Count the Cost
Yes, Count the Cost!
The Bible the manual for life. Business and wealth (money) management are a part of life, so the Bible covers this issue thoroughly.
Listen to what Jesus Christ Said as recorded in Luke 14:28-30 King James Version (KJV)
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
The Son of God emphasized the embarrassment that would likely have to be endured if someone started a project and did not DO THE MATH FIRST to determine whether or not the venture would be successful.
But it Can be Much Worse
Owning and operating your own business will be stressful. Learn how to meditate and pray and relax and resolve conflicts because they are coming.
Mounting Stress is a Slow Suicide.
Don't kill yourself.
Operating your business will create stress on you and everyone else in your immediate family. Be sure that your significant other is on board and have a plan to deal with the stress.
There will likely be stress as a result of finances, time and personnel.
Don't kill others.
People are more important than money. Safeguard your important relationships.
You've Got a Lot to Lose.
What do you have to lose? Potentially a lot. You can suffer financial loss. You can lose your marriage. You can lose your family.
You can lose your mind!
COUNT THESE COSTS AS WELL
Do you best to approach your business in a way that will be a blessing to every relationship, not only to your bank account.
Discuss potential issues with those you have close relationships with and come up with a strategy to either avoid pitfalls or overcome them BEFORE you start your business.
If these things don't concern you (you are not married, don't have small children), then this is an issue you may be able set aside.
Nothing Else Matters if the Math Doesn't Work!
Jesus is WARNING entrepreneurs to count the cost before starting a new project. He is not CONDEMNING someone who had a business failure. He is pointing out the foolishness of launching a new business venture WITHOUT doing the math first.
So, start with the math and prove to the world and yourself that you are not a fool.
Your Business May Fail Anyway
The math may work. This does NOT mean that your business will be a success. There is a LOT more to it than that. However, if the math does NOT work, your business CANNOT work.
Don't be afraid of failure if you are an entrepreneur! About 90% of new business startups them eventually fail. If you are afraid of failure, then don't even try to start a business.
You should try to avoid failing, but don't let the fear of failure stop you.
Let's Get Back to Jesus
Jesus also taught a lot about FAITH. Faith involves RISK. Jesus APPLAUDED people that were willing to take a RISK (or have faith). This is why people have referred to having faith as a LEAP of faith.
An Entrepreneur is by Definition a Risk Taker!
I have started and ran several successful businesses. There some ventures that I have tried that did not work. This is me admitting failure.
My wife is NOT a risk taker. She is married to a risk taker.
- She generally believes that taking a risk is foolish.
- I generally believe something similar: taking a foolish risk is foolish, and I think I have God's support in this!
She will talk to me (or about me - but in my presence) and say that I am a risk taker, and she intends it to be a criticism. Of course, I hear it and take it as a compliment!
You are only a fool if you don't FIRST count the cost!
OK, I'm done with the philosophy part, now we'll go over a few simple, practical steps to "count the cost."
Here is the simple formula:
Income - Expenses = Profit
Just do the math (count the cost) by answering honestly four questions:
- How much money can you make?
- How much will it cost you to make this money?
- Are you paying yourself fairly?
- Will you make profit?
How much money can you make?
Allow me to provide a real example. In my city, years ago, an individual came to me for a business consultation because they wanted to open a new restaurant. So far, so good. Then I started asking math questions and writing down the answers.
- What will the space cost you? (rent, utilities, ect)
- How many meal times will you provide? (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
- How many people will you need to hire and how much will you pay them?
- How many people can you seat?
- How many people do you think you will serve during the day?
- How much income will you get from your average ticket?
Then, we totaled the projected EXPENSES, subtracted the MAXIMUM SALES and the answer was a negative number.
To make things worse, they were willing to work all day long every day at a wage they could have easily duplicated working for someone else.
But, it did not matter, there was NO WAY they could make any money, even if they had butts in chairs all day long, every day.
Do you math first!
How much will it cost you to make this money?
List and total ALL of the expenses you will incur running this business.
Are you paying yourself fairly?
The number 1 biggest mistake that small business owners make is this: they don't pay themselves fairly. They are NOT simply NOT generous, they would NEVER work for someone else for such a low wage.
Ask yourself, are you in BUSINESS or are you BUYING YOURSELF A LOW WAGE JOB?
Will you make profit?
As a business owner, you are like "salaried" employee of the business. You don't get to punch a clock. You'll often find it impossible to call in sick.
Overtime pay? Forget it. Salaried people don't get paid overtime.
Profit is NOT the same thing as your salary.
- Pay yourself FAIRLY at first.
- Pay yourself GENEROUSLY when you can.
Profit is what you've got EXTRA after all the bills are paid (including your generous salary).
If you don't have PROFIT, you have simply bought yourself a job, and may prove better to work for someone else instead.
This is likely acceptable in the beginning, but your projections should be able to clearly and confidently show that two things at specific points in your projections (with dates):
- Your company is paying you GENEROUSLY
- Your company is making PROFITS, too