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How to Launch a $100 Start-up

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Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:

How much does it cost to start a business? A Babson College estimate concluded that on average, with buying equipment, inventory, and paying employee salaries, it costs $65,000. The Wall Street Journal decided that sounded a little high - and sought out examples of extreme bootstrapping. Its findings? Launching an impressive business on $100 is absolutely possible. Kael Robinson did it (she only sunk $40 into her Live Worldly Brazilian bracelet company initially). So did Jeff Swedarsky, who says with $110 he bought a domain name and registered his business with the Commonwealth of Virginia, he founded the culinary tourism company Food Tour. He hopes to clear $300,000 in sales this year.

Ignorance is bliss for new entrepreneurs. That's according to entrepreneur and VC Anthony Tijan, writing in a recent blog post for the Harvard Business Review. Tijan argues that while experience may be helpful in growing and sustaining a company, a certain amount of ignorance is necessary for generating new and novel ideas. As he puts it, "Being unencumbered by external opinions allows two critical entrepreneurial traits to thrive: creativity and conviction." Tijan suggests that without prior knowledge of existing constraints, entrepreneurs are more apt to develop creative ideas and then maintain their conviction while making those ideas a reality. The tricky part, however, is realizing that it doesn't pay to remain perpetually ignorant. "The key is recognizing the critical moments in a company's trajectory when the clean-sheet approach is a net positive."

Tracking bookings, revenue, and collection. In his latest post of his weekly series called "MBA Mondays," New York venture capitalist Fred Wilson outlines the difference between the three terms and what bookings-to-revenue ratios can tell you about your business' financial health.

Learning lean innovation. Fast Company has an infographic that provides a speedy snapshot of how efficiently different countries around the world innovate and the U.S. isn't looking too hot. Each country is represented by a ratio of how many patents it granted and the total wad it blew on R & D. The post writes that, "even though we grant more patents than any other country in the world, we also seem to simply throw money at the problem of innovation--and in the long run, that can't be good for our own economic competitiveness." For that we not only need to spend our money more wisely but direct more of it to products we can export rather than pharmaceuticals and war toys that change hands domestically. Here's how you can partner with your customers to improve your R & D.

Hulu's plans to go public Just three years since it was founded, the online TV and film site is prepping for an IPO as early as this fall. The New York Times reports that Hulu execs are already in talks with investment banks, and they estimate the company could be valued at more than $2 billion. Though the site gets most of its money from advertising dollars, and reported only $100 million in revenue last year, its recently introduced subscription services may help Hulu compete with Netflix, which also offers streaming video. Its toughest competitor, YouTube, was acquired by Google in 2006.

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Last updated: Aug 16, 2010




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