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business
Business, Education, Entrepreneurship, Organization, Success, Technology

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at How Top Businesses Got Their Names

The best businesses have iconic names. Some, like ChapStick, Kleenex, or Q-Tips, become so engrained in the lexicon that people use these titles to refer to a type of product rather than a specific brand. Some consumers even use company names, like Google or Skype, as verbs, so that these terms not only reveal what product someone is using, they also describe what that person is doing.

Company names are almost always the first thing people see when they interact with a brand. As a result, it is extremely important for entrepreneurs to pick a name that reflects the business and that also creates a positive, memorable experience. The following list gives examples of some of the best-known businesses in the world, how they came to bear their names, and why a few underwent name changes:

  1. Warby Parker

Warby Parker revolutionized the eyewear industry by offering low-priced frames and lenses online. The company name is a pairing of Warby Pepper and Zagg Parker, two characters in a book by Jack Kerouac, who the company founders say inspired them to explore the unknown.

  1. Apple

A trip to Oregon reportedly inspired Steve Jobs to call the company Apple Computers. Today, the friendly and approachable Apple name is synonymous will all things “I,” including the iPhone and iPad.

  1. Google

Google, the top search engine in the world, takes its title from the word “googol,” which mathematicians use to describe the number 1 succeeded by 100 zeros. Company founders Larry Page and Serge Brin actually started out with the label BackRub before transitioning to the name everyone knows today.

  1. Yahoo

Another notable search engine and e-mail provider, Yahoo is the brainchild of Jerry Yang and David Filo, who were pursuing doctoral degrees at Stanford when they started the company. Some sources report that Yahoo stands for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle,” but Yang and Filo claim they took their inspiration from the book Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift.

  1. Nike

Nike is a giant in the footwear and apparel industry, and its title may be familiar to some as the namesake of the winged goddess of victory from Greek mythology. Originally doing business as Blue Ribbon Sports, and the company later renamed itself to reflect the inspiration behind the iconic “swoosh” logo.

  1. Reebok

A reputable contender in the athletic wear market, Reebok was founded by J. W. Foster in 1895. His grandson, Joe Foster, later renamed the firm, choosing a new name from a South African dictionary entry for a type of antelope (“rhebok”).

  1. PayPal

One of the pioneers of the electronic payment movement, PayPal actually started out as Confinity (a merging of “confidence” and “infinity”) with a focus on developing technology for Palm Pilot. In 1999, the business expanded its offerings to include e-mail payments and changed its name to PayPal.

  1. Skype

Skype is a leading communications technology that allows users to send instant messages and meet remotely through video conference calls, among other capabilities. Founded as Sky-Peer-to-Peer, the company has since condensed its name twice, first to Skyper and then to Skype.

  1. Sony

Sony has become synonymous with household electronics, but it started out as a Japanese radio repair shop called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo in 1946. The company quickly expanded and later developed the transistor television. In 1958, it took on the widely recognized name Sony Corporation.

  1. 3M

The maker of Scotch tape, Post-It notes, and other products, 3M opened for business in 1902. The founders established the company as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, but they wanted a simpler name, so they abbreviated the three M’s.

  1. Häagan-Dazs

Founded in New York, Häagan-Dazs has produced ice cream products for more than 55 years. The founder, Reuben and Rose Mattus, wanted to pick a name that no one could replicate, so they made one up. The term Häagan-Dazs has no real meaning, but the Mattus pair chose it because it sounded foreign.

  1. Ikea

An internationally recognized purveyor of furniture and home goods, Ikea is headquartered in Sweden. Its founder, Ingvar Kamprad, selected the title by placing his name and the name of his childhood village in order—Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd—and making an acronym out of the words.

  1. Best Buy

Best Buy ranks among the most successful electronics franchises, but from its inception in 1966 to 1981 it did business as Sound of Music. After a tornado hit one of its biggest stores, it held a special sale on the salvaged inventory, offering the “best buys” on products. This sale was so successful was that that company switched its name.

