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Posted by on Apr 16, 2013 in Business Plan, Featured, Key Skills | 5 comments

One Important Business Lesson You Can Learn From A Nursery

One Important Business Lesson You Can Learn From A Nursery

My wife and I received an email from our son’s nursery that delighted us and taught me an important business lesson. The email was informing us that they will be carrying out a fire drill the following week. This was just one of the many initiatives they have been telling us about that are delighting us and reassuring us we made the right choice.

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Posted by on Feb 18, 2013 in Business Plan, Finance, Food For Thought | 0 comments

Three Assumption Types You Make In Life… and In Business Plans

Three Assumption Types You Make In Life… and In Business Plans

Have you ever had a “deer in headlights” moment? You know when you have that blank, confused, motionless look after someone points out something you did not realize before. You just stand there like a deer staring at an incoming car’s headlights on a highway… clueless. Most of the time, this happens when someone challenges an assumption you had.

Think of your assumptions like talking to three types of dudes in a party:

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Posted by on Nov 23, 2012 in Business Plan, Food For Thought | 3 comments

Infographic: Financing Sources vs. Company Growth Stages vs. Type of Financing

Infographic: Financing Sources vs. Company Growth Stages vs. Type of Financing

In a previous post, I talked in length about the financing sources available for startups and small businesses. I discussed the type of financing (debt vs. equity), the typical stages of growth the company goes through (idea, start-up, early-stage, expansion, and maturity), and the options available for financing (founders’ savings, family & friends, loans, credit lines, credit cards, crowdfunding, incubators/accelerators, angel investors, special programs and competitions, and venture capital). I discussed the advantages and disadvantages of each option with a brief summary of when it makes sense. Here I want to add an infographic that summarizes how the three dimensions work together. So it becomes clearer which financing options fit at which stage and whether the financing will come in the form of equity, debt, or both. Enjoy!...

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Posted by on Nov 10, 2012 in Business Plan, Featured, Food For Thought | 0 comments

Funding Your Startup: 10 Options with Pros and Cons

Funding Your Startup: 10 Options with Pros and Cons

You might call it money, cash, dinero, masari, grimata, para, soldi, argent, dinheiro, moola, or something else. Whatever you call it, you need it to start and run your business. Many entrepreneurs don’t know where to go, are overwhelmed with the choices, or are unaware of some of the options for financing their businesses. Here I will list and expand on the funding options for your startup. To better understand the different sources of financing, lets first break them down by type and by stage they fit in. Then we will put them all together to make sense of it all: Type of Financing: Generally, financing comes in the form of Debt or Equity. Debt means you borrow the money from someone and agree to pay it back at a certain date, or schedule, along with interest. The lenders make their profit from the interest. The riskier your business is (i.e. chance of you not paying back the loan), the higher the interest rate they will charge you. This...

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Posted by on Oct 14, 2012 in Business Plan | 3 comments

Your Business Plan is Alive!

Your Business Plan is Alive!

Read enough about business plans and you will eventually come across someone who will tell you that a business plan is a “living thing”. I’m surprised how few people understand what this means. First, lets clarify that your business plan and your business plan document are two different things. Your business plan is the analysis, decisions, and expectations you have for your business. The business plan document, on the other hand, is a way to capture all that. Bear with me because it’s important to understand the difference between the content and the document. You can extract an entrepreneur’s business plan by asking him/her enough questions about the business. A business owner, over time, will develop an understanding of customers, the industry, and competitors. S/he will also have plans for how to market, sell, produce the product/service, and manage money. The entrepreneur will also have expectations (financial and non-financial results) for his/her business. Over time, the business owner will better understand his/her business and will then adjust the plans...

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Posted by on Oct 14, 2012 in Business Plan | 6 comments

Building Blocks of a GREAT Business Plan

Building Blocks of a GREAT Business Plan

Working on a business plan can be an intimidating thing the first time. To many, it feels like an obstacle in the way of getting straight to business, literally. It’s tempting to skip it when you hear a lot of entrepreneurs brag about not having business plans. Before you brush past it, know that these same entrepreneurs actually do have plans; they just didn’t put them into a document. They all have an understanding of their businesses. They have plans and expectations for their businesses. Some are better than others, but they all have plans nonetheless. Business plans come in different forms, shapes and sizes. To demystify the business plan, here are the three key ingredients of every good business plan:   1- Analysis: This is where you make sense of your Market, Industry, and Competitors. By the way, many people confuse the market with the industry. Think of it this way: having a sandwich shop on a university campus means you are in the restaurant business (industry) and...

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