Monthly Archives: March 2013

I Have a Great Idea, What’s Next

I Have a Great Idea, What's Next from The Startup Garage

I Have a Great Idea, What’s Next

You have a great idea and want to start a business, so now what? One step I like to recommend to new entrepreneurs is that you start with a self assessment. The idea is for you to learn more about yourself, your personal and financial goals and how committed you are to getting your business off the ground and successful. Once you have completed an assessment, read through it again to see if your passion, business idea and personal and financial goals align with one another.

If you determine that your goals and business idea align, you now need to make the distinction between that great idea and a great business business. An idea is usually a product or service that will be sold to a particular group of people. A business is the vehicle, strategy, and system around the idea that makes it profitable. This includes strategies for how to produce the product or service, how to distribute it, how to market it, and how to turn all of that into a profit.

Take the time to answer the following questions to develop a clear concept of your business:

  • What business do you want to start?
  • What product/service do you plan to sell?
  • Who will buy your product/service?
  • Why will they choose your business?
  • When will customers buy your product/service?
  • How will customers know about your company?
  • What will you charge customers for your product/service?
  • What you are going to do different?
  • How is your business going to stand out and succeed?

Once you have answered these questions and have a clear direction of your idea and business concept it is time to write a business plan. A business plan will set the foundation for your company, and then it will be time to launch.

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

Most Common Mistakes When Writing a Business Plan

Most Common Mistakes When Writing a Business Plan from The Startup Garage

Most Common Mistakes When Writing a Business Plan

If you are reading this blog, it is likely because you have written or you are in the process or writing your business plan and you want to know if it is up to snuff! We’ve compiled the 7 most common mistakes that we have encountered in the hundreds of business plans that we have reviewed. Now, be honest, are any of those mistakes part of your business plan?

1. Bad Spelling – It sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how often people forget to run spell-check on their business plans.

2. Lack of Research – This phase of writing the business plan usually takes the longest. But, it is important that you do not take shortcuts. Conducting the proper research and learning about your industry, your target markets and your competitors are paramount to creating a successful business, business model and business plan. With the information that you learn from your research, you will be able to develop successful sales and marketing strategies, pricing strategies, distribution strategies, product/service features to incorporate, etc.

3. Overoptimistic Thinking – Don’t fall in the trap of developing unrealistic projections because you are that confident in your product/service. Every product/service has competition; every company needs to establish a presence in the market; and every company needs to test and tweak its product/service and sales/marketing strategies to find the right mix. Furthermore, do not neglect your research. Use the statistics surrounding the size of the industry, the size of your market and your competitors market share to make realistic financial projections.

4. Lack of Evidence – This goes hand in hand with lack of research. Many business plans assert that the market is attractive or that there are no direct competitors currently on the market. These claims need to be proven with evidence. What makes the market attractive? If there aren’t any direct competitors, which companies will you most closely compete with?

5. Disorganized Logic – Many business plans present objections or accomplishments that the business will achieve. However, they are not supported with clear logic that shows how these objectives or accomplishments will be achieved.

6. Unclear Format – In many cases, problems with disorganized logic can be as simple as the format in which the statement is made. Use graphs, charts, images, infographics, bullets, prose, etc appropriately.

7. Jargon Language – If you are operating in an industry that is rich with industry-specific jargon, do not assume that your reader understands the jargon. Be sure to provide definitions and to complete spell out abbreviations.

Take a look at our Sample Business Plans and Products.

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

Social Media for Startups

Social Media for Startups from The Startup Garage

Social Media for Startups

The global social media frenzy continues to gain momentum each and every day. The impact that social media popularity has had on the business world is immense.  Most startups and existing companies can no longer justify staying away from the trend because the benefits are too many. We will discuss these benefits and provide some strategies on how to get the most out of your social media endeavors.

Now that internet access is commonplace in almost every corner of the world, your customers are closer to you than ever before. In the past, businesses had to employ many different techniques to get the attention of the general public. Strategies like direct mail marketing and door to door canvassing of target neighborhoods. These techniques were often very costly and difficult to analyze the results of, and are no longer relevant. Currently, with the average American Facebook user currently spending six hours per month browsing the network, your customers are actively looking for what they are interested in and passionate about, and you have a great opportunity to reach out to them.

Because it is the most popular social network, we will use Facebook as an example of how to employ social media strategies to gain momentum for your startup. You have already set up your Facebook page for your business and are starting to attract fans of your page. Your goal now is to be able to engage the people who “like” your page and get them to interact with you on a consistent basis.

The first way to do this is to humanize your venture. This can be done simply by updating your pictures regularly. Add new albums, take pictures with your satisfied customers and showcase them to the rest of your fans. If you host an event, be sure to upload pictures from the event so that your fans see that you are real people, not just a company with no face.

Another great way to bolster positive interaction on your Facebook page is to have a sense of humor. People enjoy laughter, this is as inherent as the existence of gravity. If you make people laugh, they will associate happiness and joy with your business, and that is a connection that any business owner would love to have.

A very good way to get your fans involved with your page to pose questions directly to them. Asking questions that will stimulate your fans and create a reaction amongst each other over responses is a great way to increase overall participation on your page.

Social Media strategies are all about creating a buzz and a brand identity for your business. Remember that you should never be using social media just for the sake of it. You need to develop clear goals that you hope to achieve through the implementation of your strategies, and these goals should tie into your business plan.  Social Media is an extremely potent tool to growing and developing your business, so harness that power and use it wisely, and your customers as well as your bottom line will thank you for doing so.

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