Create A One Pager To Pitch Your Startup To Investors

A one-pager is essentially a written pitch for your company. It is a simple and short document that gives a high-level overview of a product, service, or a business. It is a modern version of a brochure.

Investors often see your one-pager; as the executive summary of your project. It is at-a-glance a fact sheet summarizing every important point about your business. One pager is used for promoting your business or what you’re offering, your vision and why you stand out from the competition. It is also a presentation used internally when discussing your venture with other partner and investors. When you want to pitch your business, most people probably listen half or won’t listen to you at all. Presenting yourself with a bulk of the paper is not going to work in the 21st century. There are many online tools that help to build your startups. You should pick a platform that lets you keep your one-pager up to date.

One-Pager Examples:

One-pager is a visual presentation. It is an easy and quick way to present your ideas instead of having to read many pages of documentation. Use different colors and/or copy to individualize each section.

A one-pager is needed to succinctly convey your message to your target audience.

Designing a Beautiful One-Pager:

Keep it simple

¬≠Investors are less likely to read your bundles of page. You must be clear and concise on what you are writing about. It shouldn’t be overcrowded with words. Your one-pager should have easy to read, short and to the point content.

Set up a logical layout

Remember your one-pager is not your description book. It should have a professional look. This shows investors that you make an effort in all aspects of your venture. You should conceptualize the proper structure of your content for an awesome reading experience.

Strengthen your story with multimedia

As we all are a visual learner, it is better to enrich content with photos and videos. No matter how creative content you write, if you don’t use multimedia, chances of losing readers’ interest would be high.

Grammar and spelling

Investors cannot go through unreadable one pager having spelling and grammar mistakes. It doesn’t mean good grammar showers you with good points but definitely bad grammar looks unprofessional and let you down.

The perfect team

Your one-pager must have your team member details – who the team is and how they can perform the task. As Investors invest in people, they are more concern to team who is going to join them.

Uses of One-Pager:

One-pager is needed to succinctly convey your message to your target audience.

Summarize the project in single scroll page

Advertise your local business to other surrounding businesses

Show an overview of a product or services to investors

Summarize your vision and plans

Analyze how you stand from the competition

Allow printout of a one-page synopsis of your product to show to others

Create and establish a visual brand focus

The main objectives of one-pager are to make a personal statement about what you want to deliver to others- what you’re offering- how you’re going about it- what is your vision, final thought- and why you stand out from the competitors?

What should you include in one-pager:

You may get frustrated trying to boil down your big ideas into only one-page. But it might be the only thing an investor reads before deciding to move on with you.

One-pager should include the following:

Customer Problem

Your solution

Business/ Revenue model

Target market

Competitive advantage

Sales/Marketing Strategy

Management team

Financial summary

Funding required

What Not To DO

Create one-pager in such a way that your audience will understand clearly about the literature from your one pager.

Don’t explain too much; you are not retelling the story

Don’t over too many images

Don’t think writing half a page will give it the best impression – make proper use of quotes and images.

The “Small Stuff” Can Have A Big Impact

Every year, many of us make resolutions, new goals, and otherwise decide to change things up personally and professionally. Often, we consider making huge changes that sound good on paper but we haven’t devised a plan to get from where we are now to where we want to go. Big changes are great, but don’t forget the “small stuff.”

And when I say “small stuff,” I’m talking about those details that can have a major impact on getting you moving toward your big goals. If you have a goal, for example, of attracting 50 new clients in 30 days, you had better have a plan of action in place to make it happen. And you’ll want to have those small details perfected. Here’s my top 5 to check out.

#1. Your Headshot

According to PhotoFeeler.com, if you don’t want to look out of touch, you must have a modern headshot. That means not only having a photo that actually looks like you, but your pose and the background can have a huge impact on your credibility.

#2. Your Bio

When was the last time you read your own bio or professional profile? What’s changed since it was first uploaded to your Web site? What impact have you had in your work that you have neglected to share?

#3. Your Social Media Profiles

Just as I stated above, these mini bios need to be current and relevant to your audience. Offer specific examples of your skills, experience, and the type of clients you work with or want to work with.

