Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Return on investment (ROI)


Return on investment (ROI) is, plain and simple, a principle of investing which determines how much benefit from investing a certain resource will an investor have. High ROI means that investor will have big benefit when compared to the investment he made. ROI is often used in order to evaluate efficiency of investment and compare it to a number of other possible investments. Economically speaking it is a way of showing the relationship of profit to capital invested.

Businesses often use ROI to determine, through a period of time, how much money they will make based on a certain investment and base their investments on that.
ROI and related metrics provide an idea of profitability, adjusted for the size of the investment assets used. ROI is often compared to expected (or required) rates of return on money invested.

 Marketing decisions are obviously based on ROI to some degree (quite a degree at that!) since these decisions influence how assets will be used and what are capital requirements. it is used to understand the company position and what is expected in return.


ROI is quite easily calculated. You use a formula that tells you that ROI equals (net profit/investment)*100.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Top Hot Businesses

The timing is everything. You have got to know when to start your own business but you also have to know what your business will be. The trends are changing rapidly. What is hot today might not be hot tomorrow. Here is my list of top hot business ideas right now for you to start from your own home!

1. Resale
You don't have it in you to be creative? You are not into handiwork? You don't have enough money to start producing something?
You can always resell other people stuff. Try and find out what your town, country, state or whatever is looking for, buy it online, bring it in and sell it!
But remember, hot product of the day might just be that - of this day.

2. Freelancing
Freelancing is all about offering your services to the highest bidder. Try to figure out what you are good at and offer your services to the public. Maybe it is web design, maybe it is presentation skills or whatever. There are many sites serving as a bridge between those looking for freelancers and those who are freelancing. Try them out!

3. Facebook
Provide your services on Facebook. Facebook has over a billion users worldwide. You can create a Facebook page offering such services as creating fan pages, Facebook adverts etc. Just promote it on Facebook, first among your friends and see how it expands!

4. Bulk SMS
Sounds easy? Well it is! It is quite cheap to get set up with your mobile operator in order to be able to send bulk SMS. Next step is to contact your local businesses, churches, restaurants and what not and start selling those SMSs in their name!

5. Google Adsense
It would be a shame not to mention Adsense. Start your own blog or website, fill it with interesting topics, sign up for adsense and watch the money trickle in. Trickle in at start but watch out - The Flood is coming!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Top 5 Business Ideas that can't fail

Making money is important. Starting your own business is a good way to achieve that, but on the other hand starting your own business can lead to disaster.
Therefore I decided to make this list with couple of ideas which (in my opinion) can't fail.
So here it goes!

1. Food business
People have to eat. Even if they are poor and don't have any extra money they will have money for food. That is one of the basics of life. So if you want to have a surefire business sell food. Now there are many subniches to consider. Selling luxury food will have its market but I believe you should focus on quantity and provide affordable food to the mass market. You will always have customers!

2. Clothing store
Clothing is not life essential but today it is a social norm for people to wear clothes. So selling clothes is a business that people will always need. Same as with food every article of clothing will find its market but you have to stay on top of the trends and observe the customer behavior. Keep in touch with whats hip, watch out for the prices, discounts etc. and you should be doing just fine.

3. Financial consultancy
There are many way how this can pay off. People with lots of money always look for somebody who can advise them in order to increase their money. Poorer people, on the other hand, might need help dealing with all their costs and still saving some money. Of course you will have to have some knowledge in this field and not just scamming people if you are looking for a long-term profit. 

4. Ecommerce
Internet is the future. Internet is now. More and more business move to online. Webshops with practically every possible commodity are appearing throughout the web. It is not too late to jump on the train. You can profit in many ways. Blogging, web development, SEO, affiliate marketing, webshop - take your pick!

5. Entertainment
There is not business like show business! That phrase has never been more true than today. Today theoretically everyone can make it big in show business. People want entertainment so why not give it to them? You can use online services like Youtube to promote your singing/dancing/standup comedy or whatever and you will get million of views in practically no time! The big question is - are you up to it? 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Top 10 Cloud services

Cloud computing is the use of computing resources (both hardware and software) that are delivered to the user over a network (usually over the Internet). The name comes from the common use of a cloud-shaped symbol as an abstraction for the complex infrastructure it contains in system diagrams. Cloud computing entrusts remote services with a user's data, software and computation.

End users access cloud-based applications through web browser (such as Opera, Firefox, Internet Explorer etc.) while the software and hardware you are using is stored on servers at a remote location.


In the business model of using software as a service, users are provided access to application software and databases. Cloud providers manage the infrastructure and platforms that run the applications. SaaS is sometimes referred to as "on-demand software" and is usually priced on a pay-per-use basis. SaaS providers generally price applications using a subscription fee.

Proponents claim that the SaaS allows a business the potential to reduce IT operational costs by outsourcing hardware and software maintenance and support to the cloud provider. This enables the business to reallocate IT operations costs away from hardware/software spending and personnel expenses, towards meeting other IT goals. In addition, with applications hosted centrally, updates can be released without the need for users to install new software. One drawback of SaaS is that the users' data are stored on the cloud provider's server. As a result, there could be unauthorized access to the data.

If your company decided to use Google Apps you might be tempted to use a myriad of applications available (free and pay) in the Google Apps Marketplace. The choice is overwhelming so you could start off by checking the apps that have been downloaded by other businesses. In order to get you started I made a list of 10 must have apps you should install.
  1. MailChimp - A newsletter service that can be integrated with a bunch of other popular small business cloud apps, including Rapportive, Batchbook CRM, Zendesk and Freshbooks. It also connects with e-commerce software including Shopify and Magento.
  2. FlashPanel - Management and security capabilities, including the ability to manage passwords, control user access, manage email usage and consumption, or create (and delete) shared contacts.
  3. Do by Salesforce - A projects and tasks manager; you can share items with people on your Google Contacts list.
  4. Accounting tools by Wave - A small-business accounting system that includes invoicing and reporting features. 
  5. Mavenlink - A workforce and project management system that shows time sheets, budgets and costs related to ongoing projects, accounts receivable aging reeports and other information that will help with resource utilization and planning.
  6. Gantter Project - An application for handling scheduling of complex projects, which integrates with Google Drive for sharing and collaboration. It can import files from Microsoft Project.
  7. Insightly - A basic application for tracking customer interactions.
  8. Draw.io - An app for producing graphical diagrams using predefined objects.
  9. Zoho CRM - As with the other CRM tools mentioned, this service is for tracking leads and customer prospects. But it can also be used for customer support management and marketing automation.
  10. Capsule CRM - A customer relationship management (CRM) tool that integrates with Google Apps, and with cloud accounting and financial management software including Freshbooks and Xero.





Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Management

Management in all business and organizational activities is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objective using available resources efficiently and effectively. Management comprises of planning, organization, staffing, leadership and control of an organization (a group of one or more people or entities) or effort for the purpose of accomplishing a goal. 
Since organizations can be viewed as systems, management can also be defined as human action, including design, to facilitate the production of useful outcomes from a system. 
One could view management functionally, such as measuring quantity, adjusting plans, meeting goals. This applies even in situations where planning does not take place. From this perspective, Henry Fayol (1841–1925) considers management to consist of six functions: forecasting, planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling. He was one of the most influential contributors to modern concepts of management.
Another way of thinking, Mary Parker Follet (1868–1933), defined management as "the art of getting things done through people". She described management as philosophy.
Some people, however, find this definition useful but far too narrow. The phrase "management is what managers do" occurs widely, suggesting the difficulty of defining management, the shifting nature of definitions and the connection of managerial practices with the existence of a managerial cadre.
One habit of thought regards management as equivalent to "business administration" and thus excludes management in places outside commerce such as public sector or charities. More realistically, however, every organization must manage its work, people, processes, technology, etc. to maximize effectiveness. Nonetheless, many people refer to university departments that teach management as "business schools."
English speakers may also use the term "management" or "the management" as a collective word describing the managers of an organization, for example of a corporation.
As the general recognition of managers as a class solidified during the 20th century and gave perceived practitioners of the art/science of management a certain amount of prestige, so the way opened for popular management ideas. In this context many management trenda may have had more to do with popular psychology than with scientific theories of management.
Towards the end of the 20th century, business management came to consist of six separate branches, namely:
  • Human resource management
  • Operations management or production management
  • Strategic management
  • Marketing management
  • Financial management
  • Information technology management responsible for management information systems

Friday, March 22, 2013

9 Online business models

One of the most popular questions for startups online (and even major ones like Twitter and Facebook) is ‘what is your business model’. Sometimes the question is sincere but often it is voiced more like an accusation: what are you exactly trying to acomplish?

The interesting thing about business models is that there is not much magic involved. Business models are pretty much set and all you have to do really is apply one of them to your business. The hard part is choosing the right one for you. You can choose one or the combination of couple of them.

So here comes the list:

Brokerage
Brokers are market-makers: they bring buyers and sellers together and facilitate transactions.

Advertising
The web advertising model is an extension of the traditional media broadcast model. The broadcaster, in this case, a web site, provides content (usually, but not necessarily, for free) and services (like email, IM, blogs) mixed with advertising messages in the form of banner ads.

Infomediary
Independently collected data about producers and their products are useful to consumers when considering a purchase. Some firms function as infomediaries (information intermediaries) assisting buyers and/or sellers understand a given market.

Merchant
Wholesalers and retailers of goods and services. Sales may be made based on list prices or through auction.

Manufacturer (Direct)
The manufacturer or “direct model”, it is predicated on the power of the web to allow a manufacturer (i.e., a company that creates a product or service) to reach buyers directly and thereby compress the distribution channel.

Affiliate
In contrast to the generalized portal, which seeks to drive a high volume of traffic to one site, the affiliate model, provides purchase opportunities wherever people may be surfing. It does this by offering financial incentives (in the form of a percentage of revenue) to affiliated partner sites.

Community
The viability of the community model is based on user loyalty. Users have a high investment in both time and emotion. Revenue can be based on the sale of ancillary products and services or voluntary contributions; or revenue may be tied to contextual advertising and subscriptions for premium services.

Subscription
Users are charged a periodic – daily, monthly or annual – fee to subscribe to a service.

Utility
The utility or “on-demand” model is based on metering usage, or a “pay as you go” approach.

You can combine any of these models and vary slightly to make new models. But this is a nice list to get started with.

Monday, March 18, 2013

BCG Matrix

The BCG matrix (also known as B-Box, BCG analysis, BCG-matrix, Boston Box, Boston Matrix, Boston Consulting Group analysis, portfolio diagram) is a chart, or matrix, created by Bruce Henderson for the Boston Consulting Group in 1970 as a tool for corporations that will help them analyze their business units or products. By using the BCG matrix it will help companies to allocate their resources and is often used as an analytical tool in brands marketing, product management, strategic management and portfolio analysis. 

In order to use the chart the analyst creates a scatter graph so as to rank the business units or products based on their market share and growth rates. There are four main categories.
  1. Cash cows are units or products with high market share but slow growth. These are usually the products that generate a lot of revenue while not demanding much in terms of their maintenance for the company. They are regarded as boring, but every company would be happy to have a number of them. Their only purpose is to be "milked" with as little investment into them as possible. 
  2. Dogs, or sometimes called pets, are products with low market share in a mature, slow growing market. They usually only "break even", generating enough cash to keep the current market share. It is a good line of products in that it has a social benefit of providing a jobs and possible synergies with other products, but generally they are considered worthless since there is no extra revenue generated by them. Most of the companies would prefer selling them off.
  3. Question marks, or problem children, are rapid growers and in doing so consumer large amounts of cash. They have low market share and do not generate much in return. The end result is large net cash consumption. They have a potential to become a star, and eventually cash cow. If it doesn't suceed in becoming a market leader after some time (usually measured in years) it will slide down to a rank of dog. Question marks have to be analyzed carefully so as to determine are they worth the investement.
  4. Stars are products with high market shares in a fast growing industry. Everybody hopes that a star will be a cash cow. Sustaining the high market share may require further investments, but it just might be worth it in order to maintain the high market share. When the growth slows down, if they had been able to maintain the highest market share, they become cash cows, or they become dogs if they have a low market share. 

As a particular industry matures and its growth slows, all business units become either cash cows or dogs. The natural cycle for most business units is that they start as question marks, then turn into stars. Eventually the market stops growing thus the business unit becomes a cash cow. At the end of the cycle the cash cow turns into a dog.

The overall goal of this ranking was to help corporate analysts decide which of their business units to fund, and how much; and which units to sell.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Best Business to start in 2013.



On your behalf I have been surfing the Youtube a bit and found this nice video. It might help you with an idea of what to do when starting your home business. I give it thumbs up!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Top 10 Business Books of 2012

There were many good business books in 2012. You could learn a lot on how to improve your organization or further your career. So I decided to provide you with couple of books that I thought were worth reading. Here comes the list.

1. Nine Minutes on Monday
By James Robbins
(McGraw-Hill)
Mr. Robbins outlines nine core needs people hold, and then sets out nine questions to ask yourself every Monday morning that will reveal ways you can help your staff meet those needs in the coming week. The questions include: Whom will I give feedback to this week; whom will I reward or recognize this week; how can I promote a feeling of autonomy in one employee this week; and how can I help someone grow this week?

