The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting Your Own Business / Edition 4

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting Your Own Business / Edition 4

by Edward Paulson

ISBN-10: 1592571387

ISBN-13: 9781592571383

Pub. Date: 12/02/2003

Publisher: Alpha Books

Now with a CD-ROM!

Newly revised for the ever-changing world of business, this book offers stress-free guidence for anyone who wants to turn a good idea into a good living. This edition also includes a CD-ROM featuring commonly requested forms and documents essential to business start-ups.

- Completely revised and updated edition of this top-selling title


Now with a CD-ROM!

Newly revised for the ever-changing world of business, this book offers stress-free guidence for anyone who wants to turn a good idea into a good living. This edition also includes a CD-ROM featuring commonly requested forms and documents essential to business start-ups.

- Completely revised and updated edition of this top-selling title
- CD-ROM included, featuring commonly requested forms and documents
- Nearly 1.5 million new businesses are formed in the U.S. each year, most of which are "small businesses"
- One in 12 Americans will start his or her own business at some point, according to the Jan./Feb. 03 issue of The Atlantic Monthly

Product Details

Alpha Books
Publication date:
Complete Idiot's Guide Series
Edition description:
Older Edition
Product dimensions:
7.36(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.98(d)

Table of Contents

Part 1Starting the Right Business1
1Your Business Starts with You3
Understand That You Are the Company--at First Anyway5
Do You Have What It Takes?5
What Makes a Great Entrepreneur?7
What Are Your Strengths and Abilities?8
What Are Your Needs?10
Financial Needs and Goals11
Family Motivations and Goals13
What Are Your Spiritual Goals?14
Escaping the Big House--Leaving Corporate America15
What Is Your Personal Bottom Line?17
2Business Planning Basics19
Why Prepare a Business Plan?20
Think of It as a Simulation21
The Overall Plan-Writing Process22
Being Honest23
Getting Help24
You'll Never Have All the Information You Need24
The Minimum That Your Plan Must Cover25
Dealing With a Bad Business Idea26
Stages of Company Growth27
Idea Stage28
Planning Stage28
Funding Stage28
Startup Stage29
Rampup Stage29
Evolution Stage30
Sustaining Stage30
Short- and Long-Term Planning31
3Preparing Your Business Plan33
Briefly Describing Your Business Idea35
Your Mission: Why Does Your Company Exist?35
The Pieces of Your Plan38
Cover Sheet39
Table of Contents39
Executive Summary40
Business Description40
Market and Industry Analysis41
The Competition41
Marketing Strategy42
Operations Plan43
The Management Team43
Financial Overview and Funding Needs44
Summary and Conclusions45
Appendixes or Supplementary Materials45
Ethics and Your Plan45
4Methods of Funding47
Risk and Reward Relationship48
Investors Give Money to Get Something Back49
The Greater the Perceived Risk, the Greater the Required Return50
It's Not Personal with Investors ... Well, It Kinda Is50
Comparing Debt and Equity Funding51
Company Stages and Funding53
Seed Stage53
Startup Stage53
First Stage54
Second Stage54
Third Stage (Mezzanine)55
Harvest Stage--Exit Strategy56
Know How Much Money You Will Need56
Will You Make Money?56
How Much Can You Give Up and When Do You Make It Back?57
It All Comes Down to Numbers57
What's Your Potential?58
Basic Types of Funding59
Typical Funding Action Sequence59
Funding Out of Your Own Pocket60
Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?--Family Funding62
Venture Capital--May Not Be for Everybody62
Agency Guaranteed Bank Funding63
SBA and Governmental Program Realities64
Stock Sales (Not an IPO ... Sorry)64
Seller Financing66
Ethics and Funding66
For Your Plan66
Part 2Matching Your Plan to a Legal Structure69
5Picking a Business Type71
An Overview of the Various Business Structures72
Sole Proprietorship: Going It Alone74
Partnership: A Business Marriage75
Corporations: Share the Wealth77
Public or Private?79
Subchapter S-Corporations: A Little Bit of Protection80
Limited Liability Company (LLC)81
Professional Corporations82
State to State83
Dealing With the Tax Man84
For Your Plan87
6Important Corporation Realities89
Creating a Corporation90
Laying Down the Law: Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws92
Articles of Incorporation: The Basic Ingredients92
Bylaws: The Basic Ingredients96
Bylaws and Articles "In a Can"97
Establishing a Board of Directors97
The Right to Vote100
Shareholder Voting Rights100
Board Member Voting Rights101
Shareholder Proxy102
7Working at Home or Away105
Home Office: Pros and Cons106
Keeping Your Overhead Low107
When Is It Time to Move Out?109
Location, Location, Location110
Lease, Rent, or Buy?113
For Your Plan115
Part 3Writing a Great Plan117
8Defining Your Market Opportunity119
Understanding and Assessing the Market's Influence120
Fill an Existing Market Need ... Don't Create One122
Determine Overall Market Characteristics122