#4 Your Offers

Take a hard look at what you’ve been selling over the past year. What sold well and what didn’t? If something has not sold well, such as a specific program or workshop you’ve been offering, is it time to enhance it or scrap it altogether? It may be time to step out of your comfort zone and create something new and exciting to make you stand out this year.

#5 List Building

What are you currently offering as a free giveaway to grow your list? Is it working? If you are not seeing your list grow, perhaps it’s time to change that freebie. How long ago did you create it? Is it still relevant? What would entice people to join your list? You want to give your prospects something that answers a question they’ve been asking or help for a problem they’ve been enduring. If you’re not sure what that “something” is, ask your current customers or do an online survey.

7 Keys to Sticking to Your Goals and Achieving Anything

Change is hard. That’s why there aren’t thousands of self-help books telling people the secrets to change.

But why is change so difficult and what can you do to make it easier?

Here are seven tips to keep you inspired and moving forward towards your goals.

1. Create a New Belief

Before you see change in your outer world, you need to start with change in your inner world. Who do you need to be and what do you need to believe about yourself to make this goal happen?

Create an affirmation around the positive change you want to see. Here are some examples:

– I AM making a difference in the lives of 1000’s of people across the world.

– I AM a sought-after (fill in the blank) and thought-leader.

Say your affirmations in the morning and at night and watch the transformation take place!

2. Break Big Goals into Smaller Achievable Steps

While it’s great to have crazy big goals it can also leave you frustrated.

That’s why it’s important to break your goals down into smaller bite-sized actions. Smaller goals will give you a sense of progress and being achievable which keeps you motivated.

Break them down into tasks with a time frame. That way you can check them off as you complete each task and feel more accomplished.

3. Schedule Time to Work on Goals

If your goals are your top priority it only makes sense to schedule time on your calendar dedicated to achieving them.

I know you must work IN your business, but reaching goals means time is needed to work ON your business. Block out time to work solely on tasks that help you achieve your goal.

Guard that time carefully. Success requires dedicated time to put yourself first.

4. Get Support

Have someone to be your cheerleader who can keep you focused and on track. Join an online support group. Hire a coach or mentor. Tell your best friend or spouse what you intend to do.

Support will hold you accountable, keep you motivated, and help you when you feel stuck.

5. Celebrate Small Wins

If you are putting in hard work remember to acknowledge your efforts and progress. Find an exciting way to reward yourself when you reach certain benchmarks.

Do you want a pedicure? Want a movie night? What about treating yourself to a nice massage? Find a reward that truly motivates you to put in the work and make it happen.

6. Visualize Your Goal-Completed Rewards

Many athletes will tell you the secret to winning the game or achieving that record is to visualize them accomplishing it first.

When you see yourself achieving the goal in your mind it puts the power of your subconscious to work for you. You’ll spot the resources and opportunities that are available to support you.

Seeing it in your mind first is believing. Once you own that vision of your success you are half way there to achieving it.

7. Gear Up

Get the tools, support and information you need to complete your goal.

Do you need to get your business branding done or a new website built? Should you hire a new team member?

Whatever your goal is there is a book you can read, a course you can take, or someone you can talk to that will enable you to move you forward. Invest in what you need to make it happen.

Whatever goals you have set for the new year, I wish you the greatest of success in creating a work and life you love!

Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

Entrepreneurship Knowledge Services

When an entrepreneur is starting a business he or she is faced with the requirement of several functions in which they might not be experts. They may know, for example, all there is to know about wholesale distribution but have no idea how to build a website.

Since most companies are started with very limited funds, many entrepreneurs are reluctant to set money aside to pay for consulting services to fill in their knowledge gaps. For example, many create a website from the many templates available. Some are even free.

Where the company website is concerned I feel that the use of existing templates is a false economy. The website functions as an online calling card and needs to put your best foot forward. For site visitors, seeing a format that they have seen before can reflect badly on you.

The amount of time required for the entrepreneur to become proficient enough to develop a quality website takes time away from tending to functions relating to product knowledge, operations and management. Contracting with a website development company could be the solution.

Websites, to be noticed, must go through the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) process. The purpose of SEO is to improve your website’s chances of ranking high in a search. The mechanism for doing this is complex and dynamic. This again is a very specialized function that is often beyond the capability of the business owner.

There are functions which may be grouped under the heading Entrepreneurship Knowledge Services that will present the company at its best. In addition to the website and SEO examples these can include Business Strategy Planning and Business Valuation Services.