2. The Four Disciplines of Execution
By Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling
(Free Press)
Three FranklinCovey consultants report on the success they had with their four-step process for managing the behavioural changes in staff that allows change to occur. Focusing on the most vital aspect of the change is crucial, along with creating a cadence of accountability so that the change effort doesn’t get sidetracked by the whirlwind. That’s highlighted by holding a single, un-cancellable weekly meeting, in which everyone reports on how they fared in the past week on commitments they made toward the change effort and what they will do next week.

3. Understanding Michael Porter
By Joan Magretta
(Harvard Business School Press)
Harvard Professor Michael Porter is the most widely cited strategy guru, but his ideas are often misunderstood or only partially comprehended because of their complexity. In this book, Ms. Magretta, who worked with him, presents a surprisingly clear summary of his work, making matters such as competitive advantage and “five forces” theory easier to understand and apply properly.

4. How to be Exceptional
By John Zenger, Joseph Folkman, Robert Sherwin Jr. and Barbara Steel
(McGraw-Hill)
Four consultants offer compelling evidence for focusing on your strengths rather than weaknesses (except when the weakness can prove to be a fatal flaw) and then explain how to work effectively on your strengths, a course of action which is not necessarily obvious.

5. So Good They Can’t Ignore You
By Cal Newport
(Business Plus)
The blogger and assistant professor of computing science at Georgetown University, writing in the research-and-anecdote style of popular writer Malcolm Gladwell, successfully challenges the myth that the key to success is to follow your passion. Instead he offers four linked, alternative rules, including becoming a craftsman so adept at what you do that people can’t ignore you.

6. Talk, Inc.
By Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind
(Harvard Business Review Press)
The authors, a Harvard professor and communications professional, studied communications in modern organizations and found the top-down style has been replaced by two-way conversations between leaders and the troops. Even written communications, such as a CEO’s blog, can no longer be impersonal and directive but instead must be personal and more conversational. They also explain four elements that can help you be effective with this new approach.

7. The Advantage
By Patrick Lencioni
(Jossey-Bass)
The masterful writer of business fables switches to a straight ahead, non-fiction approach, bringing together his many practical ideas under the rubric of making your organization smart and healthy. You probably have heard some of his ideas before, but it’s refreshing to see them stitched together in one intelligent leadership manual. I have read all his books and found this a helpful summary, with additional ideas to ponder.

8. Who’s in the Room?
By Bob Frisch
(Jossey-Bass)
The Massachusetts-based consultant debunks the notion that top corporate decisions are made by the senior executive team, and shows how it’s usually a small “kitchen cabinet” team of advisers with the CEO who thrash through the possibilities and come to key conclusions. He argues that this is an effective system, and sets out some ideas for CEOs to more profitably utilize their senior teams and other decision-making teams.

9. The Primes
By Chris McGoff
(John Wiley)
This quirky offering by a Washington, D.C., consultant sets out 46 practical and provocative rules for effective management that don’t add up to a leadership system but certainly get you thinking. It’s sweet reading, with short chapters and powerful graphics making the ideas clear.

10. Hannibal and Me
By Andreas Kluth
(Riverhead)
This extended essay by an Economist writer uses the story of Hannibal as a leaping off point to explore the trajectory of our careers and life. It’s an absorbing, well-written, insightful journey into the past that makes today clearer.

Note: If you click on each book title it will take you to Harvey Schachter's review of that particular book whom I thank for the job he did.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Courier Delivery Services

Courier Delivery has been the pulse of communication since time immemorial. Even though the internet has taken up the bulk of mail communication process, courier still plays an active role when it comes to delivering tangible goods around the world with reliability and express speed that only courier companies can provide.

The process of courier is quite complicated and requires several components within the company to perform flawlessly and reliably. Right from the point of pick-up till the delivery, an item passes through several processes that are known only to those inside the business and which hardly matter to the end users. All that matters is the end delivery and peace of mind.

What to Look For In a Courier Service Provider?


Once you decide to use a courier service you have to ensure that you know what options are available and what not. First and the most obvious is the presence of the courier company at the other end. Mostly, smaller companies have collaborations with larger ones to deliver items. However this is not always reliable. A company with a dedicated team of professionals handling the entire process independently is a much better one.

Second comes the pricing. Tariffs vary across companies, make sure that as a customer you look for all available alternatives that provide the speed and reliability at a cheap price. Never choose a costlier one when you can have the same from a more economical courier delivery company.

Then comes the ease of pick up and drop. Most courier companies have local presence in the form of depots and pick up points; the best among them also provide pick up right from your doorstep if you choose. At the other end, the recipient should not be inconvenienced for the sake of delivery. He or she needs to be intimated well ahead about the time of delivery so that he or she can make the necessary arrangements to be present at the time of time of delivery. This commitment and care can be expected only from the best.

What Are The Tariffs?

As already mentioned, this aspect is variable and you as a customer should do your research to know about the cheapest available. Talk to your friends and neighbours if you are completely new to this. Most companies will be happy to revert to your queries regarding price options. You could also visit their websites and get a good idea about the several schemes on offer. Requesting a quote can be very helpful in getting the clear picture of the process.

Finally, if you are availing any of the internet related service, whether it be payment or delivery make sure that the company is accredited and authentic.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Essentials Of Wholesale Dropshipping Business

With the proliferation of World Wide Web, the spectrum and method of doing wholesale business has changed drastically over the past few decades. You can now start doing business without having to pre-purchase or stock any goods. All that needs to be done is to merely list products along with descriptions and graphics on the website of a B2B trade portal.

The secret of success lies in finding the right portal that has built its name and is well-known throughout the world of business for its extensive coverage of buyers and sellers. It would also be necessary to display the products of the wholesale business in an attractive manner with all pertinent information, prices, terms of business and graphics.

Basics of Wholesale Dropshipping Business

The essence of Dropshipping business is that you have to do some research and find products that would have a ready market and then find reliable dropshipping suppliers who would supply the goods against your orders promptly and without any complaints from your clients. You can only succeed if you can find saleable products and the relevant suppliers who will not let you down. Having done this exercise and having selected the right online trade portal, the products should be listed on that website in a proper manner.

You can then pass on the orders that are received, to the wholesale suppliers and ensure that the shipment is made on time. The website listing your products will receive the payment from the customer and will pass on the same to you after adjusting its charges. The payment to the wholesale supplier can be made thereafter.

Fighting Competition

It is obvious that since this business appears to be so simple, many people will be in the fray to capture the market. Competition will be fierce and you will have to find innovative means to fight the same for survival. The following tips will help in being successful in combating your competitors.

- The more attractive and informative your description of the product, the greater will be the possibility of impulsive purchases. It is essential that the information provided by you is persuasively descriptive.

- The description should be accompanied with attractive graphics and good quality photos of the products in actual use. It would also be a good idea to provide comparisons with other similar products. This will enable the visitor to the site to compare different products and make up his mind while he is still hooked on to your site. This will also prevent him from browsing and visiting other sites and ultimately it will improve your chances of getting the business.

