Entrepreneurship For the Ad-Generation

Attention Deficit? Hyperactive? Nothing seems to hold your attention?

Have you thought of starting a business?

The key characteristics of successful businessmen include high energy levels and an ability to put attention on a number of activities at once. For a generation that’s grown up with i-phones, e-mail and instant results, entrepreneurship can lead to an exciting path where life truly becomes a game.

There is of course a snag.

Most experienced advisors will point to the importance of planning. Good business planning brings discipline to the structure and activities of a business. It is an opportunity to work through scenarios and evaluate strategies before committing significant resources.

It is vital.

But no matter how many times this is explained there is a hardcore of budding entrepreneurs who just don’t care. They’re bored with the idea of planning, seeing it as just another pointless piece of maths homework. They just want to get started.

OK…I’m not saying that’s a sensible approach, but if you’re one of that crazy gang then there is only really one thing you should do before spending too much money:

Go Sell.

Even if you don’t have a product yet…even if you don’t really know the market…even (especially) if you haven’t quit your job…go and sell one.

You see most people lie most of the time when it comes to buying. When shopping on-line we show interest in about 50 items (on average) before buying one, and that statistic merely reflects how we shop elsewhere as well.

So despite reassurances from your friends and expressions of interest from potential customers, the acid test is:

“Do they really want it enough to part with cold hard cash?”

You may argue that your business needs to be established before you’ll find out. You may point to the need for proper surveys, product development and a marketing campaign first. I would agree.

But to some sections of the AD-Generation the shining example remains Bill Gates.

In case you didn’t know, Microsoft sold their first version of Windows (called DOS) to IBM before they had developed it. Bear in mind that IBM was the biggest computer company in the world and Microsoft was completely unknown. This showed that IBM was hungry enough for the product but it also demonstrated that Microsoft could sell.

Any entrepreneur needs to prove their product AND themselves and if you can do that before committing huge resources then you will go into your new enterprise with much greater confidence. This isn’t really a substitute for thorough planning but could give you an insight into whether your proposition is really viable..

And don’t worry if it’s not, just walk away. You can console yourself with the fact that you’d have been bored with it by next week anyway…that’s the beauty of being part of the AD-Generation.

Ways Your Business Can Fail

Here, we are going to discuss why businesses fail. This is the most common questions that we receive as we have produced a number of articles pertaining to how to appropriately start a venture. Foremost, most businesses do not work out in the end primarily due to the fact that they should not have been launched in the first place. Essentially, many small business owners did not complete the appropriate diligence that is necessary in order to determine whether or not their venture would be economically viable. As such, we strongly recommend that before you engage in any type of business operation that you complete a full business plan that showcases every aspect of your venture. Most importantly, you need to complete a full demographic analysis regarding your market so that you can be sure that you will receive the necessary traffic that you need to your operation as time progresses. We strongly recommend that you develop a business plan that focuses on the first five years of your operations so that you can completely understand whether or not the market will sustain the type of business that you’re looking to start.

Statistically more than 60% of new business ventures fail. However, while this statistic seems high, it is not primarily due to the failure of the owner. Primarily, a business fails simply because it should not have been launched in the first place within it specific market. This is a special especially true for traditional brick-and-mortar companies. However, some businesses are able to thrive in any economic environment. Popular businesses that are able to sustain themselves whether there is an economic recession or economic prosperity is franchises. As such, and if you are starting out as an entrepreneur, you may want to examine these incidences first so that you can substantially reduce the risks associated with your venture.

Entrepreneurship is not about taking an excessive amount of risk. Rather, entrepreneurship is understanding the risks that you’ll be taking and how to mitigate these issues as you progress through your business operations. We strongly recommend that you review all the potential risks associated with your venture before you even begin to think about launching it. Common risks that should be evaluated include financing risk, market risk, and pending legislation that may impact the way that your company does business. For instance, a very popular line of payday loan businesses has recently undergone a significant amount of change due to legislation changes. As such, as an entrepreneur, it is imperative for you to ensure that any type of market change or legislation change will not impact the way that you do business.

