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It's Not a Plan Until the Numbers Add Up: - A Guide to Building Financial Models For Business Using finmodel4.xls [Kindle Edition]

Mike Colwell
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Book Description

It's not a plan until the numbers add up. More than the title of this book, it is a truth of business creation. This book along with the free companion Excel model, finmodel4.xls, available at allows you to quickly and easily create a financial model for your startup business or business expansion.

You would not invest in a mutual fund with a negative return. You want to know that your investment will benefit you in the end. Your business partners, financiers, spouses, and others need to understand the return on their investment (in time or money) in your business. Often putting together the financial portion of the business plan is the hardest part of the process. More than anything else, putting together a financial model for your business startup forces you to define your assumptions.

The Microsoft® Excel model finmodel4.xls (referred to throughout this guide as finmodel) was created for people planning a business startup. It is a straight-forward, easy-to-use model intended for setting up many types of startup businesses. This guide provides an explanation of the features of this model. The guide also provides basic advice for those who have not put together a financial model for a business.

This guide will:

Explain how to use the model to complete a financial plan for your startup.

Help you understand many of the decisions you need to make in creating a plan.

Clearly identify all of the financial assumptions you make in your plan.

Here is what some of the readers have said:

“Mike has put together a unique and helpful tool for a bootstrapping entrepreneur, but don’t overlook the usefulness that an established business person can also achieve using StartupModels. The book in conjunction with the spreadsheet works very well for quickly checking the financial viability of a potential acquisition and can also be used for initial budgeting purposes. A sure hit!” – Wayne Hansen, President CI3

“StartupModels is the first comprehensive spreadsheet that I have enjoyed studying, filling with assumptions, modeling cash flow behavior and subsequently reevaluating my assumptions. It has provided me with a rich set of formula in modeling a few business plans recently, most notably the ones for MyDiabetesHome and Pikuzone. I only wish I had been able to utilize this kind of a plan in my previous business to model a software licensing, support, maintenance, hosting, services and employee variables and other economic factors behind pricing and internal costs. I’ve incorporated this financial plan within the context of several business plans and referred to the accompanying book a few times, primarily for explanations and clarification. The model itself is easy to learn but greatly enhance with rock solid assistance in the eBook for those just starting out with a modeling exercise.” – Tej Dhawan – Founder Picuzone

“We evaluate a number of business opportunities every year and until Mike came along with finmodel4, each time it was a major struggle to get our hands and heads around the opportunities’ viability. Having this model as a guide has removed the fear and trepidation from the evaluation and planning process. We no longer feel like we’re just guessing and wondering what we missed. With everything right here in one place, we can test our assumptions and compare outputs with ease and confidence. Thanks, Mike!” – Kate Washut, Founder, Far Reach Technologies

“I have worked with Mike Colwell as a mentor/adviser for over four years. I have my hands in several businesses which each have unique needs and revenue models. Mike’s ability to shift gears and provide relevant insight on each one always amazes me. At the end of the day, Mike understands business. His experience has allowed him to develop the models & formulas which, to me, are baseline for his insight. Working with and adopting his models should be a key part of building your own vision for growth.” Brian Hemesath, Founder – Catchwind

Product Details

  • File Size: 640 KB
  • Print Length: 54 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005GB8N9I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,986 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
I have worked with many entrepreneurs that have great ideas but don't understand what it takes to start and run a business. More importantly, many don't even realize that they need to test their idea to see if it makes financial sense (and can make money). Mike's book is a great tool for any entrepreneur that needs some help with the basics around building a financial model and determining if the idea makes sense to put to practice.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Panic Early! Panic Often! Avoid the Rush! December 3, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Let's dispense with the obvious first. For we, the startup practitioners, biz models are mostly a waste of time. Early-stage models that predict success are almost universally wrong, due to their happy-happy-joy-joy ("h2j2") inputs. The ones that predict failure are probably correct. But, we already knew that we were going out of business as soon as we got in, right? The best you can really hope for is some sort of "How bad is it, Doctor?" analysis. Much better for us to focus on product, customers, and execution. Let us recall again the words of St. Edison who informs us that our "genius" (including the planning/modeling part) is worth no more than 1%, the other 99% being sweat. In my experience, blood, tears, and various other pinkish bodily fluids also come into play. And don't forget that we require a certain amount of good luck, which models very poorly (see h2j2 above).

