Monthly Archives: May 2012

So You Want to Start a Business?

So You Want To Start A Business from The Startup Garage

So You Want to Start a Business?

7 visual steps to guide you through the startup process

This infographic from Bolt effectively outlines what you will need to know to get your business up and running. Below are links for more information on each step.

'So you want start a business?' Infographic

Step 1: Write a Business Plan

Step 2: Choose a Business Location

Step 3: Finance your Business and Choose a Legal Structure

Step 4: Register your Business Name

Step 5: Get a Tax Identification Number and Register for State and Local Taxes

Step 6: Obtain a Business License and Permits

Step 7: Understand Employer Responsibilities


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

Create an Effective Online Presence

Create An Effective Online Presence from The Startup Garage

Create an Effective Online Presence

The environment of the web is continually changing, the weighted importance of real-time content, social integration and mobile compatibility rising significantly in the last few years. These changes are creating opportunities and challenges for companies and organizations of all scales and experience depending on adaptability and preparation.

Online Integration ImageYour online presence is created by the ongoing conversation between the website (your virtual storefront), fresh and relevant content, and your community (social media integration).

The first step is to lock down your brand, define your identity and stick to it. Create your website to reflect your company’s purpose and ideals, while keeping visual elements consistent. If you removed your logo, would visitors still recognize it as your brand?

The ease of use of your site for both the visitor and the content manager is one of the most important elements for online success. Establish a clear purpose and goals for the site’s foundation. Develop a strategy to encourage visitors to take action and draw out a sitemap to support your goal. Navigation and layout should be simple and intuitive, promoting the visitor to explore.

Create your site in a content management system that allows you to easily and comfortably update and add content. It is increasingly important that your site stay fresh and offer your audience a reason to return. This not only positions you as a knowledgeable resource, but also improves your position in search results.

The shift to mobile web browsing is expected to overcome traditional browsing in the next few years, making the effectiveness of your website heavily reliant on its ability to maintain functionality across devices. You should know your audience and what devices they use, but your site should ideally perform across all platforms. The recommended method is to create one responsive design layout, versus creating and updating multiple devise-specific sites.

Integrating media outlets will allow you to operate more effectively and efficiently, while stimulating real-time conversation in the community. Your involvement in the various social media platforms will vary depending on your business. Carefully select which of these will be the most effective in achieving your goals and commit to evolving your brand’s presence in each. Tools are readily available to integrate posts from one platform to another, saving you time and increasing exposure. Even with a wealth of content, only posting to your own site will most likely not create the following or involvement you desire.

In the era of the web, creating your presence online can be equally, if not more important than a brick-and-mortar establishment as many people start the purchasing process with research online. Integrating your brand’s vision with its website, relevant content, and community will establish your company as an authority in the industry and could be the deciding factor in whether or not you make the sale.


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

5 Rules for Your Cash Flow Plan

5 Rules For Your Cash Flow from The Startup Garage

5 Rules for Your Cash Flow Plan

Critical to your success, cash flow.

Create an effective plan for positive cash flow with five basic rules. Every business owner should have an understanding of his or her cash flow situation – sales minus expenses. Positive cash flow is critical to continuing business operations.

  1. Forecast realistic monthly sales. It is very important that you don’t optimistically estimate sales figures. Base these numbers around historical data or worse-case scenario figures. The estimates set should be easily attainable. This is necessary to ensure the business creates enough revenue to continue to operate.
  2. Plan for timing of receivables. Sales made with payment terms can take weeks or months to become available cash for operations, while cash and credit card sales are immediately accessible. Depending on your business, payment terms should be set and plans should be made so that operations will not be negatively impacted by this fluctuation in timing.
  3. Consolidate base operating expenses. Your business will have a set of predictable monthly operating expenses, often including rent, payroll, and utilities. These should be consolidated into one operating expense to be the baseline for the amount of cash that must come in to keep the business running.
  4. Keep cash available for growth. Businesses often fail because they can’t afford the capital necessary to support growth when the opportunity arises. Project the expenses that will be required when an increase in sales occurs. This could include equipment or additional employees. Cash from the new sales will unlikely be available before costs are incurred for expenses, so be sure to have this on hand.
  5. Recognize and plan for the known unknowns. Scenarios may develop for your company when cash is needed in order to capitalize on an unusual opportunity. Create a comprehensive list of possible unknowns and their associated expenses. Every cash flow forecast should include a contingency plan with funds to cover an unexpected situation.


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

Build an All-Star Startup Team

Build An All-Star Startup-Team from The Startup Garage

Build an All-Star Startup Team

You have a great new business idea. As it forms into a plan, decisions will be made around how to support business functions necessary to succeed and if you should plan to assemble a team.

Create a clear outline of how the company will develop as an organization. Understand your goals and format them to support a strong mission and vision. What skill sets and abilities are necessary for your business to succeed? Of these, which will you not be able to fulfill? Gain a clear understanding of yourself, your competencies and shortcomings. As resources will most likely be initially limited, understanding which functions and abilities are the most critical will allow you to target and bring on a team member that will bring the most value to the business.

Once you have defined the position, it is time to look for the best candidate. At the startup level, traits including inventiveness, ambition, and autonomy should be heavily weighted. Look for people with experience in relevant fields, interest in startups, and an ability to perform across functions of the business. The ideal candidate will be driven to achieve the goals you have set and share passion for the success of the company.

Networking and becoming involved in the community – online or offline – are good places to start when looking for the right people to create your team. Your own social network is a valuable tool. Communicating an enthusiasm for your new business will often attract people with entrepreneurial drive.

It is important to build a team with personalities that complement each other. However, your first few additions should have skills different from your own with backgrounds crossing business functions. Your goal is to create a solid foundation for your business to grow.


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