Spring Branch, TX, US

Subscribe to my RSS Feed


Adjustable Resaw Fence

One problem I've noticed with manufactured resaw fences is that they are not tall enough.  Also, I've seen other designs of fences that are as tall as the saw will cut.  However, the...

Candy Dish

This is the first face turning I've done since 7th grade.  The bowl is Myrtlewood with the center showing the base which is European Black Walnut.  Finish is beeswax rubbed in with 0000...

Recent comments

Re: Man Wins Big Money in Tablesaw Lawsuit

Having an accident with a power tool does not mean one is irresponsible. Accidents happen. It is the duty of government to protect the public from the eggregious actions of others. If technology becomes available that will prevent accidents, the government needs to make that type of technology the standard for all manufacturers. People, especially corporate executives, are too interested in profitability to care about the individuals that are harmed by their products. The only way to make corporations accountable and responsible is via strong government regulation and enforcement.

The free market is not self regulating.

Re: UPDATED: Giveaway and Poll: The Most Requested Woodworking Gifts of 2009

Whatever Santa brings will be just fine.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Re: This secret cost me $20,000, but I'll let you have it for free.

I haven't read all the many posts, so forgive me if I restate what may have already been said.

Starting a business is like building a house - both require planning.

First you need to write a preliminary description of what your business is. What products or services will you offer? What is your mission? Writing this is important because it helps to clarify the concept for you. It will probably change as you progress in your research and planning.

The most important, and hardest, part of planning to start a business is to determine where your market is, what portion of that market you might be able to get and how to go about getting it.

Determining where your market is involves doing some demographic research to define what your customers profile is. Are they consumers? Are they other businesses?

If they are primarily consumers, then what are the characteristics that makes them potential customers. Are they apartment dwellers or homeowners? What age and income brackets are they in? Where do they live? How close are they to your location? There are other factors, but you get the idea.

If they are other businesses then what industries are they in? What size companies might buy from you? Where are they? Etc.

What portion of the market are you likely to get? This involves learning about your competition. Who are they? What do they offer? What are their strengths and weaknesses and how do those compare to you? What market share do they have?

Much of the data needed for this research is available at libraries, and the librarians know how to assit in finding what you need. On the other hand, there might not be any data to answer some of the questions, so you have to dig to find other sources from which you can infer the answer.

This research does not end here. Now you need to make an educated guess at the percentage of the market you might be able to acquire over time. Not "I'll get 20%", but rather "I think I might be able to penetrate some the first month and increase the penetration over time." And, don't rely on just one scenario for this. Do at least three - best case, expected case and worst case. This is all educated guess work, but it needs to also have a strong foundation. That's what all the prior research should have provided. You will learn and re-learn and learn some more during the process of doing the research.

Then you need to determine what revenue you might get from a sale to each of these mythical customers. From there you can calculate pro-forma revenue month by month for the first year, quarterly the second year and in total for the third year. Your banker may want more or less detail than this, but this is a typical time line for pro-forma financial analysis.

I said it is the hardest part and it is. It requires lots of hard work and critical thinking.

When you have determined the answers to the above, then a marketing plan is in order. From your research you should already have a fairly good idea of what kinds of media your competition uses. Is that what you should do, or should you do something else? Plan the first year's marketing in a fairly detailed manner. Not what the marketing pieces will look like, but when, how and how much?

You are not ready to go into business at this point. You still need to estimate your costs - variable, indirect and fixed. Variable costs are directly related to revenue - the cost of your product or service. Indirect costs are related to revenue growth and will likely grow in steps as you meet certain levels of revenue. Fixed costs are the easiest - rent, utilities, etc.

There's much more than this to a good business plan.

I volunteer for SCORE, which provides free online and face-to-face counseling for small businesses - either startups or existing. Go to There you will find many resources to help with your business. And they are free!

Hope this helps.

Ken Ewald

Advertise here for as little as $50. Learn how