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Starting a Business For Dummies, 4th Edition

Book Description

Starting your own business is an exciting - and challenging - time.

This updated edition of the startup classic shows you how to build a business agile enough to take advantage of emerging trends and opportunities, and sturdy enough to weather any storm. Packed with real-life examples and links to hundreds of valuable resources, Starting a Business For Dummies, 4th Edition gives you what you need to make the leap from employee to successful entrepreneur with confidence.

All your favourite, trusted content has been updated including:

  • Laying the groundwork and testing the feasibility of your business idea

  • Writing a winning business plan and finding funding

  • How to operate effectively, including managing your finances and employing people

  • Growing your business and improving performance

  • New content includes:

  • The latest funding schemes, including government funding and crowdfunding

  • Tendering for public sector work

  • Avoiding business cyber-crime

  • Franchising and pop ups

  • Exporting (the government has set a target of doubling the number of exporting companies by 2020)

  • Environmental impact (a recent survey found 77% of SMEs wanted to know how to measure and improve their environmental impact)

  • Table of Contents

      1. Introduction
        1. About This Book
        2. Foolish Assumptions
        3. Icons Used in This Book
        4. Beyond the Book
        5. Where to Go From Here
      2. Part I: Getting Started with Your New Business
        1. Chapter 1: Preparing for Business
          1. Understanding the Enduring Rules of Business Strategy
            1. Focusing on focus – and a bit more besides
            2. Appreciating the forces at work in your sector
            3. Recognising the first-to-market fallacy
          2. Getting in Shape to Start Up
            1. Assessing your abilities
            2. Discovering a real need
            3. Checking the fit of the business
          3. Confirming Viability
            1. Researching the market
            2. Doing the numbers
            3. Raising the money
            4. Writing up the business plan
          4. Going for Growth
            1. Gaining economies of scale
            2. Securing a competitive advantage
            3. Retaining key staff
            4. Gaining critical business mass
        2. Chapter 2: Doing the Groundwork
          1. Understanding the Small Business Environment
          2. Defining Small Business
          3. Looking at the Types of People Who Start Businesses
            1. Making your age an asset
            2. Considering location
            3. Winning with women
            4. Being educated about education
          4. Coming Up with a Winning Idea
            1. Ranking popular start-up ideas
            2. Going with fast growth
            3. Spotting a gap in the market
            4. Revamping an old idea
            5. Using the Internet
            6. Solving customer problems
            7. Creating inventions and innovations
            8. Marketing other people’s ideas
            9. Being better or different
            10. Finding a contract in the public sector
          5. Banning Bad Reasons to Start a Business
            1. Steering clear of bad assumptions
            2. Avoiding obvious mistakes
          6. Recognising that the Economy Matters
            1. Spotting cycles
            2. Readying for the ups and downs
          7. Preparing to Recognise Success
            1. Measuring business success
            2. Exploring the myth and reality of business survival rates
        3. Chapter 3: Can You Do the Business?
          1. Deciding What You Want From a Business
            1. Gaining personal satisfaction (or, entrepreneurs just wanna have fun)
            2. Making money
            3. Saving the planet
          2. Exploring Different Types of Business
            1. Selling to other businesses
            2. Opening all hours
            3. Making products
            4. Servicing customers
          3. Working from Home
            1. Finding the space
            2. Checking out the rules
            3. Dealing with the family
            4. Vanquishing visitors
          4. Assessing Yourself
            1. Discovering your entrepreneurial attributes
            2. Working out a business idea that’s right for you
            3. Figuring out what you’re willing to invest
            4. Weighting your preferences
        4. Chapter 4: Testing Feasibility
          1. Finding Enough Product or People
            1. How much is enough?
            2. Buying in equipment and supplies
            3. Hiring in help
          2. Sizing Up the Market
            1. Figuring out what you need to know
