Small Business For Dummies [NOOK Book]

Overview

Take control of your future and make the leap from employee to entrepreneur with this enterprising guide. From drafting a business plan to managing costs, you'll profit from expert advice and real-world examples that cover every aspect of building your own business.
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Small Business For Dummies

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Overview

Take control of your future and make the leap from employee to entrepreneur with this enterprising guide. From drafting a business plan to managing costs, you'll profit from expert advice and real-world examples that cover every aspect of building your own business.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
This comprehensive and practical guide addresses how to find your business niche and time a start-up, figure out approximate costs, identify legal and tax issues, market products or services, and learn bookkeeping basics. Also recommended: Steven D. Peterson and others' Business Plans Kit for Dummies (3d ed. Wiley, May 2010.) (Library Journal, May 1, 2010)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118213810
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 11/30/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 114,719
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Eric Tyson has been featured on and quoted in hundreds of media outlets, including Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes.

Jim Schell is the resident entrepreneur for Small Business School, a weekly television program for PBS and Voice of America.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
About This Book 1
Foolish Assumptions 2
How to Use This Book 3
For making big decisions 3
As a road map 4
As a problem solver and a frame of reference 4
As a mentor 5
Icons Used in This Book 5
The One Common Denominator 6
Part I Becoming an Entrepreneur 7
Chapter 1 Is Small Business for You? 9
Getting Clear on the Terminology: What Is a Business? 10
Taking the Small-Business Owner's Aptitude Test: Do You Have the Right Stuff? 16
Identifying the Pros and Cons of Owning a Small Business 21
Watching Out for Monkey Business 24
Chapter 2 Laying Your Personal Financial Foundation 29
Getting Your Financial Ducks in Order 30
Creating Your Personal Financial To-Do List 33
Assessing and Replacing Benefits 39
Managing Your Personal Finances Post-Launch 44
Chapter 3 Finding Your Niche and Timing Your Start-Up 45
Why You Don't Need a New Niche or a Great Idea 45
How to Choose Your Business 47
Determining the Best Time for Your Start-Up 56
Recognizing Your Number One Asset--You 57
Chapter 4 Turning Your Ideas into Plans 59
Your Mission: Impossible If You Fail to Define It 59
Your Business Plan: Don't Start Up without It 62
Writing Your Business Plan 64
Keeping Your Plan Current 78
Chapter 5 Financing, Ownership, and Organizational Options 79
Determining Your Start-Up Cash Requirements 79
Using Your Own Resources: Bootstrapping 82
Outsourcing for Your Capital Needs 86
Exploring Ownership Options: Going It Alone or Working with Partners and Shareholders 94
Figuring Out Whether or Not to Incorporate 99
Part II Buying an Existing Business 109
Chapter 6 Exploring Buying a Small Business 111
Understanding Why to Buy a Business 111
Knowing When You Shouldn't Buy 115
Recognizing Pre-Purchase Prerequisites 118
Considering a Franchise 126
Evaluating Multilevel Marketing Companies 129
Chapter 7 Evaluating and Negotiating to Buy 131
Kicking the Tires 133
Making an Offer They Can't Refuse 146
Moving into Your Newly Bought Business 155
Part III Running a Successful Small Business 159
Chapter 8 Owners Wear Many Hats 161
Working through the Nitty-Gritty Details of the Start-Up 161
Outsourcing to Focus on What You Do Best 165
Simplifying Your Accounting 167
Controlling Your Expenses 175
Managing Vendor Relationships 178
Dealing with Bankers, Lawyers, and Other Outsiders 180
Chapter 9 Marketing 101: Product, Promotion, Sales, Distribution, and Pricing 187
