How to Finance a Business Start-Up

Q: My son has a sure-fire business idea that’s gonna make us rich. Who do we see to get $100,000?

A: I was asked this question by a very serious forty-something father with his teen-something son in tow at a business opportunity fair not all that long ago.

I was tempted say that if I knew someone with that kind of money burning holes in his or her pockets, would I be standing there talking to them? However, my answer was the one any prospective entrepreneur will hear when asking for money: “Let’s see your business plan.”

Even if your business is to be an in-home affair and you’re the only employee, you need to be able to answer two questions before any lender or investor will write you a check:

  1. What will it cost?
  2. Who’s going to buy it?

These are the questions that a business plan answers. Step one is …read more at How to finance a business start-up – Examiner.com, published 19 April 2009.

Flickr photo credit: YTK23

By |2012-01-05T06:40:42+01:00April 20, 2009|Administration & Finance, Blog|0 Comments

Customer Strategy Tips from an Indie Rocker

In August 2005, Jonathan Coulton quit his job as a software developer, with the goal of conducting an experiment: over the next year, could he figure out a way to earn a living as a full-time musician, leveraging the Web and his small-but-passionate fan base?

Coulton isn’t the only artist who is trying to come up with new ways of cultivating an audience and making a living in a post-label, post-studio, post-publisher world, where big advances and development deals are essentially a thing of the past for emerging talent. For my new book Fans, Friends & Followers, I spoke with thirty filmmakers, musicians, writers and comedians who’ve been developing new strategies for building a fan base that can support the work they want to do. Many of their strategies would be equally effective for businesses trying to generate buzz and attract loyal customers – without an enormous marketing budget.

Coulton, for instance, has discovered that by giving his fans an opportunity to collaborate with him, they’re more likely to feel like active, engaged supporters – more likely to purchase CDs, merchandise, downloads, and concert tickets.

Here are just three of the ways Coulton has invited his followers to get involved with his career, each of which could be applied by many kinds of businesses. …read more at Customer Strategy Tips from an Indie Rocker – Harvard Business Publishing, published 17 April 2009.

Photo credit: Dale May Photography

By |2012-01-05T06:49:34+01:00April 20, 2009|Blog, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments

18 Tips For Small Businesses That Outsource

Outsourcing has received a bad rap in some circles because of its association with job losses that occur when corporations “export” jobs to countries with much lower labor costs than the U.S.

But those of us who run small and home businesses have a different perspective on outsourcing.

For us, outsourcing is the “secret sauce” that lets us pull together the resources to handle temporary work overloads, reduce fixed costs, speed products to market, simplify distribution, provide more or better service to our customers, and compete with our deeper-pocketed competitors.

Much of the business that small businesses outsource goes to other small and home businesses within our own country. Often those freelancers or subcontractors are business owners we’ve met at local business meetings or events. Sometimes they’re people we’ve “met” by participating in a mailing list or forum, or via specific Web sites, like Elance.

But the key to successful outsourcing has little to do with where you meet the subcontractors and freelancers you work with. Like anything else, it takes planning. Here are 18 ways to get the best results when you outsource work… more at 18 Tips For Small Businesses That Outsource – SmallBizResource, published 19 March 2009.

Flickr photo credit: markhillary

By |2012-01-05T06:47:36+01:00March 26, 2009|Blog, Small Business|0 Comments
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