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#RecipeforSuccess: How to set up a brand new business – Part 1

What is a #RecipeforSuccess? Developed by QuickBooks ProAdvisors®, the #RecipeforSuccess campaign provides key ingredients and steps for your clients’ small businesses to achieve success. Read Part 1 of this week’s recipe for new businesses below, and join the conversation on Twitter: #RecipeForSuccess.

Master Chef: Seth David

Starting a new business isn’t easy, but the key ingredients and directions in this recipe can help you get either your firm – or your clients’ businesses – off on the right foot. Part 1 is all about planning and focus. Part 2 is about setting up the ecosystem.



When it comes to setting up your own brand new business, starting over or helping your clients set up their business, the "planning" is the most critical part. You’ll need a goal, and you’ll need a specific plan, in black and white, for how you’ll get there. 

Step 1: Planning

App to use: Google Sheets

When planning for your business, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How do you/will you make your money?
  • What are your streams of revenue?
  • How much money do you want to make (dollar one gross) in a year?
  • How many units of each product will you sell month over month?
  • What is the price?

Multiply the above out, and extend it for 12-18 months. Take each month’s total, and divide it by 30. That is your daily target.

Put that daily target in a place where it will be just about the first thing you look at every day. It should also be in a place where you can keep it up all day. All day, every day, you are looking at my target? All day long, you are asking yourself, "Have I reached my goal for the day?" 

If yes, then either go have fun or keep working to get ahead. If no, then keep working.

There is no app better than a spreadsheet to lay all of the above out. I prefer Google Sheets over Excel for this because it’s easier to access, and share, if I need to.

Every day, you key in your sales for the day. Whether it’s a monthly recurring subscription that came in, or brand new business, you key it in. This gets compared with your total target for the month so that you can track your progress. 

If it is the 15th, are you halfway toward your goal? If not, time to hustle; if yes, either take a break or keep working to get ahead. 

Each month, you have to review your actual numbers compared with your targets. How did you do? Do you need to raise or lower the bar for next month? Don’t worry about anything after that. You might exceed your target next month, and that will impact what you do the following month.

Step 2: Focus

Apps to use: Google Calendar, Google Sheets, ActiveCollab,

The planning step in and of itself will dramatically increase your focus, especially if you take it all the way through to the point of having the daily target calculated and in front of you. Last month (as of the time I am writing this), my goal was approximately $24,000. I did $25,000. Since I have been doing this, I am on Facebook less, and my sales are increasing. 

The next step in the focus part is your time management. How will you organize your time? In reading The One Minute Millionaire, I learned that millionaires have highly structured schedules. They manage their time every bit as well as they manage their money, and here is the formula they follow:

  1. Body
  2. Mind
  3. Spirit
  4. Time
  5. People
  6. Money

Their time is managed in terms of these six areas. 

Get out your calendar and create generic blocks. These are appointments with yourself and/or others.

  • What days and times are you going to plan on working out (Body)?
  • What days and times will you plan to do your reading/learning (Mind)?
  • What days and times will you plan on quieting your mind (Spirit)? Tip: Try
  • What days and times will you plan on spending organizing your time (Time)?
  • What days and times will you plan on spending time with the people most important to you (People)?
  • What days and times will you plan on spending at work (Money)?

Lay the above out on a spreadsheet (I prefer Google Sheets, of course). List each area in a new row. Then, in the columns across, list each day of the week. Indicate for each area how much time you’ll spend and on which days. If you spend an hour at the gym and your plan is to go three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, then indicate an hour for "Body" on those days. Some people will want to put two hours to account for travel, showering and changing.

Do this for all areas, and then begin transferring this onto your calendar. If it isn’t on the calendar, it isn’t getting done. Period.

This doesn’t have to be etched in stone, but it will provide the focus you need; when someone wants to make an appointment with you, you will look at your calendar and now you have a decision to make. Seeing your gym appointment on the calendar, you’re faced with a question: Is it worth it to skip my workout? It might be. Maybe, this is an appointment that satisfies the "People" part of your life. The point is to force yourself to see what you are giving up from your regular and balanced "design for living." Then, like everything in life, it comes down to making good decisions. This gives you the infrastructure and the opportunity to consider things carefully.

In Part 2 of this recipe, we talk about how to set up your ecosystem for long-term success.

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