So much launching your startup discussion is centered on the business or the product or hiring your first employees or finding your perfect co-founder. Some more forward-thinking bloggers even discuss your emotional state and the effects that has on your success.
Getting all of those critical items lined up is both the burden and the fun of launching your startup business. But are your personal finances and your near-term financial goals in line with the next months - year of this journey?
Too many of us create unrealistic personal financial expectations that will ultimately impact key decisions for your business. Trying to close that first big partnership deal when you are living on credit cards puts a lot of pressure on closing that opportunity; probably too much pressure so that you might not negotiate the best terms. A couple of months later after the euphoria of that first check wears off and the cost of that deal builds, you now have major regrets.
When you let your personal needs creep into your business decisions, your personal tail begins to wag the business dog. This can be even worse for later-in-life entrepreneurs.
Setting yourself, and your co-founders if needed, up for the long run removes any added pressures that personal financial pressure puts on the business.
Here are two fundamental guidelines for you to consider when getting ready to launch your business:
Set the right horizon. Each business is different in terms of the business's ability to generate income, however, I firmly believe that setting aside 12 months of personal monthly income is a great place to start. If you plan for the business to support your personal monthly burn you place pressure on the business to succeed right away. Your other choice is to raise capital through investors . . . which only adds to the pressure. Most businesses need time to find their groove. Can't do 12 months? Then set up 6 months. Every little bit helps.
Minimize your monthly costs. I mean minimize not cut a few corners. You have heard the phrase "live the ramen noodle diet". As an investor, I take this thought very seriously. Your risk and sacrifice to the business needs to match my financial risk. Each dollar eliminated from your costs is another dollar or day you can stay alive unencumbered from financial pressure. Here's a trick: start this 6 months in advance of your launch and serve the first guideline above but putting that money away.
Launching your business is fraught with many pressure points--remove as many as you can and you ultimately put yourself in a better position to succeed.