            2. Finding your segment of the market
            3. Checking out your competition
            4. Budgeting for your research
            5. Doing the preliminary research
            6. Conducting the research
          3. Working Out Whether You Can Make Money
            1. Estimating start-up costs
            2. Forecasting sales
            3. Exceeding breakeven
      3. Part II: Making and Funding Your Plan
        1. Chapter 5: Structuring Your Business
          1. Choosing the Right Structure
          2. Going into Business by Yourself
            1. Advantages
            2. Disadvantages
            3. Settling on sole-trader status
          3. Building up to Network Marketing
            1. Evaluating the pros and cons
            2. Distinguishing pyramids from network marketing
          4. Working with a Limited Number of Other People
            1. Taking on an existing business
            2. Forming a partnership
            3. Looking at limited partnerships
            4. Checking out co-operatives
          5. Finding Your Way to Franchising
            1. Looking at franchise types
            2. Defining a franchise
            3. Evaluating a franchise opportunity
          6. Founding a Larger Company
            1. Opting for a limited company
            2. Buying out a business
          7. Looking at Legal Issues in Marketing
            1. Naming your business
            2. Looking at logos
            3. Protecting patents
            4. Registering a trademark
            5. Detailing your design
            6. Controlling a copyright
            7. Abiding by fair business rules
            8. Setting terms of trade
            9. Describing your goods
            10. Dealing with payment problems
        2. Chapter 6: Preparing the Business Plan
          1. Finding a Reason to Write a Business Plan
            1. Building confidence
            2. Testing your ideas
            3. Showing how much money you need
            4. Providing planning experience
            5. Satisfying financiers’ concerns
          2. Writing Up Your Business Plan
            1. Defining your readership
            2. Creating the plan
            3. Maintaining confidentiality
            4. Doing due diligence
          3. Using Business Planning Software
            1. Recognising the limits of software
            2. Reviewing packages
          4. Presenting Your Plan
            1. Starring in show time
            2. Handling feedback
            3. Making an elevator pitch
        3. Chapter 7: Getting Help
          1. Connecting with Government Services
            1. Accessing national government support
            2. Relating to a region
          2. Choosing Small Business Associations
            1. The Federation of Small Businesses
            2. Forum of Private Business
            3. The British Chambers of Commerce
            4. A few more strings to your bow
          3. Universities and Colleges
          4. Entering an Incubator
            1. Finding the right type of incubator
            2. Getting into an incubator
            3. Considering the cost
            4. Finding out more
          5. Assisting Inventors
          6. Helping Young Entrepreneurs
        4. Chapter 8: Finding the Money
          1. Assessing How Much Money You Need
            1. Projecting receipts
            2. Estimating expenses
            3. Working out the closing cash balances
            4. Setting out your cash-flow projection
            5. Testing your assumptions
          2. Reviewing Your Financing Options
            1. Deciding between debt capital and equity capital
            2. Examining your own finances
          3. Determining the Best Source of Finance for You
            1. Considering the costs
            2. Sharing ownership and control
            3. Limiting personal liability
          4. Going for Debt
            1. Borrowing from banks
            2. Going with the government
            3. Financing cash flow
            4. Getting physical
            5. Uniting with a credit union
            6. Grabbing cash locally
            7. Borrowing from family and friends
          5. Sharing Out the Spoils
            1. Benefiting from business angels
            2. Going for venture capital
            3. Looking to corporate venturing
            4. Understanding due diligence
          6. Finding Free Money
            1. Getting a grant
            2. Winning money
            3. Following the crowd
        5. Chapter 9: Considering Your Mission
          1. Developing Your Concept
          2. Composing Your Mission Statement
          3. Seeing the Vision Thing
          4. Setting Objectives and Goals
        6. Chapter 10: Marketing and Selling Your Wares
          1. Making Up the Marketing Mix
