Monthly Archives: October 2010

A Guide to the Startup Phase: Pre-Launch Actions (part 4 of 4)

Pre-Launch Actions from the Startup Garage

A Guide to the Startup Phase: Pre-Launch Actions (part 4 of 4)

You’ve examined your personal foundation, come up with your brilliant business idea and written a business plan. Here are some steps before you can officially launch your business. Before launching your company, make sure that you’ve covered all the bases in the following key areas:

  • Infrastructure – One of the things to do to get up and running is to create your businesss workspace. This involves finding the location where you will run your business, and setting up the resources and tools you will need to maintain your business day to day, including utilities, hardware and software.
  • Marketing – All of the planning you have done so far for your business will be expressed creatively in marketing collateral, such as your logo, website, business cards, and flyers. You can make basic versions of these things yourself, but your brand will benefit from working with experts if you dont have a background in design. While some of these experts can be expensive, there are also cost effective alternatives that will still get you great looking marketing materials.
  • Legal and Accounting – In order to begin making and accepting payments for your business, you will have to set bank accounts for your company. You may need Non-Disclosure Agreements for your team as well as anyone else you discuss your business with, to make sure your all-important trade secrets stay under wraps. You will need insurance in order to protect your company from any unforeseen accidents and have to choose and set up your business entity, which could be a Sole Proprietorship, LLC, or another type of entity.
  • Government – In order to officially get your business up and running, there are several documents that you must file with your city, state, or federally. The most commonly needed government documents are a Federal Tax Identification Number, a Business License, Fictitious Business Name, and Sellers Permit. Patents, trademarks, or copyrights which may or may not be needed depending on the nature of your business.

Once you’ve completed these activities, and anything else you believe should be taken care of before you share your business with the world, you’ll be ready to launch. Remember, the more thorough you are here the better prepared your company will be for obstacles, and therefor the more successful you’ll be. The months following this will focus on creating leads and marketing your company.
Take a look at our Sample Business Plans and Products.

Whether you have a question about your pre-launch activites or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

A Guide to the Startup Phase: Creating a Business Idea and Writing Your Business Plan (Part 3 of 4)

Creating a Business Idea and Writing a Business Plan from the Startup Garage

A Guide to the Startup Phase: Creating a Business Idea and Writing Your Business Plan (Part 3 of 4)

After youve analyzed your personal foundation, the next step is to come up with your business idea. One way is to break the idea down into three parts: the problem that your business will solve, who is affected by the problem, and the solution to the problem. First, explain what the problem is. Then, brainstorm who is being affected by the problem. These people or businesses will be your potential customers. The solution to the problem will be the product or service that you will ultimately sell.


Here are some ideas that will help you create a business strategy that will work for you.

  • Look at your own passions, skills, and goals to see where they align.
  • Identify growing industries, trends and opportunities.
  • Read about other startups.
  • Identify a new solution to an existing problem in your daily life.
  • Take an existing solution and make it better.

Writing a Business Plan

A business idea is not enough to build a successful business. Ideas are everywhere, but successful businesses are not. The difference is having a solid business plan built around your great idea. So, after you have come up with your business idea, the next step is to write a business plan. The business planning process provides structure and guidance, determines resources you need to succeed, establishes a direction for your business, provides a way to measure results and provides a way to gain financing. In a sentence, a business plan takes your idea for a product or service and creates a business around it. The list below outlines the different sections of a business plan, as well as how long it should take you to gather the necessary information and write each section. Each bullet also links to our Whats in a Business Plan series, which describes each section in more detail.

In total, writing a complete business plan can take anywhere from 180-400 hours. Because of the time and complexity involved in the business planning process, there are alternatives to writing the entire business plan yourself. The first is to use software, which will help you organize and format your business plan, and also guide you through the process with automated questions. Another one is the mobile business planning app helps you understand the many things that have to be evaluated when evaluating a business idea such as marketing, product, etc. The app can be used as both, a planning guide as well as an interactive way to get your questions answered. Entrepreneurs have a choice of the Android app or the ios version of the app available on both the iPhone and iPad.

The other alternative is to hire a business plan writer (like The Startup Garage). There are two basic types of business plan writers: writers that give you an inexpensive, template plan that is written quickly and cheaply, OR business plan writing consultants that work with you to create a customized plan for your business, and also provide business coaching along the way (this is what we are at The Startup Garage, and this is the kind of business plan writing service we support and believe in as entrepreneurs).

The Business Idea and Business Plan Writing phases are when your idea will grow and change the most. Dont be surprised if your business plan looks nothing like your original idea. It almost never does! After lots of creative planning, researching, and strategizing, you will have a complete strategy for your new business. Armed with your completed business plan, you are ready for the last step in the startup phase of your business, pre-launch actions read on!
Take a look at our Sample Business Plans and Products.

Whether you have a question about building your idea or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

A Guide to the Startup Phase: Your Personal Foundation (Part 2 of 4)

Foundation of the Startup Phase from the Startup Garage

A Guide to the Startup Phase: Your Personal Foundation (Part 2 of 4)

The startup phase of a business begins with an analysis the most important piece: you. Understanding yourself is beneficial for everyone, but especially for new entrepreneurs. If you are going to dedicate years of your life to your new business, it only makes sense that the business should meet your personal goals. If you’re going to be successful, the business should also fit in with your talents and passions, otherwise you might find yourself doing things that you don’t enjoy. Lastly, it is important to make sure certain aspects of your life, such as your health, income, and personal support team are in order enough to handle the burden of your first couple of years in business. By doing a little digging and soul searching in these areas, you’ll become more aware of any issues that need taking care of before you start your entrepreneurial journey, and you’ll develop the criteria for the type of business you really want to build.