Entrepreneurship Knowledge Services is a rich term covering what one needs to know to be a successful entrepreneur. There are other issues to be considered besides knowledge however. Do you have the right temperament? Do you have enough tolerance for risk? Can you acquire the funds to be a success?

My recent experience is that the cost of business services for the self-employed is going down. One of the reasons is the quality and economy of services from Indian consultants. My experience with two firms in India has been positive. This is simply my experience, and yours can be vastly different, but I got a substantial amount of website design for about $4,000 and SEO for about $2,000.

Your reaction may be that adding $6,000 to your startup expenses is prohibitive, but by farming this out the entrepreneur should find a quicker path to profitability.

Funding a Startup Through Strategic Alliances

Entrepreneurs often look to friends, family, their bank account, and even credit cards when funding a startup, but many perhaps overlook the easiest way to generate startup revenue: The strategic alliance.

A strategic alliance is a cooperative arrangement between two or more businesses for the mutual benefit all involved businesses. The idea is that each involved entrepreneur or business entity brings something to the alliance which enables a greater opportunity for near-term successes for all parties than the parties might achieve individually. While it is possible one company might invest in another to gain access to products and services more quickly that it might develop the same for itself, the more likely scenario is one in which two companies with complementary services align to improve long-term revenue generation opportunities.

For example, one entrepreneur with design experience might align with another entrepreneur with software coding experience to form a structured partnership to pitch new software projects to a prospective client or develop a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application to offer to a broader customer base.

Another example might be a larger company that needs support products or the services provided by a startup and agrees to partner to gain access to that startup’s offering. More specifically, a mapping software company may find it has difficulty selling its software for certain business applications. It could partner with a business consultant who understands how to apply business thinking to the software tools to help a prospective customer better understand the software’s value. When a sale occurs, the consultant helps implement the software and train the client.

There are challenges to strategic alliances, of course, particularly among startup ventures. The biggest obstacles appear to be a difficulty in finding suitable cooperating partners, an inability to assess the upside and downside of the alliance accurately, the challenge of properly structuring the arrangement, and the fear that cooperation might result in an expropriation of business (Hsu, 2007). Moreover, some alliances can pose a challenge to future investment funding if investors have a conflict with one or more of the alliance partners, or if cash flow rights to alliance partners dilute the opportunity for investors (Ozmel, Robinson, & Stuart, 2012). However, if entrepreneurs are open to such alliances, these obstacles can easily be overcome with the support of experienced business mentors, attorneys, and accountants.

Simple strategic alliances might occur with a “memo of understanding” that outlines what each party in the alliance will bring to the table, while a more complicated partnership might involve a formal agreement which holds each involved party accountable for providing the products and services to be delivered jointly to a customer. The most complex alliance might require the formation of a joint entity such as a corporation or limited liability company where all parties have ownership relative to their level of responsibility and risk in the alliance. The structure chosen is dependent on the products and services offered, the desired outcome of the collaboration, and the level of tolerance for risk by the parties involved.

While strategic alliances do provide an option for funding a startup or small business, it is important to remember that most strategic alliances do not usually result in a direct investment for an entrepreneur’s business. Instead, the alliance should enable an entrepreneur to secure his or her first projects or to create the initial products necessary to launch or grow a business. As a source of funding, the goal of a strategic alliance is to facilitate new opportunities, to improve the probability of cash flow, or in the case of a startup, to get a business off the ground. Finding and aligning with the strategic partner might be the first step to securing the funding needed for long-term success.

Reference

Hsu, D. (2007). Venture Capitalists and Cooperative Start-up Commercialization Strategy. Management Science, 52(2), 204-219.

Ozmel, U., Robinson, D., & Stuart, T. (2012). Strategic alliances, venture capital, and exit decisions in early stage high-tech firms. Journal of Financial Economics, 107(3), 655-670. doi:10.1016/j.fineco.2012.09.009

About the author

David Harkins is a serial entrepreneur, which is a more professional way of saying he is still trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. When not working for himself, he has had a fulfilling career in marketing, advising both large and small companies including several in the Fortune 500 and many of America’s largest nonprofit organizations.