  1. Lego

Lego is the familiar manufacturer of plastic bricks that connect to form anything one can imagine. To come up with the company name, the founders merged together the Danish phrase “leg godt,” which means “play well.” Coincidentally, Lego is also Latin for “I put together.”

social network
Business, Entrepreneurship, Management, Organization, Success

12 Networking Mistakes Entrepreneurs Can Easily Avoid

When it comes to career advice, people readily extol the virtues of networking, emphasizing the fact that relationships often matter more than résumés. This principle holds especially true for entrepreneurs. The greatest business idea in the world can inevitably fail if a company’s leader lacks a strong network. Startups need a social foundation in order to grow.

Although building up a list of connections may seem relatively simple in theory, business professionals tend to forget that networking is an art. As a result, many fail to maximize their efforts because, whether knowingly or not, they continue to make mistakes that are easily avoidable. Here are a few examples of missteps to watch out for.

  1. Starting without a plan

Perhaps the worst networking mistake is when people attempt to build connections without first deciding what kind of network they want. Who will help advance the business? What type of skillset will they have? What industry organizations offer valuable membership? Without answering important questions like these, entrepreneurs will achieve little more than aimless wandering.

plan

  1. Looking inward

Networking usually comes to mind when people need something, but one of the best times to branch out is when you have something to offer. Either way, entrepreneurs should strive to look outward first when they network. Additionally, they should always find a way to give whenever they are on the receiving end of a deal or a favor.

  1. Forgetting to ask

Between attending industry events, going to dinners and lunches with colleagues, and the interactions that occur naturally in business, the average entrepreneur meets with quite a few people on a regular basis. Simply meeting is not enough, however. Networking depends on asking for contact information and requesting permission to reach out in the future.

  1. Failing to be active on social media

Social media is a great tool for making connections with other professionals. For entrepreneurs, Twitter can be particularly useful. In addition to the utility of searching and messaging people, business owners can leverage these platforms to help establish their own credibility. Inactivity on these sites, however, dramatically reduces the number of potential resources from which one can draw.

social media

  1. Ignoring online networking

The Internet is replete with networking options beyond social media. Entire websites like LinkedIn and E.Factor dedicate their services to helping business-minded individuals connect. These sites are excellent ways to make initial acquaintances and for ultimately build relationships with other talented leaders. Successful networking takes full effect offline, but it increasingly begins online.

  1. Neglecting to update contacts

Contacts can easily become outdated without the proper attention. Addresses, phone numbers, and job positions all change. Entrepreneurs should strive to keep their networks as up-to-date as possible by reaching out on a regular basis. Sharing an interesting article, passing along a business opportunity, or offering congratulations on a recent achievement are all easy ways to maintain contact.

  1. Overlooking the consumer

The common conception of networking is that it involves connection-building between businesses and professionals. However, that view leaves out the potential power of the customer. When looking for ways to increase resources and relationships, entrepreneurs should consider including their client base in the process. After all, who knows the buyer better than the buyer?

  1. Reaching out to everyone indiscriminately

Entrepreneurs definitely need to take initiative and proactively reach out to others and ask for their help. However, they should show some discretion in the process and not just take business cards from everyone they meet. Having a group of 10 strong contacts will always trump having 1,000 faceless acquaintances.

social

  1. Underestimating the value of in-person interactions

Online networking is an invaluable practice, but it only achieves half of the goal. Entrepreneurs must find ways to meet with their associates in person to develop actual relationships with them. In-person meetings, or Skype calls at the very least, allow individuals to communicate more freely – without having to navigate the nuances of emails and messaging.

  1. Showing impatience with the process

Just like every other aspect of running a business, the networking process requires time. Startup owners should avoid setting unreasonable expectations for results when working with other people. Very rarely do two professionals reach a major agreement after sending a LinkedIn request.

