profit sz

As you’d expect, we have a lot of startups at WORK.  To kick off the New Year one coWORKer’s company has declared 2014 ‘The Year of the Profit’!  The crowded table of eager entrepreneurs enthusiastically cheered this idea.  Woohoo!  We’ll all jump on that bandwagon!

Self-funded family companies, lone rangers setting out to create their personal vision, small teams of friends diving into a new venture, even those who have managed to snag some big time investment capital and grow quite large- they all struggle with the same simple issue: how to make that elusive profit.  You look successful- you’ve got a great product being well reviewed, maybe even an abundance of happy customers, but do you turn a profit?  In this age of free apps, immense competition, and fickle markets, it can be a lot more difficult than you’d think.

You gotta have a little crazy and a lotta inspiration to tackle the startup world. You’ve got to cover your initial investment, your operating expenses, and your personal living expenses and then have the patience and the fortitude to wait out the growing pains and the slow rise to success.  Along the way you might have to fend off patent trolls, jump though legal hoops, negotiate with partners- we’ve heard some amazing stories.  And all the while you might be wondering- where is that light at the end of the tunnel called profit?

But don’t feel bad.  Some of the country’s most popular companies have had the same struggle.  Tesla took ten years to turn a profit and Snapchat has no revenue stream at all.   As Inc. Magazine points out “Most start-up founders accurately predict how they’ll make money, and how much it will cost. But there’s one thing they almost always get wrong: timing.”  In fact, that was the very first advice we got from Steve, the owner of Acre Coffee across the street and the founder of at least eleven businesses, when we opened the doors to WORK.  You’ve got to give it time.  A year and a half in, I’d say he was spot on.

Written by Natasha Juliana. Curious about Coffee Social?  Join us Tuesdays at 10 AM.