The 3 Essential Documents Needed to Start Any Business

Starting a business can be a risky undertaking. They can be full of missteps, starts and stops and disappointments. To ensure that you start off on the right footing, there are three documents that will create your ventures foundation. Without them, it will be hard to be successful. These three pieces will take some time to get right. Iterating on them will codify your idea. This creation and iteration process will make your venture much more likely to succeed.

Step 1: The Pitch

The first document is your pitch. This is usually done in some presentation tool like NeoOffice or Keynote or Powerpoint. It should be the first document you create since it outlines your venture.

The importance of the pitch is that it allows you craft a story for your business. It’s what Angels and Venture Capitalists will want to see when they meet you. A good pitch is not a wordy, 12 point font business plan in Power Point but a high level vision of what you want to do. Refining your pitch will strengthen your story. Refining your pitch delivery will make your idea come alive.

Step 2: The Financial Model

Once you have outlined your idea, you need to figure out if it will actually make money. I know, sounds shallow and all corporate but it’s the truth. There is no point in spending a ton of time on your business idea unless it feeds you.

The financial model is meant to cull through your assumptions about income and expenses. Getting these all down will help you refine your pitch and executive summary. Since this is an iterative process, don’t worry about getting everything perfect right away. Just get something down you can play with. If you are unsure about an expense, put it in anyway. It’s much better to over estimate a little than to undershoot. The same applies for income (or sales).

Step 3: The Executive Summary

The executive summary is critical to getting that first meeting with investors. It’s the first thing they will ask for (the pitch might be second). It needs to stand-a-lone as the best possible high level overview of what you do. Each word, each phrase and each number has to do useful work. It has to be clear, concise and easy to read. Think of it as your ventures infomercial.

Step 4: Iterate

Getting all three pieces right will take some iteration. These iterations will anneal all three into a cohesive set. The best way to iterate is to practice your pitch in front of your team and others you trust. Have them act as investors and critique your delivery and message. These sessions will show you where your idea needs more work. Any area where you have to give long explanations or stumble over words, needs to be refined. Stumbles during the warm-up will tend to get worst when nerves get the best of you when in front of investors. Practicing will make that a whole lot better.

What About A Business Plan?

Business plans are an important component of your venture but not the end all, be all. Solid business plans start with the three documents above. They lay the foundation for how your plan will be structured. It’s important to flush out the high level idea before you dive into the business plan details. In most cases, your original idea will morph into something different. Waiting for the morphing to stop will save you time and effort.

Some funding sources don’t even want to see a business plan (Ventures and Angels). What they will want is a verbal description of your venture along with specific plans (like technology road maps or market roll out). Just because you don’t do a formal plan does not mean you don’t have to do the work. Knowing your business inside and out will instill in the investor that you are the right person to make it successful. Skimping on that will never get you funded.

SaleHoo Tips For a Successful Online Business

Online business or eCommerce has slowly becoming a trend in the business scene. Many are now putting up virtual stores which they can run with just a small amount of money. With the use of the internet, one can be able to market and sell their products to many possible clients. This is actually the easiest way to let others know about your business since majority of people today are using the internet everyday.

One proof of success for these online sellers is the eBay. Now, there are millions of online sellers in this auction site. This just goes to show that there are also millions of online shoppers around today. You can actually buy everything you need over these online stores. However, there are also some guidelines that you must follow to make sure that your online business will succeed and grow.

First tip that SaleHoo gives to you is that you should give the right attention to your business. Do not just let it run and profit the same amount over and over again. Aim high. If you want to earn more, then do more. You can add more items to your store or research on products that are truly best sellers.

Another tip is to know the business inside and out. Know how to properly run an online business. Know the things that can make it prosper and fail. And through these, you would know what proper actions to do in running your business.

And choose the best products to sell. Do not just sell anything; be sure that it is a necessity and something that people use often. This will make sure that you will have repeat customers.

SaleHoo can help you in marketing your products. You can also talk to other members through the members’ forum to get views and opinions on a certain matter. SaleHoo will help you in all aspects of your business.

Local Business Marketing Online

It may seem strange at first to hear that I recommend local Businesses include article marketing as part of their business marketing strategy.

After all an article written by a Minneapolis Pest Control expert may not be relevant to readers in Brisbane, Australia, or London and yet the article will be distributed worldwide once it is posted on an internet article directory.

It’s not likely even that a home owner fighting bed bugs in Madison, Wisconsin will call on this Minneapolis business. Why then bother?

Well, there are a couple minor reasons and one major. Let’s deal with the minor ones first.

