Once you have completed the Sales Forecast, Personnel Plan and Expense Budget exercises, the totals will be included in the Profit & Loss. This transfer happens automatically. An example of where totals for Sales, Personnel and Expense Budget are transferred to the Profit & Loss can be seen in the final page (page 5) of the Personnel and Expense Budget assignment .pdf

When those assignments are done, you add some text explanations about each element, and you have Profit & Loss.

{ 0 comments }

This hands-on exercise will walk you through the steps to enter your estimated monthly expenses and create your Expense Budget, using your LivePlan.com account.

{ 0 comments }

All assignments should be completed using LivePlan, and then printed to a .PDF file.

Must Have:

Your business plan must include as a minimum the following components, identified here as either text topic or table. Most of these were separate assignments throughout the course, and should now combine into a single business plan document.

  • Summary (could also be called “Executive Summary”). This is a text topic. It should include all of the information detailed in Assignment 1: The Business Opportunity. You could also use what you did for Assignment 6: Summary Memo and bundle that into the plan. Edit this portion, so it isn’t redundant; you probably used your assignment 1 as a beginning draft for assignment 4.
  • Market Analysis. Text topics. Should include all of the information detailed in Assignment 2: Market Analysis. Pictures are welcome.
  • Strategy. One of more text topics. Ideally you’ve got something along the lines recommended in the reading, strategy as a combination of identity, market, and strategic focus. There’s an outline example,  and you can click to jump to the Heart of the Plan material available online, which you also have in that Heart of the Plan section of The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan book in the readings. In addition, the Heart of the Plan video included in class 11 videos also covers that same material.
  • Competitive Edge. This is a text topic. It’s also called Secret Sauce. This would have been discussed in class 5, Marketing Strategy. And you can also, read The Secret Sauce on the Web.
  • Startup Costs: This is exactly as in Assignment 3: Startup Costs. That’s at least a text topic which describes the startup numbers you entered in the Expense Budget table. The best way to handle the text topic is to make sure that it includes the most important assumptions and explains how you intend to raise the money required (loans, investors, personal savings, etc.)
  • Sales Forecast. Exactly as in Assignment 4: Sales Forecast. That’s sales and cost of sales estimated for the first 12 months and then added up into year 1, and then a larger more general projection for years 2 and 3 of the plan as well. And it includes a text topic that explains your assumptions, and, ideally, a couple of business charts as well.
  • Projected Profit & Loss. Exactly as in Assignment 5: Personnel & Expense Budget . At least one text topic and a table; business charts would also be nice. If it’s obvious how you make money then you don’t need to elaborate, but for some of the more innovative new technology plans, if how you make money isn’t obvious, then please make sure you talk about the business model.

Nice to have:

You’ve got a lot of resources here on this website, including two complete online books, so you can see that there’s potentially a lot to add. Use outlines recommended in the readings, or some other order. Here are some specific suggestions, in more-or-less order of desirability — but not the order they appear in the plan:

  • Cash flow. That requires some interaction between the profit and loss, which you already have, and the balance sheet, which you don’t necessarily have. With LivePlan, it’s almost automatic. There’s a lot of detail available in the appropriate sections of The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan book.
  • Business offering (describing your product or service). This goes well after the summary and before the market analysis.
  • Company description: ownership, facilities, and so on. Goes well right after the summary, before the business offering section.
  • Business model (as noted in the Projected Profit & Loss point above, only if it isn’t obvious).
  • Financial plan: description of funding sources, return on investment for investors, exit strategy.

Remember that business planning requires a lot of flexibility. Every business plan is unique to the business and its specific situation.

{ 0 comments }

A summary memo is a 2-5 page document that you could present to a potential investor. It should summarize the business opportunity, the strategy, the market, the business model, startup costs, startup funding, and initial sales numbers.

If you have been updating your LivePlan business plan with each previous assignment, all of the information you need to create a Summary Memo is now completed. To select specific areas of your outline to include in the Summary Memo:

  • Click the Print button
  • Choose the Export Document option.
  • Open the downloaded document file in your word processor.
  • Select specific areas of your outline to include in the Summary Memo.

For more on the Summary Memo, read pages 228-233 of The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan book.

