Cover image for Start Your Own Business and Hire Yourself

Book description

Provides solid advice on all aspects of starting a business, from writing the business plan, to finding customers, to managing costs and turning a profit.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. CONTENTS
  5. INTRODUCTION
    1. The Increasing Importance of Independent Contractors
    2. Starting a Business Is Not a Get-Rich-Quick Scheme
      1. Intangible Reasons for Entrepreneurship
      2. Taking Care of the Day-to-Day Aspects
      3. What Do You Do and What Do You Want?
    3. Where Do You Begin?
    4. The Seven Secrets of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs
  6. CHAPTER 1: THERE’S NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT TO START YOUR BUSINESS
    1. Becoming a Consultant in Your Field
    2. The Benefits of a Down Economy
      1. New Assets and Costs Are Cheaper Than Ever
      2. Store Fixtures Are Available
    3. Finding a Winning Business Idea in a Recession
    4. Proactive Marketing Is the Key
    5. Driving Sales and Extending Credit When Money Is Tight
  7. CHAPTER 2: GETTING INTO THE GAME: RESEARCHING YOUR OPTIONS
    1. Weighing Your Options
      1. Buying an Existing Business
        1. Do Your Due Diligence
        2. What Are You Looking For?
        3. How Do You Value a Business?
        4. Reports from the Trenches
      2. Have You Looked at a Franchise?
        1. What You Get
        2. Ask Someone Who Has Been There
        3. A Franchise Type for Everyone
      3. Network Marketing Businesses
      4. Work at Home and Make Big Money
      5. The Phenomenon of Online Selling
        1. Popular Online Selling Sites
        2. Starting a Standalone Store
        3. The Key to All Business Is Finding Customers
    2. Consider Industry Conditions and Your Future Goals
      1. Industry Conditions
      2. What Are Your Future Plans?
  8. CHAPTER 3: MYSELF, INC.: DEVELOPING YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
    1. First, Determine Which Legal Entity to Use
      1. Sole Proprietorships
      2. Would a Partnership Protect You?
      3. Limited Liability Company: A Simple and Legal Solution
      4. Becoming a Corporation
    2. Writing the Sections of Your Plan
      1. Executive Summary
      2. Market Analysis
        1. Defining Your Market
        2. Reaching Your Market
      3. Sources of Revenue
      4. Operating Strategy
      5. Management
      6. Pro Forma Financials
    3. This Document Is a Roadmap
  9. CHAPTER 4: SETTING YOUR BUDGET AND GETTING FUNDING IN TOUGH TIMES
    1. Question #1: How Much Money Do You Need?
    2. Getting Money Without a Loan
      1. Have You Thought About Bartering?
      2. Can You Co-venture with an Existing Entity?
      3. Negotiating Back-End Payments
      4. Using Credit Wisely
    3. Getting Loans
      1. One Size Does Not Fit All: The Business Loan
        1. Finding the Right Bank
        2. Approaching the Lender
        3. Your Loan Proposal
      2. Non-traditional Sources of Loans
        1. Should You Borrow from Friends or Family?
        2. What About Other Outsiders?
    4. Do Not Let Money Stop You
  10. CHAPTER 5: KEEPING SCORE: A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO ACCOUNTING BASICS
    1. Cash or Accrual?
    2. Profit-and-Loss (P&L) Statements
      1. Fixed and Variable Expenses
      2. Why It’s Important to Understand a P&L
      3. Use the P&L to Set Pricing Standards
      4. Analyzing Sales
    3. Balance Sheets
      1. Other Insights from Your Balance Sheet
      2. Business Liquidity (Solvency)
      3. Why a Balance Sheet Matters
      4. Account Agings: Another Trend to Watch
      5. Break-Even Analyses
        1. Finding Your Break-Even Number
        2. There Are Ways to Lower Your Break-Even
    4. The Value of Understanding Finance Is Critical
  11. CHAPTER 6: KNOWING THE MARKET AND HIRING THE BEST CUSTOMERS
    1. Defining Your Customer Base
      1. The 25 Percent Concept