He has extensive training and education in advertising communications and media production. He holds a Bachelors of Business Administration with an emphasis in Entrepreneurial/Small Business Management, and he is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Entrepreneurship.

After Deciding on a Business, Use These Five Steps to Find Your Niche

Many people fail at business because they try an age-old business killer called “trying to sell to everyone”. If you are starting your first business, or any type of small business it makes more sense to identify a niche and to make sales to them. Selling to a niche has the potential to earn you big money. If it’s a well-defined niche hungry for whatever you’re selling. With a niche, you increase the probability you will capture the hearts, minds, and wallets of your target market. Trying to sell to everyone will almost always fail in a new business because the masses tend to spend their money with known companies. Few people want to gamble on a new, unknown company. To increase the possibility you make money, identify a niche and be certain you take the steps to appeal to them. Review the five steps for developing a niche that will be drooling to buy your product:

STEPS FOR FINDING YOUR NICHE

1. First, you must define a market you would like to target. Your goal should be to become a big fish in a little pond rather than a little fish in a big pond, where you are ignored. Understand the needs of the market you have chosen, then capitalize on those needs.

2. You must decide three things. First, whether your product is useful or not. If it is, who would get the greatest utility from its use? Second, if you’re able to answer the first question, you must decide how you will differentiate it from what’s offered by competitors. Third and finally, you must determine how you will most efficiently get the word out to your target market.

3. You want to establish yourself as the go-to company for whatever it is, you’re selling. Many alleged business specialists suggest establishing yourself as an expert. I almost agree. But realistically, becoming an expert in a world full of them is unlikely. Your goal should be to become an expert over time. Thus, you don’t have to try to establish yourself as the leading expert. You don’t have to beat other experts initially, aim to join them.

4. Create a specific message or a group of them, that speak to the niche you plan to target. Business is conducted on an emotional level. Once you identify the niche you plan to target, seek to build a community around the product or service, for which you are trying to capture their interest. Communicate with them often and be certain to appeal to their emotions and the benefits they will derive from use of your offering.

5. Be certain you remember you have three limiters in trying to reach your niche. Your objective, your budget and the most effective means of delivering your message. When you’re a new start-up, typically your budget is small. But, your objective would always remain to make the members of your niche aware you’re available. Both initially and over the long run, you would look for inexpensive or free methods to get the word out. To the extent possible attempt to get your company or your offering listed everywhere you can. Online you should both join and create groups. Offline, be certain to be an ambassador for your company along with anyone else you can get to toot your horn. When you’re starting out use flyers, brochures, and business cards. All of which can be put together for a little money. As you begin to earn profits, you might establish business pages on social networks. No matter what you’re selling, there are probably people looking for it on Facebook. Facebook remains the king of the hill for social network marketing. But don’t overlook Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, Pinterest and any of the big social networks. When you begin to make money, you can buy paid advertising in the future, to the extent your profits exceed its cost.

Unfortunately, there is no perfect niche, and developing the right one for your offering may require some experimentation. Just keep in mind it is pointless to try to develop a second niche until you are certain about the first.

Generating Profit for Social Change

Social entrepreneurship is a process by which people build institutions to advance solutions to social issues, such as poverty, sickness, illiteracy, human rights violations, environmental degradation, and corruption, to improve the quality of life. The most appropriate definition was laid forth by Greg Dees, who is thought of as the father of social entrepreneurship education. Greg states that social entrepreneurs create new groupings of people and resources that significantly improve society’s capability to address various issues. According to him, social entrepreneurs create public value, follow new opportunities, revolutionize and adapt, leverage resources they don’t control, and portray a strong sense of responsibility. Social entrepreneurship is a rapidly developing sector that utilizes business tools for the betterment of the society.

Years of work on social entrepreneurship has demonstrated that the progress of high-impact social ventures cannot be made single-handedly, but in collaboration with businesses, investors, and an invested public sector, all of whom endeavor to create a sustainable positive difference.

The exact definition of social entrepreneurship- an enigma.

While individuals may define themselves as social entrepreneurs for their contribution to benefit the societies, the social entrepreneurship sector is yet struggling to gain academic acceptability. The term “social entrepreneurship” is yet in need of an appropriate definition. The current use of the term seems ambiguous and limitless, and therefore it needs restrictions. The practice of social entrepreneurship needs to be properly defined which requires a hypothetical infrastructure that links it to the theory of entrepreneurship.