{ 0 comments }

This hands-on exercise will walk you through the steps to enter your estimated monthly expenses and create your personnel plan, using your LivePlan.com account.

This hands-on exercise will walk you through the process of entering your sales estimates in to the Sales Forecast, using your LivePlan account.

  • Download the Sales Forecast exercise (pdf format)
  • Log in to your LivePlan account
  • Locate the Sales Forecast from your business plan file
  • Follow the instructions in the exercise to complete your Sales Forecast

This hands-on exercise will walk you through the steps to enter your estimated starting costs for your business plan, using your LivePlan.com account.

  • Download the Exercise: Startup Costs exercise (pdf)
  • Log in to your LivePlan.com account
  • Locate the Budget table in your business plan
  • Follow the instructions in the exercise to add in your starting costs

This assignment reinforces the discussions from Session 4: Market Analysis. Unless otherwise specified by your instructor, this assignment should be completed in preparation for the next sequence, Session 5: Marketing Strategy.

In this exercise, you will build the marketing elements of your business plan, using LivePlan.

  • Download the Exercise: Market Analysis
  • Log in to your LivePlan.com account
  • Locate the “Target Market” chapter in your business plan
  • Follow the instructions in the Exercise to complete this chapter.
  • Repeat this for the “Strategy and Implementation” chapter.

You may have heard about the famous “business plan on a napkin” idea? Keep that in mind. This assignment is not to write a business plan. It is to write a description of your business opportunity. Explain your business opportunity in a single letter-sized page. This one-page overview demonstrates best with illustrations as well as text. You can draw it yourself and write it yourself; you can use PowerPoint or some other drawing program. Here are a couple of examples: College Prep Information Business and Australian Firefighter Business.

Your business opportunity should cover the following three points:

  1. Identify and explain a problem or need that your business idea would solve. Remember you don’t have to limit yourself to physical needs, because wants and intangibles – prestige, good looks, business success, etc. – are also valid.
  2. Explain how your new business idea fills the need or satisfies the want.
  3. Describe the ideal customer, or target market company. Ideally you want to invent or dream up an image of a specific person, (with age, gender, economic stratum, job, preferences) or a company (with industry type, size, location) who would buy your product or service.

This post exists for the sole purpose of providing the content for the default multimedia box.

Edit the custom multimedia box content on this post to edit it everywhere that uses the default content.

{ 0 comments }

Each session contains a list of required readings from one or more of the three startup books included: The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, 3Weeks to Startup, and The Art of the Start.  Click on the session reading links below to see the reading list for that session:

Session 1: Course Introduction
Session 2: Concept Kick Start
Session 3: Business Basics
Session 4: Market Analysis
Session 5: Marketing Strategy
Session 6: Basic Financials, Part 1
Session 7: Basic Financials, Part 2
Session 8: Getting Financed
Session 9: Building a Team
Session 10: The Web
Session 11: Cash and Taxes
Session 12: Plans and Pitches

OTHER RESOURCES:

In addition to the required readings, online resources are provided for each session. If an online resource is required for a session, it will be referenced in the Required Reading section. Otherwise, online resources are provided to give additional feedback and background information about the key points of discussion for the session, and are considered “viewing optional.”

{ 0 comments }

Video Overview

This video shows the resources available to students (such as classroom handouts, in-class exercises and reading assignments). If you are interested in becoming an instructor, you will need to apply for instructor access first.

Software and Books

This curriculum requires Business Plan Pro business-planning software and three startup books, The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, 3 Weeks to Startup, and The Art of the Start. Check with your instructor to see if the software and books are included as part of your course registration, or if you will be required to purchase them separately. You will need the software and books before the first class session.

Course Sessions

Your course materials are divided into 12 sessions, with objectives, required reading and online resources listed by session. Links to the course sessions are provided in the navigation sidebar.

Objectives: Review the objectives to see what will be covered in the session.

Reading: You are expected to complete reading assignments before coming to class; required reading helps prepare you for in-class discussions.

Online Resources: Links to online resources provide additional research and background information which support the content covered during a session. If a video or other online resource is required, it will be included in the required reading section. Otherwise, the online resources are provided as optional supporting content.

