Monthly Archives: October 2011

Five Commonly Overlooked Office Essentials for Startups

Management Office Essentials from The Startup Garage

Five Commonly Overlooked Office Essentials for Startups

Starting a business is no easy task. Nobody is perfect and mistakes are going to be made. On top of that, it’s not like startups have unlimited sums of cash from which to cover the costs of bad decisions or to hedge bets with. But of all the leading mistakes young entrepreneurs make, one of the most common is not establishing an office environment that maximizes productivity. The utilitarian approach to starting a business instinctively calls for a limit on these things, but when it comes to getting those results that small businesses must achieve early on, nothing else is going to get them for you as easily.

Consider the following five examples of essentials often missing from the office of a start up:

Color: It might sound like some over-analytical hogwash, but studies over the years have consistently indicated that color is important in crafting a person’s mood. Blues and grays make people mellow and a little depressed, while warmer colors are more likely to energize people. But the simple fact of the matter is that plain white walls make people want to do nothing besides leave. Paint your office for better results from your employees.

Comfort: The Spartan mentality of a startup usually means that employees are lucky to have a bench to sit on to do their work. But investing in ergonomic chairs for your workers and even guest chairs for your prospective or continual clients is a smart and simple way to keep people happy for long periods of time. Your workers aren’t going to complain about bad seating they probably won’t even be aware of how badly it’s affecting their performance so it’s up to the business leader to make the investment.

Commons: One of the worst things that can plague a startup is lack of communication among a shy and unfamiliar workforce. Establishing a commons area in some regard that can be used by employees to meet and mingle is a must for any company relying on teamwork to get the job done. Holding team meetings in this area provides a practical reason for it’s existence, while the unofficial comrade that’s more likely to occur is where the investment is really going to show its value.

Keys: Those working for startups soon learn that the work usually doesn’t get finished within an 8 hour block of time. If only one person is the key master, then everyone has to leave at the same time. But by giving everyone their own key, employees can come and go when they please. This encourages employees to come in early or stay late or both.

Parking: That great downtown location has the perfect view, is on a busy street, and costs peanuts compared to other spaces listed. But what about the parking situation? Making employees park at meters or walk several blocks to get to work is definite no-no if you want happy and productive workers. Always make sure that there is ample parking for both employees and clients alike.

Startup mistakes are bound to happen, but don’t make the common mistake of not doing enough for your team. Making them happy means more productivity, which is sure to make you happy, not to mention more money. If you are opening a new office or just need interior design help in general, contact

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

Five Professionals That Should Be in Your Entrepreneurial Network

5 Professionals to Have in Network from The Startup Garage

Five Professionals That Should Be in Your Entrepreneurial Network

Networking expands your social circle and improves your working effectiveness by expanding the resources available to you. You and your friends can exchange expertise and integrate different resources to achieve outstanding results that a one-man team would otherwise never be able achieve. Growing your entrepreneurial network is a worthy long-term investment and you should have the following five professionals in your network list.

Attorney. The laws that govern business are a double-edged sword -- they protect your rights but they also restrict your practices. To take the most advantage of the law, entrepreneurs need to consult experienced attorneys in different fields such as patent, trademark, contract, corporate, ect. You may be reluctant to spending on law consulting, but it is a relatively cheap expense compared to a law suit or the intangible asset loss that could have been protected by the law.

Accountant. Startup entrepreneurs need to project their financial gains and set goals for their businesses. However, many entrepreneurs do not have the knowledge or experience necessary to complete this process. Experienced accountants not only guide entrepreneurs with forecasting revenue, but they warn them of potential threats such as problems with cash flow.

IT Guru. Most offices are equipped with some form of IT device. They are your effective tools to connect the world and generate sales. However, not everyone knows how set up and maintain these devices. An IT guru can help you set up hardware, install software and maintain websites. He/she can also introduce you to the most advanced software and website that can better solve your problems.

Marketing Expert. A true marketing expert possesses many practical ideas and valuable channels. Furthermore, an expert can design a strategy that fits an entrepreneurs business model. These intangible resources are essential for the startup entrepreneur who lacks marketing experience and knowledge.

Insurance Broker. Business entities are exposed to many unexpected risks. Business owners should minimize their risks by covering their enterprises with different insurances. Insurance brokers can alert you to the potential risks of your enterprise and recommend specific insurances that fit your needs.

Teamwork creates synergy. When your startup budget limits you from hiring many experts, you need to cooperate with friends in your network. As a startup entrepreneur, you can outsource different parts of your work to your expert friends and offer your specialty in exchange. This mutually beneficial practice will help each other better operate their businesses and it should be documented in your business plan.

