User Profile

Maria Werfel

Bio Statement As you are building the first draft of their characters, explain what the skills do and how ability checks work. Give common uses for each skill and how to best assign ability scores for the class they want to play. This should get them thinking about backgrounds for their characters, and how they play the non-combat side of Dfloat:left;padding:10px 10px 10px 0px;border:0px;"> Make it extremely easy, but slowly work through each players turn, explaining their action economy and how to look at the battlefield strategically. The best way to learn from there is to play. It'll be slow to start, but stress how important it is that the players don't get too caught up in the rules. If they explain what they want to do, as the DM you can interpret that into mechanics and explain how they would go about it. We're going to focus on market research first and foremost because, above all else, the most essential part of opening a restaurant is killing your own dreams. Yep, sorry about that. The best way to make your restaurant a success is to ruthlessly hack away at all the parts of this that seem like fun and focus on the parts that seem profitable. Do you want to launch an adorable bakery? Who cares, there are already three in your neighborhood. Have you always dreamed of pan searing noodles in a promo-ready spurt of flames? The last three Thai places in town failed, but sure. Strap on that Go Pro (GPRO - Get Report) and blow your life savings. So step one is to do market research. What is your competition? Who is your target consumer? What places have succeeded and failed in your area? How much money does your target consumer have, and what are they buying right now? By the time you're done, you should have the information you need to make an informed decision as to where you'll work, who you'll serve and what the openings are in that market. Now you have a sense of where you're operating and who you want to target. The next step is to decide the structure of your restaurant. Part of this decision will have to do with funding (we'll get to that in a minute, but for a much more thorough discussion see our piece on small businesses mentioned above). The more money you have, the bigger the restaurant you can afford to open. But it's important to consider all of your options. This is the standard we think about when we think "restaurant." A big dining room, a substantial kitchen and often a bar. This can mean anything from a fancy five-star joint to the local diner as long as it involves sitting down, getting waited on by staff and eating your food there. This is the Five Guys and Chipotle (CMG - Get Report) business model. It's a step up from fast food because the quality of the food is typically better, but has a streamlined and lower-cost business model. It involves no wait staff (customers typically order at a counter) and is generally low-frill. This is somewhere in between fast casual and formal dining room style. This type of restaurant is smaller than an ordinary restaurant but nicer than a fast-casual. This is the style of the cute local sandwich place; not a fast food joint, but they aren't hiring a service staff either. Finally, booming in popularity is the food truck/food cart style. This has grown rapidly because it's arguably the lowest-cost model out there, and with social media and the increasing quality of mobile kitchens you can do almost anything from one of these. But beware: You might have problems with local laws, because legacy restaurants are still fighting them tooth and nail. The next step is to decide what kind of product you want to serve and to write the business plan for how you will do so. Your business plan will cover everything about your new business, from target customer to funding sources to day-to-day operations. Basically, if someone ever has a question about how your restaurant will work, they should be able to look it up in the business plan. Basically, what will your restaurant serve, how and why? If you want to launch a taqueria, what market opening tells you that tacos will sell well in this area? Who will cook those tacos? If it's you, what makes you good at this? This is your product. Whether you serve seafood, pasta, coffee or anything else, you should dive into the specifics here. You don't necessarily need to make your menu, but you do need to get into as many details as it will take to know what you will serve, who will buy it and why you think they will buy it. So. Many. Restaurants. Fail. Do not underestimate the difficulty of what you're about to do. When you show this business plan to potential partners, chefs, landlords, etc., one of the first things they'll want to know is why you think this place will succeed. The best way to do that is to discuss monetization frankly. What will it cost to run your restaurant? Where do you anticipate your profit centers (for example, will it come from the food or the bar or someplace else)? How much product do you need to sell in order to become profitable? What will you charge? How do you plan on reaching customers and, to the best of your judgment, when do you expect to become profitable? An essential part of your business plan is understanding how your restaurant will financially succeed. A restaurant has many levels of staff, from waiters and bartenders to kitchen staff, cooks and managers. Your business plan will need to account for this. Who will cook your food? Who will oversee the business issues and the management? If you anticipate serving customers at tables, how many waiters do you think you will need? Thoroughly evaluate the style of restaurant you plan to launch, then figure out who you will need to run this place effectively. Food service is a heavily regulated field. Failing to account for that can end your business before it starts. A restaurant needs a food service license, a business license, health permits and a liquor license if applicable, and those are just some of the applicable legal issues. For a more thorough accounting of the many licenses that a restaurant needs to account for, see this article. While expensive, the best option here is simple: Consult an attorney. It will cost money, potentially thousands of dollars, but it is extremely important to do this right. In particular a lawyer can address any quirks of your local jurisdiction. Every state and city has its own rules and health codes when it comes to operating a restaurant. You can't count on Googling to get this right, in part because you may well not even know the right questions to ask. Find a lawyer and ask what you need to know. The alternative is learning from an unhappy health inspector. Introducing TheStreet Courses: Financial titans Jim Cramer and Robert Powell are bringing their market savvy and investing strategies to you. Learn how to create tax-efficient income, avoid mistakes, reduce risk and more. With our courses, you will have the tools and knowledge needed to achieve your financial goals. Learn more about TheStreet Courses on investing and personal finance here. If you wanted to get rich, how would you do it? I think your best bet would be to start or join a startup. That's been a reliable way to get rich for hundreds of years. The word "startup" dates from the 1960s, but what happens in one is very similar to the venture-backed trading voyages of the Middle Ages. Startups usually involve technology, so much so that the phrase "high-tech startup" is almost redundant. A startup is a small company that takes on a hard technical problem. Lots of people get rich knowing nothing more than that. You don't have to know physics to be a good pitcher. But I think it could give you an edge to understand the underlying principles. Why do startups have to be small? Will a startup inevitably stop being a startup as it grows larger? And why do they so often work on developing new technology? Why are there so many startups selling new drugs or computer software, and none selling corn oil or laundry detergent? Economically, you can think of a startup as a way to compress your whole working life into a few years. Instead of working at a low intensity for forty years, you work as hard as you possibly can for four. This pays especially well in technology, where you earn a premium for working fast. Here is a brief sketch of the economic proposition. 