Student Handouts: Your instructor will be working with PowerPoint presentations during class. Student handouts of each slide presentation have been saved as .pdf files. You can download the handouts to look ahead to the next class or catch up on sessions you missed.

Student Resources

Assignments: The assignments link in the sidebar gives you the detailed page view of all assignments. Your assignments will be completed using a custom business plan outline, created in Business Plan Pro, which correlates with the plan-as-you-go approach to writing a business plan. Click here for instructions on how to download and save this custom outline file for your assignments.

Online Resources: This sidebar link gives you a detailed page view of all online resources by session.

Readings: This sidebar link gives you a detailed page view of all required reading by session.

Here are a few more links to help you get going:

{ 2 comments }

  • The Art of the Start, Chapter 10, The Art of Rainmaking.
  • The Art of the Start, Chapter 11, the Art of Being a Mensch.

{ 0 comments }

PDF files are like electronic documents, easily transferable, easy to send as attachments to email, easy to view on the web. The acronym stands for “portable document format” files. The classic way to produce PDF files is by having an Adobe software product called Adobe Acrobat. There are lots of other ways these days. Business Plan Pro automatically produces PDF files as one of the export formats. The Mac produces PDF files as an alternative to printing.

If you’re not familiar with the various tools to create the right kind of files, find out from friends, check Wikipedia on PDF or Google  creating a PDF file. Business Plan Pro exports anything to a PDF format too, so you can create the PDF file automatically.

Macintosh Users

If you’re using a Macintosh, at least if it’s a relatively new Macintosh, there is an automatic facility to print your documents to PDF files. It’s related to the Preview application on Macintosh. Use the Print command on the file menu and you’ll get something like the one shown here, which is taken from the Print dialog that comes up with PowerPoint 2007.

Move your mouse over the PDF button on the lower left, and push to open a drop down menu.

Select “Save to PDF” and use the Finder to set a file name.

That will be the PDF file you can use to send to me as an attachment to your email.

{ 0 comments }

While this isn’t a class in writing, and not even in business writing, it is about starting a business and that, like it or not, includes being able to communicate well. Here are some tips:

Simple is better. Simple writing makes the same impression as a clear and uncluttered room when you enter it.

Bullet points are fine. When a thought is so completely obvious that nobody could ever want more explanation, then you can get away without more explanation. Most bullet points, however, need dressing. Don’t just tick off an entire topic and think you’ve covered it.

The following are common errors in word usage. Think of the feeling you get with fingernails on a chalk board:

  • Then and than. Then is sequential, than is comparison. If we have more of this than that, only then can we move forward.
  • It and its. It’s annoying when an apostrophe shows up where it’s none of its business.
  • Apostrophes.
    • Showing possession: Susan’s book, Bill’s book
    • Showing contraction: don’t, please, didn’t, won’t.
    • Apostrophes don’t have anything to do with plural except for their natural look when it’s the boys’ book, for example. Or the cars’ problems. You have a plural word ending in s, like so many plurals do, and then you add an apostrophe to show possession.
  • Common misspellings. Buisiness makes me unhappy. Use spell check to catch these.
  • Their, there, they’re. Their problem, they’re going to fix it, but not until after they get there.
  • There is, there are. Unless there is just one item, then there are more than one items. Unless there is a set of problems, or a number of problems.

It’s not hard to avoid most of the very common mistakes. If you’re not sure, take a look at this quick Google search for common writing mistakes.

Business Plan Pro 15th Anniversary Edition produces a file format with an extension, .bpdx. This format is used by Business Plan Pro to keep a business plan. Assignments for class will use a customized .bpdx file created especially to work with The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan.  The file can be downloaded from the step 2 link below.

