A little over a year ago I needed to write a business plan. I had no idea what the heck I was doing so I started my research. I read books, scoured the internet and asked every business owner I came into contact with what they did. At the end of a month I still had no idea what the heck I was doing. Enter the Small Business Economic Development Center, a non-profit organization that has volunteers who know what they are doing to help small business owners in all stages. I was very fortunate to be paired with a retired bank president who had seen & written numerous business plans in his career (score me!).
Since it has been a year since I've written the plan, I thought a little review was in order, so I called to make an appointment to review said business plan & financial statements. Here is a snippet of our meeting:
Retired Bank President: "I see here you didn't take a salary last year & you haven't taken one to date this year."
Me: "I didn't make enough money last year to take a salary. And this year I'm still trying to play catch up from last year, so there is still no money to take."
RBP: "You know you need to take a salary or the banks won't take you seriously."
Me: "Because the fact that I've been working my tail off for the last year isn't serious enough?"
RBP: "The banks won't take your figures seriously during a loan review if you don't show a salary."
Me: "Wouldn't they rather I give them the money or pay my rent than put it back in my pocket."
RBP: "They will not think you are a serious business if you don't pay yourself. I mean no one works for free."
Me: "Granted, but if I'm barely breaking even & last year showed a loss, how do I justify my salary & where does it come from?"
RBP: "Pay yourself from your profits."
Me: "Uh, there are no profits yet. We would be thrilled if we break even this year. Can I start taking a salary once I'm making money, like hopefully next year?"
RBP: "You still need to show that you want to take a salary on your projections."
Me: "So you want me to lie."
RBP: "It isn't a lie, you want a salary don't you?"
Me: "No, I like being poor."
RBP: just stares at me
Me: "I mean yes, that is my goal, the one I've been striving for and the whole reason I'm here."
So, I'm supposed to be taking a salary from a business that hasn't even broken even yet. I can't wait to explain this to my husband. I may need to video tape, because I'm pretty sure his head will literally explode.