Also, one of the reasons why a number of businesses fail is due to the fact that they are under funded. There are very few businesses that become profitable very quickly. As such, it is imperative for you to have a significant amount of capital on hand so that you can effectively ensure that you will reach profitability for your patch reserves dry up. This is something that we are going to continue to discuss through a number of different articles so that you can be made well aware of how to properly manage your cash flow as it relates to starting a new business venture.

The other common reason why a business fails is that they did not obtain the proper location. Again, for example, a restaurant can serve great food at a great price that can be invisible to the general public to do the fact that they do not have a location that draws a substantial amount of foot traffic. Prior to launching any new venture, you should thoroughly examine the market as a whole also looking at the specific location that you may sign a lease on to launch your new business. According to many statistics, about half of businesses that fail simply did not have a good location.

Another reason why businesses frequently do not work out in the end is that there’s too much competition within the market in order to sustain an economically viable business model. Prior to engaging any type of new business venture, you should always thoroughly examine the competition that you will continue to face as you progress through business operations. This is especially important if you intend to operate a local business venture that potentially has a number of competitors that offer services that are similar or identical to those of your own. As such, you should always complete a thorough competitive analysis within your business plan and within your business proposal documents so you can understand exactly how you intend to retain a competitive advantage over other individuals. One of things that entrepreneurs often make the mistake about it is that they feel that they are going to be the only competitor within their respective market. However, this is rarely the case. Though only a few times in which an individual business is the only company that provides a specific product or service that is demanded within any specific type of market. As such, you should always list the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are associated with operating a business in your local market.

Finally, this is simply an overview as to why businesses fail. We will continue to provide you with a significant amount of additional information in regards to this matter so that you can further understand how to evaluate any specific business opportunity that you’re potentially going to develop.

Put Yourself on the Path to Entrepreneurship

Tens of thousands of Americans have a dream of owning their own business. For some, the idea of taking control of their worklife is a huge motivator. For others, it’s the desire to increase personal wealth that drives them. Whether you are looking to just replace your current income with an independent work life or are looking to be the next Bill Gates, you have to start somewhere. Here are five things you can do now to set yourself on the path to entrepreneurship.

1. Live Cheaply

Starting a business guarantees you just one thing – you will be on a tight budget for some amount of time. It might be just a few months, it might take a year or so to build your company’s profitability, but your personal expenses will need to be under control before you start. Get in the habit of living cheaply now. Review your household budget (or develop one) and look for areas to cut back. Pay off credit cards, look for deals when you shop, clip coupons, find inexpensive entertainment options. The more you can control expenses now, the less stress you will be under during the early stages of your startup.

2. Set Aside Cash

As a result of your reduced budget, you should free up some cash that can be set aside for your startup. Even if your business idea will qualify you for outside loans or investment, you will need to cover a significant portion of the startup out of your own pocket. And, the more cash you have on hand for living expenses during the first year or so, the better able you will be to pour the profits back in to the company, and the more quickly you can grow your venture and meet your goals.

3. Do Your Homework

Whatever your business idea, or even if you are still looking for one, start paying attention to the market now. Visit competitors, talk to friends and family, get to know other small business owners. Surf the web for websites, trade associations, or other businesses related to what you want to do. Sign up for email lists and get up-to-date on the trends within your selected industries.

4. Plan, Plan, Plan

Once you have settled on a particular business idea, get started with your planning. Business planning is not about filling in the blanks of a ready-made business plan worksheet. Rather, actually planning a business is like creating a roadmap for how and what to do, every step of the way. Every aspect of your business idea should be broken down, analyzed, and evaluated for innovative, more efficient opportunities to reduce risk and increase profitability. Don’t underestimate the value of thorough planning. Yes, there are success stories and even startup experts who will tell you that you can make it in business without really trying, but if you are looking for a solid future with limited risk, good detailed planning is the only way to go.

