Everybody has the capability of succeeding or failing at anything they do. Knowing your costs and knowing how to utilize the financial tools that all businesses have available to them is the best way to ward off failure. If you don’t know how to read a financial statement, balance sheet or cash flow statement – learn. And soon. You will need all three in order to survive. If you are out there pushing snow simply because you love being out in the storm, then concentrate on plowing only those accounts that you can handle yourself. However, if you plan on purchasing equipment, trucks, loaders, containment plows and the like you need to know how the costs associated with such purchases affect your ability to charge adequately in order to achieve a viable profit. Once you know these basics, your whole philosophy of charging the right amounts for the services you render becomes much easier. Also, never ever price your services to “what the market will bear”. You shall then succeed in knowing how “failure” feels as you shall only succeed in driving the pricing you can charge downward. Once you enter that spiral, failure is only a matter of time. Know your costs, figure your pricing after determining your costs, and charge accordingly. Even in these tough economic times you can still get a fair price for the work that needs to be done IF you know your costs. This is a much better formula for success than shooting from the hip and hoping you are making a profit. Additionally, don’t grow too fast. I’ve been there and done that – and this too can result in disaster. Only grow as much as you can get your arms around. Or – growth too fast can lead to failure.