You are previewing Small Business For Dummies®, 4th Edition.
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Small Business For Dummies®, 4th Edition

Book Description

The leading resource for starting and running any small business

Want to start the small business of your dreams? Want to breathe new life into the one you already have? Small Business For Dummies provides authoritative guidance on every aspect of starting and growing your business, from financing and budgeting to marketing, management and beyond.

This completely practical, no-nonsense guide gives you expert advice on everything from generating ideas and locating start-up money to hiring the right people, balancing the books, and planning for growth. You'll get plenty of help in ramping up your management skills, developing a marketing strategy, keeping your customers loyal, and much more. You'll also find out to use the latest technology to improve your business's performance at every level.

  • How start-up and established small businesses can use the Small Business Jobs Act to their advantage

  • Enhanced and expanded coverage on using technology in your small business

  • Hiring employees using online resources including LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media sites

  • New coverage of the recent health care bill, health savings accounts, and their implications for small business

  • Updated coverage of the best places to get small business loans

  • What it takes to achieve and maintain success in an ever-changing economic landscape

You have the energy, drive, passion, and smarts to make your small business a huge success. Small Business For Dummies provides the rest.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Title Page
  4. Introduction
  5. Part I: Becoming an Entrepreneur
    1. Chapter 1: Is Small Business for You?
      1. Defining Small Business
      2. Do You Have the Right Stuff?
      3. Identifying the Pros and Cons of Owning a Small Business
      4. Exploring Alternatives to Starting a Business
    2. Chapter 2: Laying Your Personal Financial Foundation
      1. Getting Your Financial Ducks in a Row
      2. Creating Your Money To-Do List
      3. Assessing and Replacing Benefits
      4. Managing Your Personal Finances Post-Launch
    3. Chapter 3: Finding Your Niche
      1. Why You Don’t Need a New Idea to Be Successful
      2. Inventing Something New
      3. Choosing Your Business
      4. Recognizing Your Number One Asset — You
    4. Chapter 4: First Things First: Crafting Your Business Plan
      1. Your Mission: Impossible If You Fail to Define It
      2. Your Business Plan: Don’t Start Up without It
      3. Writing Your Business Plan
      4. Keeping Your Plan Current
    5. Chapter 5: Making Financing, Ownership, and Organizational Decisions
      1. Determining Your Start-Up Cash Needs
      2. Using Your Own Money: Bootstrapping
      3. Outsourcing for Your Capital Needs
      4. Exploring Ownership Options
      5. Deciding Whether to Incorporate
  6. Part II: Buying an Existing Business
    1. Chapter 6: Exploring Buying a Business
      1. Understanding Why to Buy a Business
      2. Knowing When You Shouldn’t Buy
      3. Recognizing Prepurchase Prerequisites
    2. Chapter 7: Finding the Right Business to Buy
      1. Defining Your Business-Buying Appetite
      2. Generating Leads
      3. Considering a Franchise
      4. Evaluating Multilevel Marketing (MLM) Firms
      5. Checking Out Work-from-Home Opportunities
    3. Chapter 8: Evaluating a Business to Buy
      1. Kicking the Tires: Doing Your Due Diligence
      2. Evaluating Special Franchise Issues
    4. Chapter 9: Negotiating Terms and Sealing the Deal
      1. Valuing the Business
      2. Developing Purchase Offer Contingencies
      3. Allocating the Purchase Price
      4. Doing Due Diligence
      5. Moving Into Your Business
  7. Part III: Running a Successful Small Business
    1. Chapter 10: The Owner's Responsibilities in the Start-Up and Beyond
      1. Dotting Your i’s and Crossing Your t’s: Start-Up Details
      2. Outsourcing: Focus on What You Do Best
