Categorized | Business Authors

Creating Startup Success

Business Startup 101: From Great Idea to Profit...Quick!

Chris Gattis

A short authors bio

Chris Gattis has helped hundreds of people just like you become successful entrepreneurs. He knows how to hone a business model, analyze its viability, launch a business and keep it growing. Chris applies his real world knowledge with the skill that only comes from years of experience. His wide range of hands-on expertise includes finance, manufacturing, marketing and sales. In addition, he has done extensive work with local planning and zoning authorities. Chris has a unique combination of business skills that make his advice and counsel invaluable and indispensable to his many clients. Chris is also an active speaker, teacher, coach, workshop leader and frequent talk radio guest. In 1984, Chris started Blue Point Strategies to provide advisory services to companies and individuals dealing with business start-up, financial and operations management, and site selection needs.

 

A book synopsis / Key Ideas

Business Start-up 101 is a ‘how to’ guide for starting a business with foreword by Michael E. Gerber, author of The E-Myth Revisited. It answers the question: ‘How do I start my own small business?’ It walks entrepreneurs through the entire process of starting a business: from getting your personal financial act together, developing a business model, testing viability by projecting profitability and cash flow and writing a business plan. It’s a step-by-step guide in plain language without the management theory nonsense.

Why did you write this book?

As a business coach and workshop leader, I was constantly developing templates, creating tools and formulas to help hopeful entrepreneurs get started on the right foot. Over a twenty year period and with hundreds of clients, I developed a system for business planning that helps entrepreneurs feel confident about their chances of success. Rather than constantly recreating the tools and materials that I needed for clients, I put it all in one place in an easy to read how to guide. I also developed simple MS Excel template tools for many of the common statements and analysis needed by folks trying to start their dream business. The book is a quick, easy-to-read guide with free downloadable tools from my website. You don’t have to give me your information or subscribe to a newsletter, just go to the site and download the templates that you need. I’m trying to help people create success in their lives.

write a paragraph stating why readers should buy your book and what they will get out of it after reading it.

Entrepreneurs should buy this book if they are interested in starting a business. Business Start-up 101 will guide you through evaluating a business idea to determine if it makes financial sense and then getting started on the right foot so that you can create a success.

 

Creating Startup Success

Do you have a blog?

On my blog http://blog.bluepointstrategies.com/, I discuss topics of concern for small business owners and hopeful entrepreneurs. I try to find ways of relating a business point through sometimes unique subjects. For instance, one of my more popular blog posts series was on what entrepreneurs can learn from the Boy Scouts. In one post, I looked at the Boy Scout Motto: Be Prepared! http://bit.ly/ncjLhj. There’s an obvious tie in with entrepreneurs there, making plans, creating standards and systems and measuring your performance. It’s the extra little step that means the difference between success and normal performance. I try to highlight those differences and help entrepreneurs find their own success.

Do you do speaking events?

I do workshops, classes and talks about small business and entrepreneurial topics. The most common topic I speak about is writing a business plan. In this workshop, which tends to follow the plot of my book, we work through developing yourself and your organization and how to use some simple business tools to avoid some of the most common management problems. For example, I like to use a simple organization chart as a tool for building an organization that works today, but also serves as a guide for your successful future.

I encourage participants to spend some time doing blue sky thinking about their dreams and ultimate hopes for success. We draw a picture of what that their successful organization looks like in the form an organization chart. This chart then serves several purposes including making sure that someone is covering all the bases in your new organization. Simple problems like, “I thought you were sending out the invoices” or “I thought you were making the collection calls” can be avoided with a clear understanding of who is doing what. In a startup organization, there tends to be confusion about the lines of responsibility since you have one or two people and not an accounting department, a sales force and manufacturing group. The tasks are spread around in a sometimes random manner based on who says they’ll do what. Important pieces can be missed without some plan for dealing with the important tasks. An organization chart also serves as an opportunity to assign the right person to the right slots. Just because you are the majority owner of the business, doesn’t mean you are the right person to be president or VP of Sales or R&D Director. We use an organization chart to help match the strengths and weaknesses of the management team to the right areas of responsibility to create success in the organization. A third and very important use for a blue sky organization chart is that it serves as a goal for the organization. You may create an organization chart and then put your name in every box. But if the chart is laid out for a successful future organization, you can substitute other names as your organization matures and watch your successful company grow into the business of your dreams.

