Monthly Archives: January 2013

Beaches to Business Plans: A Market Pulse Interview with CEO Tyler Jensen

Tyler Jensen from The Startup Garage

Beaches to Business Plans: A Market Pulse Interview with CEO Tyler Jensen

Serial Entrepreneur and CEO of The Startup Garage Tyler Jensen speaks with Market Pulse on ESPN 1700 in San Diego. Tyler was invited to talk with Market Pulse for their weekly “Words of the Wise” segment. In this hour long interview Tyler talks about his first business, his journey in the launch, growth and sale of VaVi Sports and Social club, and how to avoid the mistakes he made as a first time entrepreneur.

Highlights include:

  • How he went from having nothing in his bank account to selling his first company for 125 times the initial investment.
  • How, after having sold VaVi, a year spent on the beaches of San Diego led to the realization that helping other entrepreneurs was his passion.
  • Why many people have great business ideas but going from the idea to a successful business is the challenge.
  •  The importance of matching the lifestyle you want to live with the company you want to start.
  • Why having a business plan writer write from a place of personal experience is paramount.

Tyler also answers listeners’ questions on what it takes to write a business plan, the process of creating a business plan and how they’re priced.


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

Driving Economic Development with Inclusive Business

Driving Economic Development with Inclusive Business from The Startup Garage

Driving Economic Development with Inclusive Business

An Inclusive Business is a business model that strives to benefit the community by directly including low-income populations into their business cycles, whether as producers or consumers of the good or service. It is a strategy that aids a large and often forgotten section of the community through social initiatives while still fostering business growth and for-profit policies. A main driving force behind Inclusive Business models is to create sustainable means of support for the society without the use of welfare.

Inclusive Business models vary slightly in the way they approach social issues then the Social Enterprise models discussed in our previous blog. Social Enterprises are organizations that blend their business between financial and social returns on investment in attempts to raise social awareness and aid to their cause, and to funnel monetary support to both the company’s growth and social issue as well. Though extremely similar concepts, Inclusive Businesses are created with the direct intent of benefiting one social issue – the poor. Going further, Inclusive Business models do not just raise awareness or financial aid for their cause; rather, they take frank and hands-on approaches towards achieving their goals. This is done by utilizing local suppliers for the company, creating products and services that are targeting towards the low-income community, or by making a point in employing a large majority of low-income persons.

The Inclusive Business model theorizes that if companies target the low-income community, who on a global economic pyramid are our base and largest sector, we can slowly integrate them towards more modern and formal economies. Through employment, a sector that primarily works in labor now will begin to gain human capital through formal training as well as an income that introduces them to new financial markets. As consumers, the community can be endowed with new products and services that specifically match their needs. With all of these segments of the business cycle fully turning, we would see a rise in local employment, skill, and income which in turn would drive economic development and growth.


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

Focus on the Customer

Focus on the Customer from The Startup Garage

Focus on the Customer

When considering the business model of the sales for your startup, leave yourself the flexibility to cater to the precise needs of every specific customer. As your business is small you can do this better than your big competitors.  Accommodating the specific needs of every one of your customers is your competitive advantage.  You know your customer face to face and you communicate with him in person. Therefore, you are much more likely to close on your customer, as you spend a little time on every one of your targets.

Know the fears of your customer. Often people are anxious to buy something that is too expensive or that would take a long time until it is ready to use. So, avoid their fears. Offer them a smaller package, or a sample, or a free week of using your product. In fact, offer all of this options and then track the results so that you know what has worked for you.  If it is the price that scares away your customer, offer different payment options or financing programs. In the end of the day, what is most important is the fact that you have made a sale.

Be prepared to take the time to learn about your customers not only in the business sense but also figure out why they are successful, what their hobbies are, what conferences and business seminars they go to. Customize your product to fit their lifestyle or simply use your knowledge to craft a more compelling message to them or to build a better marketing campaign. As your business grows you would be able to use your customer knowledge and group your clients by their similarities and differences. Use this to your advantage when you target them later.


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

Overcoming the Fear of Starting a Business

Overcoming the Fear of Starting a Business from The Startup Garage

Overcoming the Fear of Starting a Business

There are thousands of startup articles that offer advice on the methods, processes and mechanics for starting a business. However, the inner, personal workings of starting a business are just as important as your business plan and capitalization strategy. If you are not mentally prepared to start your business, you will be stopped dead in your tracks.

Perhaps one of the largest personal inhibitors to starting a business is the fear of doing just that. There are numerous fears that most entrepreneurs face, including the feat of quitting one’s job, the fear of losing one’s hard-earned savings, the fear of failing, the fear of not being there for one’s family…the list goes on and on.

While these fears are completely natural and can actually help motivate you to be successful, there are a few techniques that you can use to ensure that your fears do not debilitate you.

