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The Accidental Startup

Book Description

Build a business you can call your own! Entrepreneur and small business expert Danielle Babb helps you figure out if you have what it takes to be your own boss-- and shows you how to start the business you've always dreamed of-- but never got off the ground. The Accidental Startup explores all aspects, including business plan development, goal setting, funding, legal issues, marketing, and staffing.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
    1. Dedication
  2. Letter to the Reader
  3. Introduction
    1. Acknowledgments
  4. 1. Does Self Employment Make Sense for You?
    1. Your Current Position
      1. Unemployed
      2. Underemployed
      3. Worried About Losing a Job and Conflicting Obligations
    2. Benefits of Working for Yourself
      1. Stable Income
      2. No More Job-Loss Fear
      3. Additional Income
      4. Freedom
      5. Flexible Hours
      6. Bringing Your Passions to Work
      7. Pride of Ownership
      8. Earning Potential
    3. Downsides to Working for Yourself
      1. Feeling of Instability
      2. Potential for Failure
      3. Unforeseen Costs
      4. Potential for Long Hours
      5. Lack of Vacations
      6. Difficulty Building Your Business
      7. Work/Life Barriers
    4. Doing the Math
      1. Insurance Basics
      2. Tax Basics
      3. Healthcare Costs
      4. Your Personal Break-Even Point
    5. Final Thoughts
  5. 2. Myth Busters!
    1. Common Myths of Self Employment
      1. “My Taxes Will Go Up”
      2. “My Healthcare Costs Will Skyrocket”
      3. “I Won’t Have a Fallback Plan”
      4. “If My Business Doesn’t Succeed I’ll Go Into Bankruptcy”
      5. “I’m Not Procrastinating; I’m Just Waiting for the Right Time”
      6. “The Internet Will Kill My Profits—Everything Is About Price!”
      7. “If I Leave Corporate America, I Can Never Go Back”
      8. “I Need a Lot of Money to Start”
      9. “I Can Never Grow This Business”
      10. “I Need a Business Degree—Time to Go Back to School!”
      11. “Exports Won’t Help My Business” or “Exporting is Too Hard”
      12. “Most Small Businesses Fail”
      13. “Small Businesses Don’t Contribute Much”
      14. “If My Business Is Small Enough, I Don’t Have to ‘Legalize’ It”
      15. “I Can Get a Grant to Start My Business”
      16. “I Will Get Rich—QUICK!”
      17. “Only Born Entrepreneurs Make It”
      18. “I Will Have More Free Time!”
      19. “I Won’t Have to Work as Hard (or Put in as Much Overtime)”
      20. “I Need Small Business Credit to Get Loans”
      21. “Being a Franchisee Is Safer and Less Costly Than Starting My Own Business”