      2. Start with a Competitive Analysis
      3. How Do You Define Customers for a Service Company?
    2. Differentiating Your Company
    3. Sending Messages to Customers
      1. Name and Logo
      2. Decor and Merchandising
      3. Is Your Communication Directed at the Right Person?
      4. Networking for Business
    4. When to “Fire” a Customer
    5. Can You Change Your Direction Midstream?
    6. Take Time to Find Good Customers
  12. CHAPTER 7: SMART MARKETING: DON’T SPEND THOUSANDS TO MAKE HUNDREDS
    1. What Is the Value of Each Customer?
    2. Where Do You Begin with Marketing?
    3. Where Should a New Company Invest Its Early Marketing Dollars?
      1. How Much Should You Spend on the First Day?
      2. Be Judicious with Grand-Opening Specials
      3. Client-Retention Programs
      4. PR: Getting Someone Else to Talk About You
      5. Guerilla Marketing—What Does That Mean?
    4. The Goal Is a Return That Meets the Expense
  13. CHAPTER 8: MAKING A PROFIT
    1. How Do You Set Your Prices?
      1. Influences on Pricing Decisions
      2. What Is a Reasonable Profit Margin?
      3. How Are You Viewed in Relation to the Competition?
    2. How Supply and Demand Affect Prices
    3. Find a Niche and Fill It
    4. Cutting Prices to Drive Volume: A Good Idea?
      1. A Sample Exercise
      2. Try Adding Value and Raising Prices
    5. Moving a Company from a Loss to a Profit
    6. Pricing Strategy for Consultants or Other Independents
    7. The Psychology of Pricing
    8. The Secret About Profits
  14. CHAPTER 9: WHOSE MONEY IS IT, ANYWAY? KEEPING BUSINESS AND PERSONAL FINANCES SEPARATE
    1. Keeping Business and Personal Assets Separate
      1. How Much Should You Pay Yourself?
      2. Don’t Put in More Money to Cover a Loss
      3. The Business Is Not Your Piggy Bank
      4. Don’t Pay Company Bills with Your Own Money, Either
    2. Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
      1. Giving Personal Guarantees
      2. Don’t Take Business Credit Personally
      3. A Sale Isn’t Complete Until It Is Paid
    3. Getting the Money
      1. Invoice Timely and Accurately
      2. Enforcing Collections
    4. When Your Family Is Involved
    5. Build Your Assets and You Will Reap Rewards
  15. CHAPTER 10: SECRETS FOR CONTINUING BUSINESS SUCCESS
    1. Don’t Create a Monster That You’re Not Prepared to Feed
      1. Are You Really Comfortable with People?
      2. Are You Strong at Meeting the Needs of Many?
    2. A Successful Business Is a Team Sport
      1. Maintain Good Relationships with Vendors
      2. The Care and Feeding of Your Local Banker
      3. Employees Build Your Company
      4. Be a Good Community Citizen
    3. Even if You Didn’t Invent It, You Can Improve It
    4. Don’t Get So Deep into the Forest That You Can’t See the Trees
    5. Always Keep Two Sets of Books
    6. Keep Up Your Business Plan
  16. CHAPTER 11: EXIT...STAGE LEFT: PLANNING YOUR BUSINESS EXIT STRATEGY
    1. Exit Strategies
      1. Selling the Company
      2. Grooming a Successor
      3. Merging with Another Company
    2. Creating Greater Value in the Business
    3. What Are the Different Ways to Value Your Company?
    4. Putting Your Company into Play
    5. The Moment of Truth: Closing the Deal
    6. Life Goes On
  17. EPILOGUE
    1. Keep an Eye on the Hot Trends
    2. The Secrets of Starting a Successful New Venture
    3. Watching a New Idea and a New Owner Catch Fire—Or Not
      1. One That Worked
      2. One That Didn’t
    4. Success Doesn’t Take Rocket Science
    5. Using Technical Skills to Start a Business
    6. Becoming a Consultant or Coach
    7. Business Ownership Does Not Work for Everyone
    8. The Joy of Having Your Own Business
  18. APPENDIX A: GLOSSARY OF BUSINESS AND ACCOUNTING TERMS
  19. APPENDIX B: SAMPLE BUSINESS PLAN
    1. Executive Summary
    2. Market Analysis
    3. Sources of Revenue
    4. Operating Strategy
    5. Management
    6. Pro Forma Financials
  20. INDEX