          2. Defining Your Product or Service Parameters
          3. Using Advertising to Tell Your Story
            1. Considering the customer’s point of view
            2. Making an exhibition of yourself
            3. Setting advertising objectives
            4. Deciding the budget
            5. Defining the message
            6. Choosing the media
            7. Choosing the frequency
            8. Writing a leaflet
            9. Using the Internet for viral marketing
            10. Providing opportunities to see
            11. Figuring your bang-for-the-buck ratio
          4. Getting into the News
            1. Deciding who to contact
            2. Following through
          5. Using Blogs and Social Networks
          6. Selling and Salesmanship
            1. Telling the difference between selling and marketing
            2. Selling yourself
            3. Outsourcing selling
            4. Measuring results
          7. Settling On a Price
            1. Caring about business conditions
            2. Working to your capacity
            3. Understanding consumer perceptions
            4. Skimming versus penetrating
            5. Avoiding setting prices too low
          8. Pondering Place and Distribution
            1. Choosing a location
            2. Selecting a distribution channel
      4. Part III: Staying in Business
        1. Chapter 11: Employing People
          1. Finding Great Employees
            1. Deciding on full- or part-timers
            2. Recruiting and selecting
            3. Testing to find the best
          2. Exploring Other Ways of Recruiting
            1. Using agencies
            2. Using Job Centre Plus
            3. Recruiting over the Internet
            4. Outsourcing jobs
          3. Motivating and Rewarding Employees
            1. Getting the best out of employees
            2. Dealing with difficult or demotivated employees
            3. Keeping motivation in the family
            4. Rewarding achievements
          4. Staying on the Right Side of Employment Law
            1. Keeping employment records
            2. Preparing contracts of employment
            3. Working legal hours
            4. Granting leave
            5. Avoiding discrimination
            6. Keeping healthy and safe
        2. Chapter 12: Operating Effectively
          1. Proposing Premises
            1. Calculating requirements
            2. Finding the right premises
            3. Renting or owning?
            4. Sorting out equipment
          2. Taking the Make-or-Buy Decision
            1. Making it yourself – pros and cons
            2. Outsourcing – a low investment option
            3. Setting quality standards
          3. Choosing a Supplier
            1. Evaluating trading terms
            2. Building a relationship
            3. Buying online
          4. Minimising Risk and Assessing Liability
            1. Protecting your employees
            2. Covering yourself against an employee suing
            3. Protecting assets
            4. Covering loss of profits
            5. Goods in transit
            6. Protecting yourself
            7. Guaranteeing goods and services
          5. Dissecting Directors
          6. Finding and Choosing Business Advisers
            1. Tallying up an accountant
            2. Investing in a bank
            3. Soliciting for a lawyer
            4. Managing a consultant
          7. Taking Cyber Security Seriously
            1. Recognising common types of cyber crime
            2. Adopting preventative measures
          8. Making a Virtue Out of Going Green
        3. Chapter 13: Keeping Track of Finances
          1. Keeping the Books
            1. Recording financial information
            2. Starting simple with single entry
            3. Dealing with double entry
            4. Choosing the right accounting program
            5. Outsourcing bookkeeping
          2. Understanding Your Accounts
            1. Forecasting cash flow
            2. Reporting your profits
          3. Accounting for Pricing
            1. Breaking even
            2. Pricing for profit
            3. Building in more products
            4. Handling price changes
          4. Balancing the Books
            1. A balance sheet
            2. Categorising assets
            3. Accounting for liabilities
            4. Understanding reserves
          5. Analysing Performance
            1. Using ratios
            2. Gearing down
          6. Keeping on the Right Side of the Law
            1. Carrying out an audit
            2. Filing your accounts
          7. Managing Your Accountant
        4. Chapter 14: Managing Your Tax Position
          1. Tackling Taxes for Different Types of Businesses
            1. Figuring out sole traders and partnerships
            2. Looking at levies on companies