      3. Simplifying Your Accounting
      4. Controlling Your Expenses
      5. Managing Vendor Relationships
      6. Dealing with Bankers, Lawyers, and Other Outsiders
    2. Chapter 11: Marketing: Products, Pricing, Distribution, Promotion, and Sales
      1. Marketing in a Nutshell
      2. Tackling Product and Service Development
      3. Pricing: Cost and Value
      4. Distribution: Channeling to Customers
      5. Promotion: Spreading the Word
      6. Sales: Where the Rubber Hits the Road
    3. Chapter 12: Tapping Technology
      1. Improving Your Business’s Efficiency
      2. Expanding Your Research Possibilities Online
      3. Marketing Your Business Online
    4. Chapter 13: Keeping Your Customers Loyal
      1. Retaining Your Customer Base
      2. Dealing with Dissatisfied Customers
    5. Chapter 14: Managing Profitability and Cash
      1. Cash Flow: The Fuel That Drives Your Business
      2. Making Sense of Financial Statements
      3. Turning the Numbers into Action
      4. Understanding Key Ratios and Percentages
      5. Managing Your Inventory
      6. Collecting Your Accounts Receivable
      7. The Three Ways to Improve Profits
    6. Chapter 15: Learning from the Experiences of Others
      1. Utilize Mentors
      2. Network with Peers
      3. Form a Board of Advisors
      4. Get a Partner
      5. Join a Trade Association
      6. Find a Business Incubator
      7. Locate a Small Business Development Center
      8. Give SCORE a Try
      9. Tap into Small-Business Information
  8. Part IV: Keeping Your Business in Business
    1. Chapter 16: Finding and Keeping Superstar Employees
      1. Assembling a Top Team
      2. Training: An Investment, Not an Expense
      3. Motivating: Pay and Performance Issues
      4. Parting Company: Firing an Employee
      5. Designing Flexible Organization Charts
      6. Valuing Employee Manuals
      7. Turning the Tables: Characterizing Successful Employers
    2. Chapter 17: Providing Employee Benefits
      1. Seeing the Real Value in Retirement Plans
      2. Deciding Whether to Share Equity
      3. Including Insurance and Other Benefits
    3. Chapter 18: Handling Regulatory and Legal Issues
      1. Navigating Small-Business Laws
      2. Suffering through Start-Up Regulations
      3. Laboring over Employee Costs and Laws
    4. Chapter 19: Mastering Small-Business Taxes
      1. Getting Smarter about Taxes
      2. Keeping Good Financial Records Leads to Tax Benefits
      3. Knowing (And Managing) Your Tax Bracket
      4. Staying on Top of Employment Taxes
      5. Spending Your Money Tax-Wisely
      6. Grasping the Tax Implications of Your Entity Selection
    5. Chapter 20: Cultivating a Growing Business
      1. Recognizing Growth Stages
      2. Handling Human Resources Issues
      3. Addressing Time-Management Issues
      4. Choosing Your Management Tools
      5. Troubleshooting Your Business
      6. Redefining Your Role in an Evolving Business
  9. Part V: The Part of Tens
    1. Chapter 21: Ten Mistakes You Don't Want to Make
      1. Failing to Use Financial Statements to Manage Your Business
      2. Failing to Prepare an Annual Budget
      3. Failing to Utilize Your CPA
      4. Failing to Understand How Marketing Applies to Your Business
      5. Hiring Too Quickly
      6. Taking Too Long to Terminate Nonperforming Employees
      7. Assuming Your Employees Are Motivated by the Same Things You Are
      8. Considering Training to Be an Expense and Not an Investment
      9. Failing to Take Advantage of Available Resources
      10. Failing to Maintain an Up-to-Date Organization Chart
    2. Chapter 22: Ten Tips for Small-Business Success
      1. Focus on the Execution
      2. Assemble a Team of Superstars in Game-Breaker Positions
      3. Work Hard, Get Lucky
      4. Realize the Difference between Profits and Cash
      5. Hire for Attitude, Teach Skills Later
      6. Create an Exit Strategy
      7. Grow or Die — There’s No In-Between
      8. Transition to Manager As Soon As You Hire Someone Else
      9. Develop an Insatiable Appetite to Learn
      10. Do What You Love