  1. Failing to respect the time of others

When meeting new people, especially at large networking gatherings, remember to give others their space and not keep them in conversation for the entire time. One-on-one meetings and phone calls should similarly benefit both parties. Everyone has a schedule and everyone needs to be heard.

  1. Failing to follow up

Following up with a thank you is one of the easiest things to do, which also makes it one of the easiest things to forget. Showing appreciation for a meeting, whether after a quick discussion over coffee or a more in-depth conference conversation, will go a long way every time.

craft project
Business, Entrepreneurship, Organization, Productivity, Technology, Work at Home

13 of the Most Scalable Side Business Ideas

Aspiring entrepreneurs often wonder whether they have a good idea. Will that creative startup concept ever evolve into a full-fledged company? Unfortunately, the fact is that not every spark of inspiration will lead to success.

Some people decide to start side businesses to test out the feasibility of their idea, and when their efforts start to gain traction, they invest more time and resources into it. Others pursue side businesses for the sole purpose of generating supplemental income to create more flexibility in their lifestyle. For either scenario, entrepreneurs should consider these scalable business ideas when pursuing a part-time venture.

  1. Public speaking

There is an audience for just about any field of expertise or interest, making public speaking a viable option for almost anyone who wants to share their thoughts. Plus, the commitment can be as much as the speaker wishes, whether it’s one engagement a year or one every month. Local civic groups, clubs, alumni associations, and other organizations are a great place to start practicing and building a reputation.

  1. Podcasting

Similar to public speaking, creating a podcast allows entrepreneurs to reach an audience who shares their same interests. Podcasts are also versatile in that they can succeed with varying volumes of output—whether it’s one podcast per week or one per month. The best podcasts focus on niche subjects; if the discussion topics are too broad or general, it can be hard to find listeners. Once you’ve built an audience, you can start selling advertising space.

podcast

  1. Adjunct teaching

Another outlet for sharing knowledge and expertise is in the classroom at a community college, adult education center, any business that provides lessons, or via an online forum. Some positions may require a graduate degree, but instructors are also needed to teach classes on specific skills.

  1. Tutoring

For those interested in working with adults or kids on an individual basis, tutoring is a great way to share knowledge, earn side money, and gain satisfaction. Students of all ages need tutors to help them master any number of subjects and skills, whether it’s playing the piano, preparing for a standardized test, or speaking a foreign language.

  1. Producing stock photos

Amateur photographers looking to take the step into the professional realm might consider stock photos as their entry point. Snap shots at your leisure and then upload them to sites like iStock or ShutterStock. You’ll begin to establish a passive income stream as people pay to use your photos.

stock photo

  1. Catering

Starting a small catering business is another viable option with a low entry barrier. In contrast with opening a restaurant, catering allows for greater flexibility and the ability to keep your day job. In addition, the industry is growing; it’s valued at $70 billion.

  1. Event planning

A side business related to catering is planning parties and events. These typically take place outside of standard office hours, which makes it a great option for part-time work. If you have exceptional organization skills, know the best venues in your town, and are skilled at getting good deals with vendors, you might excel at event planning.

  1. Seasonal decorating

Seasonal decorating is a growing industry, as many people want their homes to look festive for the holidays, but lack the time to take care of the details. Seasonal decorating might include stringing lights, purchasing and trimming the tree, and hanging garlands. If you have craft skills, you might also find success creating handmade holiday decorations like ornaments and wreaths.

winter decoration

  1. Interior decorating

Entrepreneurs with an eye for color, texture, and shape may also want to try their hand at interior decorating. Keeping up with the latest trends in home décor, furniture, and fixtures can put you in high demand among people looking for a beautifully appointed home.

  1. Tailoring

While it may seem like a lost art, the skill of mending and altering clothing is one valued by many people. People often need tailors to make their suits and formal dresses fit properly, as well as simply to hem pants or adjust a sleeve. Those interested in tailoring should own a sewing machine, however. Skilled tailors can also earn money by offering sewing or mending classes.

