Thankfully, I was able to find a job. Unfortunately, that’s forced me to slow down quite a bit with the business plan and research. That’s quite alright though.
So what has The Dorky Pig been pondering all this time? Waaaaay too many things to really list on here. But I’ll cover a few of the more pertinent ideas, thoughts and fears. I believe in very seriously covering all the details before any sort of major life change. There are so many things that can go wrong with something like starting a business, so I want to make sure that I do all the thinking and research possible. And this brings me to my first thought….
With my new job, I’m not making as much as I had been. This is certainly not helping my lack of capital. While it may not seem like it, this is kind of a blessing. It’s helping me to make sure I take the time to plan things out very thoroughly. There’s nothing wrong with working for someone else for a while longer than you’d like, especially if it helps you make sure that you really want to do something as crazy as open up a BBQ joint. This time away from working on the plan has made me really think about a lot of the little things. Fortunately, the company I’m working for is quite small and the owner is around much of the time. I’ve been lucky enough to have some time to chat with him about owning a business, the good, bad and the ugly. He’s helped to reinforce that this really is a crazy idea, especially in a struggling economy. He’s also let me in on some of the “employee headaches” that I mentioned in the last blog entry. Just trying to get people to work can be hard enough, but getting them to do a great job can be even more of a challenge.
Ok, so having slowed down a bit hasn’t been bad, as you can see. It’s also given me the ability to think about suppliers. Here’s something you may not have thought of when doing the calculator work for the break-even analysis. What is it going to actually cost to keep you stocked on the supplies and inventory that you need. Remember, it’s not just the cost of the goods but also the delivery. Some suppliers have minimum purchase requirements before they’ll ship. Some tack on fees that you may not have thought of. Some suppliers may be great for some things like the take out containers, utensils, etc while not having the best produce, meats or seasonings. That means you will probably need to have multiple sources for all of your goods, which means shopping around and asking lots of questions. Sales reps will be happy to answer your questions if they believe that you’ll become a customer. It’s also important to make sure that you’re good to these folks. They’re in business to make money, just like anybody else. Most of them will extend you a line of credit if you’ve been a good customer. This may come in very handy in case you have some hard times. It’s always a great idea to keep the lines of communication open with anybody you owe money to, they’ll be more willing to work with you.
Next up, you’ve probably thought of all the wonderful shiny new kitchen equipment that you want to give a home to. Is it really feasible to always buy new? Is it necessary? It may be. Things like refrigeration should be bought new so you know it’s in good shape and has the factory warranty covering it. But some things can definitely be had for much less money. There are auctions, restaurants going out of business, and all sorts of other ways to buy second hand equipment. How about leasing equipment or even better, rent to own. It may be a little more difficult to find places that rent to own commercial restaurant equipment, but it could certainly be advantageous. Think about it, you can have that piece of equipment at a much lower initial cost, which reduces your start up cost. Now the down side is that long term you pay more, but it’s an option. Make sure before you buy, lease, or rent any equipment that you look over the fine print and read it multiple times. Ask the sales folks questions and make sure you understand everything. Are there penalties for early payment, what are the late fees, warranty info, service info, etc.
Last up for this post, my biggest fear. Absolute failure. What if I get this business up and running and it just doesn’t go anywhere? I could lose my house, truck and have severe issues with my personal finances. Not to mention the shame and humiliation of having to admit defeat. Certainly not an easy thing to face. To be perfectly honest, that fear gets stronger and stronger as I delve further into this business idea. Nobody likes to fail, but what happens when you fail when everything you have is on the line? Most banks will require a personal guarantee to secure a loan, so even if your business is set up as an LLC, you’d still be held personally responsible for paying back the loan they gave you. Now on the flip side, this fear is part of what’s been driving me to really look at my idea from every angle. And then tear it apart and recheck everything. And then put it all back together and reevaluate it all. And just for giggles, tear it apart again and put it back together with some different ideas and variables and weigh all of my options every single way possible. It’s forcing me to be very, VERY serious about the planning. And as I hinted about above, the planning is absolutely crucial to the success of your business. Perhaps I’m overthinking things, but I’d rather do that then not plan for something that could cause major problems for the restaurant and perhaps even cause the doors to close permanently.
For the moment, I have plenty of time to think things through and look at every aspect of the idea and business plan for my BBQ restaurant. Certainly not something to take too lightly. There’s a saying in business, “Proper planning prevents poor performance”. It’s so true. Think and research. Think and research. As much as you might want to make your dream come true RIGHT NOW, it may be best to sit back, relax and think. Watch how the economy is forcing your potential competition to change and adapt. Maybe they’re raising prices or not having special offers and promotions. Think and research. Proper planning prevents poor performance.
Good day, God bless, and happy eating.