planning
Shoestring Marketing Budget? Get Your Customers to Do It For You

Shoestring Marketing Budget? Get Your Customers to Do It For You

by Sarika Periwal

To survive as a business you need sales, and to generate sales you need marketing. It is for this reason that most businesses set aside a sizable chunk of money for advertising, but wouldn’t it be grand if you could generate sales by getting your existing customers to do your marketing for you? If you... Read more »

planning
The Key Elements of the Financial Section

The Key Elements of the Financial Plan

by Trevor Betenson

Whatever type of plan you're writing, there are a few key financial items that you should definitely include. I'll explain what they are, why they're important, and how you should create them. Read more »

starting
How To Open a Successful Bakery

The Baker’s Guide to Opening a Successful Bakery

by Lisa Furgison

Are you the one that makes killer cakes for every birthday? Do you churn out to-die-for donuts? If you’re ready to turn your talents into a profitable bakery, you’ve come to the right place. There’s money to be made in the baking biz. The baking industry accounts for $311 billion in total economic output, according... Read more »

planning
omni-channel retailing

What Is the Future of Retail?

by Candice Landau

If you own a brick-and-mortar business, or are thinking of setting one up, you’ve likely seen plenty of reports that imply the future of shopping is online and that it is also “mobile.” You’re right to be concerned about what this means for your business, but perhaps not in the way you may think. Firstly,... Read more »

planning
The customer may not always be right, but there's never an excuse for treating someone poorly.

How to Run a Business in Prison (Orange is the New Black, Season 2)—Minor Spoilers

by Jonathan Michael

The Netflix original series, Orange is the New Black, takes a gritty, poignant, and hilarious look at life inside a women’s federal prison. The show premiered in 2013 to critical acclaim, and in June 2014 Netflix released all 13 episodes of its second season. The show recently won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Comedy... Read more »

planning
4 Things You Should Know About Small Business Taxes

4 Things You (and Every Small Business) Should Know About Taxes

by Jonathan Michael

Recently our Bplans audience had the chance to attend a free webinar on Small Business Taxes, hosted by the CEO and founder of TaxAlli.com, Zach Olson. The webinar was extremely informative, and we had a lot of great questions from our attendees. As a follow up for our registrants, and in case you didn’t have a... Read more »

planning
business planning

A Simple, Step by Step Guide For Business Planning

by Noah Parsons

We have plenty of in-depth articles here on Bplans about business planning, for example: why you should plan, what kind of plan you need, and how to prepare a formal business plan document. But, what we’ve been missing, until now, is a simple step-by-step summary of the business planning process to get you going and... Read more »

growing
How to Find the Right Attorney For Your Business

How to Hire the Best Attorney for Your Small Business

by Arlene Soto

Hiring professionals for a small business is an important process. The best attorney for your business will depend on what the legal needs are for your company. In fact, there is a good chance there is no one attorney who can handle everything, so the best attorney may actually turn out to be a law firm... Read more »

funding
What I learned from appearing on Shark Tank

What I Learned From My Appearance on Shark Tank

by Lisa Furgison

It’s not everyday that a television producer handpicks you to appear on ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank,” but that’s what happened to entrepreneur Kelly Costello. Costello is the founder of Puppy Cake, a company that sells boxed cake mix for dogs. It’s a lot like the do-it-yourself Betty Crocker cake mix, except the ingredients are changed... Read more »

growing
Killer home page

How to Engage Customers with a Killer Homepage

by J.R. Garrett

These days, just having a website won’t cut it. You need a sticky website—one that engages visitors, persuading them to stay on your site and explore your brand further. That simply won’t happen without a killer homepage. Think about it: Your homepage is where visitors decide if you’re worth their time—and you’ve got about six... Read more »

growing
we cannot solve a problem by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them albert einstein

Innovate! 7 Quotes About the Value and Risk of Innovation

by Jonathan Michael

Forget about a “case of the Mondays.” Most weeks, it’s Wednesday when you start to wonder why you’re doing what you do. To get you through hump day with a little more pep in your step, we’ve gathered seven thought-provoking quotes from some of the most famous innovators and trailblazers. Maybe they’ll inspire you to... Read more »

starting
Business ideas

Is Your New Business Idea Worth Pursuing?

by Arlene Soto

I have so many new ideas for my business. How do I determine which ones are the best to pursue? Most business owners want their business to grow, and often growth includes consideration of new products or services. Sometimes, though, brainstorming new possibilities interferes with maintaining the core business by distracting the owner from focusing... Read more »

planning
How to Calculate Your TAM (Total Addressable Market)

How Big is Your Potential Market, Really?

by Caroline Cummings

Whether you’re a startup or an up-and-running business, you should know what your total potential market opportunity is for your products or services. I’ve coached many companies over the years, as well as judged several business plan competitions, and I’m always surprised by how most business owners can’t confidently tell you their total market potential.... Read more »

planning
shutterstock_203013682

Business Money Is Tight Right Now, What Are My Options?

by Candice Landau

Every business has ups and downs and while many make it through, others don’t. Maybe you need money to buy inventory, to grow or even to strengthen your offering. Whatever the reason, the question is still: what are your options when you know you need a bit of extra cash on hand? Read more »

growing
mobile security

The Future of Mobile Security for Small Business

by Brittany Klontz

For most businesses, smartphones and tablets have already become regular pieces of office furniture, chirping and buzzing beside an employee’s computer. Under a workplace protocol called BYOD, or “Bring Your Own Device,” employees tote their own tech with them into the office, using them to complete their tasks. BYOD is already quite common. The Forrester... Read more »

planning
small ideas can become big ideas

Uh-oh! Do you have a “sitcom” startup?

by Candice Landau

There are two primary reasons that startups fail: One, the execution of the idea is poor (wrong location, poor product, bad service, etc) and two, the startup is not making something that people want. Simply put, it’s not solving a real-life problem. Y Combinator calls these types of startup ideas, "sitcom startups". Read more »

starting
What I wish I knew before I started my business

What I Wish I’d Known Before I Started My Business

by Lisa Furgison

If you’re about to start a business, you’ve probably read several how-to books looking for advice on how to be successful. While researching is a great first step, there are some lessons that you won’t find in a book. You need to hear from business owners who have been in your position, who started a... Read more »

planning
Running a business can be like running a marathon- goals can be your mile markers a long the way.

The Importance of Setting Goals in Business

by Arlene Soto

Why is it important to set business goals? Goals are powerful—they can focus attention on achieving desirable outcomes. In business, one desirable outcome would be profitability. Profitability does not happen without making sales, plus correctly managing expenses. Employees prefer to know what management expects them to accomplish, and goals provide that direction. The human brain... Read more »

planning
ExportBookbyLaurelDelaney

From Market Research to Writing Your Export Business Plan

by Laurel Delaney

Below is the final extract we will be publishing from Laurel Delaney’s book “Exporting: The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably.” This book was published in December 2013 and is available for purchase online. If you would like to find out more about the author, the book, or about exporting in general, Laurel’s blog is an excellent... Read more »

planning
8 Quotes That Will Motivate You to Make a Plan and Stick to It

8 Quotes to Motivate You to Make a Plan and Stick to It

by Jonathan Michael

Forget about a “case of the Mondays.” Most weeks, it’s Wednesday when you start to wonder why you’re doing what you do. To get you through hump day with a little more pep in your step, we’ve gathered eight inspirational quotes from some of history’s greatest minds. Maybe they’ll inspire you to stick with what... Read more »