  1. Landscaping

Entrepreneurs with a knack for gardening and a love of being outdoors might think about going into landscaping on the side. It’s possible to simply focus on mowing lawns, raking leaves, and watering plants to begin with, and then scale up from there by offering more advanced services.

lawn care

  1. App developing

The app market is one of the most saturated out there, yet developers continually find ways to introduce something new. Entrepreneurs with tech skills should consider developing an app as a side project.

  1. Website building

The ability to design websites with quality content and attractive layouts that drive traffic is a high-demand skill. Aspiring web design entrepreneurs can start out small and develop their skills in their free time by creating sites for friends or local organizations. With a portfolio showcasing your work, you can then begin charging for your services.

social media
Business, Entrepreneurship, Improvement, Management, Marketing, Productivity, Success, Technology

14 Ways That Entrepreneurs Can Boost Their Social Media Platforms

First-time entrepreneurs can relate to the learning curve involved with launching a new business. Once the concept is in place, then there’s the task of figuring out how to spread that idea and ultimately acquire customers. Add in the factor of a limited budget, which is the case for many budding startup owners, and the process can easily overwhelm anyone.

One of the best tools for cash-strapped businesses to use is social media. Through the distribution of content, this approach can single-handedly address the brand awareness and lead generation needs of a small company. Even so, developing familiarity with this strategy presents a learning curve of its own.

Because entrepreneurs need to focus on more things than just their marketing methods, it can be helpful to have a few tips on what types of content to publish and promote on social media.

  1. Video is king

Videos on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are perhaps the most effective forms of content to share with social media followers. Marketing with digital video has become so popular that companies collectively spend more than $8 billion on it every year.

YouTube

  1. Show people how to use the product

One popular video form is the how-to or tutorial. These short clips can demonstrate the simple function of a product or give an inside look into a new way of using an item, one that consumers may not have thought of before.

  1. Link to your blog

When building a website, many entrepreneurs include, or should include, space for a company blog. Social media, in turn, serves as the perfect vehicle for publicizing blog content. Simply post a link on Facebook, Twitter, or any other platform.

  1. Throw it back

Another trend in social media involves posting videos or images from the past and giving it the “throwback” title or hashtag. For young companies, this might include sharing a picture of the first dollar earned or the day the office officially opened.

  1. Share inspiration

Posting quotes is a great way to add personality to a social media page and engage with those who view your content. People who share your interests will more likely be drawn to the company, and more often than not they will repost the quote, which expands viewership.

  1. Trust the numbers

Entrepreneurs should leverage statistics to their benefit. If the data says something important and is relevant to your business, share it on social media.

analytics

  1. Offer freebies

Giveaways are not necessarily innovative, but using social media platforms to promote them is. Holding contests drives page visits, clicks, and likes. And in many cases, contest and prize winners will post about their good fortune on their own page along with a thank-you link to the business.

  1. Test people’s knowledge

Like websites, social media pages excel when they drive traffic. One way to attract attention and keep people coming back is to post a trivia question and put some type of time limit on the answers. This approach can simultaneously teach the community about your industry and generate leads.

  1. Engage with photos

Just like video, pictures can go a long way on social media sites. Some photos will depict the company logo and its products or services, but entrepreneurs can take it to another level of personalization by sharing pictures of happy employees or a behind-the-scenes look at the business in action.

  1. Request feedback

When it comes to consumer feedback, social media delivers. Entrepreneurs simply have to ask a question, and their followers will offer an answer. This also yields a second benefit: it helps the buyer feel valued for their opinion.

  1. Ask random questions

In addition to feedback, general questions work well on social media. Twitter, for instance, has a feature that allows users to poll their followers. Another example is to post a fill-in-the-blank question and then engage with responses.

questions

  1. Relay the words of others

Similar to asking for constructive criticism is sharing customer reviews. If someone really loves your product, ask them if they mind you sharing a few of their words or a video of their experience.