- Offering a bonus with the product will prove to be very effective. The bonus could be in the form of reports containing interesting information and tips regarding use of the product.

- Once your client enters his credit card information and before the deal is closed, other products can also be recommended. If the wholesale order is for an electronic item, you can recommend related accessories.

Finding Good Wholesale Dropshipping Suppliers

If a reseller wants to have a smooth and profitable business operation, the most important thing is to find a good dropshipper. He will have no problems or hassles regarding delivery of goods, recovery of payments, and maintaining good quality of the products in line with what has been shown to the customer when the order was finalized. A drop-shipping list can provide names, addresses and telephone numbers of hundreds of companies but most of the time, these lists are outdated. As such, it is better to register with a website that has lists of itemized suppliers and make a choice. You can also become a member of wholesalers forums which will make it possible to get useful information by way of other peoples experiences and recommendations regarding reliable suppliers.

Wholesale dropship directories can also be consulted.

Wholesale dropship business can be profitable if proper research and homework is done in the beginning to find the right product and the right wholesale supplier.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Brand Attractiveness

Brand Attractiveness sells the Product

What makes a brand successful?

There are brand products that are extremely successful. In the meantime, whole categories of products were named after some brands. They can sometimes even feel irreplaceable.

'Persil is an attractive brand. When you think of Persil, first thing that comes to mind is the color white and cleanliness but also reliability. There was a slogan used for Persil for decades: You know what to expect. That was a good slogan.', said editor-in-chief of a German magazine 'Advertising and Sales' Jochen Kalka.

Persil is among Germany's most popular brands. More than 80 percent of consumers spontaneously say it's name when asked about washing powder. This Henkel product has been on the market for 100 years and has had a crystal clean image. It perfectly follows all product labeling rules.

Three commandments
Three product labeling rules are: selling ability, prominence and the most important - brand attractiveness. Each advertisement has to carefully present brand attractiveness to the potential costumer.' If you choose to ignore one of these rules, your brand could loose a big portion of it's positive image. The best example is Benetton. This fashion company wanted to gain popularity in the eighties no matter what. They managed to do so but they had not sold more sweaters on that account', said Jochen Kalka.
'Benetton is a great example of how fast and with the help of aggressive advertising you can make your brand popular. Benetton only managed to shock people and forgot a crucial part - attractiveness. The way they depicted AIDS patients or ducks covered in oil was a bit too aggressive. Benetton wanted to catch everybody's attention for whatever cost. But if you do not include attractiveness, your product could be in serious trouble'.

Who still believes McDonald's is healthy?

Another threat this marketing expert detected are the new advertisements which appeal to consumer's sore conscience. Lufthansa has, for example, calculated the amount of carbon dioxide emissions in their planes. There are also green cars. Another example would be McDonald's where a person could read about the nutritive ingredients in their hamburgers.

These 'sore conscience adds' conflict with the present brand image and do not correspond with reality, Kalka said. Because who goes to McDonald's for a healthy meal? However there are also positive examples. Like BMW's Mini as one of them. Or Mercedes. Jochen Kalka thinks marketing experts were successful in sending the intended message. Suddenly, even the cars which overturned during trial runs became attractive as well.

Mercedes A-class overturned during the trial run when it came across a curious reindeer. Mercedes acted provocatively and hired Boris Becker to send the message that everyone makes mistakes. It worked. Everyone forgave the fact that their car overturned. When you make a mistake, the easiest way is to admit it. That is also the smartest thing to do.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Accelerate the Growth of Your Business With Online Surveys by Robert Jones

If you think that the success of a business organization only depends on the service you give to your customers, you are completely travelling on a wrong path. It is true that you have to give the best service to live up to the expectations of the customers but it is not entirely true. Apart from the service, the business organization must take into consideration the desires of the customers which would help them to spread their business and earn name in the market. It must be the duty of the organization to have an elaborate knowledge about their products, which products satisfy the customers, which product or, service they should stop etc. On the whole they should prioritize their customers and go according to their needs. This will increase the customer loyalty which in turn has a beneficial role to play from the financial standpoint of the organization. But it is important to know how to tackle such situation and have detailed information about these things. Online surveys will lead you to your destination in this case. With the arrival of internet the surveys has transformed and from manual it has become internet oriented. As a result of this revolution the process has become more faster and the business organizations through the online surveys have become able to reach to a greater number of people than earlier. It is not possible today for any company to be connected individually with their customer. So, a system was needed which could connect them to a large number of people at a time and online surveys have given this facility. Herein lies its primary importance.

Beneficial Aspect of Online Survey

The surveys are conducted in the aim of getting detailed information about the state of the market and the needs of the customers. So, in a nut shell, the most beneficial side of online survey is giving you feedback according to which the organization can set its future plan. The process of manual survey earlier needed a vigorous paper work which is a very tedious job. So the results came out with a lot of delay. But with online survey it has become far easier to get the outcome within a very short span of time. It is one of the reasons that why the online survey has achieved such a vast popularity in recent times.

Appropriate Places

The modern age is the age of progress. The arrival of internet has made every single task easy saving a large time. It can help you in your search for the places where you find the providers of online survey. With the help of various search engines you can reach to a large number of the service providers. The benefit of this system is that it will also help you to compare the costs of different service providers before your hiring of the service for your organization.

Benefits

The chief benefit of the system is that the process of online survey is very affordable and cost effective. You do not need any special kind of hardware or, software in the computer. Just you have to connect yourself through internet with the suitable persons who provide the service.

This way, the online surveys help your business to grow and expand. Besides those points mentioned earlier, it has to be marked out that the greatest benefit of it is its accessibility from anywhere of the world. Thus, the online surveys guide your organization to a greater future.

Robert Jones is a popular author writing articles on Online Survey and related topics. He contributes for the website Iresearch.com.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

TOP 7 Tech Companies in 2012

 In 2012 the trend has continued. And many tech companies have been successful.Several companies stood out of the average and marked the 2012. This is my list that is based on exits, valuations by investors and their growth rate.

Instagram

The popular photo sharing app had one of the best exits this year. The company got taken over by Facebook for a bit shy of $1billion in cash and stock. The company set download record when released to the Android market with over 100 million loyal users by September 2012. And all of that with practically no marketing budget.
The company was launched in October 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike KriegerBy December 2010, Instagram had 1 million registered users and in June 2011. Instagram announced it had 5 million users. It passed ten million in September of the same year.

Airbnb

The website lets people with extra space rent it out to travelers. The company has a simple pricing model where it takes a 6% to 12% fee from the guest and a 3% fee from the host.
The site was founded in August 2008 by Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia. In July 2012, the company had over 200,000 listings in more than 26,000 cities and present in 192 countries with over 1,000,000 hosts and travellers on its platform.
In 2012. it has been unofficially evaluated atover $2.5 billion when news of Peter Thiel potentially investing got out.