Whether you have a question about professionals that should be in your entrepreneurial network, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

Do I really need a business plan?

How Important is my Business Plan from The Startup Garage

Do I really need a business plan?

Business Plans are an important business startup step for entrepreneurs and small business owners. At The Startup Garage, we’ve helped a wide variety of entrepreneurs who want a business plan to get their strategy together or raise money. We’ve also helped many who think they might need a business plan, but they don’t really know what they’ll use it for, other than “getting everything down on paper.” With them in mind, well go over the purpose of a business plan and its benefits.

One of the most common reasons that entrepreneurs write a business plan is to raise funds from financial institutions, angel investors, venture capitalists and others. Before betting on you, they want to learn as much as possibly about your business. A business plan is an effective, and often required, tool that you can use to give investors all of the information they need and to demonstrate that you are a credible entrepreneur who is poised to succeed.

Writing a business plan is not only helpful with raising money. When starting a business, it is easy to focus on some aspects of the company and forget others, especially if you are very strong in one area but weak elsewhere. By writing a complete business plan, you are forced to examine all areas of your business and build strong strategies that will prepare you for successful execution when launching. Furthermore, writing a business plan will help you eliminate any grey areas in your business as it will force you to answer tough questions and provide specific information about your business. For example, you may be uncertain as to exactly what products you will sell and at what price. However, you will not be able to complete the Product Overview or Financial Plan sections of your business plan without narrowing down this information.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of entrepreneurs that put their business plan in a drawer never to be seen again after they have launched their business. However, your business plan is still useful even after launching your business. A business plan provides a framework of where you are and where you want to be by outlining certain action items, next steps and future activities. Furthermore, by revisiting and updating your plan every few months will be able to apply what you’ve learned through operations to your strategy and stay focused on your high level goals.

Lastly, your business plan will help you enroll strategic partners. Many small businesses are unable to succeed by themselves and require skilled partners to jointly build their business. However, this can be easier said than done. Most well-qualified potential partners will have many questions that must be answered before signing on. You may or may not be prepared to answer all these questions. However, with a business plan in place, you’ll be able to communicate your high level vision, clearly articulate your strategy and show any potential partner where they fit into it all. Having this well prepared written document will also boost your credibility tremendously.

There are many businesses out there that have gotten started and succeeded without writing a business plan. However, if you’re interested in maximizing your chances of success, a business plan is a great way to make that work. Also, if you’re interested in getting help from outsiders, such as partners or investors, a business plan is an essential tool for establishing credibility and getting them to believe in you and your business.

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

Getting the Most Out of Your Digital Marketing Campaign

DIgital Marketing Strategy from The Startup Garage

Getting the Most Out of Your Digital Marketing Campaign

Let’s face it, most small business owners don’t have a clue about what it takes to run a successful Internet marketing campaign. With smartphones and Internet searches taking the place of traditional advertising, it has become harder than ever to break through to new customers. Loyal patrons of small business establishments are leaving their old stand-by’s behind because of deals they found online.

Your business probably already has a website; either made by a professional or an accountant looking to let his or her creative side loose. But there is much more to running a successful digital campaign than setting up a basic landing page. Here are some of the strategies you need to implement for your business:

Blog Posts

By writing a blog with well-written articles, video posts and pictures, you can easily gain more attention to your business and rank higher in search engines. People don’t even have to see what you are writing about for you to improve your search engine ranking. By using carefully selected keywords chosen by a ppc agency, Internet users will see your company’s website higher on pages like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Mobile Marketing

While having a desktop or laptop browser ready website is still vital, more and more people are looking for businesses on their mobile devices. When designing a site for yourself or hiring a creative agency, make sure to have a mobile website that is compliant with most mobile operating systems. You will want to have it designed using HTML5 and all of the most vital information up-front.

Location Tagging

An important part for both desktop and mobile marketing is the use of location tags in your site’s meta-data. Using meta-data will bring your searches up higher when people are searching for a specific service or business in your area. When people are on their smartphones, the geo-location and GPS device will bring up your location based on the user’s proximity.


Using Groupon to increase your online awareness is a double-edged sword. You can get your business prominently featured on social media and an extensive email list. You can also increase brand awareness and foot traffic to your place of business with coupons. However, you run the risk of not gaining repeat business from Grouponers and losing a lot of money. Therefore, users should use Groupon at their own risk.

Social Media

Along with all of these strategies, you should also be engaging in detailed social media conversations with your customers on Facebook and Twitter. Use social media as a way to provide better customer service and alleviate any situations disgruntled followers might be having with your establishment.

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Whether you have a question about getting the most out of your digital marketing campaign, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!