  1. Give news updates

Any time something changes, whether it is growth or a new milestone, entrepreneurs should start thinking about how they want to share it on social media. These platforms are designed especially for updates, so take advantage.

  1. Repurpose old posts

A great backup on a day where you might not have any ideas is to simply repurpose an old post. Maybe it was a picture or a video that pulled a lot of likes and shares. Post it again with a small edit or twist and let it bring in more traffic.

social media
Business, Entrepreneurship, Improvement, Management, Productivity, Success

14 Ways That Entrepreneurs Can Boost Their Social Media Platforms

First-time entrepreneurs can relate to the learning curve involved with launching a new business. Once the concept is in place, then there’s the task of figuring out how to spread that idea and ultimately acquire customers. Add in the factor of a limited budget, which is the case for many budding startup owners, and the process can easily overwhelm anyone.

One of the best tools for cash-strapped businesses to use is social media. Through the distribution of content, this approach can single-handedly address the brand awareness and lead generation needs of a small company. Even so, developing familiarity with this strategy presents a learning curve of its own.

Because entrepreneurs need to focus on more things than just their marketing methods, it can be helpful to have a few tips on what types of content to publish and promote on social media.

  1. Video is king

Youtube
Videos on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are perhaps the most effective forms of content to share with social media followers. Marketing with digital video has become so popular that companies collectively spend more than $8 billion on it every year.

  1. Show people how to use the product

One popular video form is the how-to or tutorial. These short clips can demonstrate the simple function of a product or give an inside look into a new way of using an item, one that consumers may not have thought of before.

  1. Link to your blog

When building a website, many entrepreneurs include, or should include, space for a company blog. Social media, in turn, serves as the perfect vehicle for publicizing blog content. Simply post a link on Facebook, Twitter, or any other platform.

  1. Throw it back

hashtag

Another trend in social media involves posting videos or images from the past and giving it the “throwback” title or hashtag. For young companies, this might include sharing a picture of the first dollar earned or the day the office officially opened.

  1. Share inspiration

Posting quotes is a great way to add personality to a social media page and engage with those who view your content. People who share your interests will more likely be drawn to the company, and more often than not they will repost the quote, which expands viewership.

  1. Trust the numbers

Entrepreneurs should leverage statistics to their benefit. If the data says something important and is relevant to your business, share it on social media.

  1. Offer freebies

Giveaways are not necessarily innovative, but using social media platforms to promote them is. Holding contests drives page visits, clicks, and likes. And in many cases, contest and prize winners will post about their good fortune on their own page along with a thank-you link to the business.

  1. Test people’s knowledge

questionnaire
Like websites, social media pages excel when they drive traffic. One way to attract attention and keep people coming back is to post a trivia question and put some type of time limit on the answers. This approach can simultaneously teach the community about your industry and generate leads.

  1. Engage with photos

Just like video, pictures can go a long way on social media sites. Some photos will depict the company logo and its products or services, but entrepreneurs can take it to another level of personalization by sharing pictures of happy employees or a behind-the-scenes look at the business in action.

  1. Request feedback

When it comes to consumer feedback, social media delivers. Entrepreneurs simply have to ask a question, and their followers will offer an answer. This also yields a second benefit: it helps the buyer feel valued for their opinion.

  1. Ask random questions

In addition to feedback, general questions work well on social media. Twitter, for instance, has a feature that allows users to poll their followers. Another example is to post a fill-in-the-blank question and then engage with responses.

  1. Relay the words of others

feedback

Similar to asking for constructive criticism is sharing customer reviews. If someone really loves your product, ask them if they mind you sharing a few of their words or a video of their experience.

  1. Give news updates

Any time something changes, whether it is growth or a new milestone, entrepreneurs should start thinking about how they want to share it on social media. These platforms are designed especially for updates, so take advantage.