    2. Final Thoughts
  6. 3. Dreams to Dollars
    1. You Have an Idea, Now What?
    2. First Steps
      1. Identifying Potential Revenue
      2. Feasibility
      3. Market Analysis and Target Demographic
      4. Competition
      5. Determining Need
      6. Growth
    3. Deciding on an Initial Strategy
      1. Initial Strategy
      2. Realistic Time to Start
      3. Identifying Basics
      4. Your Go-Live Day—Making the Decision
      5. Service or Product
    4. Deciding If Your Plan Will Work
      1. Who To Talk To
      2. Evaluating Whether Your Idea Is Marketable
      3. Determining If Your Idea Will Supplement Your Income
      4. Determining If Your Idea Will Be Your Only Source of Income
      5. Time Constraints—Do the Underemployed Have Time?
      6. Getting Startup Money When You Are Unemployed
    5. Startup Costs
      1. Office
      2. Technology
      3. Staffing
      4. Vehicles
      5. Insurance
      6. Healthcare
    6. Final Thoughts
  7. 4. Your Path to Entrepreneurship
    1. Types of Businesses
      1. Sole Proprietorship
      2. Partnership
      3. Corporation
      4. Limited Liability Corporation
    2. No Such Thing as a Bad Idea
      1. The Worst Business Ideas That Made It
      2. Testing the Waters
    3. Doing Business with Family and Friends
      1. Pros of Family and Friends
      2. Cons of Family and Friends
    4. Home Based or Office Based?
      1. Pros of Home or Office
      2. Cons of Home or Office
      3. Tax Implications of Your Business Location
    5. Legal Advice
      1. D.I.Y. Legal Work
      2. How to Get Sound Legal Advice
      3. What to Ask to Find a Good Attorney
      4. What You Need to Know to Move Forward
    6. Paying Yourself
      1. Determining Your Own Worth
      2. Deciding How Much You Should Pay Yourself
      3. Making Enough Money to Not Only Survive But Thrive!
    7. Final Thoughts
  8. 5. Business Plans
    1. The Basics of Business Planning
      1. Basics
      2. Laying Out a Five-Year Plan—And Why Five Years?
      3. Identifying Needs
      4. Calculating Revenue, Costs, and Returns
    2. Getting Started
      1. Collecting Data for Your Plan
        1. Executive Summary
        2. Description of Business
        3. Description of Product/Services
        4. Marketing Plan/Strategies
        5. Operations and Management
        6. Financial Plan
      2. How to Get Information That Is Reliable
      3. Creating a Plan That Works for You and Achieves Your Goals
    3. What to Do When the Plan Comes Together
      1. Marketing Your Plan for Startup Revenue
      2. Family and Friend Investors
      3. Angel Investors
      4. Saving Up Your Own Money
      5. Starting Your Business with $10,000 or Less
      6. Making Sure Your Plan Fits Your Goal
    4. Keeping the Plan Updated and Relevant
      1. Don’t Be Afraid to Change Course!
      2. Revisit the Plan—Be Sure of Its Accuracy
      3. Initial Phase Importance
    5. Transition Time—Decisions, Decisions!
      1. Move Slowly or Make the Switch All at Once?
      2. Transitioning Into Your Business Plan
      3. Putting Your Plan Into Action
    6. Quitting Time—Leaving Your Day Job
      1. Coping with Anxiety and Stress
      2. Setting Limits and Boundaries
    7. Final Thoughts
  9. 6. Raising Capital
    1. Types of Capital-Raising Endeavors
      1. Hard Money Loans
      2. Loans from Friends and Family
      3. Venture Capitalists
      4. Small Business Administration
      5. Bank Loans
    2. Keeping an Eye on Economics
      1. The Impact of Market Conditions
      2. The Impact of Taxes and the Political Climate
    3. Dollars and Sense
      1. Watching Your Pennies and Tracking Your Expenditures
      2. Making Investments
      3. Calculating Returns on Everything from Staples to Furniture
    4. What to Do When the Signs Look Bleak
      1. Warning Signs of Financial Insecurity
      2. Raising Capital Quickly
      3. Throwing Good Money After Bad
      4. Knowing When to Change Direction
    5. Final Thoughts
  10. 7. The First Year
    1. Making Your Business Legal
      1. Naming
      2. Copyrights
      3. Business Structure
      4. Fictitious Business Name Statements
      5. State-by-State Issues
      6. Where to Go for Help
    2. Deciding If You Need to Hire
      1. Costs
      2. Benefits
      3. Amount of Work Initially
      4. Growth Rate
    3. Contractors Versus Employees
    4. Setting Up for Business
      1. Office Space—Work from Home or Not?
      2. Retail Space
      3. Laws and Regulations
      4. Commercial Property
    5. Technology Needs at Home
      1. Computer Necessities
      2. Communications
      3. Electronic Requirements in Today’s Internet Age
      4. Web Presence from Day One
    6. Hiring Basics
      1. Skill Sets
      2. Time
      3. What You Offer Versus What They Need—“Life” Fit
      4. Personality
      5. Dedication
    7. Final Thoughts
  11. 8. Money Basics
    1. Business Checking Accounts
      1. Requirements to Open a Business Checking Account
      2. Fictitious Name Statements and Banking
      3. “Doing Business As” (DBA)