Product and Service Development 188
Spreading the Word: Promotion 190
Publicity 199
Channeling Products to Customers: Distribution 201
Pricing: Cost Plus Value 206
Sales: Where the Rubber Hits the Road 210
Chapter 10 Keeping Your Customers Loyal 217
Retaining Your Customer Base 218
Dealing with Dissatisfied (And Difficult) Customers 227
Chapter 11 Tracking Cash Flow, Costs, and Profits 231
Cash Flow: The Fuel That Drives Your Business 232
Making Sense of Financial Statements 234
Turning the Numbers into Action 240
Managing Your Inventory 245
Collecting Your Accounts Receivables 246
Improving Your Profitability 249
Chapter 12 Learning from Others' Experiences 255
Find a Mentor 255
Network with Peers 257
Form a Board of Advisors 258
Get a Partner 260
Join a Trade Association 262
Find a Business Incubator 263
Locate Your Local Small Business Development Center 264
Give SCORE a Try 264
Soak Up Information Like a Sponge 265
Part IV Keeping Your Business in Business 267
Chapter 13 Finding and Keeping Superstar Employees 269
Assembling a Top Team 270
Training Your Team: It's an Investment 275
Motivating: Pay and Performance Issues 276
Working Relationships: Designing a Flexible Organization Chart 288
Recognizing the Importance of an Employee Manual 289
Describing a Successful Employer 291
Looking at Employee Leasing Companies 294
Chapter 14 Providing Employee Benefits 297
Retirement Plans: The Underappreciated Benefit 298
Deciding Whether to Share the Equity 304
Including Insurance and Other Benefits 307
Chapter 15 The Long Arm of the Law: Regulatory and Legal Issues 315
An Abundance of Small-Business Laws 315
Suffering through Start-Up Regulations 317
Laboring through Employee Costs and Laws 329
Chapter 16 Mastering Small-Business Taxes 331
Getting Smarter About Taxes 332
Keeping Good Financial Records 336
Knowing Your Income Tax Bracket 337
Staying on Top of Employment Taxes 339
Spending Your Money Tax-Wisely 342
Selecting an Entity and Tax Implications 343
Chapter 17 Special Considerations for Growing Businesses 345
Growing in Stages 346
Handling Human Resources Issues 349
Addressing Time-Management Issues 351
Choosing a Management System 353
Troubleshooting Your Business 357
Finding Your Role in an Evolving Business 360
Part V The Part of Tens 365
Chapter 18 Ten Tips for Home-Based Businesses 367
Recognize That Working from Home Isn't a Free Lunch 368
Run Your Business Like a Business 369
Keep Things Legal and Do Them Right the First Time 370
Put On a Professional Face 371
Choose the Right Technology 372
Develop a Marketing Strategy 375
Manage Your Time Effectively 376
Motivate Yourself (If You Don't, Who Will?) 377
Include Your Family 377
Stay in the Loop 378
Chapter 19 Ten Ways Computers Can Aid Your Small Business 381
Brainstorming and Researching Business Ideas 382
Finding a Mentor 383
Buying a Business or Franchise 383
Searching for Financing 384
Marketing Your Business 384
Maintaining and Analyzing Your Financials 385
Saving Time and Money 386
Getting Organized and Integrated with Suites 387
Filing Your Taxes 387
Avoiding Attorneys 387
Chapter 20 Ten Tips for Managing Your Growing Business 389
Focus On What You Do Best 389
Bend the Rules When Necessary 390
Hold Your Employees Accountable 390
Consider the 80-20 Rule 391
Think Ahead 392
Sleep On It 393
Resolve Conflicts 394
Walk Your Talk 394
Remember: Cash is King 395
Follow the Rule of Many Reasons 396
Index 397
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Interviews & Essays

Cheat Sheet for Small Business For Dummies

By Eric Tyson and Jim Schell

From managing to marketing and everything in between, the world of small business can be both exciting and overwhelming. It's a place where no two workdays are exactly the same and where unpredictable things happen. If you're thinking about starting (or you already run and manage) your own business, check out the following list of tips to improve your chances of success.
Copyright © 2012 Eric Tyson, Jim Schell. All rights reserved.