 Github

GitHub is a social coding startup that lets developers share code and offering hosting for projects. GitHub offers both paid plans for private repositories, and free accounts for open source projects.
GitHub Inc. was founded in 2008 and is based in San Francisco. During the first year GitHub was online, it accumulated 46,000 public repositories. At that time, about 6,200 repositories had been forked at least once and 4,600 merged. On 19 December 2012, GitHub announced it had over 2.8 million users hosting over 4.6 million repositories
The company has over 2 million users that have used its service and over $99 million in venture funding.

Fab.com

This online retail site handpicks its merchandise, letting shoppers look for items that are a little more unique than mass-market stores. It is the world’s fastest growing e-commerce site, having grown from 175,000 members at launch in June 2011, to over 10 million as of December 2012.
Fab was founded in February 2010 by CEO Jason Goldberg and Chief Design Officer Bradford Shellhammer.This year the company was able to raise over $100 million in venture funding.

 Square Inc.

Square allows individuals and businesses to accept credit card payments on mobile phones, by using either a plug-in device or entering the card’s details on the phone. Square charges a fee of 2.75% on every credit card transaction.






Uber

 
Uber is a company from San Francisco that made calling a car easy. A luxury town car experience is only a click away on the Uber app. All charges go directly to credit cards without cash or additional paperwork needed.
The company was founded in 2009 by Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick. Their pricing method is similar to typical taxi pricing - either on a time or distance basis.
 They got almost $50 million in venture funding.




ZocDoc

ZocDoc helps people schedule doctor appointments online and has been expanding quickly, attracting lots of capital to reach $95 million in funding, and adding killer new features like ZocDoc Check-In.
The release to the public was back in 2007 during the TechCrunch40 conference. Initially they provided service only on Manhattan where over 2 million people used it. Now they cover almost 40% of the US population.
In September 2012, the company announced the closing of their Series C round of funding from Goldman Sachs, bringing the total round to $75 million. Before this last round, the company had a valuation of $700 million.






Monday, February 18, 2013

TOP 5 Social Media Sites you need

Every business needs a way to communicate with its customers. In these "modern" times one of the best ways to communicate with your customers is through social media sites.
Therefore I created a list of best sites that you can promote your business on.

1. Twitter
 
The number 1 spot goes to Twitter – as if that was a surprise.  Twitter lets your build your brand, communicate with customers, share content and more – in 140 characters or less! It is concise, easy to use, and great for building a loyal readership and driving traffic to your site.


2. Facebook

Number two is definitely Facebook. On Facebook you can create your business page which is great for promoting your brand and letting it grow.  The ‘milestones’ feature for example, allows you to update your company history. Facebook advertising is just another way you can get more out of your business page.

3. Youtube

In order to get ahead in your 2013 marketing efforts, companies should be using video. Uploading your own "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" message or latest advertising videos to Youtube shows your brands off and gets it out there! All this serves to improve your company's visibility and drive traffic to your site. 

4. Google+

Google+ is not the most popular social network out there. But that doesn't mean you should ignore it. Search engines are placing more and more relevance to high quality content and authorship. Google+ account for your business helps you in creating good blogs about your business. It also means that your photos will appear alongside your posts in search engines. It has been shown that click-through rate is much higher on these article than on the others.

5. Pinterest

Last but not the least is the fastest growing social networking site in 2012. You could really benefit from sharing your content here. You need to have strong visual content which you can "pin" here - be it images, infographics, videos - whatever works best for your company.





 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Marketing mix part 2

Four Cs: in the seven Cs compass model

After Koichi Shimizu proposed a four Cs classification in 1973, this was expanded to the seven Cs compass model to provide a more complete picture of the nature of marketing in 1981. It attempts to explain the success or failure of a firm within a market and is somewhat analogous to Michael Porter's diamond model which tries to explain the success and failure of different countries economically.

The seven Cs compass model are:

•    (C1)Corporation– The core of four Cs is corporation (company and non profit organization). C-O-S (Organization, Competitor, Stakeholder) within the Corporation. The company has to think of compliance and accountability as important. The competition in the areas in which the company competes with other firms in its industry.

The four elements in the seven Cs compass model are:
•    A formal approach to this customer-focused marketing mix is known as Four Cs (Commodity, Cost, Channel, Communication) in “the seven Cs compass model". The four Cs Model provides a demand/customer centric version alternative to the well-known four Ps supply side model (product, price, place, promotion) of marketing management.
o    Product = Commodity   Price = Cost   Place = Channel   Promotion = Communication

•    (C2)Commodity – (Original meaning of Latin: Commodus=convenient) : the goods and services for the consumers or citizens. Steve Jobs has been making the goods with which people are pleased. It is not "product out".

•    (C3)Cost – (Original meaning of Latin: Constare= It makes sacrifices) : There is not only producing cost snd selling cost but purchasing cost and social cost.

•    (C4)Channel – (Original meaning is a Canal) : marketing channels. Flow of goods.

•    (C5)Communication – (Original meaning of Latin:Communio=sharing of meaning) : marketing communication : Not only promotion but communication is important.

The compass of consumers and Circumstances (environment) are:
•    (C6)Consumer – (Needle of compass to Consumer)
The factors related to consumers can be explained by the first character of four directions marked on the compass model. These can be remembered by the cardinal directions, hence the name compass model:
o    N = Needs
o    W = Wants
o    S = Security
o    E = Education (consumer education)

•    (C7)Circumstances – (Needle of compass to Circumstances )
In addition to the consumer, there are various uncontrollable external environmental factors encircling the companies. Here it can also be explained by the first character of the four directions marked on the compass model:
o    N = National and International
o    W = Weather
o    S = Social and Cultural
o    E = Economic
These can also be remembered by the cardinal directions marked on a compass. The seven Cs compass model is a framework in co-marketing (symbiotic marketing). It has been criticized for being little more than the four Ps with different points of emphasis. In particular, the seven Cs inclusion of consumers in the marketing mix is criticized, since they are a target of marketing, while the other elements of the marketing mix are tactics. The seven Cs also include numerous strategies for product development, distribution, and pricing, while assuming that consumers want two-way communications with companies.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Marketing mix

Marketing mix is a tool used in marketing. It is one of the crucial instruments when trying to determine a product or brand. The most associated acronym used is four Ps, although it has been sometimes expanded into seven Ps or even eight Ps in order to better address different products.
In recent times a concept of four Cs has also been introduced with the intention of replacing the four Ps. Today there are two four Cs theories out there – Lauterborn and Shimizu.

Classic definition of four Ps is: Price, Product, Promotion and Placement.
The four Cs definition is a bit trickier since there are two theories out there.