5. Take a Chance!

At some point, you just have to pull the trigger. Yes, you need to build your cash reserves and plan out your business idea, but you also have to choose a starting point and take the leap into entrepreneurship.

How They Can Help Your Small Business

Professors at schools prefer to assign real life problems to their students. At most graduate business schools, they assign students singly or in teams to analyze a real company in their city. The other subject areas like engineering, graphic design, advertising, etc., are also looking for real life assignments for their students.

If you have a product that needs to be engineered, you can approach the professor teaching that subject to ask if students can be assigned to your project. They’re usually happy to comply. Most often there is no charge to you. Increasingly, more schools will charge a royalty if it’s a product you plan to commercialize. That is still a good deal as there should be no guarantees or up front royalty payment. (A Variable Expense)

We would go to the local design school to get a package for a new product developed. We might give a modest monetary prize to the student with the best design. More importantly, we would put their name on the package…great resume builder for the student. You might go to the local college or graduate business school and ask the Entrepreneurship professor if one of their student groups can come up with a business plan for your fledgling company. If you have a legal problem, approach the law school.

One year, we approached the engineering school at a major university to develop a savings bank with all kinds of bells and whistles. We wanted it to keep track of all the money in the bank at any moment, to play a song when money was deposited, to have a tabletop look, etc. For us this was a high tech project. For them it was a piece of cake. They were happy to take on the project as it was a real life situation.

In a recent survey I did with professors of Entrepreneurship, I discovered that a high percentage of them already have programs where teams of students are assigned to assist an existing company in solving its problems. The professors go into the community to find companies who want this help and who will cooperate with the students. They more than welcome companies coming to them to participate in this program. There are some smart young people involved who have a very open minded approach to solving problems and developing ideas. They are not constrained by the past. This is another cost free opportunity for assistance in developing your company.

Whatever your project, you should give serious thought to exploring the schools in your area for help. It can be an excellent cost-free solution. I believe your chances would be higher in schools that have a dominant position in the community. Helping the small guy while offering a good learning experience is a compelling proposition for a teacher.

A bonus for you is that you can find some great interns for your company during the summer months or school year. Some may turn out to be excellent hires.

Break New Grounds

Many countries offer some attractive strategies to lure innovative entrepreneurs across the globe. The place where many colleges and universities are gathered can be a business capital of country. They are offering new start-up visa to recruit dynamic entrepreneurs to remain competitive in the global economy.

According to the survey, business capital of any country is the leader in several aspects, nothing but startup costs, business confidence, strong banking sector, education programs and good coaching that is essential for young entrepreneurs. That is why the high number of new businesses are registered which reflects high-level of confidence among entrepreneurs.

To start a new business is an enthusiastic and empowering experience. The whole journey is filled with thorns, but a satisfactory in terms of gaining control on your destiny. Proper guidance with correct information is the way to lead your success in life. A good start-up program is required to achieve unlimited success in your business.

There are many challenges in the entrepreneurship:
Identification of an exact problem
Finding an opportunity in the problem
Finalize with a solution
Conversion of an opportunity into the business idea
Unite your solution into the business plan

“Encouraging entrepreneurship is the key of Country’s economic growth.” It will be crucial for country’s economic growth as a young generation of any country entering in the job market can realize that being rejected from the job interviews is not an end of their dream. Funds are very much important for early stage of entrepreneurship. Banks and venture capital firms both are giving good option for funding. Many conventional and non-conventional venture capital firms are there. These firms can assist you from start-up seed money to the series of investment opportunities and continuous capital support. These venture capital firms are providing start-ups for many industries such as software, computers.

Sometimes they run university start-ups to get a real business experience for business school students or for university graduates. They avoid unwieldy bureaucracies and lengthy process of decision-making to bring your goal in reality. Usually at a time only one small business through the business development, financing and consulting is the target of these firms.