Step-by-step

  1. Install Business Plan Pro. Notice the video tutorials, and the extensive help, and the technical support available for free by email or telephone.
  2. You can use this link to get the MinimumBusinessPlan.bpdx file. How you actually download depends on which browser you use. For example, in Internet Explorer you right-click the mouse and use the “save target as” option to download a file. Get the file downloaded and saved on your disk.
  3. Open this minimum business plan file from within Business Plan Pro.
  4. VERY IMPORTANT: use the Save-As command to save the file with a different name. You don’t want to work with the original, because then you can never start over; and you’ll run the risk of having a classmate using the same name.
  5. VERY IMPORTANT: Don’t use the tasks view option provided in the software. Instead, use the Outline view to work on your business plan. This starting file has a customized outline directly associated with The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan approach to creating a business plan. All assignments have been written for this custom outline; working in the Outline view will guarantee that you see what is being discussed during the class sessions.
  6. VERY IMPORTANT: Use the Plan Setup to make sure you’re set for the standard plan: not the simple, and not the more detailed. If you don’t, then the wrong outline points show up.

Your screen should look something like this, with instructions showing on the upper left, an action window in the lower left (for text or tables), and the outline in the right.

If you have questions about this, you can use the Business Plan Pro help facility — search for bpdx — or call Business Plan Pro Technical Support at 1-800 229-7526 (international callers, use 1-541-683-6162). Phone support is available for registered customers from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.,  Monday through Friday, Pacific Time.

{ 0 comments }

All assignments should be completed using Business Plan Pro and saved as a .BPDX file or exported to a .PDF file.

Must Have:

Your business plan must include as a minimum the following components, identified here as either text topic or table. Most of these were separate assignments throughout the course, and should now combine into a single business plan document.

  • Summary (could also be called “Executive Summary”). This is a text topic. It should include all of the information detailed in Assignment 1: The Business Opportunity. Business Plan Pro automatically includes the Highlights Chart. You could also use what you did for Assignment 6: Summary Memo and bundle that into the plan. Edit this portion, so it isn’t redundant; you probably used your assignment 1 as a beginning draft for assignment 4.
  • Market Analysis. Text topics and at least one table. Should include all of the information detailed in Assignment 2: Market Analysis. Pictures and pie charts and bar charts are welcome.
  • Strategy. One of more text topics. Ideally you’ve got something along the lines recommended in the reading, strategy as a combination of identity, market, and strategic focus. There’s an outline example here, A View of the Strategy Portion and you can click on it to jump to the Heart of the Plan material available online, which you also have in that Heart of the Plan section of The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan book in the readings. In addition, the Heart of the Plan video included in class 11 videos also covers that same material.
  • Competitive Edge. This is a text topic. It’s also called Secret Sauce. This would have been discussed in class 5, Marketing Strategy. And you can also, read The Secret Sauce on the Web.
  • Startup Plan: This is exactly as in Assignment 3: Startup Plan. That’s at least one text topic and two tables, one for startup costs and another for startup funding. The best way to handle the text topic is to make sure that it includes the most important assumptions and explains how you intend to raise the money required (loans, investors, personal savings, etc.)
  • Sales Forecast. Exactly as in Assignment 4: Sales Forecast. That’s sales and cost of sales estimated for the first 12 months and then added up into year 1, and then a larger more general projection for years 2 and 3 of the plan as well. And it includes a text topic that explains your assumptions, and, ideally, a couple of business charts as well.
  • Projected Profit & Loss. Exactly as in Assignment 5: Projected Profit & Loss. At least one text topic and a table; business charts would also be nice. If it’s obvious how you make money then you don’t need to elaborate, but for some of the more innovative new technology plans, if how you make money isn’t obvious, then please make sure you talk about the business model.

Nice to have:

You’ve got a lot of resources here on this website, including two complete online books, so you can see that there’s potentially a lot to add. Use outlines recommended in the readings, or some other order. Here are some specific suggestions, in more-or-less order of desirability — but not the order they appear in the plan:

  • Cash flow. That requires some interaction between the profit and loss, which you already have, and the balance sheet, which you don’t necessarily have. With Business Plan Pro, it’s almost automatic. There’s a lot of detail available in the appropriate sections of The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan book and Hurdle: The Book on Business Planning ebook found within the software resources.
  • Business offering (describing your product or service). This goes well after the summary and before the market analysis.
  • Company description: ownership, facilities, and so on. Goes well right after the summary, before the business offering section.
  • Business model (as noted in the Projected Profit & Loss point above, only if it isn’t obvious).
  • Financial plan: description of funding sources, return on investment for investors, exit strategy.

Remember that business planning requires a lot of flexibility. Every business plan is unique to the business and its specific situation.