20 Tips for Small-Business Success
1) Realize that not everyone is cut out to be a small-business owner. Take the time to explore whether you're compatible with running your own business. Some people are happier (and better off financially) on the other end of a paycheck.
2) Get your personal finances in order. Before you jump into the entrepreneurial fray, get your own money matters squared away.
3) Pick your niche. Take stock of your skills, interests, and employment history to select the business best suited to you. Choosing a niche that you can be passionate about will help improve your chances of succeeding. Remember: Many small-business owners succeed in businesses that are hardly unique or innovative.
4) Benefit from your business plan. The exercise of creating your business plan pays dividends. Answer the tough questions now, before the meter is running.
5) Don't think you need bankers and investors at the outset. The vast majority of small-business start-ups are bootstrapped (self-financed). Consider your own savings, investments, and salable assets and then talk to your friends and family before you look to outside sources.
6) Know which hats you wear best. In the early months and years of your business, you'll have to acquire many skills. Gain the background you need to oversee all the facets of your business, but also determine what tasks you should outsource or hire employees to manage.
7) Remember that nothing happens until a sale is made. How many good products go nowhere because they don't reach the shelves? Sales are what drive your business. You need a crackerjack marketing plan that details how you intend to package, promote, distribute, price, and sell your product or service.
8) Pay attention to your customers. After all, you have to see a customer to know one. No matter how busy you are, especially in the early years of your business, be sure to spend at least 25 percent of your time with customers. You can't make the right business decisions without understanding the customer's viewpoint.
9) Solve your customers' problems. The best way to satisfy your customers is not by selling them products or services but by providing solutions to their problems. Understand the difference and market your products and services accordingly.
10) Keep in mind that quality takes only moments to lose and years to regain. Quality isn't a destination but rather a never-ending journey. After you've strayed from quality's path, your journey may be sidetracked forever.
11) Put profitability first and rewards second. Beware of the small business that treats itself to hefty salaries, high-priced consultants, and waterfalls in the lobby. In small business, profitability must come first. To understand profitability, you must first measure your cash flow and understand your key financial ratios.
12) Hire superstars. If you intend to create a growing business, your number one duty is to assemble a team of superstar employees in your game-breaker positions. Game-breaker positions are key positions, such as the president/CEO (that's you), the financial person, the sales manager, the marketing manager, the production manager, the office manager, the purchasing agent, the art director, and so on, that will make or break your company.
13) Don't go it alone. Tap into resources, such as small-business peers, mentors, and trade associations, that can help take some of the energy-draining trial and error out of starting and running your business.
14) Remember that vendors are partners, too. A good vendor is as important to your business as a good customer. Treat your vendors like customers and watch the partnerships grow.
15) Make use of benefits. The most valuable long-term benefit you can offer yourself and your employees is a retirement savings plan. In addition, find out how to provide insurance and other benefits and reduce your tax bill at the same time.
16) Pay attention to all small-business-related regulatory issues. Federal, state, and local government agencies require an array of licenses, registrations, and permits. Obey them or face stiff penalties, including possible closure of your business.
17) Know the tax laws. Invest in understanding tax issues that affect your small business. You can avoid trouble and, at the same time, legally slice thousands of dollars off your tax bill if you know the ins and outs of small-business tax law.
18) Keep your focus on the people. Whatever happens to a small business happens at the hands of the people who work for it.
19) Fast, good, or cheap — pick any two. Serious trouble awaits those business owners who attempt to be all things to the marketplace. Focus on what you do best.
20) Develop a passion for learning. As your business changes and grows, you need to change and grow along with it — particularly as you transition to manager. The one common denominator you find in all successful business owners is a passion for learning.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2000

    All the basics, minus one

    An excellent book for the newly self-employed! I think it makes a great combination with my own workbook about how entrepreneurs can use simple publicity techniques to distinguish themselves and their services among a very crowded market

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2012

    great job

    helpful

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2001

    One of the better Dummies Books

    I really enjoyed this book. It provides good information about a range of small business topics. There is an especially good discussion of buying a business and due diligence. <BR><BR> Peter Hupalo, author of Thinking Like An Entrepreneur

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2001

    Great book for people who want to profit from small businesses!

    Great book, would recommend it to anyone who wants to make money at a small business.

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