How to become a social entrepreneur?

First, to achieve success as a social entrepreneur, you need more than a business idea. You need a business strategy and the tenacity to see it through.

Why a social entrepreneur?

Have got what it takes? Don’t answer immediately, think about your motivation, is it because you want to do some good or find a way for to give back to society? Being a social entrepreneur means dedicating time, money, and efforts to help solve the issues of other individuals. You need to figure out why you want to become a social entrepreneur in the first place and understand all its aspects. Remember, self-reflection is the key that will keep you going and will prevent you from going off-track.

Your primary objective

If you are ready to take this path, then it is time to decide what your mission is going to be. Which issue(s) are you going to tackle? Think about abilities, previous experience, professional skills, and whether you have access to the required resources. Have a clear-cut plan and finally decide if you want to tackle that problem. Research thoroughly about the type of social business setting you want to work in and learn more about competitors. If a social entrepreneur is out there, having a similar business or idea, do not give up but instead use that as an inspiration and possibly reinvent the idea.

Creating a business model

How can your business concept be different from others? A helpful exercise would be to continuously make notes that are directly related to what you are trying to achieve with your social enterprise. Remember, your business model has to create a positive impression on your staff, retailers, and clients, as well as serving a societal need. You should have a clear picture of what you want to achieve and how will you achieve it – preferably in ways that have not been done before.

Partnership and a team

Can you do this all by yourself? You can and you may but wouldn’t it be so much better to have a partner that can share the burden of work with you? Not only that, partners can help you in establishing your enterprise. They may have useful contacts and connections for you and your business. Genuine humility can assist you at this stage to keep you in partnership with the people, institutions, and communities that you’re trying to help.

A “partner” is not essentially an individual who will work for you either as a collaborator or an employee. Rather, it’s someone who will be a supporter of what you’re trying to achieve through your work.

To create a “team” look for individuals that are already in your life and who you consider to be reliable friends and mentors. They could be people who are simply on the same wavelength as you who want to make a difference too. Team members are people you can freely throw ideas to and get some feedback in return. They are the people who know you and what you can do and can help propel you forward.

Funding and marketing

This is the critical part. If you have reached this stage, then it’s time to look for financing options. Even though your business is focused on meeting social needs, all businesses still need to generate income, pay employees, and provide services. Will you seek a business loan or a loan from family and friends? Do you have funds that you can invest or are you on the lookout for potential investors and venture capitalists? If you are unsure, then you can try and reach out to other social entrepreneurs and get their opinion on the issue.

The next important thing to check off your list is marketing. You need to spread awareness about your brand and your work. Crowdfunding platforms, for instance, are excellent resources for helping social entrepreneurs grow and establish themselves. Create your website, and spread the word on social media platforms as well. If nothing does it, then simply shout out from the rooftops. Let the world know what issues you are trying to resolve and you might inspire other people in the process.

How to Start Your On-Demand Venture With Uber Modules

Uber The ever-growing on-demand transportation service which revolutionized the taxi industry all across the world. The Uber business model is a huge success that it was adopted in several other ways by many entrepreneurs and brought success to all who applied it wisely in their businesses!
Uber has an innovative and simple business model which made it a billion dollar company in just 8 years from its inception.

How did it all begin?

Uber was founded by Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick in 2009. With its inception and the initial testing and passing Beta testing stages, it was launched in the year 2011 in San Francisco. With its initial customers being tech savvy beings, Uber attracted a lot of its first customers by giving attractive offers and a cool app to book a cab at the tap of their finger. The cabs would come pick them up at their doorstep and drop them at any desired location.

People who used Uber were amused by the first-hand service offered by Uber and the marketing happened by word-of-mouth. Thus Uber became a success in San Francisco and soon spread across the world changing the face of taxi services everywhere it went.

What is Uber clone?

Uber Clone or also known as Uber for X, is a complete clone of Uber which is modified for various on-demand services such as Uber for Plumbers, Uber for food delivery, Uber for Massage, etc.

Uber clone offers a complete clone script based on the Uber business model and it comes with features that can be personalized according to your requirements. This clone script has the same operations like the Uber app and offers similar functionalities.

How does this Uber clone work?