Four Cs: the consumer-oriented model
Robert F. Lauterborn introduced a four Cs classification in 1993 which is a more consumer-oriented version of the four Ps that attempts to better fit the movement from mass marketing to niche marketing:
•    Product part of the four Ps model is replaced by "Consumer“, shifting the focus to satisfying the consumer needs. By defining offerings as individual capabilities that are combined and focused to a specific industry, the result is a custom solution rather than the pigeon-holing of a customer into a product.
•    Price is replaced by "Cost", reflecting the total cost of ownership. Many factors affect Cost, including but not limited to the customer's cost to change or implement the new product or service and the customer's cost for not selecting a competitor's product or service.
•    Promotion is replaced by "Communication", which represents a broader focus. Communications can include advertising, public relations, personal selling, viral advertising, and any form of communication between the organization and the consumer.
•    Placement is replaced by "Convenience". With the rise of Internet and hybrid models of purchasing, Placement is becoming less relevant. Convenience takes into account the ease of buying the product, finding the product, finding information about the product, and several other factors.

Second four Cs theory will be explained in the next article.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Business Plan

I have written in quite a bit of detail how to write a business plan. But I know that there are some of you who are more of audio types :)
So I tried to make it easier for you!
I found this nice video of a presentation held at Stanford University by Jim Ellis.
Enjoy the viewing! And remember - we are doing this for you!

Friday, February 8, 2013

10 Great Business Ideas

What is one single thing every business must have? A business idea! Without an idea about what to do you can't do anything.
Therefore I have searched near and far in order to try and present 10 great business ideas that just could be the next great thing.
Here comes the list.
1. App development - apps are still the craze. Whether we are talking about Android apps or iPhone apps it doesn't matter really. The potential is great just get there and make the new Angry birds!

2. Online selling - the business is moving to the web, or should I say "into the Cloud" :) Anyway the online shopping is increasing by leaps and bounds. Why not turn your focus on online shop instead of the classic store? The costs are definitively lower, the potential market is bigger, so what are you waiting for?

3. Online booking/travel agency - people like to travel but are usually lazy to walk from door to door in order to get all the information (sort of a paradox). Give it to them all - from the comfort of their couch.

4. Translations - world is getting smaller but still we are not all speaking a same language. Brazil, Russia, India and China are getting stronger and stronger but most of the business is still performed in English. Translations from and to those languages are high in demand!

5. Bike rental - many cities worldwide don't have any kind of bike rental. On the other hand people are more and more environmentally conscious. Let them use a bike for a fee! So instead of buying a bike and worrying whether it gets stolen they just rent it and drive it!

6. Children's clothing - I'm talking handmade. One of my teachers told me long ago - when you start a business make children your target market. People will always buy stuff for their kids. So in order to be different from the mass manufactured items start a small production of handmade kids clothes.

7. Instructions - If you have extensive knowledge in a certain field why not teach people? It is a great and rewarding job.

8. Property management - once again back to traveling. More and more people are looking for apartments they can rent for a couple of days when traveling. Why not organize people who have empty apartments, offer them revenue, and you take care of cleaning and guest, for a fee of course!  

9. Blogging - yes that's exactly what I am doing, blogging. Don't be fooled that it is an easy job. You can make money from blogging but you have to be innovative and interesting and proactive.

10. Farming - no I am not talking about acres and acres of wheat. Find a vegetable (or a fruit) for which there is a demand and it pays good. Also take care how much crops will yield, when and how often. Start small with couple of plants and grow organically (pun intended) as you gain revenue.

That's all folks! Those are my ideas. And just so you don't think that I'm all talk I'll let you in on little secret. Of these ten ideas I am actually working on 4. Trying and believing in success. So there you have. 10 great business ideas you have to try.



Lawyers and attorneys

Yep, when you are running a business sooner or later you will have to cope with some kind of a legal problem. Lawyers will rip you off no matter what side you are on. The one suing somebody or being sued by somebody. Lets face it - it is a fact of life. Now you can try and do your best to avoid such situations but just remember some stupid lawsuits. For instance do you remember the woman who spills coffee on herself and went on to sue McDonalds for millions in damages? And now McDonalds puts a warning sign on every coffee cup so it wouldn't happen again. But who is to say that you won't forget such a small thing and end up getting sued for something similar. On the other side what happens when somebody doesn't pay you for products or services provided to you? You will sue them of course. And once again lose money for lawyers, for court expenses for misses income, for your time etc. You can't escape it you can just take care.
I have a friend who writes about lawyers so for more things on that topic visit his site:  http://accidentlawyerlouisianatruck.org/


Thursday, February 7, 2013

TOP 5 Mistakes

Businesses make mistakes. That is a part of everything we do in life in general. We make mistakes. That is true. Many times I have heard the saying: "Smart people learn from their own mistakes, but wise people learn from other people's mistakes". So in accordance with that saying I have found an interesting video that will help you to learn from other people's mistakes and become therefore much wiser.

Running a successful business

When running a business there are some factors you need to have in mind in order to run it successfully.
First of all you have to have a vision. Having a clear vision of what you want your business to be like is a crucial thing. What do you want known for? What do you want to provide to the market? What is your target market? Will you settle for second place or are you going to the top? Try and answer these questions and you will be able to define which way you should take.

Now you have to develop a plan that will fulfill your vision. After defining what your vision is you have to have a plan for it to come true. Many, many people know what they want their business to be but never develop a plan they can follow. Take your time and do it!

Get to know your market. That is one of the most important aspects of running any type of business. You can't cater to everyone, you have to know your target market. If you try to please everybody you will please nobody!

Visibility, visibility, visibility! Focus on your target market. Just knowing what and who it is is not enough. You have to approach your target market and get them to know about you. You can try e-mails, advertisement, newsletters, direct marketing and what not. But you have to make sure people know about you!

If you have more people involved in your business you have to do just that. Involve them! Let you staff know what you are doing, why are you doing it and for whom you are doing it. Encourage them to express their ideas. Sometimes they might have a different perspective on things and that could help you a lot. Also if you want your staff to follow your vision talk to them about it. Let them know what you are trying to do. Make them understand it and see that you need them and that they need you.

It is important to note that running and promoting your business never ends. It is an ongoing process. People usually make a mistake is that they try once and expect instant success. It doesn't work that way. You have to keep on going and keep on pushing forward.