  • Say yes to your inner voice that’s been elbowing you to start this venture. In fact, write down your reasons for starting your business and remind yourself of these reasons and of your commitment on a continual basis. Believe in yourself and your business.
  • Create a journal or idea board where you constantly write down new goals, ideas, emotions, commitments, etc. This will keep you motivated and excited about your venture.
  • Visualize your success. Determine what success looks like for you, make it tangible and specific: “In 3 years, I will know that I am successful because I am working less than 30 hours a week, taking over $75k/year in salary, attending all of my kids soccer games and going on a date twice a month with my significant other.”
  • Similarly, create affirmation statements and repeat them to yourself. “I am going to sign 3 new deals this month.” Keep a constant list of affirmation statement on hand and read them daily, sometimes multiple times per day.
  • Become concretely aware of your beliefs. Prioritize yourself, your business, your family, your money, etc. Be aware of your beliefs and do not allow yourself to stray too far from what is important to you.
  • Empower yourself with knowledge. The more you know about your business, your finances, your competitors, your customers, various business strategies, etc, the better and more informed you will feel about the decisions you make.
  • Take baby steps. Start your business part-time while maintaining your full-time job. This will allow you to determine if entrepreneurship is right for you and if your business is truly a good idea while mitigating the risk of failure.
  • Be realistic with your expectations. If your expectations are too low, then you likely are not suffering from the debilitation of fear. On the contrary, if your expectations are too high, than your fear of not meeting them is likely valid. Be sure to align your expectations with your resources, be that time, money, support, knowledge, relationships, etc.
  • Continually build your non-financial capital. Your business relationships and advisors as well as your personal support systems can often be the most effective way of getting through the tough times that you will certainly face.
  • On a practical note, be sure to continually shake up your routine so that you do not fall in a rut. Refuse to make excuses, accomplish unfinished tasks and check them off your list.
  • Lastly, accept your fear and face it head on. Know that it is better to have tried and failed than to live with regret of what you could have done. The latter will be far more disappointing.

    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!

How to Choose a Business Plan Writer

How to Choose a Business Plan Writer from The Startup Garage

How to Choose a Business Plan Writer

Regardless of whether you are a first time entrepreneur starting a new business or a seasoned entrepreneur seeking capital to leverage your existing business, any investor will require a business plan. Writing a business plan is incredibly daunting for most business owners, whether because of difficulty, lack of time or lack of expertise. As a result, many entrepreneurs turn to professional business plan writers and/or consulting firms to write their business plan for them.

When searching for a business plan writer or consulting firm, you will find there is a large variety in the types of services offered, the approach taken and the price quoted. Below are a few tips to consider when evaluating your options:


First and foremost, be cautious of any company that promises to write a business plan for you in less than week and only requires a limited amount of information from you. You should enter this process knowing that you, as the client, are the expert in your business and that you will be required to work side-by-side with your business plan service provider to ensure that your plan reflects your business and your goals. The service provider should have a sense of what type of collaborative or consultative process works best, but nonetheless, your involvement in the process is paramount.

Writing Quality and Previous Success

Before hiring a writer, you should request samples of previous business plans. Upon reviewing the sample, ensure that the writing is succinct and to the point (as this is what investors prefer) and that the document is free of any typos or major mistakes. Be sure to critically evaluate the executive summary and financial model as this is where investors will spend the majority of their time.

Furthermore, you should try to gauge your service provider’s track record. While the service provider likely will not have an exact percentage of success, they may be able to provide the amount of funding they have helped their clients secure or the number of businesses successfully launched. At minimum, they should be able to point to a few success stories that you can verify later on. You should also ask if the service provider has any testimonials available and potentially even references.

Price is Not Everything

As is the case with most service based businesses, you often get what you pay for. Nonetheless, you should certainly shop around your business plan to gain an understanding of the pricing options available, do not make the mistake of evaluating a business plan writer simply on the price they give. While you can likely assume that the cheapest option available will result in a lower quality product and service, the inverse is not necessarily true in that the most expensive option will result in the best product and service.

In any case, no matter how cash-strapped your company is in its pre-funding stage, you should not cut any corners on your business plan. A proper business plan will greatly increase your chances of raising capital and operating a successful business. Similarly, an inadequate business plan will stop you dead in your tracks. As a result, spending money on a business plan should not be seen as an expense, but rather an investment that you are making in your company’s future success.


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

11 Steps to Building Your Startup Business

11 Steps to Building Your Startup Business from The Startup Garage

11 Steps to Building Your Startup Business

Step 1: Determine what kind of business you should start:

– A part-time business, a unique business idea (i.e. a complete new product or service that you can obtain idea protection for), a franchise, purchase an existing business, or buy a license to sell an existing product or service.