PLANS

  • The Art of the Start, Chapter 3: “The Art of Writing a Business Plan”

PITCHES

  • The Art of the Start, Chapter 4: “The Art of Pitching”
  • The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, Chapter 5: “Dressing and Growing”, Pages 233-236

PLANS

  • The Art of the Start, Chapter 3: “The Art of Writing a Business Plan”

PITCHES

  • The Art of the Start, Chapter 4: “The Art of Pitching”
  • The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, Chapter 5: “Dressing and Growing”, Pages 233-236

{ 0 comments }

A summary memo is a 2-5 page document that you could present to a potential investor. It should summarize the business opportunity, the strategy, the market, the business model, startup costs, startup funding plan, and initial sales numbers.

If you have been updating your own Business Plan Pro .bpdx file with each previous assignment, all of the information you need to create a Summary Memo is now completed. To select specific areas of your outline to include in the Summary Memo:

  • Choose the Export option from the File menu in Business Plan Pro.
  • From the Export dialog, chose to export to Adobe Acrobat PDF Format.
  • From the outline display in the dialog, choose “Export only selected items” button, then click the boxes for each item to be included.

For more on the Summary Memo, read pages 228-233 of The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan book. Or you can click here for the online version of the book.

  • 3 Weeks to Startup, Chapter 15: “Keeping Track”
  • 3 Weeks to Startup, Chapter 17: “Paying Taxes”
  • The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, Chapter 5: “Dressing and Growing”, Pages 194-210
  • The Business Startup Kit, Chapter 15: “Law, Taxes, and Insurance
  • The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, Chapter 5: “Dressing and Growing”, Pages 194-210

Optional Resources

The following are not part of the required reading for this session. They are provided as additional resources only.

{ 0 comments }

This assignment will be completed using the Business Plan Pro .bpdx outline file that you downloaded and saved as part of Assignment 2: Market Analysis, and which you have been adding to as you complete each assignment.

Assignment Steps

This assignment includes two tables and text explanations for each table. The tables are:

  1. Personnel plan: This table should list your projected salaries and wages for the first year, broken into 12 months and then summed for the year, and then annually for the second and third year.
  2. Profit & Loss: Once you have completed the Sales Forecast and the Personnel plan tables, Business Plan Pro automatically transfers the totals to the Profit and Loss table.  Within the P&L table, you will need to list ongoing expenses. Each expense row should include estimates for the first 12 months, then summed for the first year; and then annual estimates for the second and third year.

You can find examples of the Personnel table in these places:

  • The section on Spending Budgets in The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan book/ Remember, this book is also online, just click here.
  • The Management Team chapter in Hurdle: the Book on Business Planning discusses Personnel tables. Also online, just click here.

You can find examples of the Profit & Loss table in these places:

  • The section on the Income Statement (P&L) in The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan book/ Remember, this book is also online, just click here.
  • The Bottom Line chapter in Hurdle: the Book on Business Planning discusses the Profit & Loss tables. Also online, just click here.
  • 3 Weeks to Startup, Chapter 11: “Spin the Web”
  • The Business Startup Kit, Chapter 21: “Creating Your Website”
  • The Business Startup Kit, Chapter 22: “E-Commerce”
  • The Business Startup Kit, Chapter 23: “E-Marketing”
  • The Business Startup Kit, Chapter 24: “Social Media Made Easy”

Optional Resources

The following is not part of the required reading for this session. It is provided as additional resources only.

{ 0 comments }

  • 3 Weeks to Startup, Chapter 8: “Build Your Team”; and Chapter 9: “Manage Your Team”
  • The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, Chapter 4: “Flesh and Bones”, Pages 107-113 on metrics; Pages 156-161 on budgeting and payroll
  • The Art of the Start, Chapter 6: “The Art of Recruiting”

Optional Reading

  • The Business Startup Kit, Chapter 9: “Assembling a Great Team
  • The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, Chapter 4: “Flesh and Bones”, Pages 107-113 on metrics; Pages 156-161 on budgeting and payroll
  • The Art of the Start, Chapter 6: “The Art of Recruiting”

Optional Reading

{ 0 comments }

(Part of Session 8 Online Resources)

What do investors want? A common topic for blogs, entrepreneurs, and investors. So here’s another view on it, from somebody who knows:

Naval Ravikant, the speaker, has been through the ringer a few times, on both sides of the investment table. I watched one of his ventures, epinions.com, very closely, because my daughter and son in law were employees. So I now, a few years later, I follow his Venture Hacks blog.