But enough with the pep talk. If biz models are mere peripheral artifacts, why bother with them at all? You could say that although it might be quite foggy, it's still a really dumb idea to drive with your eyes closed. Even if biz models are not of much use as roadmaps, they do work fairly well as caution signs. Viewed in that light, I found this guide and model to be a helpful, practical, and mercifully brief distillation of a very tedious subject. Given the limited value of doing a model in the first place, this has to be one of the most thankless topics possible and I commend the author for taking a shot. Although reducing biz modeling to a spreadsheet and a guide may seem audaciously simplistic, sometimes all that is really needed is a reasonable frame of reference and a tangible starting point.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A resource based on experience August 26, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Mike Colwell is an authority on start-up businesses. He's proven that with the creation of finmodel4.xls and the companion guide. The insights and direction that Mike adds in the guide can only come from the experience he has working on his own projects and assisting others. As an economic developer that receives inquiries from people starting up their own businesses, I will not hesitate to refer them to Mike's work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read For Entrepreneurs Who Hate Financials August 22, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
The single worst part of being an entrepreneur is dealing with financials. This guide along with the spreadsheet makes it 1000x times easier. Mike's done all the hard work coming up with the formulas. All you need to do is spend a couple hours with the guide to have a nice financial picture of your business. It's a great tool to validate a business in the lightbulb phase when you are validating an idea. If you can't make it work on paper (in this case a spreadsheet) - it's going to be real hard to make it work for real.

I just started a business selling a physical product that needs manufactured, shipped, packaged, etc. As a primarily internet entrepreneur I was overwhelmed by all the numbers I needed to crunch to come up with pricing and projections.

We've been able to calculate initial demand through prelaunch signups and social interest. Using this data we can plug in projected numbers and play around with the price of the product to see how it affects the bottom line.

And with a little data sprinkled on top of this model you can see if putting money in one end makes more money come out the other.

Ex: This data can also help you plan online advertising campaigns. Lets say you have a 60% click thru rate on an ad and that ad has a 6% conversion rate. The CPC for the ad is $.50. If you send 1,000 people to your ad next month it will cost you $500. At a 6% conversion rate you will have 60 sales.

You can plug these numbers into Mike's spreadsheet to see how it affects your cash flow. Plug $500 into the "Marketing" section of the "G&A Expenses" sheet for October. Then go plug in 60 sales for October in the "Product Revenue" sheet. Finally go to the "Cash Flow Statement" sheet and see how you are looking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential Financial Resource for Entrepreneur September 15, 2011
By C. Rouw
Format:Kindle Edition
Mike Colwell's financial spreadsheet is an essential tool in an entrepreneur's toolbox. We have used this spreadsheet several times and found it to be quick, easy, and very helpful. Dealing with financials as a startup or someone expanding your business is a pain. This spreadsheet greatly reduces this headache!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Critical guidance for startups September 22, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
As a business attorney I've helped hundreds of startups get into business. Many of those business owners fail to adequately plan from a financial perspective. The reason? For most, it's not because they don't recognize the importance. Instead, it's because they are intimidated by the numbers and often don't know where to begin. But with Mike's guide and financial model, there is now a resource that not only makes it easy to get started but also complete this daunting task in a very short time. I should know; I used Mike's guide and financial model for my own recent startup. I highly recommend his guide.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars so so so awesome and explained beautifully
The title says it all. Mike did an amazing job with this workbook and the companion financial model excel sheet. I highly recommend this. It made my life so much easier.
Published 1 day ago by Jude
5.0 out of 5 stars Straight forward and extremely useful
This guide was critical to formulating a solid plan for our startup. Mike lays everything out for you in a way that is easy to understand while making you look critically at your... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Carl Maerz
1.0 out of 5 stars spyware in software download
This is basic accounting...I went to the website to download the preform and my computer went crazy with earnings that the program was filed with Spyware. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Plan - Intricate but simple to use
This is a very thorough financial plan, which is made easy for the user. I am a first time start-up founder and never created a financial plan in the past. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Nour M. Dib
5.0 out of 5 stars Straight Forward and User Friendly Guide
The G&A Expenses section was most helpful to me. For a first time start-up entrepreneur, you need all the info and help you can get. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Benjamin Lefever
4.0 out of 5 stars A good start by a good guy
This is a good place to start if you are trying your has and at a first to first dozen or so BUSINESS plan Michael Colwell must be a good guy because he is sharing a lot of... Read more
Published 10 months ago by John Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars very good one
very good and usefull material with straight forward explanations and direct instructions to complete the financials of the business plan process
Published 20 months ago by Jose A. Massaroppe
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great, Actionable Book for your Financials is a great resource for startup folks looking to put together great financial models for their business. Read more
Published on January 23, 2012 by Alexander C. Grgurich
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Business Start Up Tool!
Mike Colwell helped me with my start up business using the very fundamentals of this book over 5 years ago. Read more
Published on December 14, 2011 by Andrew From IA
5.0 out of 5 stars A Quick, EZ Snapshot
I was a bit apprehensive when I downloaded this but WOW!

I did a little reading, filled in some fields, and I was done in an hour. Read more
Published on October 18, 2011 by Thomas
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