Step 2: Write a business plan

Research your industry, market and competitors

– Create a sales and marketing plan

– Create a financial model and financial plan

Step 3: Get business assistance and training

– First and foremost, find an attorney who specializes in small businesses.

Step 4: Choose a business location

– Determine what kind of physical location and equipment is needed for your business (be sure to consider zoning, tax laws, noise factors, client/visitor accessibility, technological needs, ergonomically correct work spaces, safety and security, etc.)

Step 5: Finance your business and get the financial aspects of your business squared away

– After writing your business plan, you should have a better idea of how much money you will need to start the business and to float the business until you turn a profit. You should also consider how much money you personally will need to survive until you can begin taking money out of the profit. Through these assessments, you will have a better idea of whether you will need startup funding to launch your business or not.

– Get a business bank account

– Buy business accounting software

– Hire an accountant

Step 6: Determine the legal structure of your business

Decide which business structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, limited
liability partnership, limited liability company) you (and your investors) desire for your business.

Step 7: Register a business name (“Doing Business As”)

– First and foremost, make sure your business name is easily understood and pronounced. (Try a simple spelling test with your family and friends).

– Make sure that the name is available and not currently in use.

– Register your trademark and file your DBA.

Step 8: Get a Tax Identification Number

– Determine which tax identification number you’ll need to obtain from the IRS.

– Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance.

Step 9: Obtain business licenses and permits

– Obtain local, state and federal business permits. Determine if you need any professional licensing from your state. Inquire about any other permits you may need such as fire inspection or sign permitting. Lastly, determine the proper amount of sales tax you need to collect and obtain a seller’s permit.

Step 10: Understand employer responsibilities

– If you plan to hire employees, obtain an employer ID from the IRS and any forms you and your employees need to fill out.

Step 11: Marketing

– Create a logo and print identity for your marketing materials.

– Bolster your business plans marketing plan.

– Build your website.

– Join networking organizations.

Take a look at our Sample Business Plans and Products.


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

Balancing Your Day Job and Your Startup

Balancing Your Day Job and Your Startup from The Startup Garage

Balancing Your Day Job and Your Startup

For many entrepreneurs, it is often necessary to depend on a full-time job during the launch and startup phase of a new business. Balance a full-time job andlaunching a startup can be a huge challenge. Below are few tips that will help you get through this transition successfully.

You must be extremely efficient and organized with your time.

– If possible, schedule 2-3 hours of your day that you are going to work uninterrupted on your startup. Once you have scheduled this time, be sure to make it a priority. Finding time to catch up while working a full time job and running a startup is incredibly challenging.

– Use early morning, nights and weekends when schedule time for your startup. Furthermore, don’t neglect your vacation time and paid-time-off.

Know what you’re getting into before you begin. Your free time will be one of the first things to go. You may have to forgo outings with friends, family dinners and even dates.

– Build a plan for your new business; ideally, you will want to develop a complete business plan. This will help you to use your time efficiently by focusing on the value added tasks that make your business successful and make you money.

– Create a home office of sorts – the garage, basement, an extra bedroom, etc. – that’s just for your side business. This will help you to quickly enter and exit the startup mind frame needed to work efficiently on your side business.

– Do not be afraid to get support. You should have an informal board of advisors that you can turn to for advice on various aspects of your business. Furthermore, when you simply do not have enough time for the less important tasks of your business, don’t be afraid to contract out the work to freelance or part-time laborers.

Be transparent about your startup.

– If possible, tell your boss about your startup and be sure to mention that your work ethic and ability to accomplish your tasks will not be affected. At the bare minimum, you should not hide what you are doing with your side business. If you have to keep it undercover, there is likely a conflict of interest.

– Be sure to consider any conflicts of interest prior to moving forward with launching your startup. If you are working with the same customer base or even in the same industry, this could present a conflict of interest.

– It is important to clearly and cleanly separate your two roles. You don’t want your primary company claiming that you were working on your side on business on their time, and therefore they have rights to it.

– Don’t let your day job suffer from the demands of your side business; it will show. Remain focused on opportunities in both your startup as well as your day job

Knowing if and when you should quit your day job.

Determining if and when you should quit your day job can be a nerve-racking decision. Try asking yourself some of the following questions:

– Is your business turning a profit?

– Is your business turning enough of a profit to fund your living expenses and/or do you have enough of a run way to float you through the next couple of months should your startup lose money.

– Can you continue to grow your business while maintaining your day job or are you limited due to time and energy.

– Has your time and passion been completely dominated by your startup or are you still excited about your day job?

Regardless of how you answered these questions, you should not quit your day job until your startup is bringing you enough income to cover your living expenses and that you have enough of a runway to support you should the startup turn sour.

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