A good venture capital firm adds a quality and value to their investment through the regular discussion with management, board representation, industry expertise and influential networks. The key ingredient of the success of entrepreneurship is very important to make things happen. This is to collaborate right kind of people with contacts, business intelligence, sophistication, creativity and financial ability to create new ground.

Techniques For Entrepreneurship Development

There is a certain way to carry out entrepreneurship. One has to follow certain fixed guidelines to develop an entrepreneurship of any choice. Designing a clear cut plan is necessary. Following are seven guidelines or techniques on the basis of which any entrepreneurship or business can be developed;

1. Focusing on the key product:

Your business revolves on the key product so focusing on your core product is the first step to create a business opportunity. A certain successful entrepreneur has stated that “Prospects buy when they trust your value is applicable to them and believe your company is stable” suggesting that an entrepreneur should focus on providing value to the customers. This suggestion is the key to the core plan. An entrepreneur of small business needs to differentiate from big business by concentrating on the core products. Specialization is the biggest asset of entrepreneurs.

2. Keeping it simple and short:

One should be able to tell what their business is in few precise and concise words(I.e the patter or pitch) lasting for 30 seconds since any prospect can understand clearly about the business without being confused.

3. Staying true to who you are:

You can reach your goals by knowing who you are and what gets you excited and not. Notably procrastination as human nature is can delay your growth plan so it’s better to not procrastinate and go for a perfect result oriented plan

4. Mapping it:

The best way to determine your service strategy is by mapping your capabilities with your target clients’ needs. Hence the customers who do not need your particular expertise are also avoided. The urge to cast a wide net is one common trait among many entrepreneurs. However a small business flourishes since it has limited service offering. Specializing in distinctive top quality service is the value in having a small business. So in many instances, a small business flourishes. Significantly, while choosing a provider, a list of decision making criteria can be made, from which, your client can choose as per your expectation. Then categorize yourself honestly or evaluate intensely as to where you would be position in each category. After this, make sure that your patter or pitch is still on target.

5. Utilizing the best marketing tools that work for you:

Implement the best marketing strategy that suits your personality and that of customers to be served. Identify the top two marketing tools that have worked for you in the past and then start adding new ideas from a fresh perspective. It’s also important to evaluate the selected marketing tools from cost basis. You have to take a decision as to which marketing tool will yield the best returns on your efforts. In one or another each tool should be result oriented or revenue productive.

6. Implementing a plan of action:

It’s essential to know whether the plan of action made is in progress or not. This can be done by establishing goals at short term say 3 months to long term of 6 months. During short term, you need to check your plan every month. If the plan is not being met you need to ask questions to yourself like did I select the appropriate tools for my target customer? Did I integrate the strategy into the plan? Or did I focus on only one of the marketing tool? Thus there should be a strategy check on a day to day basis so as to know if the plan is in progress as per your plan.

7. Exercising the plan:

The final step is to complete the daily actions and to put n extra efforts to accelerate your plan towards success. Precious time should be not wasted and used for reaching your goal soon.

Entrepreneurship As a Career Choice?

Before you make the leap into starting your own business, ask yourself these four questions:

o Is it really a better personal career choice?
o What do I need to know to decide?
o How can I prepare myself?
o How do I get started?

In this article, I will help you find answers to those key questions by relating to my own experience as both a corporate manager and an entrepreneur in addition to what I have learned from more than 15 years of consulting to owner-managers.

Do you really want to own your own business? The advantages are attractive, but don’t forget the disadvantages that are an inevitable part of the choice.

Advantages

o Unlimited opportunity
o Freedom, independence
o Continuous challenge, variety
o Your choice of management style
o Responsible for and involved in the whole business
o If the business does well, you do well

Disadvantages

o Still limits to what you can do or control
o Many people are now dependent on you
o Requires skills and knowledge you probably do not have
o Higher risk, less secure financial future
o Cannot leave it at the office

The next step is to assess whether you are the Entrepreneurial type:

o Personal expectations and preferences – life style, work environment, rewards, compensation method?
o Personal strengths and weaknesses?
o Education, training, contact network?
o Characteristics of an entrepreneur?
o Independent, confident, persistent, action-oriented, risk taker. Passionate, leader, achiever, communicator.
o Solid foundation – family, physical, financial health?
o Additional resources available – partners, suppliers, key customers, employees?