Uber for X clone script has two separate apps, controlled by a centralized admin panel.

Customer app: This app is used by the end customers who are in need of on-demand services.

Service provider app: This app is used by the service providers who provide the necessary service to the customers.

Admin Panel: This is the centralized server which unites the end customers and service providers and helps in providing communication between them. This controls and monitors everything and provides secure transactions.

Some of the common features are:

Live Geotracking

This feature helps the customers to view and locate the service provider using the Google maps in real time. And it gives an update on the arrival time of the service provider.

Change/Cancel Booking

Customers have the comfort of changing or canceling a booking at any time with this feature.

Talk to your Service Provider

With the customer and service provider apps, your clients and providers can chat or call from within the app.

Work History

This feature enables the customer and the service provider to view a detailed work history.

Rating and Review

Both the service providers and the customers can rate each other and review based on the experience they have undergone.

Detailed Profile

The customer and service provider can create and maintain a detailed profile so that you, the Admin, can know the ecosystem better.

Let’s take a closer look at the Operation Model of Uber Module pertaining to taxi services.

Uber has a simple four-step model that clarifies its operations

1. First Step – Request a Cab

The customer who uses Uber request cab instantly to their exact location. The cab can also be scheduled to arrive later.

2. Second Step – Connecting

When you send a request to a Uber cab driver, he has the option to accept or reject your call. If he accepts, all of the details about the customer are sent to him for pickup. If the driver rejects the call, the request is automatically transferred to another driver in the nearby location.

3. Third Step – Ride

When the request is accepted, the customer gets the details about when the cab is arriving. Also, the ETA of the driver is shown to the customer. The meter starts ticking when the customer sits in the cab. This can also be tracked in the customer interface of the app. Riding is an important aspect of Uber’s business model and the driver has to ensure that the ride is comfortable and safe.

4. Fourth Step – Rating and Payment

When the customer ride is over, the fare is paid through cash. Also, the customer gets the privilege to rate the driver according to the traveling experience. A good rating will help a driver gets noticed among other customers on the app.

Customers

  • There is no need to wait for a taxi for long times.
  • Free rides on certain occasions and discounts from time to time.
  • Prices are lesser than the normal taxi fares.
  • Lets the customers travel in style.
  • Fixed prices for common places like Airport, railway station, etc.

Drivers

  • It serves as an additional source of income.
  • Permits the drivers to work on their terms and time.
  • Easy payment procedure.
  • Uber pays drivers to be online, even if they don’t get any request.

This app can be adopted for many such on-demand services and can be effectively transformed into a successful business according to the industry you have chosen. All the features are inbuilt and so the app can be built in no time and made live in the marketplace in a short time and it requires minimal investment to kick-start your venture. If any additional features are needed, even those can be added without affecting the effectiveness of the app. This clone script comes as a white label solution for your branding purposes. It comes with a powerful admin dashboard to control every action within the app.

So kick-start your on-demand venture immediately with the premade Uber clone script and become a booming success in the marketplace! The Uber for X helps you to turn your dream into a reality and fulfill your dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Uber has changed the way how we do business and shifted the market with its business model. Along with its business model, the technology behind Uber made it a booming venture in the marketplace for On Demand Startups. Let’s take a look at the technology behind Uber Clone that made it a thriving business. If you’re interested in developing a taxi booking app then this will provide an insight into the various aspects involved.

Four Suggestions for Developing an Idea for Starting a Business

The first step to finding a business that’s right for you is to develop an idea you can become passionate about. Starting a business doesn’t require you to develop a new product or process. In fact many successful businesses are started by selling a known successful product or process that is already branded and in demand. If your goal is to start a business, without the involvement of partners, you have to search your inventory of skills as a starting point, for developing a business idea. In fact, it doesn’t make much sense to even think about planning until you develop an idea. I offer these four suggestions for how you might develop an idea for your business:

  1. In the end, you have to follow the money. But a good first place to search for a business idea, would be to develop a list of everything you’re passionate about. One of your passions could be something that excites other people as well. If your passion is lounging, you could develop an idea for a line of lounging wear or supplies like pillows. If your passion is eating you may be able to develop a new taste sensation. If fashion is your passion, you may be able to design clothes or accessories.
  2. If you have a hobby in which you are an expert, if it has the potential to earn a profit, that may be the source of your idea. If you’re an avid model rail road enthusiast, you may be able to build a business around designing custom rail road layouts, for sale. If you like fish or plants, you may design a business around an aquarium or plant decorating company, for rentals to offices. Just be certain you can make a profit because the IRS will frown on hobbies turned into businesses that don’t earn a profit.
  3. Consider work and other experiences you already have. Unless you are very young, it’s likely you have had many jobs. The issues you addressed at one of those jobs may provide you with an idea you could turn into a business. If you ever worked as a secretary, you could earn a lot more money setting up an administrative overflow service. Performing the overflow work of a few large companies has the capacity to pay far more that most secretaries earn.
  4. If you are creative, have an engineering background or feel you’re capable of improving on existing products or processes, consider designing a new product or process. This unfortunately may be the most difficult method for developing an idea for a business. Your new product would need to be branded and promoted. Sometimes it may be best to license your idea to a large company. This is easily the most challenging method for developing a business to start. But, if you think you have what it takes, this may be a possibility. This could lead to the collection of royalties or a big payoff if your idea is good.

The best thing you can do when you are considering opening a business is to absorb all the information you can get your hands on about the industry your business will operate in, idiosyncrasies related to the specific business you plan to open, and best practices for promoting your business. Because once you develop an idea, you then have to determine what problem it will solve for your target market and the consumers most likely to buy your offering. Finding an idea for a business you can open is simply one of the many steps you must perform prior to planning or preparing to open for business.

Family and Friends As a Funding Option

The average cost to start a business is $30,000. In addition, starting a business has proven to be a challenge for many; young and old. What are beginning entrepreneurs who face this situation supposed to do? Well, many have utilized “friends and family” as a financial source. Why not; some may ask. Friends and family normally have their best interest at hand; they tend to be very trusting when it comes to lending and investing in the new entrepreneur business venture.

For example, Paul Graham the Vice President of his work on “Lisp” which eventually became the Yahoo Store; raised $10,000 from a close friend. However, Paul Graham really thought about this decision before executing it. His friend not only knew him well; but he was also wealthy and a lawyer. Likewise, Paul received funding and access to free legal advice.

It’s important to research the advantages and disadvantages of accepting a “family and friend” loan. There could definitely be potential risks and/ or blessings when completing this type of transaction.

Let’s begin by discussing the advantages of “Friends and Family” funding

1. Your friends and family know you personally. They are less likely to judge your funding request based on your personal credit rating or business credit score.

2. Your family and friends will give you time to develop the business vision; because they want you to succeed; likewise, their terms maybe more favorable than those offered by financial institutions; most likely will not be as demanding on your financial projections as a professional investor

3. Your family and friends funding will assist you in requesting funding from professionals in more prestigious valuations.

Next discuss the disadvantages of “Friend and Family” funding
1. You may end up in a heated lawsuit and break up family and friend relationships if or when things become challenging.
2. They may not be able to bring wisdom, experience or resources that could enhance your business – they may begin to just be in the way.
3. If you receive a significant amount of funding; you could be potentially putting your “friends and family” at risk of losing everything.
4. You may put the people you love best at risk, if they are giving you a significant portion of your savings

A few great pointers to consider and/ or to keep in mind are:
1. Just as Paul Graham, Vice President of YahooStore did; choose someone with solid business skills; one who understands legal issues as well as any risk and benefits that could affect you.
2. Demonstrate your passion and diligence for your business venture; take the time to research your idea before you present and request funding from family and friends. This will show them that you are serious, thorough and passionate.
3. Create a legal agreement or contract with “family and friends”. This will ensure all expectations are spelled out and everyone is on the same page. It will explain issues such as how funding will be used, how progress will be measured, and how repayment will be made.

4. Be realistic about the amount of funding needed; this is why it is very important to complete research beforehand. You must remember that this is still someone else money; and they deserve and expect to be paid back like the bank would require. Asking yourself questions such as:
a. How much money is needed to implement your vision?
b. How much money do you need to pay employees, buy inventory, and keep the lights on.
c. How much money do you need for your salary
5. You may reduce your funding obligation to any single person by asking multiple people for smaller sums. But, remember to keep track of each person and collaborate consistently with each individual.