  1. Repurpose old posts

A great backup on a day where you might not have any ideas is to simply repurpose an old post. Maybe it was a picture or a video that pulled a lot of likes and shares. Post it again with a small edit or twist and let it bring in more traffic.

office
Business, Education, Entrepreneurship, Management, Organization, Success

7 of the Most Common Business Structures

Brainstorming a new business concept and then putting that good or service into the market is a dream for many. Roughly 400 million entrepreneurs are running a business somewhere in the world, and that number continues to grow. The expanding enterprise landscape makes it difficult to stand out, however, and increasingly easy to blend in with the crowd.

Positioning a new business for optimal success depends, in part, on having a good initial idea, as well as a way to cost-effectively manufacture the product or scale the service. Another key component, one that often gets overlooked early on, is deciding what kind of business structure to adopt when officially filing to form the company.

Entrepreneurs need to evaluate the long-term goals for their businesses and weigh those objectives against the advantages and disadvantages that each potential structure offers. One individual may find that an LLC is the best route, for instance, while another may opt for a non-profit designation. The important thing is to determine which structure will best allow the business to grow and become sustainable.

Multiple options are available to aspiring startup owners. The following list highlights a few.

  1. Sole proprietorship

As the name suggests, a sole proprietorship is a business owned and operated by a single person. These kinds of entities are not incorporated, they require no extra cost, and from a tax perspective, the business owner and his or her company reside on the same level. In other words, the good or service offered is not considered a separate entity, and therefore the entrepreneur holds complete liability.

businessman

  1. General partnership

General partnerships (GPs) resemble sole proprietorships in the sense that the liability falls on the owner(s). The difference is that there are multiple owners in the case of a general partnership. Two or more individuals who jointly start a company benefit from fewer extra costs and paperwork. However, this structure does limit the ability to bring in investors. One might classify GPs, and partnerships in general, as informal structures relative to other forms.

  1. Limited partnership

In contrast with GPs, limited partnerships feature a dual dynamic in which partners are either general or limited. The limited partners act as investors for the business, and because of that role, they have no control over company decisions and direction. General partners, on the other hand, function as the business leaders and assume the liability for the entity. This structure incurs more costs, but it also allows for investor support.

  1. S and C Corporations

The corporation title is an umbrella term that covers two distinct structures, S and C (listed below). In general, however, corporations appear on the opposite side of the complexity spectrum from proprietorships and partnerships. These entities feature investors, as well as a board of directors and shareholders. Further, corporate formation is more difficult than the other structures an entrepreneur might choose.

S-Corporation

First-time entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses who select the corporation form often go with the S variation. Under this structure, shareholders (as many as 100) assume the majority of debt and liability responsibilities, with a small amount going to the owner of the company. Filing for an S-Corporation results in a similar tax arrangement as a partnership or LLC, and it is easier to convert to a C-Corporation from S, rather than vice versa.

employees

C-Corporation

When a startup owner files a business as a corporation, the default designation is a C-Corporation. Owners are considered legally separate from their companies, and they have the opportunity to sell stock and to allow employees to buy stock. Unlike other business structures, which are less profitable for investors, C-Corporations are often attractive to investors because of the availability of stock options. This option requires more paperwork, but the limited liability serves as the main appeal.

  1. Limited Liability Company

The limited liability company (LLC) structure is the one entrepreneurs with new businesses and smaller teams adopt the most because it holds middle ground between the benefits of partnerships and corporations – the low taxation of the former and the limited liability of the latter. LLCs can have an unlimited number of owners, unlike S-Corporations, and the formation process is simple.

  1. Doing business as (DBA)

Entrepreneurs may find it necessary to file for a doing business as (DBA) registration depending on what kind of company structure they already have. For owners of a sole proprietorship or a GP, the value of a DBA is found in setting up a company under a pseudonym or just a new name. Corporations and LLCs will file for a DBA if they intend to expand their operations by establishing a parent company and subsidiaries that operate under a different title.