            3. Assessing the best legal structure
          2. Paying Taxes
            1. Valuing VAT
            2. Minimising tax on profit
          3. Handling Employment Taxes
            1. Paying PAYE
            2. Allocating national insurance
            3. Accounting for employment taxes
          4. Surviving a Tax Investigation
      5. Part IV: Making the Business Grow
        1. Chapter 15: Doing Business Online
          1. Appreciating the Power of the Internet
            1. Ruminating on richness versus reach
            2. Checking out clicks and bricks
            3. Recognising the limits – you have none!
          2. Reviewing What You Can Do Online
            1. Generating advertising revenue
            2. Recruiting staff
            3. Answering frequent questions
            4. Carrying out market research
          3. Establishing an Internet Presence with a Website
            1. Deciding on content
            2. Designing the website
            3. Checking out competitors
            4. Using a consultant
            5. Registering domains
            6. Hosting your website
          4. Selling Goods and Services
            1. Using third-party websites
            2. Building a store front
            3. Getting paid online
            4. Fulfilling orders
          5. Gaining Visibility
            1. Understanding search engines
            2. Optimising your website
          6. Tracking Traffic
        2. Chapter 16: Improving Performance
          1. Checking Your Internal Systems
            1. Keeping track of your routine
            2. Analysing market position
          2. Retaining Customers
            1. Realising why retaining customers matters
            2. Working to retain customers
          3. Improving Productivity
            1. Cutting costs
            2. Increasing margins
            3. Working smarter
            4. Rewarding results
          4. Budgeting for Beginners
            1. Setting the guidelines
            2. Analysing the variances
            3. Budgeting from zero
        3. Chapter 17: Exploring Strategies for Growth
          1. Understanding the Importance of Growth
            1. Measuring market share
            2. Building a brand
          2. Increasing Sales
            1. Getting customers to buy more
            2. Encouraging referrals
            3. Entering new market segments at home
            4. Selling overseas
            5. Adding new products or services
            6. Diversifying as a last resort
          3. Forming Alliances
            1. Going on the alliance trail
            2. Investigating and approaching
          4. Franchising Your Way to Growth
            1. Bolting on a franchise
            2. Weighing the advantages and disadvantages
            3. Doing the pilot
            4. Finding franchisees
            5. Rolling out the franchise
        4. Chapter 18: Becoming a Great Manager
          1. Building a Team
            1. Founding principles
          2. Coaching and Training
          3. Appraising Performance
          4. Developing a Leadership Style
            1. Understanding leadership
            2. Delegating
            3. Evolving leadership styles for growth
            4. Managing change
          5. Measuring Morale
      6. Part V: The Part of Tens
        1. Chapter 19: Ten Pitfalls to Avoid
          1. Knowing Too Little
          2. Being Overly Optimistic about the Market
          3. Underestimating Start-up Time
          4. Spending Too Much at the Start
          5. Mistaking Cash for Profit
          6. Choosing the Wrong Partner
          7. Ignoring Accounting
          8. Forgetting Working Capital
          9. Having No Clear Competitive Advantage
          10. Choosing the Wrong Location
        2. Chapter 20: Ten People to Talk to Before You Start
          1. Speaking with Your Spouse
          2. Making Use of Your Professional Network
          3. Benefiting from Entrepreneurs Who Started a Similar Business
          4. Spending Time with a Friendly Banker
          5. Reaching Out to Customers
          6. Communicating with Your Current Boss
          7. Calling Your Colleagues
          8. Bringing in Your Best Friend
          9. Reporting to an Accountant
          10. Plugging into a Business Angel Network
        3. Chapter 21: Ten Reasons for Using Social Media
          1. Augmenting Your Marketing Budget
          2. Acquiring Cost-Effective Exposure
          3. Increasing Website Traffic
          4. Moving up Search Engine Rankings
          5. Improving Market Intelligence
          6. Attracting Interest to Generate Sales Leads
          7. Growing Real Sales
          8. Keeping Pace with Market Leaders
          9. Creating Loyalty
          10. Generating Referrals
      7. About the Author
      8. Cheat Sheet
      9. More Dummies Products