For decades, Inc. magazine has been tracking the successes and failures of entrepreneurs, offering valuable insight about why some companies survive and others fail. Here's one spark of advice for hopeful CEOs: Know thyself. Sure, a market can evaporate, a business partner can split, and other external forces can strangle your start-up. But you can reduce your chances of becoming another statistic by identifying what you don' t know, and filling those knowledge gaps on the fly.
This start-up survival guide of 10 great resources for starting a business is for the self-educating entrepreneur who has a great business idea and not much else. The resources and tools below can help you as you target your market, craft a winning business plan, design your dream office, set up shop on the Web, manage cash flow, hire your first employee, and more.
RESEARCH AND PLANNING
Is there a need for your service? Will your product sell? Good, accurate market research can help you answer these pivotal questions. These resources can help you define and delight your target market.
Build a Strong Business Plan, Section by Section
Learn how to jazz up your executive summary, beef up your marketing strategy, and present eye-catching financial projections.
Setting Up a New Office
Setting up a new office is a mighty task - whether you're looking for the right location, negotiating a lease, designing a workplace, or deciding whether to buy or rent the equipment and services you'll need to do business in your new space.
Plus: Inc. magazine's 2000 ranking of the top 100 best metro areas for starting and growing a business.
Setting Up a Home Office
So you' ve decided to take advantage of the many practical, financial, and psychological benefits of starting a business out of your home? Terrific. These articles and resources can help you plan your dream office -- the one just off the kitchen.
Want to build a Web site for your start-up? First, you need a domain name and a vision of what you want your Web site to accomplish. Later, you'll need great content, a talented designer, and a technical expert who can test your site on various browsers and operating systems. Here's information that can assist you as you launch your Web presence.
E-Commerce Starter Kit
Pssst! Selling on the Web is harder than it looks. The reality of the virtual world is that not every e-commerce idea takes off. These articles can help you find the right strategies for your start-up.
Nothing speaks more highly of your company than a satisfied customer. To help you tap the power of your customers, we've assembled these ideas on generating referrals, using references to build your business, and creating buzz with word-of-mouthmarketing.
FINANCE & CAPITAL
Raising Start-Up Capital
Your search for capital should begin with a good business plan that shows investors or lenders your company's potential. Follow that up with a thorough knowledge of the resources available and a determination to make your business a reality.
Cash Management Basics
Cash is your business's lifeblood. Managed well, yourcompany remains healthy and strong. Use these tools and tricks from other CEOs to help you get a handle on business cash.
Hiring Your First Employee
Your business is growing so fast that soon you'll be not only your own boss, but someone else's as well. It's time to hire your first employee.
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