80,000 worth of work per year for the company just to break even. You could probably work twice as many hours as a corporate employee, and if you focus you can probably get three times as much done in an hour. You should get another multiple of two, at least, by eliminating the drag of the pointy-haired middle manager who would be your boss in a big company. Then there is one more multiple: how much smarter are you than your job description expects you to be? Suppose another multiple of three. Combine all these multipliers, and I'm claiming you could be 36 times more productive than you're expected to be in a random corporate job. 3 million a year. Like all back-of-the-envelope calculations, this one has a lot of wiggle room. I wouldn't try to defend the actual numbers. But I stand by the structure of the calculation. 3 million a year seems high, remember that we're talking about the limit case: the case where you not only have zero leisure time but indeed work so hard that you endanger your health. Startups are not magic. They don't change the laws of wealth creation. They just represent a point at the far end of the curve. There is a conservation law at work here: if you want to make a million dollars, you have to endure a million dollars' worth of pain. For example, one way to make a million dollars would be to work for the Post Office your whole life, and save every penny of your salary. Imagine the stress of working for the Post Office for fifty years. In a startup you compress all this stress into three or four years. You do tend to get a certain bulk discount if you buy the economy-size pain, but you can't evade the fundamental conservation law. If starting a startup were easy, everyone would do it. 3 million a year seems high to some people, it will seem low to others. How do I get to be a billionaire, like Bill Gates? So let's get Bill Gates out of the way right now. It's not a good idea to use famous rich people as examples, because the press only write about the very richest, and these tend to be outliers. Bill Gates is a smart, determined, and hardworking man, but you need more than that to make as much money as he has. You also need to be very lucky. There is a large random factor in the success of any company. So the guys you end up reading about in the papers are the ones who are very smart, totally dedicated, and win the lottery. Certainly Bill is smart and dedicated, but Microsoft also happens to have been the beneficiary of one of the most spectacular blunders in the history of business: the licensing deal for DOS. Instead IBM ended up using all its power in the market to give Microsoft control of the PC standard. From that point, all Microsoft had to do was execute. They never had to bet the company on a bold decision. All they had to do was play hardball with licensees and copy more innovative products reasonably promptly. If IBM hadn't made this mistake, Microsoft would still have been a successful company, but it could not have grown so big so fast. Bill Gates would be rich, but he'd be somewhere near the bottom of the Forbes 400 with the other guys his age. There are a lot of ways to get rich, and this essay is about only one of them. This essay is about how to make money by creating wealth and getting paid for it. There are plenty of other ways to get money, including chance, speculation, marriage, inheritance, theft, extortion, fraud, monopoly, graft, lobbying, counterfeiting, and prospecting. Most of the greatest fortunes have probably involved several of these. The advantage of creating wealth, as a way to get rich, is not just that it's more legitimate (many of the other methods are now illegal) but that it's more straightforward. You just have to do something people want. If you want to create wealth, it will help to understand what it is. Wealth is not the same thing as money. Wealth is as old as human history. Far older, in fact; ants have wealth. Money is a comparatively recent invention. Wealth is the fundamental thing. Wealth is stuff we want: food, clothes, houses, cars, gadgets, travel to interesting places, and so on. You can have wealth without having money. If you had a magic machine that could on command make you a car or cook you dinner or do your laundry, or do anything else you wanted, you wouldn't need money. Whereas if you were in the middle of Antarctica, where there is nothing to buy, it wouldn't matter how much money you had. Wealth is what you want, not money. But if wealth is the important thing, why does everyone talk about making money? It is a kind of shorthand: money is a way of moving wealth, and in practice they are usually interchangeable. But they are not the same thing, and unless you plan to get rich by counterfeiting, talking about making money can make it harder to understand how to make money. Money is a side effect of specialization. In a specialized society, most of the things you need, you can't make for yourself. If you want a potato or a pencil or a place to live, you have to get it from someone else. How do you get the person who grows the potatoes to give you some? By giving him something he wants in return. But you can't get very far by trading things directly with the people who need them. If you make violins, and none of the local farmers wants one, how will you eat? The solution societies find, as they get more specialized, is to make the trade into a two-step process. Instead of trading violins directly for potatoes, you trade violins for, say, silver, which you can then trade again for anything else you need. The intermediate stuff-- the medium of exchange-- can be anything that's rare and portable. Historically metals have been the most common, but recently we've been using a medium of exchange, called the dollar, that doesn't physically exist. It works as a medium of exchange, however, because its rarity is guaranteed by the U.S. The advantage of a medium of exchange is that it makes trade work. The disadvantage is that it tends to obscure what trade really means. People think that what a business does is make money. But money is just the intermediate stage-- just a shorthand-- for whatever people want. What most businesses really do is make wealth. They do something people want. A surprising number of people retain from childhood the idea that there is a fixed amount of wealth in the world. There is, in any normal family, a fixed amount of money at any moment. But that's not the same thing. When wealth is talked about in this context, it is often described as a pie. When you're talking about the amount of money in one family's bank account, or the amount available to a government from one year's tax revenue, this is true. If one person gets more, someone else has to get less. I can remember believing, as a child, that if a few rich people had all the money, it left less for everyone else. Many people seem to continue to believe something like this well into adulthood. This fallacy is usually there in the background when you hear someone talking about how x percent of the population have y percent of the wealth.