The very act of writing an article tends to focus the mind. You know your business inside and out, but can you effectively communicate it to others? Writing an article can help you identify your unique selling proposition and put it into words. Now many business people can do that in a flash, while others will struggle with it at first.

Learning how to communicate in an article will help you in all other presentations and it has the great advantage of allowing you to rip up your false starts until you get a solid statement composed.

The second minor reason is that in addition to impressing your spouse or even yourself, you are now an author. And that in and of itself carries with it a perception of authority and expertise. Now of course you are an expert in your field, but your status as an author helps reinforce that image with others. And that’s a good thing.

But the real reason to write articles is the power article marketing has in raising your web page higher in the search engines. It’s not the article per se that matters, it’s the back link you get from the article directory that publishes your article. This by itself is good news, but the power of article marketing isn’t in just getting your article on the directories.

Far more powerful is the result of it getting it republished in many different blogs, and ezines around the world. A well written article, that makes a clear point and is easy or even fun to read is likely to be picked up by others. And each time it is, you get another back link to your web site.

There are many factors that play an important role in how well your web site is rated by Google and the other search engines. But once the basics are taken care of, the dominant factor is how well respected your web site is. The search engines measure this my taking note of how many other web sites are linking back to your web page and who those sites are.

Within a local market, like my home town of Minneapolis a doctor, photographer, dentist, window replacement contractor, etc doesn’t need to have the most popular web site in the world, just the most popular in the Minneapolis area. If they are they will rank higher than most if not all their competitors.

And since these days more people search for businesses online rather than via the Yellow pages as they did in the past, this is a significant advantage. An advantage that results in more new customers and more profits.

And that is exactly why I advise local business in the Twin Cities area and elsewhere to market their business using article marketing as a significant part of their business marketing strategy.

Home Business Expert – Top 10 Myths About Home Based Business

Today we have more home businesses than at any time before and the number of such businesses seem to be increasing with each passing day. This only points to one direction and this is that, home businesses are making a lot of money for their owners. Yes, it is true you can start a business from your home and begin to amass wealth. But to make it really successful you need to know what are the myths about home businesses, and then work around them.

So here are the top 10 myths about home based businesses for your convenience.
1. It is too technical.
2. Running a home business is easy.
3. You just need to work for a few hours.
4. Since I am working with Bob and Bob is a millionaire I will be one too.
5. Only the first people or the top people will ever make any money in a business.
6. You don’t even need a website!
7. You don’t have to pay for advertising!
8. You won’t have to spend any money.
9. There is no need to meet people at all.
10. You can put things on autopilot.

It is too technical : This is one big myth. There are thousands of entrepreneurs with very little technical skills, and no technical skills even who are making money all the time from their work at home enterprises. So you can too. Most businesses do not need you to be a technical wizard.

Running a home business is easy : Yes it may seem that there are many who are easily earning a 6 figure income, but you should know that this is not necessarily an easy job. To become really successful, you will obviously have to know your business inside out and then do the right things properly and only then can you begin to amass enough wealth. But yes, it can be done.

You just need to work for a few hours : Of course you can decide the number of hours you want to work and even select the time of the day when to work when you are working from home, but this does not mean that just working 1 hour a day for 3 days a week will make your business a hit. There are many small business owners who really slog it out and many of them even work on weekends. But this work is usually fun because you are working for yourself and not your boss.

Since I am working with Bob and Bob is a millionaire I will be one too : Here’s another popular myth. Yes Bob has been a great success story, but you still have to make it happen even though you are following him.

Only the first people or the top people will ever make any money in a business : Many believe that only those who join first or the ones who are at the top will ever make money in a program. But this is wrong. If you do the right things, you can succeed too, no matter where you are placed or when you start. You simply have to start!

You don’t need a website : At the very beginning when you are starting off, in many businesses, you may not have a website, but as your business progresses, you will see that having a website has become a necessity. We are now in the Information Age & the Internet isn’t going anywhere.

You don’t have to pay for advertising : No matter what your business, you still need to inform your customers about it and thus you need advertising. Advertisements are most effective when you are paying for them and this can also give you the mileage you need.

You won’t have to spend any money : This is another myth because often you will find that it becomes necessary to spend money for many reasons such as business promotion, paying people etc.

There is no need to meet people : You might be working from home, but that does not mean that there will be a need to meet anyone at all for your business.

You can put things on autopilot : There are those who think that you just start the business and put the things in place and the autopilot will take care of everything. If your business has systems & the tools in place, you’ll have the ability to leverage your time & make money while you sleep. However, you will always be the constant & therefore your business will never be on autopilot.

These are the top 10 myths about home business. Needless to say, they are not true.