  1. Nonprofit organization

Aside from the various unincorporated and incorporated options, some entrepreneurs will decide that a nonprofit structure best fits the needs of their idea. Filing a 501c3 tends to be a complex process, but in the long run, the tax format (no income taxes) of these organizations can facilitate growth and influence in ways that the other for-profit models cannot.

business plan
Business, Entrepreneurship, Management, Organization, Productivity, Success

8 of the Most Important Components of a Business Plan

The value of a business plan can never be overstated. After all, building a startup requires an investment of precious resources (money, energy, and time), all of which need to be organized. Entrepreneurs might think of a business plan as a piece of sheet music, the score that orchestrates the functions of core components and loose ends of a soon-to-be company.

How to compose this document is a challenge many first-time business owners face, but the process can be as simple as posing a series of questions and doing the necessary work to find the answers. Done well, this Q&A will produce the information needed to fill out a basic outline detailing the mission, research, and strategy that will support the endeavor.

Business plans vary in size and specifics, but they generally adhere to a standard blueprint with certain indispensable elements. The following list highlights a few of these pieces.

  1. The executive summary

Executive summaries will appear at the front of a business plan, but it is strongly advised to write this piece last. An executive summary gives an overview of the rest of the plan, and its overall purpose is to convince the reader (be it potential investors, prospective employees, or even the owner) that the business is uniquely positioned for success. When writing this portion, try to stick to a single page, unless adding more will make a crucial difference.

  1. A description of the business

The business description allows you to go into more detail than the executive summary does. In this section, include a clear definition of the product or service that your business will sell. Also provide basic information on the structure of the business (i.e., is it an LLC, corporation, or nonprofit, etc.?). The description is an introduction and its contents should justify the inclusion of the sections that follow.

  1. Details on products and services

Business plans are useful because they can help people determine whether or not a product or service will sell and if it is worth the investment. Going into further detail on what the company offers should therefore describe not only how it works but also why it’s different and, most importantly, why it will sell. This section can be relatively short, too, but it needs to drive home a clear picture of the good or service itself so that people know exactly what they will be working with.

product workup

  1. Analysis of market competition

A good segue from the product or service details is to provide a preliminary analysis of the surrounding marketplace. Will the business be entering an established space? How will it stand up to competition? Will it be carving out an entirely new industry? How will it maintain position when other companies decide to compete? Part of this analysis will feature what can be measured now, and the other part will naturally feature projections on what one might expect in the future.

  1. The sales and marketing approach

After defining the market in which the business will operate, the next task is to express how to go about selling and marketing the good or service. The digital age now all but requires businesses to have an online presence, and this dynamic will figure heavily into this section. Questions to ask include “How will consumers find you, and how will you find them?” and “What is the target demographic that will help the company grow sustainably?”

  1. Outline of logistics

Another important section of any business plan is the one that lays out the logistical details of how the company will operate. Where will the business reside? What kind of staffing will be necessary up front? How many employees will be needed in a year or two? This outline should also feature information on overhead costs, legal and tax relationships, and what, if any, suppliers or distributors will be involved in the regular operations.

logistics

  1. Leadership overview

One might include the leadership overview in the same section as the logistics outline, but it many cases it is a good practice to give it its own spot in the business plan. Here, provide specific information on the size of the company and what kind of leadership bandwidth it will require. Entrepreneurs might start up a business with several co-founders or with an executive team in mind. Whatever the case, put it in writing, along with considerations for how the business will accommodate growth.

  1. Summary of finances

No business plan is complete without a log of the financial standing of the new company. This will include records of investments (if any) and startup capital. It will detail how the business will budget its costs and revenue, as well as what is still needed to get the startup up and running. In addition, the finance section should provide a plan of action for how the business will grow and for how it will respond to setbacks that may surface along the way.