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What Is a Break-Even Analysis?

by Tim Berry

The break-even analysis lets you determine what you need to sell, monthly or annually, to cover your costs of doing business—your break-even point. Illustration 1 shows the break-even analysis table: Illustration 1: Break-even analysis The break-even analysis table calculates a break-even point based on fixed costs, variable costs per unit of sales, and revenue per... Read more »

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goodmentee

Are You Mentee Material?

by Angelique O'Rourke

You’ll find that experts in most fields recommend getting a mentor. Whether it’s in the business world (including here on Bplans), the arts, academia—you name it, and a thought leader in the space will refer to the benefits of seeking a mentor. But then what? If you approach a distinguished person that you can learn... Read more »

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The Complete Guide to Registering Your Business Name

by Briana Morgaine

When I was a child, my family and the other families in our neighborhood held annual summer garage sales. It was a great way to get the community to work together, and of course weed out a little of the inevitable clutter. For every yard sale, I’d buy bottled lemonade, bake several batches of cookies... Read more »

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Know Your Industry Before You Start Your Business

by Tim Berry

Take a second to get into context here. If your plan is a plan to be presented to outsiders, then you need to explain the type of business you’re in. You’ll be expected to explain the general state of your industry and the nature of the business, especially if your plan is going outside your... Read more »

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Market Your Business for Free: Find Your Brand Ambassadors

by Elicia Putnam

What’s the best way to market your business that costs nothing? Find your brand ambassadors. Brand ambassadors are the people who are so in love with your product or service, they’ll spread the word about your business for free. So how do you find these brand ambassadors? Below are tried and true tips to building... Read more »

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What Does It Take to Start a Comic Book Business? With Brian Wyrick of Robot Paper

by Angelique O'Rourke

What goes into the creation of a comic book? And, how do you successfully start such a niche publishing business? To get an insider’s perspective, we sat down with Brian Wyrick, the editor and publisher for Robot Paper, a comic company. Brian, who is also the COO of Raidious, a digital agency for content marketing, is one busy... Read more »

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How to Find Great Freelancers on Upwork (Formerly oDesk)

by Briana Morgaine

Editor’s note: After writing this article and prior to publication, oDesk and Elance have merged and rebranded to Upwork. While quotes will maintain the use of the name oDesk, we will refer to the site as Upwork. Never fear—they are still essentially the same site. As I write this, I am currently sitting in my... Read more »

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Brands like Apple have huge customer loyalty.

Want Customer Loyalty? Build Your Brand.

by Elicia Putnam

We all know that customer loyalty is the key ingredient to a successful and sustainable business. But how do you create it? You focus on your brand. Remember, a brand is way more than just your logo. It’s the whole package: your sign on the street, your website, your business cards, even how you answer... Read more »

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sustainability

Great Green Tips for Building a Sustainable Startup

by Brittany Klontz

Starting a business takes a lot of effort, so it’s understandable that when asked about the environmental impact that their venture will have, plenty of budding entrepreneurs claim that they haven’t got the time or the energy to worry about sustainability. While this is understandable, it’s a shame, because there are lots of things that... Read more »

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Things to Consider When Starting a Freight Business

by Matt Everard

Freight is big business. The transportation of goods across the world is the keystone of modern society, with almost everything we use and consume passing through some part of the freight network. Unless a company is big enough to own a fleet of vehicles, they will need to rely on third parties to deliver their... Read more »

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International Do’s and Don’ts For the Traveling Entrepreneur

by Scott Girard

Doing business on an international scale is very exciting. But, it can also be overwhelming. Not only should you bring your “A-game” from a professional standpoint if you want to close the deal, you also have to bring it culturally as well. One misplaced word, hand gesture, or even inaction can deeply insult your overseas... Read more »

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39 Things to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Restaurant

by Caroline Cummings

According to a study published in the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, approximately 60 percent of restaurants fail within their first year of business. If you are dreaming of becoming a restaurateur, you can increase your chances of success by honestly answering all of the questions proposed in this article, as well as checking off everything suggested below.... Read more »

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Where to Get Feedback on Your Business Pitch

by Briana Morgaine

If you’re an entrepreneur looking for funding, you know how important—and involved—the pitching process can be. We’ve gone over the importance of your body language when giving your pitch, our favorite pitch deck resources, and the questions you may get asked, but don’t expect. All of this comes together in the form of a polished,... Read more »

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4 Reasons to Brand Your Business

by Sara Conte

I believe that building a great brand is the single best way to ensure the long-term survival of your company. Read more »

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strategy

How to Develop Your Business Strategy

by Tim Berry

I love the Michael Porter quote here because it’s so true, and more so the more you dig down into the front lines of real business, such as small business and startups. Strategy is what you’re not doing. My favorite metaphor is the sculptor with a block of marble—the art is what he chips off... Read more »

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Greenbusiness

How to Start a Green Business

by Mackenzie Fox

Every single day, people throw away colossal amounts of paper, ink, plastic, metal and other reusable materials. That’s just the way many see the consumer cycle, but these substances need not end up on a landfill. Over the past two decades, “going green” has become much more than a simple quasi-environmentalist mantra, or a slogan... Read more »

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How to Start a Wildly Successful Subscription Food Business From Your Kitchen: The Story of Picky Bars

by Angelique O'Rourke

Jesse Thomas and Lauren Fleshman are a married couple and the co-founders of Picky Bars, a business that makes and sells natural energy bars. Picky Bars was founded in 2010 based on the founders’ mutual interest in athletics and in creating the “perfect” energy bar for athletes like themselves. Since introducing the product, Picky Bars has... Read more »

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pricing

7 Strategic Ways to Price Your Products and Services

by Jesse Aaron

Pricing a product or service can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’re at all unsure about how involved the subject of pricing can be. Although there are plenty of strategies you can use to go about establishing a presence within your chosen industry, results will undoubtedly vary. In this article, we’ll go over how... Read more »

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From Problem Solving to Organic Pickles: 7 Startup Lessons from an Inspiring Entrepreneur

by Briana Morgaine

We all know the reasons for wanting to start your own business—the freedom to follow your passions, to work for yourself, and to do what you love. But for many would-be entrepreneurs, taking the plunge is difficult. Plenty of wishful entrepreneurs end up in a nebulous shadow world of half-formed business concepts and partially executed... Read more »

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Practical Market Research Resources for Entrepreneurs

by Tim Berry

Most every organization will benefit from even the most elementary market research. If it does not provide new information, it will confirm what is known. Market research is the process of gaining information about your market. Preferably, this is specific information about your target market and the key factors that influence their buying decisions. Market... Read more »