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Category Archives: Planning

Business Planning in a Down Economy

By | Business By The Book, Buying a Business, Buying a Franchise, Growing a Business, Growth Strategy, Increasing Profitability, Investing in Small Businesses, Planning, Starting Up, Valuing a Small Business, Writing a Business Plan | No Comments
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Q: Should the economic forecast be an important factor in determining the type of business to start or acquire? A: Most businesses that are acquired or started are done so with a long time horizon in mind. Add to that the fact of the typical continuous cycles of any economy: (downturn, bottom out, upturn, and peak). Given that long-term view and the necessary expectation of economic cycles that almost defy the ability to forecast the timing of those trends, it’s more important to pick an industry/market in which you have loads of experience and create a superior offering with a…

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Successful B2B Startups Always Ask These Two Questions

By | Business By The Book, Coming Up with an Idea, Planning, Starting Up | No Comments
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During a mentoring session with some interns, one of them brought up an idea he was working on based on informal market research he had conducted by striking up conversations with prospective customers in his target industry. He was zeroing in on a particular process that was the most frustrating part of the life of his prospects in the daily life of running their business – his target customer’s “pain.” If there is sufficient “pain” in the life of a business owner, they will usually seek a solution to that pain and if there are enough such prospective customers with the…

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How to Start a Successful Service Business with No Capital

By | Business By The Book, Planning, Starting Up | No Comments
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I often hear the lament “If I only had more capital…” and I must admit that in most of my bigger ventures, I have fallen prey to operating that way as well – devising business plans that require massive amounts of capital – call it the MBA curse if you will. But there is hope for the less capitalized in that there are countless businesses that can be started with very little money. These businesses are service businesses that do not require any investment in manufacturing infrastructure, nor do they require any inventory that chews up working capital. Instead, these…

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How to Determine the Correct Amount of Life Insurance

By | Business By The Book, Planning, Uncategorized | No Comments
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Allow me to begin this article with a story of why I sell life insurance. Early in my career I met several times with a young couple in their early thirties with 3 young children to determine their need for life insurance. We landed on $138,000 and wrote a policy which was then rated higher than expected due to health concerns. The insured was uncertain they wanted to pay the higher cost, but after some conversation agreed to go with the policy. Three months later we got “The call”, the wife had died suddenly leaving the husband with 3 young…

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This Startup Strategy is Guaranteed to Succeed

By | Business By The Book, Education, Planning, Starting Up | No Comments
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I was recently asked by a young aspiring entrepreneur about his next steps upon graduating from college with a degree in entrepreneurship. He was eager for the next phase of his life and wanted to exercise his entrepreneurial muscle while continuing to learn. Besides the obvious answer of “go to work for a startup with a compelling offering and a great leadership team and learn from the situation (which often means you are just a grunt and don’t really observe or learn all that much), I suggested that he also consider the following: maintain a college budget of living on next to nothing…

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Raising Small Amounts of Capital

By | Business By The Book, Financing a Small Business, Financing a Startup, Planning | No Comments
Seed Capital

One of the most frequent questions I get is how to raise relatively small amounts of capital, such as $25k to $500k. Believe it or not, raising small amounts of capital is actually harder than raising large amounts of capital. The reason small amounts are more difficult are manifold, but here are a few: Amounts below $5m fall below normal “institutional” fund minimums and the institutional equity financing process, therefore the entrepreneur is left to chase down angel investors, which is a fairly difficult process because they usually do other things for a living rather than getting paid to invest…

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Six Tips on How to Choose and Manage an Attorney

By | Business By The Book, Legal Issues, Planning | No Comments
Tips on Attorneys

Q: I am looking for an attorney in my area. Specialty does not matter. Do you have any recommendations? A: My attitude on choosing and managing lawyers is as follows: Specialty is Critical – I would argue that specialty DOES matter. I’d recommend that you use a specialist that knows the area of law that you need advice in very well (so you are not paying them to learn and to insure you are getting the best advice possible). Much like you wouldn’t go to a heart surgeon to deliver a baby, you would not want to use a collections attorney…

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When Do I Pull the Plug on My Startup?

By | Business By The Book, Organization & Strategy, Planning, Running a Business, Starting Up | No Comments
Pull the Plug

Q: I am at a point where I am starting to think about shutting down my startup operation and wonder if you can share your wisdom on discerning when to persevere vs. when to pull the plug on a startup. Thanks! A: My advice would vary based upon what the issue is: Is it a Revenue problem where you cannot seem to get, keep, or grow customers as planned? Is it an Operations problem where you cannot seem to produce the offering as planned? Is it a Cost problem where no matter what volume of production and sales, your Gross…

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Looking for Small Business Accounting Services

By | Accounting, Business By The Book, Finance, Finance & Accouting, Financial Reporting, Planning | No Comments
Looking for accounting services

Q: I have a small business with a handful of employees and, although I am not ready for a full-time accountant, I know I need better reporting and control of the company. Any recommendations for me? A: The good news is that in the virtual outsourcing world, there are numerous options for you to explore. One way to think about it is to organize the overall tasks in finance and accounting and decide which tasks you can easily perform and which ones you would prefer to outsource to a finance and accounting (F&A) outsourcer. A typical task list might be…

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