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You have to do it.  Yes you do.  This is where you measure the water, take its temperature and measure yourself.  How are you doing?  I'm doing ok.  Hey, I can use some help.

If you Water It, It Will Grow

The single most important thing you will do is evaluate yourself and your business.  Account for your money your time and your spirit and your energy and your emotional and mental commitment to this business.
Do your accounting.  For a while it is good to do the accounting by yourself and for yourself.  Don't hire a bookkeeper just yet.  Keep in touch with the money, the energy, the time and commitment.  Stay hands on in this arena and the rest of the show will be watered properly.

Who played the Pink Panther.  Peter Sellers.  He also played the Gardener is a movie I will call "The Gardener".  

The gardener worked for a diplomat.  The gardener was a simple man and he spoke simply and clearly.  "If you water it, it will grow".  The wisdom in this statement brought the diplomat's friends around on a regular basis and the gardener became the diplomat, tending his garden.

Keep track of the water and the coffee will flow.

I'm Doing Ok - is Ok Good?

For me Ok is not good.  I always seem to say Oh yeah.  How high is the bar?  What happens if it starts raining.  The building comes apart.  Your partner goes to Tahiti.  The local plant closes.  The Mall comes to town.  The mall leaves town.  Change.  I love the business of the business.  In a sense, I love it.  It is what I do and I do it all the time.  This is me.  What about you. 

Ok can be good.  If you are meeting your goals this may be good.  There is nothing wrong with maintaining the status quo.  But change happens always, time moves on and so do people, places, even continents are moving around and changing.  So stay tuned in even if things are good.  Ok?

Hey, I Can Use Some Help - Bad News is Good

Welcome bad news.  Welcome the messenger.  Caesar killed the messenger and in the process himself.
It is good to hear that you know where you are.  If you know where you are and how you are doing you will know what you have to do to get to where you want to go.  Remember the first rule of business is staying in business.  

It is good to look in the mirror and ask if that person is happy with the results of the business.  If that person says yes, fine.  If that person says no, then go to The Well.

Making a living, making money, creating wealth, paying bills, paying people, paying yourself, paying your friend, and your banker are easy if you have the money.  If you don't have the money, find out why.  Fast.  Ask yourself first.

You control the money.  The accounting will show where the money is.  You have to do the accounting.  If your checks are bouncing then the chances are you are bouncing  - off the walls.  Calm down, sit down and go to The Well.  It is good to know the bad news fast.

People will not tell you bad news.  Only you can tell you bad news.  Listen to yourself and look for the symptoms.  You went in to business to make money and you are entitled to the rewards.  What gets measured gets done.  Measure the business at least every month.

Its easy today.  Quicken.  One Write Plus, Excel Spreadsheet, or just pencil and paper.  Do this first.  This is the most important thing you will do for your business.  Be the doctor.  Take the patients temperature, measure the patients weight, test the musculature, look for fat.  Do this and you will know.  Knowing is the source of all ideas.

Selecting an Accountant?

The link below is an AP wire story on how to select an accountant.  I think it is just as appropriate to go to the local yellow pages or ask your friends in business.  Just be prepared to change if you are not comfortable or if work is not done in a timely manner.  Read Article (pdf)

Payroll Processing

Don't even think about doing this.  Go to Paychex, ADP, or another national chain of payroll processing experts.  It will cost you $50 to $100 per month and keep you out of jail.   Don't worry.  It will cut 1/2 the work of accounting.  It is worth it.  Do it - now.

  • Remember it is good to stay out of jail.

  • And out of the tax person's grasp - pay your payroll taxes on time.

  • Have the payroll processor pay your payroll taxes for you - it is called "tax pay" at Paychex.

  • Pay bi-weekly - every two weeks to keep your costs down.  This is ok and your staff will adjust to it - tell them when you recruit them.

  • Make sure you pay yourself.

  • Have the payroll company file all your forms - they do- federal 941's, state forms, unemployment forms, you name it.

  • Payroll is the the domain of experts - you are not one of them.  Don't even think about it.

Opening Budget

Here I give you finally an idea of what it will take financially to get open.

Building   |   2000 square feet at 50 dollars per foot  |   $100,000

Balance Sheet

This is a statement of what you own - assets, what you owe - liabilities, and how much is yours - net worth or owners equity or your investment.

The equity section may not be the real worth of your business because you may have loses but there is a market value for the business completely separate from the accounting new worth.


Freedom, Independence, my father was happy, feeling good, self confidence, belief, seeing, vision. 

The real rewards of success in business, no matter how you measure success, is priceless.

I walk around our building from time to time and just feel satisfied.  I feel good and feel that I made the right decision to do this.  You will too.

Income Statement

The income statement measures your income, your expenses and your profits.  I will deal with them in reverse order.

Profits   |   Income   |   Expenses

Profit Margins


80% to 90%.  Wonderful if you have the traffic. Low traffic locations can not survive on drink volume alone because the sales are only $1.50 to $3.50 per item.  You must have volume if you depend on drinks alone.  This is great stuff and stuff of fortunes.


75% and volume sensitive.  Great margins, but you have to sell a lot of salads and sandwiches.  Also great stuff and the stuff of fortunes.  A good cafe will make your life easier.


By pound: 55%, by 1/2 pound 65%, by 1/4 pound 75%.

The toss up on beans is how small to go.  I always sold quarter pounds because the margins are good.  I would sell quarter pounds in the $3.99 range depending upon the flavor, origin and so on.  But the price per pound is $14 to $16 and your cost is in the $4 to $6 range depending upon the quality and volume you buy.  This is good business.

I have been in stores where the signs are up "1/2 Pound Minimum No Quarter Pounds".  I know they are in trouble.  Low volume, not worth taking their eyes off the good book they are reading behind the cash register that is broken.  Never say no.  Always do what your customer wants or needs.  And price it accordingly.


Mugs and the like typically are "keystoned", meaning doubled.  We always used 2.2 as the basis of doubling (2.2 times the wholesale cost = retail selling price) because it accounted for the shipping and handling costs.

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