate your potential target market based on the geography that you’ll be seeking to win business in from day one
- Demonstrate your cash flow with various levels of penetration. Ex: 1% of the target market converted would equal X dollars in revenue, 5% would equal etc.
- Remember to seek patent protection if you have something proprietary to protect
Once you've completed the above analysis:
- Define secondary markets (areas you’d like to eventually grow into)
- The additional product offerings that you envision growing into after you’ve established success with your MVP
- Be prepared to explain why/how you'll remain viable and will grow even if a large competitor attempts to compete directly with your product or service
- Have a 30 second (or less) explanation of what your venture is/will do for the person who's not familiar with your or your venture
Hopefully that’s something that can be beneficial for you to apply to your startup or even existing business.
If you have a topic or question you’d like me to address email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you've been turned down for credit you've got company:
Bottom Line: If you’re applying for credit do you feel like the odds are stacked against you? If so you’re right.
- Just 39% of loan applications are currently being approved
Now clearly your credit quality will play a significant role in you odds of success but even excellent credit won’t ensure success. Here is the breakdown by credit score:
- Subprime (below 659): 17%
- Prime (660-719): 59%
- Superprime (720+): 86%
So as you can tell virtually anyone could potentially be turned down for a line of credit. There are positives related to financial regulation reform which ensures that banks aren’t anywhere near as leveraged as they were prior to the financial crisis. One of the negatives is this more difficult loan environment that greatly limits the access to credit for those who may truly be credit worthy. Persistence may be required to obtain the loan you seek but don’t get too discouraged (unless you truly are a significant credit risk) most people who seek a loan of any type will get turned down before getting an approval.
Stop renting and buy already (if you can):
Bottom Line: I’ve shared information recently (from Trulia) which demonstrated that the value proposition of renting vs. buying a like property in South Florida is overwhelmingly in favor of buying if you intend to live in the same place for 3+ years. Still the homeownership rate continues to decline. US homeownership just hit its lowest level since 1995.
- US homeownership stands at just 64.8% (down from 69% 5 years ago)
So why do I care about lower homeownership? We’ve discussed how little the average American has saved for retirement relative to what will be necessarily. I’ve also outlined how real-estate has the second highest rate of appreciation of any investment class historically (4% per year). For the average American owning a home is what creates the majority of their accumulated wealth. Take the average property in our area. The average home in South Florida is currently selling for about $265,000. At the average historic rate of appreciation that home will be worth $323,564 in five years. That’s $58,564 in equity created (not counting principal paid off) that would not exist by renting that home.
If you don’t plan on living in the same area for a minimum of three years and/or if you don’t have the means to be able to buy then renting makes sense. Otherwise it’s generally a wealth and long term quality of living destroying decision.
The economy is going to be just fine. Here's why:
Bottom Line: The 1st quarter GDP report was brutal. No economist thought it would be good by any means. The average estimate for economic growth was projected at about 1.3%, or more than 1% below where we ended 2013. The record winter weather was certain to have disrupted the economy in a significant way. That being said no one thought it would be as anemic as the initial report indicated. Just 0.1%. If it were any lower we’d be going backward. So naturally a certain amount of worry over what this may mean for our current and future economy ensued. After sorting through the information I’m comfortable that the economy will immediately rebound significantly in the 2nd quarter (that we’re currently in). How? Why?
Consumer spending accounts for 70% of US economic activity and grow. In the 1st quarter consumer spending actually rose by 3% year over year. Meanwhile business activity fell through the floor. Now about 1.3% of the increase in spending was related to the higher cost of energy and healthcare specifically but about half of it was a discretionary increase. You can almost envision half of the country frozen in place at home, bored and buying stuff online. With consumer activity well outpacing business activity, at a minimum businesses will have to replace inventory and we’ll see a sharp snap back in business spending. If we, as consumers, continue to spend at a 3%+ year over year level – we’ll see 2.5+ economic growth in the second quarter. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it turns out to be better than 3%.
Lessons learned from the Great Recession:
Bottom Line: It’s clear that like our parents and grand parents who were forever changed by the Great Depression, we’ve been forever changed by the Great Recession. For the third consecutive year the percentage of Americans who enjoy saving more than spending has increased. According to Gallup’s annual survey:
- 62% of Americans prefer to save while just 34% prefer to spend
The 62% figure tied an all-time high for this survey. This appears to be a structural change in our behavior and attitude towards our personal finances. And it’s a good thing.