Is the Market Growing?124
Who Are the Major Players in Your Market?127
How Long Will This Opportunity Last?127
Research Data Sources Are Everywhere128
Researching Your Plan128
9Learning from Your Competitors131
Is the Competition Real?132
Accumulating Competitive Information133
Comparing Yourself to Them136
Price Wars Hurt Everyone138
Are You a Specialty Store or a Superstore?139
Using Market Segmentation to Your Advantage141
Cooperation Versus Competition141
For Your Plan142
10Smart Marketing145
Marketing and Sales: Linked but Different146
Who Is Your Market?147
Target Marketing: Picking Your Customer149
Name Your Price150
The Life Cycle153
Your Marketing Message and Positioning155
All About Advertising: Pushing and Pulling157
Mail Order and Direct Mail159
For Your Plan160
11Sales: The Money Funnel163
Manipulating and Selling: Not the Same Thing164
Getting Close to Closing the Sale165
Everyone Has to Sell, but Not Everyone Closes166
Is Your Offering a Special or Commodity Item?167
Is Your Customer Qualified?167
The Nine Stages of Selling170
The Suspect Stage--Stage 1170
The Prospect Stage--Stage 2170
The Entree Stage--Stage 3171
The Discovery Stage--Stage 4171
The Proposal Stage--Stage 5172
Trial Close Stage--Stage 6172
The Budget Stage--Stage 7172
The Close Stage--Stage 8173
The Post-Sale Stage--Stage 9173
A Commodity Sale Versus a Complex Sale174
Your Sales Channels175
Distributors as Sales Agents175
Should You Use Your Own Sales Force?176
Selling Services Instead of Products177
For Your Plan179
12Production Planning That Gets Results181
Production in Product and Service Environments182
Are You a Mass Producer or a Job Shop?184
Linking Purchasing, Production, and Marketing Forecasts185
Create a Production Flow Chart187
Successful Project Management188
Maintaining Quality189
For Your Plan191
13Lions and Tigers and Employees, Oh My!193
When You're Successful, You'll Need Help194
Good Help Isn't Hard to Find198
Independent Contractors199
Putting Retired Folk to Work200
Take Your Employee for a Test Drive200
When an Employee Is Really an Employee202
More Employees, More Restrictions202
Medical Insurance204
Sexual Harassment205
Solicitation and Competition207
Interviewing Techniques209
14The Tax Files: Payroll Taxes213
Payroll Taxes: You Can't Avoid Them, So Learn How to Deal with Them214
Payroll Tax Overview215
Filing and Paying Paryroll Taxes218
Tax Deposits and IRS Form 941, Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return218
State and Federal Unemployment Taxes220
Rules to Live (and Save Taxes) By221
Using a Payroll Accounting Service222
15Making Sure You're Making It223
Accounting 101225
Accounting Periods225
Sales and Costs226
Cash or Accrual: Which Accounting Method Is Right for You?228
The Cash-Basis Accounting Method230
The Accrual-Accounting Method230
Understanding Financial Statements231
A Chart of Accounts232
The Income Statement233
The Balance Sheet235
Cash Flow Analysis240
Part 4Running a Healthy Business243
16Cash Is More Important Than Air245
When You're Out of Cash, You're Out of Business (Usually)246
How Success Can Kill Your Business247
Factoring, Credit Terms, and Loans248
Factoring Receivables249
Using Credit Terms to Enhance Your Cash Position251
Buying on Credit252
Taking Out a Loan252
Applying Break-Even Analysis to Determine Startup Cash Requirements253
Knowing When Enough Is Enough255
Projecting Startup Cash Requirements257
For Your Plan257
17Charge: Making Credit Card Sales Work259
The Way Credit Cards Work260
The Costs of Credit262
Terminal Fees263
Monthly Fees264
Covering Your Legal Bases266
What to Do If a Charge Is Contested268
18Collecting Customer Debts271
Collection Problems Come with the Territory272
Avoidance Is the Best Remedy273
Products Versus Services275
Cash First--Credit Later277
Financial Reports and Their Limitations279
Collection Letter280
Know Your Rights When It Comes to Collections282
Working with Collection Agencies283
19Business Banker Realities287
What Does a Bank Bring to the Table?288
The Loan Officer Is Your Friend. Really289
Banks Will Give You Money Only When You Don't Need It290
Bank Loans You Can Get292
Sell Your Banker on Your Company294
Commercial Checking Accounts: A Different Animal295
Enter the Small Business Administration (SBA)296
Big Banks, Small Banks297
20Automate from the Start299
Automate the Routine and Savor the Creative301
Typical Automation Strategies302
Get Connected: Computers and Phones304
Computers: Buy or Rent304
Treat Your Phone Like a Lifeline--It Is!305
Local Area Networks, Electronic Mail, Faxing, and Security308
Planning for Obsolescence310
In a Nutshell310
21Making Great Use of the Internet313
Internet Unique Realities315
Setting Up Business on the Internet317
Web Jargon317
Finding an Internet Service Provider318
Naming Your Domain320
Creating Your Website321
Being Found on the Internet325
For Your Plan326
22International Business--It's a Small World
AThe Kwik Chek Auto Evaluation Business Plan329
CBusiness Buzzword Glossary371

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