If you are still determined to proceed, consider which business option best meets your entrepreneurial ambitions:

o Home based business, multi-level marketing
o Independent contractor – trade or professional
o Sales agent – insurance, real estate, financial services
o Franchisee – retail, fast food, business services
o Independent business – local, national, global
o Retailer, hospitality, food services, consumer services
o Manufacturer, distributor, service businesses
o Internet or technology business
o Entrepreneurial role in a corporate environment

Once those choices are made, the next question is: What is my business opportunity?

Your selection will be based on your personal knowledge, experience, and contacts:

o Opportunities that match my capabilities?
o Market need?
o Current solutions available?
o What is my proposed solution?
o Confirmed by market test, customer feedback?
o How do I make it profitable?

Now you are ready to document a Business Plan.

Why do I need a Business Plan?

o To develop and document your business concept, strategies, action plans and projected financial results as a guide for management.
o To provide necessary information for potential sources of financing.
o To attract new investors, strategic partners, or key employees.

When do I need a Business Plan?

o New Business Start-up
o Launch a new product/service
o Enter a new market
o Strategic review and performance diagnostic of an existing business
o Prepare a business for sale, merger, acquisition or succession

Business Planning Process and Checklist:

o Assess Personal Objectives
o Identify the Business Opportunity
o Define your Business Concept & Model
o Conduct sufficient Market Research
o Develop the Strategic Plan
o Define Operating Plans
o Prepare Financial Projections.

Business Plan – Recommended Table of Contents

1. Executive summary
2. Concept and business opportunity
3. Mission, Vision, Values
4. Market analysis
5. Competition
6. Strategic plan
7. Management team and Organisation Plan
8. Product and Service offering
9. Marketing and Sales plan
10. Operations plan
11. Risk analysis
12. Financial plan
13. Appendices

With all that preparation and analysis completed you will be ready to look at financing your Business Plan. There are many alternatives available, but you will probably go through these sources of financing as you proceed with your plan:

o Personal investment, cold cash
o “Sweat equity” – time and effort, not paid
o “Love money” – willing friends & family
o Bank financing – term loans, line of credit
o Angel investors – passive, active, added values
o Government funding, special loans, grants
o Venture capital – private equity
o IPO – Initial Public Offering

Is entrepreneurship the right career choice for you? These questions and approaches should help you decide and to develop a plan to succeed. Good luck! That also helps.

The Perfect Business Plan Process

There is no such thing as a perfect business plan, as even the best business plans can use some improvement. However, by thinking carefully about the steps you take in creating your business plans, you can improve your business plan writing process. With the right process, you are much more likely to create winning business plans, no matter what type of business it is.

Each of the following steps are stages of the business plan development process which should be tackled in order.

Idea Development

Your idea for the business may already be in place. However, there are a number of creative and brainstorming techniques which can strengthen the idea and discover variations on it.

Feasibility Study

Next, the feasibility of the business should be studied in a limited way to prevent money and time from being poured into an unfeasible idea. The study should look at market feasibility, financial feasibility, and personal feasibility. The latter is the feasibility of the business idea to meet your personal goals for entrepreneurship.

Research

The research phase begins the preparation for the business plan in earnest. Research must cover the industry, customers, competitors, and the costs of starting up the business. The findings should be carefully documented and analyzed to determine what presents opportunities and threats to the business.

Strategy

Next, the strategy phase involves returning to the basic business idea, now with the research findings in mind. Tailor your business strategy to your intended customers and primary competitors.