Most of what he says here is pretty standard. And if you’re interested, his fellow blogger transcribed this interview on venture hacks. Some highlights:

“I look for two things that are paramount above all:

  1. Great team. It’s obvious. It’s a tautology. Everybody says it. You have to be working with some of the best people in the industry you’re in.
  2. Huge market. Niche markets just don’t work because the first idea never works. You always have to change the idea, so you need room to maneuver in a big market.

“There are three more factors that I look at. Not all three of them are required but I prefer a company to have at least two of them:

  1. Difficult technology that is compounding over time.
  2. A proprietary distribution channel. A clever viral marketing, or SEO, or partnership, or whatever strategy that gives them a leg up over competitors.
  3. A direct monetization model. Something more than throwing up 10 cent banner ad CPMs.”

Naval has more authority on this than I do, but his reference to niche markets bothers me a bit. I like niche markets in a world that is constantly splintering and dividing itself finer and finer. Some of the biggest markets there are started as niches: Facebook, for example, focused first on a few university campuses. Yahoo was a niche — the Internet — when it started. Starbucks was once a niche (gourmet coffee, affordable luxury) in the Northwest.

This is a web-embedded video from an entrepreneur who is also an investor, talking about what investors want to know, and what they want to see in a pitch.

If for whatever reason you don’t see the video here, you can click this link to go to the source video on the TED site.

{ 0 comments }

  • 3 Weeks to Startup, Chapter 5: “Getting Financed”
  • The Art of the Start, Chapter 5: “The Art of Bootstrapping”
  • The Art of the Start, Chapter 7: “The Art of Raising Capital”

Optional Reading

  • The Business Startup Kit, Chapter 8: “Get Your Business Funded”

Optional Reading

{ 0 comments }

This assignment will be completed using the Business Plan Pro .bpdx file outline that you downloaded and saved as part of Assignment 2: Market Analysis, and updated for Assignment 3: Startup Plan.

Assignment Steps

Your Sales Forecast assignment should include the following:

  1. A text explanation. You should include at least a paragraph or two explaining the main assumptions. Why your forecast is this amount and not double, or half of that? For example, if you built your Sales Forecast based on some assumptions (good idea), such as the number of chairs and tables and occupancy in a startup restaurant, then please describe those assumptions.
  2. Sales by month for the first 12 months of your plan, summed into a total for the first year, and then projected by year for the second and third years. These should usually (but not always) be broken into units and price (revenue) per unit.
  3. Direct costs of those sales estimated by month for the first 12 months of your plan, summed into a total for the first year, and then projected by year for the second and third years.

You can find examples of the Sales Forecast table in these places:

  • The chapter on Sales Forecast in The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan book, beginning on page 131, continuing through page 154. Remember, this book is also online, just click here.
  • The Forecast Your Sales chapter in Hurdle: the Book on Business Planning. Also online, just click here.

And don’t forget that there are about 500 sales forecast examples in the sample business plans free online at www.bplans.com. You can do a key-word search to look for different types of businesses to find a sample similar to your business type.

(This discussion was created as an option for use with Session 3: Business Basics.)

Here’s a case for discussion. You be the judge.

Mary comes up with a great idea for an iPhone application. She works on it for three months in her spare time. She creates sketches and designs, trying to figure out how it would work. She looks at other iPhone apps doing related things.

About three months into it, her interest in the project has waned a bit, but she’s still thinking about it. She’s spent 10 to 20 hours on it so far. Her best friend suggests she talk to Ralph about it. She doesn’t know Ralph, but her friend does. They meet for coffee. Ralph is a programmer. He works for a company in town doing Web programming. He’s also an iPhone user and has been thinking about taking a course on programming the iPhone. Ralph is excited, and his excitement rekindles Mary’s excitement. They agree to be partners in a new business based on this iPhone application.