      4. Best Banking Deals
    2. Merchant Accounts
      1. Choosing a Merchant Vendor
      2. Online Integration
      3. Web Transactions for Credit Cards
    3. Alternative Payment Options
      1. Google Checkout
      2. PayPal
      3. Other Available Systems
    4. Handling Payroll
      1. Contractor Payments
      2. Employee Payments
      3. Automated Online Payments
      4. Handling Taxes for Employees
      5. Social Security Taxes
      6. Bill Pay Services
    5. Financial Management
      1. Payroll Taxes
      2. Budgeting
      3. Corporate and Sole Proprietor Taxes
      4. Insurance
    6. Final Thoughts
  12. 9. Advertising and Marketing Your Business
    1. Using Online Tools
    2. What Your Buyers Are Looking For
      1. Keeping Tabs on the Market
      2. Participating in the Public Online Arena
      3. Asking Questions of Your Potential Buyers
      4. Trade Publications
      5. Watching What’s Hot in the New Generations
      6. Don’t Be Afraid of Something New!
    3. Advertising—What Pays and What Doesn’t
      1. Print Advertising
      2. Phone Book Ads
      3. Commercials and Infomercials
      4. Local Networking and Publicity
      5. Word of Mouth
      6. Tracking Leads
    4. Using the Web as an Advertising Platform
      1. AdSense and AdWords—Google’s Baby!
      2. Search Engine Placement—Is Paying for Hits Worth It?
      3. The Role of Web Design
      4. Social Networking and Web 2.0
      5. The Impact of Generation Y on Business
      6. Responding to Negativity on the ’Net
      7. Blogging
    5. Online Advertising That Works (and Some That Don’t)
    6. Marketing Hooks
    7. The 1,000-Pound Gorilla
      1. What Guerilla Marketing Can Bring to Your Business
      2. How to Use Guerilla Tactics
    8. Final Thoughts
  13. 10. Grow, Baby, Grow!
    1. Moving Your Business Ahead
      1. Evaluating Competition
      2. Knowing Your Market
      3. Flexibility
    2. The Role of the Global Markets in Today’s Economy
      1. Demand from Overseas
      2. Working with International Clients—No Matter What
      3. International Customs and Cultural Expectations
      4. Using the Internet to Grow an International Business
    3. Checks and Balances
      1. Evaluating Your Progress
      2. Goal Realignment
    4. Outsourcing Opportunities Even for Small Businesses
    5. Final Thoughts
  14. 11. Service Demands
    1. Customers Are Demanding—And They Should Be!
      1. The Role of the Internet in Customer Demands
      2. Expectations—Even If You Are the “Low Price Leader”
    2. Service Demands
      1. Change in Service Outlook
      2. Profitable Versus Unprofitable Companies and Service
      3. Learning from the Best and the Worst
      4. Listening to Your Customers with Open Ears
      5. Spotting Potential Problems Before They Threaten
    3. Soliciting Feedback
      1. How to Get Honest Feedback
      2. Acting on What You Learn
      3. Permeating Your Organization with Your Business Attitude
    4. Final Thoughts
  15. 12. Watching Out for Scary Monsters
    1. Porter’s Five Forces
      1. Protecting Your Business
      2. Keeping Competitors Out
      3. Retaining the Clients You Have
      4. Developing Relationships
      5. Creating Ways to Keep Competitors Out
    2. Review Your Five-Year Plan
      1. Identifying Changes as Needed
      2. Flexibility
      3. Growth Potential
      4. Stepping It Up When You Need To
    3. Knowing When You Are Off Course
    4. Managing and Identifying Risks to the Business
    5. Final Thoughts
  16. 13. Success!
    1. Feeling Successful and Loving What You Do: The Ultimate Payoff!
      1. Rewarding Yourself
      2. Personal Merit Increases
      3. Separating Business and Personal Funds
      4. Expansion
    2. Your Personal Definition
    3. Knowing If You Want to Take It to “Another Level”
      1. Pros of the Next Level
      2. Cons of the Next Level
      3. Evaluating the Market
    4. Deciding to Expand
      1. Financial Implications
      2. The Need for Additional Revenue
      3. Raising More Capital
    5. Final Thoughts
  17. A. Glossary
    1. General Business Terms
  18. B. Fast Forms
    1. Spreadsheets
  19. C. Resources
    1. Small Business Administration
    2. Internal Revenue Service Small Business Sources
    3. Legal Resources
    4. Business Planning and Assessment
    5. Billing and Payments
  20. D. References