Drafting

Drafting the actual plan (hopefully with the help of a consultant or at least a business plan template) should be a relatively simple step after the preceding phases are finished. Multiple drafts should be prepared, first focusing on getting the ideas onto paper and improving them, and then on cleaning up the writing.

Finalizing

Finally, the plan should be improved with appropriate graph

Entering Business Plan Competitions For Fun and Profit

Do you know if there is a business plan competition at your school? If you search online for college business plan competitions you can see a whole big list of current business plans and competitions. In these competitions, you present a business plan or idea to judges, students, business people, alumni and sometimes even Venture capitalist who are looking for the next big thing. These competitions have become quite popular among students because they have huge cash prizes for those who can win these very competitive contest. Wherever you are in the country, there is likely a competition for business plans offered somewhere nearby. Many of these require you to be at least a part time student, but not often do you need to be enrolled at the school hosting the competition. If it is, you can just team up with a student at that school. Want to compete? Here is a list of the biggest competitions.

o The best known competition in the entire country is the MIT 100k Entrepreneurship Competition. Six awards are given out at the contest. Two in the Venture completion, and two in the Entrepreneurship for development competition. Each winner of those prizes takes home 30 grand, and the 4 runner-ups each win 10 grand.

o The Stern School of Business at New York University has one of the largest cash purses for a contest. They have over 150,000 dollars up for grabs. The contest is open to the greater NYU area, and offers two tracks. A normal business plan track is offered as well as a Social Entrepreneurship track which has to do with developing businesses that are socially responsible and helpful.

o At the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship at Purdue University, the largest business plan competition in the Life sciences field is offered. The competition is open to any service or products in the life sciences industry and has 134,000 in prize money.

o For graduate students who are greatat the elevator pitch, there is a contest just for you. Wake Forest University’s Elevator Competition has 65 Grand in prizes for the ultimate elevator pitch.

o All of these competitions so far have been on the east coast. On the west coast, the Venture Challenge at San Diego State University has a traditional business plan competition with over a 15 Grand prize for the top competitors.

Business Planning For the Home-Based Entrepreneur

Are you and Entrepreneur or a Small Business Owner?

While many people think Entrepreneurship and Small Business Ownership are the same thing, there really is a difference. Whether you’re thinking of starting a small business to follow a dream of not having to work at a job you detest, or, your convinced there’s “a better way to build a mouse trap”, creating an effective, concise, and working business plan should reflect this difference in four distinct ways:

Wealth Creation: Most small business ventures are started to simply generate an income that replaces the owner’s traditional method of employment. A successful entrepreneurial venture, however, has potential to create substantial wealth, typically from a business model that seeks multiple ways to generate passive methods of generating revenue and income.

Speed of Wealth Creation: The success of a small business can literally take a lifetime to generate sustainable profit. If the goal, however, is to create wealth, using an entrepreneurial business model can result in rapid growth within the first five years and huge profit potential for the long-term.

Risk: The business risk of an entrepreneurial venture is usually higher than that of a small business. Motivation to achieve high profits is the source of most entrepreneurs, while the need to create and coddle a unique idea, build an organization, or develop the product is the usual impetus for success of the small business owner.

Innovation: Entrepreneurship often requires a strong degree of critical thinking which usually results in substantial innovation beyond what a traditional small business model might require. This innovation gives the entrepreneurial venture competitive advantage necessary to create extraordinary wealth. The innovation may be in the product or service itself, or in the business processes used to deliver it.

So what’s your plan?

Many people who want to start a home business ask if they really need a business plan. My answer is usually in the form of a very simple question: How bad do you really need to start a home based business?

Writing a business plan for your home based business should be considered essential for many reasons. Perhaps the most important reason to write a full plan is that it will help you gain focus and think through each aspect of your business. Having a working written document will also help you to remain and regain focus when you get discouraged or feel overwhelmed.

So, one of the best things you can do for yourself before you start your business is to sit down and write your business plan. It doesn’t have to be very long, but does have to be written in a fashion that clearly defines you, your vision, and your business goals – both short and long term.