You also have to realize one thing. The most important things. Your business is out there to change peoples lives! Sounds like exaggerating? Well I wasn't talking about changing the world or abolishing world hunger and realizing world peace. Bear with me for a second. Whatever you do, no matter how small or insignificant it might seem, it does influence other people. Whatever product or service you provide people who purchase it from you have their lives changed. For instance if you open a local grocery store and make it part of your vision to always greet customers with a smile and a kind word will make those people feel happier. Isn't that changing lives?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Stock exchange

I have realized that I haven't explain thoroughly to you what the stock exchange is. I found a good article on Wikipedia that actually covers it to the letter. I won't quote the whole article since you can look it up yourself but I will just take the important parts.
A stock exchange is a form of exchange which provides services for stock exchange and traders to trade stocks, bonds and other securities. Stock exchanges also provide facilities for issue and redemption of securities and other financial instruments, and capital events including the payment of income and dividends. Securities traded on a stock exchange include shares issued by companies, unit trusts, derivatives, pooled investment products and bonds.
To be able to trade a security on a certain stock exchange, it must be listed there. Usually, there is a central location at least for record keeping, but trade is increasingly less linked to such a physical place, as modern markets are electronic networks, which gives them advantages of increased speed and reduced cost of transactions. Trade on an exchange is by members only.
The initial offering of stocks and bonds to investors is by definition done in the primary market and subsequent trading is done in the secondary market. A stock exchange is often the most important component of a stock market. Supply and demand in stock markets are driven by various factors that, as in all free markets, affect the price of stocks.
There is usually no compulsion to issue stock via the stock exchange itself, nor must stock be subsequently traded on the exchange. Such trading is said to be off exchange or over-the-counter. This is the usual way that derivatives and bonds are traded. Increasingly, stock exchanges are part of a global market for securities.

Business Plan part 7

12. Refining the Plan
The generic business plan presented above should be modified to suit your specific type of business and the audience for which the plan is written.
For Raising Capital
For Bankers

•    Bankers want assurance of orderly repayment. If you intend using this plan to present to lenders, include:
o    Amount of loan
o    How the funds will be used
o    What this will accomplish—how will it make the business stronger?
o    Requested repayment terms (number of years to repay). You will probably not have much negotiating room on interest rate but may be able to negotiate a longer repayment term, which will help cash flow.
o    Collateral offered, and a list of all existing liens against collateral
For Investors
•    Investors have a different perspective. They are looking for dramatic growth, and they expect to share in the rewards:
o    Funds needed short-term
o    Funds needed in two to five years
o    How the company will use the funds, and what this will accomplish for growth.
o    Estimated return on investment
o    Exit strategy for investors (buyback, sale, or IPO)
o    Percent of ownership that you will give up to investors
o    Milestones or conditions that you will accept
o    Financial reporting to be provided
o    Involvement of investors on the board or in management
For Type of Business
Manufacturing

•    Planned production levels
•    Anticipated levels of direct production costs and indirect (overhead) costs—how do these compare to industry averages (if available)?
•    Prices per product line
•    Gross profit margin, overall and for each product line
•    Production/capacity limits of planned physical plant
•    Production/capacity limits of equipment
•    Purchasing and inventory management procedures
•    New products under development or anticipated to come online after startup
Service Businesses
•    Service businesses sell intangible products. They are usually more flexible than other types of businesses, but they also have higher labor costs and generally very little in fixed assets.
•    What are the key competitive factors in this industry?
•    Your prices
•    Methods used to set prices
•    System of production management
•    Quality control procedures. Standard or accepted industry quality standards.
•    How will you measure labor productivity?
•    Percent of work subcontracted to other firms. Will you make a profit on subcontracting?
•    Credit, payment, and collections policies and procedures
•    Strategy for keeping client base
High Technology Companies
•    Economic outlook for the industry
•    Will the company have information systems in place to manage rapidly changing prices, costs, and markets?
•    Will you be on the cutting edge with your products and services?
•    What is the status of research and development? And what is required to:
o    Bring product/service to market?
o    Keep the company competitive?
•    How does the company:
o    Protect intellectual property?
o    Avoid technological obsolescence?
o    Supply necessary capital?
o    Retain key personnel?
High-tech companies sometimes have to operate for a long time without profits and sometimes even without sales. If this fits your situation, a banker probably will not want to lend to you. Venture capitalists may invest, but your story must be very good. You must do longer-term financial forecasts to show when profit take-off is expected to occur. And your assumptions must be well documented and well argued.
Retail Business
•    Company image
•    Pricing:
o    Explain markup policies.
o    Prices should be profitable, competitive, and in accordance with company image.
•    Inventory:
o    Selection and price should be consistent with company image.
o    Inventory level: Find industry average numbers for annual inventory turnover rate. Multiply your initial inventory investment by the average turnover rate. The result should be at least equal to your projected first year's cost of goods sold. If it is not, you may not have enough budgeted for startup inventory.
•    Customer service policies: These should be competitive and in accord with company image.
•    Location: Does it give the exposure that you need? Is it convenient for customers? Is it consistent with company image?
•    Promotion: Methods used, cost. Does it project a consistent company image?
•    Credit: Do you extend credit to customers? If yes, do you really need to, and do you factor the cost into prices?

Basically in these 7 lessons you have everything you need to know about writing a business plan. Good luck with that!

Business Plan part 6

10. Financial Plan
The financial plan consists of a 12-month profit and loss projection, a four-year profit and loss projection (optional), a cash-flow projection, a projected balance sheet, and a break-even calculation. Together they constitute a reasonable estimate of your company's financial future. More important, the process of thinking through the financial plan will improve your insight into the inner financial workings of your company.
12-Month Profit and Loss Projection
Many business owners think of the 12-month profit and loss projection as the centerpiece of their plan. This is where you put it all together in numbers and get an idea of what it will take to make a profit and be successful.
Your sales projections will come from a sales forecast in which you forecast sales, cost of goods sold, expenses, and profit month-by-month for one year.
Profit projections should be accompanied by a narrative explaining the major assumptions used to estimate company income and expenses.
Research Notes: Keep careful notes on your research and assumptions, so that you can explain them later if necessary, and also so that you can go back to your sources when it’s time to revise your plan.
Three-Year Profit Projection
The 12-month projection is the heart of your financial plan. The Three-Year Profit projection is for those who want to carry their forecasts beyond the first year.
Of course, keep notes of your key assumptions, especially about things that you expect will change dramatically after the first year.
Projected Cash Flow
If the profit projection is the heart of your business plan, cash flow is the blood. Businesses fail because they cannot pay their bills. Every part of your business plan is important, but none of it means a thing if you run out of cash.
The point of this worksheet is to plan how much you need before startup, for preliminary expenses, operating expenses, and reserves. You should keep updating it and using it afterward. It will enable you to foresee shortages in time to do something about them—perhaps cut expenses, or perhaps negotiate a loan. But foremost, you shouldn’t be taken by surprise.
There is no great trick to preparing it:  The cash-flow projection is just a forward look at your checking account.
For each item, determine when you actually expect to receive cash (for sales) or when you will actually have to write a check (for expense items).
You should track essential operating data, which is not necessarily part of cash flow but allows you to track items that have a heavy impact on cash flow, such as sales and inventory purchases.
You should also track cash outlays prior to opening in a pre-startup column. You should have already researched those for your startup expenses plan.
Your cash flow will show you whether your working capital is adequate. Clearly, if your projected cash balance ever goes negative, you will need more start-up capital. This plan will also predict just when and how much you will need to borrow.
Explain your major assumptions; especially those that make the cash flow differ from the Profit and Loss Projection. For example, if you make a sale in month one, when do you actually collect the cash? When you buy inventory or materials, do you pay in advance, upon delivery, or much later? How will this affect cash flow?
Are some expenses payable in advance? When?
Are there irregular expenses, such as quarterly tax payments, maintenance and repairs, or seasonal inventory buildup that should be budgeted?
Loan payments, equipment purchases, and owner's draws usually do not show on profit and loss statements but definitely do take cash out. Be sure to include them.
And of course, depreciation does not appear in the cash flow at all because you never write a check for it.
Opening Day Balance Sheet
A balance sheet is one of the fundamental financial reports that any business needs for reporting and financial management.  A balance sheet shows what items of value are held by the company (assets), and what its debts are (liabilities). When liabilities are subtracted from assets, the remainder is owners’ equity.
Use a startup expenses and capitalization spreadsheet as a guide to preparing a balance sheet as of opening day. Then detail how you calculated the account balances on your opening day balance sheet.
Optional:  Some people want to add a projected balance sheet showing the estimated financial position of the company at the end of the first year. This is especially useful when selling your proposal to investors.
Break-Even Analysis
A break-even analysis predicts the sales volume, at a given price, required to recover total costs. In other words, it’s the sales level that is the dividing line between operating at a loss and operating at a profit.
Expressed as a formula, break-even is:
   