Four months go by. Ralph takes Mary’s idea and starts developing it. It turns out, as he gets into the code, that what Mary imagined isn’t quite possible on an iPhone. Ralph revises the idea radically, makes it practical, and develops a prototype. Mary meets with him three times, they talk, she accepts his changes begrudgingly. At this point Mary’s total hours have gone to 25, but Ralph has worked almost 120 hours on the programming.

At Ralph’s suggestion, he and Mary take the prototype to Terry, who both of them know, but neither of them know well. Terry has been through a failed startup, has a business education, and is looking for a startup to do again, this time the way it should be done. Terry’s skill is mostly marketing, but he knows how to develop a plan and look for funding options. Terry does a business plan and networks with local business development groups, to find investors. They win an opportunity to present to an angel investment group.

Another three months have gone by. Mary has now put in approximately 40 hours, Ralph 250 hours, and Terry 120 hours.

The three of them meet to plan their approach with the investors. Ralph wants to quit his job and work full-time on the new thing, but needs to get paid. Mary doesn’t want to quit her job but wants to stay involved, she’s not quite sure how. Terry wants to lead the new company as soon as he can get financing.

The business plan indicates it’s going to take $250,000 to develop the business for the first year, after which it will need another $750,000 to have enough cash to run on its own.

During this meeting, Mary and Ralph and Terry come to a difficult realization: they’ve never talked about who should own how much of this company, or how much they will offer to investors in exchange for $250K.

Class exercise: solve this problem. Suggestions: depends on style, but …

  • you might choose volunteers to represent each of the three characters in the story, and let them do a mock meeting in front of the class;
  • or, another alternative, divide the class into three groups, keep the groups separate, and then ask them to report to the class on what they came up with.
  • 3 Weeks to Startup, Chapter 16: “Managing the Money”
  • The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, Chapter 5: “Dressing and Growing”, Pages 126-161
  • The Business Startup Kit, Chapter 3: “Calculating Your Startup Costs”
  • The Business Startup Kit, Chapter 4: “The Business Plan”, Pages 25-26
  • The Business Startup Kit, Chapter 13: “Money Matters”

{ 0 comments }

Before you begin…

Re-open the Business Plan Pro minimum outline .bpdx file that you saved as part of Assignment 2:  Market Analysis. You will continue to build into this .bpdx file with each assignment.

Assignment Steps

Your Startup Plan should contain a text explanation of what your startup costs and startup funding numbers are, plus two tables, the Startup Costs and the Startup Funding tables. The table explanations can be found here:

  1. Startup costs, as explained on pages 161-165 of The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan book. Or you can click here for the online version of the book.
  2. Startup funding, as explained in the online example from the online version of The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan.
  3. The online version of Hurdle: The Book on Business Planning also has sections covering Starting Costs and Startup Funding in Chapter 6: Describe Your Company.
  • 3 Weeks to Startup, Chapter 16: “Managing the Money”
  • The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, Chapter 2: “Planning is not Accounting*”, Pages 47-54
  • The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, Chapter 4: “Budget Your Startup Costs”, Pages 161-165
  • The Business Startup Kit, Chapter 3: “Calculating Your Startup Costs”
  • The Business Startup Kit, Chapter 4: “The Business Plan”
  • The Business Startup Kit, Chapter 13: “Money Matters”

Optional Resources

This is not required reading, but it does support the reading for this class session:

{ 0 comments }

What a resource: check out this list of 250 top blog posts on advertising, marketing, media, and PR. I got the tip from Seth Godin’s blog post of last week, which started with that list, and then highlighted his top 20 favorites from his blog.

Add Duct Tape Marketing to that list, and you have the ultimate course in 21st century marketing.

I had lunch yesterday with one of my favorite people in the textbook publishing industry. Seeing this list today, again, and thinking about that lunch and the world of textbooks reminds me, it has to be hard to sell a marketing textbook these days, when the really good stuff is coming up every day in the blogs.

And it has to be hard, from the professors’ point of view, to select and recommend marketing texts costing the students $100 or more, when the real world is happening so much faster on the web.

