managing
stache_fill

How to Get Initial Traction with a Marketing Budget of Zero

by Leeyen Rogers

  Let’s say you have zero traction, an unknown product, and no budget to speak of. Perhaps not the most desirable position to be in, but at least you have some resources to tap into: time and creativity. One of the most rewarding aspects of marketing is the challenge, so realize that you’re up for... Read more »

starting
shutterstock_102144676

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 »

starting
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 »

starting
2

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 »

managing
productivity-e1432317684578

Boost Your Productivity with 10 Time Management Tips

by Sebastien Boyer

Have you experienced too many days of mind-numbing work, only to be faced with the realization that you haven’t accomplished a fraction of what you’d intended? Of course, this happens to everyone occasionally, but if it is becoming a routine occurrence in your life, it’s time to do some sober introspection so that you can... Read more »

managing
timetohireamanager

12 Signs You Need to Hire a Manager

by Scott Gerber

When first starting your business you do it all—you oversee every aspect of your company. But as things grow, you eventually have to admit that trying to do everything yourself is no longer effective. However, it’s hard to let go. We asked 12 founders from the YEC to share with us when they knew it was time... Read more »

starting
shutterstock_271609517

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 »

starting
shutterstock_263635577

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 »

funding
signingcontract

Accepting Outside Investors? Here Are 5 Things to Watch Out for in Your Contract

by Rich McIver

As a business owner, the idea of accepting expertise and a big check from an outside investor can seem like a complete win for you and your business. The truth of whether it’s actually a benefit for you, however, is often determined by what appears to be the boring fine print details of the contract... Read more »

planning
cashflowforecast

How to Forecast Cash Flow

by Tim Berry

  A good cash flow analysis might be the most important single piece of a business plan. All the strategy, tactics, and ongoing business activities mean nothing if there isn’t enough money to pay the bills. And that’s what a cash flow projection is about—predicting your money needs in advance. By cash, we mean money you... Read more »

starting
Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 2.28.11 PM

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 »

funding
isalenderdeceivingyou

Is a Lender or Broker Deceiving You? Here’s How to Tell

by Marc Prosser

Anyone who has spent any time in the loan industry knows how perilous it can be for small business owners. Due to the complicated nature of loans and legal speak, brokers and lenders often try to take advantage of small business owners. That’s why we have written this article, to explain three ways brokers and... Read more »

managing
Pyramid3DSimple

Strategy Is Useless Without Tactics

by Tim Berry

It happens all the time. You take your team away from the routine for a few hours, brainstorm, and develop a brilliant new strategy. And when you all get back into the routine, the routine wins and strategy loses. Nothing changes. The strategy was brilliant on the whiteboard, but never got to the real world.... Read more »

planning
budget

How to Create an Expense Budget

by Tim Berry

An expense budget is part of the bread-and-butter basics of good management. Set your budget as a goal, then review and revise often to stay on track. Being right on budget is usually good, but good management takes the regular review to check on the timing, efficiency, and results of what your business spends. For... Read more »

starting
shutterstock_144544808

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 »

starting
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 »

managing
unpaidclientscash

7 Ways to Turn Unpaid Client Bills Into Cash

by Chinwe Onyeagoro

Small businesses often find themselves in cash flow crunches that could easily be solved if only clients would pay their bills faster. Fortunately, there are many ways to work around this problem. Here are seven ways you can turn unpaid client bills into cash when those receivables simply aren’t being paid quickly enough to meet... Read more »

starting
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 »

planning
diffbusinessplan

The Different Types of Business Plans

by Tim Berry

Different situations call for different types of business plans. This is our guide to the most common types of business plans and how to use them. Read more »

starting
planes,trains,automobiles

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 »