  • Lifestyle Goals The entrepreneurial process is sure to have its ups and downs, but one step to ensure that you end up enjoying running your business is to take stock of your lifestyle goals. It is important that you take a look at yourself and your personal goals before starting a business to make sure where you want to be lines up with what you want to do. Take the time to ask yourself why you are starting this company and what is the most essential thing you want to get out of it.
  • Financial Goals What would happen if you started your business, spent 3-5 years making it incredibly successful, but it still couldnt support your ideal salary? If you set financial goals before you start, youll be able to increase your chances that the business you choose to start will eventually be able to fund your ideal lifestyle. How much money do you envision yourself taking in salary and/or distributions out of the business to live the lifestyle you would like living?
  • Health: Spiritual, Physical, Mental As most entrepreneurs realize growing a business requires personal growth as well. Assessing your current spiritual, physical and mental health (and lifestyle) and how they may impact the business is important piece of the puzzle.
  • Personal Support Team Your personal support team includes all of the people who you rely on in your life. This includes family, friends, spiritual leaders, personal trainers, coaches and others. Starting a business is a personally challenging endeavor, so having a team behind you to provide encouragement and expertise will be a valuable asset.
  • Integrity This is simple. Do you do what you say you are going to do. Even the small things, like “I will email you tomorrow”. When you are first starting your company your word is all your partners and potential customers have to base their choices on. Integrity is critical in building all relationships and must start with the founders.
  • Pay the Bills PlanWhen you start your business, you may not be able to take income from in for 12-24 months. If youre counting on the business to make money for you very quickly before you run out of money, this can also negatively impact the strategic decisions you have to make over the course of the startup phase. To avoid this, it is important to have a plan to cover your personal expenses while the company is getting going. This might include a getting a part time job or living off savings, and creating a budget. The overall goal is plan how you will pay your bills for the next couple of years without a salary, so that your new company isnt weighed down by your personal costs when it is just starting off.
  • Passions and Talents In starting a new business, youll have plenty of challenges, so it important to set yourself up for success when you can. This one is a bit of a no brainer. If your business idea aligns with the things you are already talented at or are passionate about, there are tons of advantages. Your learning curve wont be as steep, you can rely on skills and knowledge that youve already built up, and when things get tough your passion will lead to resilience. If you choose a startup that doesnt align with your passions and talents, you make your life a whole lot harder and your company may be less satisfying in general.

It may seem like a lot to consider, but doing a quick analysis of these 7 factors will make your life a lot easier once you start working on your business. Youll also have a better understanding of what youre looking for in a business, and your strengths and weaknesses as an entrepreneur. To help get all this information together, we created a complete personal foundation tool that you can use to analyze these factors in 30 to 60 minutes. Its part of our free e-book, The Startup Toolkit.

So now that youve taken a hard look in the mirror, got your support team behind you, and understand yourself, youre ready to take the next step toward building your business. The next topic in the startup phase series will deal with creating a business idea and the business plan writing process.

The next of the process is to think of a great business idea and write your business plan.

Whether you have a question about your personal foundation or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

A Guide to the Startup Phase (Part 1 of 4)

A Guide to the Startup Phase from the Startup Garage

A Guide to the Startup Phase (Part 1 of 4)

Here at The Startup Garage, we know that the startup phase can be a daunting process. The startup phase, or seed stage, is the very beginning in the life of a business. It starts with the formation of your business idea (sort of), and involves all the processes that your company has to go through before it launches. There is a great deal of preparation, creativity, decision making, infrastructure-building, idea changing, reworking and more. With so much up in the air all at once, the process can become very challenging, repetitive and confusing.

With all this in mind, we created the Guide to the Startup Phase blog series to help bring some clarity to the whole process. In the next 3 posts, well break down the complex process into 4 steps that will give you a clear, linear direction to get from a simple business idea to your launched company.

The startup phase can be broken down like this:

Step 1- Your Foundation

Technically a precursor to the startup phase, analyzing your personal foundation is an important step to becoming a successful entrepreneur. In this step, you set your personal goals that your company will achieve for you, analyze your passions and talents, and get your personal support team together. These exercises will prepare you to successfully launch a company that fits your financial/career goals in life.

Many entrepreneurs get their start because they are struck with inspiration or find a great opportunity, but others take the time to come up with an idea that they choose to turn into a business.

Step 2- Business Plan

Writing a business plan lays out the foundation for how you will turn your brilliant idea into a fully functioning business. You can write it on your own, get help writing it, or hire someone to do it for you (which is also our specialty at The Startup Garage).

Step 3- Pre-Launch Actions

Once your business plan is done, youll have a complete strategy for your business once you launch. You just have some preliminary steps to take before you get there, including setting up your office infrastructure, opening bank accounts, getting the appropriate business licenses, and a few other needs.

Once all of the pre-launch actions are completed, congratulations, youre ready to launch! But not so fastthis whole process usually takes about 6 months, but doing it right will lead to a smooth launch of your company, which is well worth it. If you would like a more detailed description of the pre-launch process, sign up for our newsletter and receive our Startup Toolkit for free!

Please follow this link to read on about how to build Your Personal Foundation.


Whether you have a question about the startup phase or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!