I spend lots of time helping people understand how to evaluate their business model to make sure they don’t throw away their life’s savings on a hare-brained idea. It’s difficult enough to succeed with a great idea, much less with an idea that’s not viable. The bulk of this four hour workshop is devoted to creating a successful organization and a viable plan. It’s really all about ‘business planning’ not the business plan document.

I also do workshops on strategic planning for small business, creating a marketing plan, developing an effective elevator pitch and creating business financial projections. Other than the strategic planning workshop, my workshops are aimed at the startup process. With so much fear from economic uncertainty and potential job loss, many smart people are taking matters into their own hands and starting their own business. I try to help people create a successful business enterprise, not a self-employment job.

Do you have a YouTube video URL?

My YouTube channel

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4ymjMP7Sjc&feature=channel_video_title

has some video posts from by blog as well as interviews and book launch video.

What is the worst advice you ever got?

By far, the worst advice I ever got was to ‘just do it!’ I also hear other so-called advisors telling hopeful entrepreneurs to just launch their business and see what happens. Wow, how scary is that?

I believe one of the biggest reasons people don’t start their business, but just sit on hold is fear. They aren’t sure that their great idea is really a great idea. The reason people have fear is they haven’t done their homework. You first have to do your business planning to prove viability. That is, will real people pay real money in sufficient quantity to meet your needs? If you don’t know the answer to that viability question, then you need to do more work on your business model. If all your research is completed, you understand your competition and overall market environment, your business projections are conservative and suggest a good level of profitability, you have enough capital to support your cash flow needs, well then maybe it’s time to just do it. But there are significant questions that need to be answered first. This is your life and your life’s savings we’re talking about; don’t let anybody talk you into starting your business until you are ready.

Is there a way to reduce the risk of starting a new business?

One of the best ways to reduce the risk of starting a new business is to start it on a part-time basis. For many people, working their regular job during the day and starting their new venture slowly reduces the risk of failure considerably. A slower start typically means less startup funds are needed. If the entrepreneur decides that the business isn’t for them, they can probably shut it down fairly easily.

Another way to reduce the risk of starting a new business is by utilizing bootstrapping techniques. To the extent possible, use the beg, borrow and steal (use without paying) method to acquire capital assets rather than purchasing or entering into a long-term lease. These financial arrangements are almost impossible to undo without a significant financial penalty if you later decide you made a mistake. If your business fails, you’re probably going to be personally responsible for the repayment of the lease or note. Be very careful about these types of arrangements. Try to borrow or rent on an hourly or daily basis any big capital equipment that you need for your business. It’s a little more trouble than having something always at hand, but you only have to pay for the item while you use it. And if you can borrow or barter for it, the payment can be small to nothing at all.

What’s the most important lesson for new business owners?

The most important lesson for new business owners is to understand the cash flow. In a small business, the owner will have to wear many hats. You’re a salesman at 2 PM, inventory manager at 4:30 PM and night janitor after you close up shop for the day. I believe that the owner’s most important job is to understand how what they do in the real world relates to profitability and ultimately cash flow. As a business owner, your number one job is to know how much money you have in the bank, what cash is coming in over the next few weeks and what expenses will be due over that same period. If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you’re not doing your job as business owner. This might seem harsh, but remember, the day you run out of cash is the day you go out of business. You can operate for some time without making a profit, but you can’t run a business without cash.

Chris Gattis

Chief Strategist
Blue Point Strategies, LLC
Huntsville, Alabama
[email protected]
Mobile/Office: 256-425-8787
Consulting Website: www.BluePointStrategies.com
Consulting Blog: http://blog.bluepointstrategies.com/

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