So, I'm working on my first-ever proforma income statement for my business, right? For the past couple days, this means that I've been up to my ears in numbers and projections and "what if?" scenarios, and me and the Excel formula calculator have become really close friends.
This being the case, I could say the "oh, crap" factor hit me when I began to really dig down into it. After all, this pretty baby requires monthly snapshots of the entire first year of operations, which means on a monthly basis accounting for figures that run the gamut from gross sales to the cost of goods sold, from salaries and benefits to payroll taxes, from marketing and advertising to legal and accounting fees, from rent and utilities and telephone expenses to postage and shipping fees, from website maintenance to travel expenses, and much, much more. Not only that, but then it requires projecting how those dollars will change in years 2 and 3, assuming growth accelerates.
Completing this spreadsheet, in other words, is onerous and tricky and not a little intimidating. So I repeat: I could say the "oh, crap" factor hit me when I got my head in the game, when I finally realized the width and depth and breadth of the actual undertaking, but that wasn't what honestly did it.
I could say, then, that it happened when the essential nature of this process finally dawned on me. When you start plugging in numbers for what you think you'll need to operate the business for your projected growth in year 2 -- even if you'll really grow -- only to find out that your projected gross profit from sales doesn't even range within shouting distance of your projected expenses to manage that growth, you finally get it. You get it so much that you drop to your knees in great reverence and awe for being required to complete this process, and you thank God for the insanely compressed month of late hours and early mornings He provided for you to do it.
There is no way, and I mean no way, someone can hold the potential expenses and growth hopes for their business in their head and then just go out and "wing it" and expect to be successful. It's just not gonna happen. No way. Not even for the simplest business model. Working on this project made me really, finally get this. Like, seriously. Whoa.
But that's not what did it, either.
I could say, then, that I hit the "oh, crap" ceiling when I realized my business model actually facilitates exponential growth that makes sales accelerate almost of their own accord as early as the fifth month we are in business. I could say that setting goals for how this internal growth would self-generate and then setting very modest goals for new, outside business we drum up on a monthly basis allowed for me to create, out of my own head, a very complex Excel formula to represent this growth, and that my genius in doing so blew me away.
That wasn't it, either, though it came close. :)
No, what finally did it wasn't so much creating the tricky formula but applying the formula to the actual spreadsheet to get dollar amounts. It may have amazed me last night when I applied the formula to the first year of operations, but I skyrocketed through the roof this afternoon when I applied it to years 2 and 3. Especially when the number staring back at me from the gross sales calculator for year 3 had not six figures in it but seven. That's right, seven figures. If my predictions for this formula are accurate, and because they are modest I have reason to believe they are, my humble little business will hit $3.3 million in gross sales by its third year of existence. This may sound like nothing to huge tech companies like Facebook or Google, but for a young woman starting out on her own with an idea nobody's ever heard of before, it scared the bajeebies out of me.
You can join me in saying it now: "Oh, crap." It might even help you to repeat it several times out loud, with your hand covering your mouth as you stare at your husband with wide, disbelieving eyes and a completely humbled and frightened heart.