Some Real Financial Numbers for Your Startup

If you are a startup you may find useful Guy Kawasaki's post Financial Models for Underachievers: Two Years of the Real Numbers of a Startup. Part of any business plan are the projected guestimates. They are guestimates because everyone keeps these numbers hidden like a Swiss bank account.  But not Redfin. They've bravely shared their initial cost projections, their actual numbers from real life, and the lessons they've learned from the discrepancy between the two...

You can find their model estimates and actuals for Rent, Per Employee, Per Month (model: $250, actual: $336); Initial Per-Employee Equipment Cost; Monthly Benefits, Per-Employee; Annual Payroll Tax; Quarterly Bonus Payout, as a % of the Total Possible; Annual Payroll Increase for Existing Employees; All-Company Meeting Cost, Per-Meeting, Per-Employee; Annual Accounting Costs, and a few more.

There is also a great lessons section: Focus on headcount; Plan slow, run fast; Run top-down sanity-checks; Forget economies of scale; Admit that revenues are a mystery; Build from building blocks; Take out "hope"; Flag your assumptions; Hit $100 million in revenues within five years; Keep market-share under 20%.

I find $100 million in revenues a surprisingly high number. That's a lot of money. And the underestimate for meeting costs is pretty funny. It's always those damn meetings!