Marketing, advertising, social media, branding … it’s hard to draw the lines. What’s what? I like this post on Conversation Agent (although not its title) because it draws some useful distinctions. Taxonomy, the science of naming and classifying things, isn’t that important. But it helps to use the right words and phrases, so that other people know what you mean.

Click here for the PowerPoint slides.

Click here for the sample Business Plan Pro file

  1. Review issues from previous class.
    • Additional resources for the market analysis assignment
    • Grading discussion: your own plan vs. group plans.
    • Readings: are you keeping up with the readings. What did you think about marketing vs. branding, in the readings?
  2. Discussion: John Jantsch defines marketing as getting people to know, like, and trust you.
  3. Discussion: What’s branding? Personal branding? Why does it matter? How is it different from marketing?
  4. Discussion: differentiate marketing vs. sales.
  5. Discussion: using the class example from last time (the art theater). What kind of marketing would be appropriate? Advertisements, where? Flyers? Direct mail? Email?
  6. Slides: Marketing Your Business
  7. Discussion: how does segmentation fit into this
  8. Discussion: how is marketing changing. New media: blog, twitter?
  9. Discussion: marketing expense levels. What’s appropriate? How to tell.
  10. Discussion: marketing strategy pyramid

The readings discuss marketing and branding. How are these different?

  • 3 Weeks to Startup, Chapter 10: “Branding”
  • 3 Weeks to Startup, Chapter 12: “Spread the Word”
  • The Art of the Start, Chapter 8: “The Art of Partnering”
  • The Art of the Start, Chapter 9: “The Art of Branding”

Optional Reading

Optional readings give more information, but they are not required reading.

  • The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, Chapter 3: “The Heart of the Plan”, Pages 83-92
  • The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, Chapter 3: “The Heart of the Plan”, Page 97, The Business Model

The readings discuss marketing and branding. How are these different?

  • The Business Startup Kit, Chapter 18: “Advertising Basics”
  • The Business Startup Kit, Chapter 19: “Marketing Made Easy”
  • The Business Startup Kit, Chapter 14: “Creating a Great Brand”

Optional Reading

The following are not part of the required reading for this session. They are provided as additional resources only.

{ 0 comments }

  • 3 Weeks to Startup, Chapter 3: “About Your Market”

Optional Reading

This chapter is not required reading, but it does support the reading for this class session:

  • The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, Chapter 5: “Dressing and Growing”, Pages 210-218
  • The Business Startup Kit,  Chapter 2″ “Planning Your (Ad)Venture”, Page 15

Optional Reading

The following are not part of the required reading for this session. They are provided as additional resources only.

{ 0 comments }

These resources provide ideas from other business and marketing experts. They are not required reading for this session.

ARTICLES

Seth Godin: Nine steps to PowerPoint magic

Seth Godin: Really Bad PowerPoint

VIDEOS

The Back to Fundamentals Series

This is from November 2008. The total is 50 minutes. It divides into four parts.

Nancy Duarte On Slide Presentations
The book is called Slide:ology. This five-minute video is a great summary. Click here for the source.

These resources provide ideas from other business and marketing experts. They are not required reading for this session.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

The IRS offers free information to help you understand the tax laws. Click on each link and choose to read online or  save to your computer. These and other resources can be found at irs.gov

Locate an Accountant

Taxes Prepared Online

These resources provide ideas from other business and marketing experts. They are not required reading for this session.

These resources provide ideas from other business and marketing experts. They are not required reading for this session.

Articles

Tim Berry: Some suggestions for family business

Tim Berry: Sweat Equity

These resources provide ideas from other business and marketing experts. They are not required reading for this session.

ARTICLE

 Five Alternate Sources of Financing, from the Wall Street Journal.

VIDEOS

What Do Investors Want in a Startup?  (Naval Ravikant, speaker)

This  speaker has been on both sides of the funding table. One of his ventures is epinions.com. He also has a blog called Venture Hacks.

Most of what he says here is pretty standard. And if you’re interested, his fellow blogger transcribed this interview on venture hacks.

________________

10 Top Things for Pitching VCs (David Rose, speaker)

This speaker is an entrepreneur and an investor. Here he talks about what investors want to know, and what they want to see in a pitch.  If you don’t see the video here, you can click this link to go to the source video on the TED site.