Break-Even Sales          =    Fixed Costs
    1- Variable Costs
   

(Where fixed costs are expressed in dollars, but variable costs are expressed as a percent of total sales.)
Include all assumptions upon which your break-even calculation is based.

11. Appendices
Include details and studies used in your business plan; for example:
•    Brochures and advertising materials
•    Industry studies
•    Blueprints and plans
•    Maps and photos of location
•    Magazine or other articles
•    Detailed lists of equipment owned or to be purchased
•    Copies of leases and contracts
•    Letters of support from future customers
•    Any other materials needed to support the assumptions in this plan
•    Market research studies
•    List of assets available as collateral for a loan

Business Plan part 5

8. Operational Plan
Explain the daily operation of the business, its location, equipment, people, processes, and surrounding environment.
Production
How and where are your products or services produced?
Explain your methods of:
•    Production techniques and costs
•    Quality control
•    Customer service
•    Inventory control
•    Product development
Location
What qualities do you need in a location? Describe the type of location you’ll have.
Physical requirements:
•    Amount of space
•    Type of building
•    Zoning
•    Power and other utilities
Access:
Is it important that your location be convenient to transportation or to suppliers?
Do you need easy walk-in access?
What are your requirements for parking and proximity to freeway, airports, railroads, and shipping centers?
Include a drawing or layout of your proposed facility if it is important, as it might be for a manufacturer.
Construction? Most new companies should not sink capital into construction, but if you are planning to build, costs and specifications will be a big part of your plan.
Cost: Estimate your occupation expenses, including rent, but also including maintenance, utilities, insurance, and initial remodeling costs to make the space suit your needs. These numbers will become part of your financial plan.
What will be your business hours?
Legal Environment
Describe the following:
•    Licensing and bonding requirements
•    Permits
•    Health, workplace, or environmental regulations
•    Special regulations covering your industry or profession
•    Zoning or building code requirements
•    Insurance coverage
•    Trademarks, copyrights, or patents (pending, existing, or purchased)
Personnel
•    Number of employees
•    Type of labor (skilled, unskilled, and professional)
•    Where and how will you find the right employees?
•    Quality of existing staff
•    Pay structure
•    Training methods and requirements
•    Who does which tasks?
•    Do you have schedules and written procedures prepared?
•    Have you drafted job descriptions for employees? If not, take time to write some. They really help internal communications with employees.
•    For certain functions, will you use contract workers in addition to employees?
Inventory
•    What kind of inventory will you keep: raw materials, supplies, finished goods?
•    Average value in stock (i.e., what is your inventory investment)?
•    Rate of turnover and how this compares to the industry averages?
•    Seasonal buildups?
•    Lead-time for ordering?
Suppliers
Identify key suppliers:
•    Names and addresses
•    Type and amount of inventory furnished
•    Credit and delivery policies
•    History and reliability
Should you have more than one supplier for critical items (as a backup)?
Do you expect shortages or short-term delivery problems?
Are supply costs steady or fluctuating? If fluctuating, how would you deal with changing costs?
Credit Policies
•    Do you plan to sell on credit?
•    Do you really need to sell on credit? Is it customary in your industry and expected by your clientele?
•    If yes, what policies will you have about who gets credit and how much?
•    How will you check the creditworthiness of new applicants?
•    What terms will you offer your customers; that is, how much credit and when is payment due?
•    Will you offer prompt payment discounts? (Hint: Do this only if it is usual and customary in your industry.)
•    Do you know what it will cost you to extend credit? Have you built the costs into your prices?
Managing Your Accounts Receivable
If you do extend credit, you should do an aging at least monthly to track how much of your money is tied up in credit given to customers and to alert you to slow payment problems.
You will need a policy for dealing with slow-paying customers:
•    When do you make a phone call?
•    When do you send a letter?
•    When do you get your attorney to threaten?
Managing Your Accounts Payable
You should also age your accounts payable, what you owe to your suppliers. This helps you plan whom to pay and when. Paying too early depletes your cash, but paying late can cost you valuable discounts and can damage your credit. (Hint: If you know you will be late making a payment, call the creditor before the due date.)
Do your proposed vendors offer prompt payment discounts?

9. Startup Expenses and Capitalization
You will have many startup expenses before you even begin operating your business. It’s important to estimate these expenses accurately and then to plan where you will get sufficient capital. This is a research project, and the more thorough your research efforts, the less chance that you will leave out important expenses or underestimate them.
Even with the best of research, however, opening a new business has a way of costing more than you anticipate. There are two ways to make allowances for surprise expenses. The first is to add a little “padding” to each item in the budget. The problem with that approach, however, is that it destroys the accuracy of your carefully wrought plan. The second approach is to add a separate line item, called contingencies, to account for the unforeseeable. This is the approach we recommend.
Talk to others who have started similar businesses to get a good idea of how much to allow for contingencies. If you cannot get good information, we recommend a rule of thumb that contingencies should equal at least 20 percent of the total of all other start-up expenses.
Explain your research and how you arrived at your forecasts of expenses. Give sources, amounts, and terms of proposed loans. Also explain in detail how much will be contributed by each investor and what percent ownership each will have.