Startup Projections

Courtesy once again of the venerable Guy “No Bull-Shiitake” Kawasaki, a checklist to be tattooed on the top of the hand.

  1. Under-promise and over-deliver
  2. Forecast from the bottom up
  3. Don’t go too far out: twelve to eighteen months is the maximum
  4. Plan to re-forecast every three months
  5. Don’t let costs get in front of revenue
  6. Collaborate with your investors
  7. Think in terms of per-unit profitability
  8. Plan for marketing costs
  9. Create a one-page report and stick to it
  10. Never miss a cost projection
  11. Think big

Out of the ten points (point eleven is a “given”, isn’t it?), I see listed name-brand companies failing on #6, #8 and #9 regularly. Guy’s observation of how to combat #9 was a statement only a startup-guru could make:

One innovative way to fix this might be to reduce the CEO’s and CFO’s stock options by ten percent every time they change the report.

A former financial controller for a large German electronics company once told me:

Don’t make me mad:

If you’re over budget, it comes out of my pay packet.

If you’re under budget, it goes into yours.

It’s surprisingly hard, when you do the post-mortem on a project to legitimately get precisely on-target.

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