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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting Your Own Business, 6th Edition

Book Description

The Complete Idiot's Guide® to Starting Your Own Business, Sixth Edition will contain completely refreshed content and as well as new components that feature the basics of creating a web strategy, even for businesses that aren't focused on web commerce. In addition, this new edition will feature a chapter on leveraging social media as a tool for selling products and marketing businesses. All of the CD-ROM content from the previous edition, plus a full sample business plan, will be available to readers on the Complete Idiot's Guide® website, idiotsguides.com.

Web content (formerly CD-ROM content)
As with the previous edition, readers will have access to over 120 forms and documents that can be used for a multitude of business purposes. The web content will also contain new bonus chapters in addition to the updated chapters that were previously featured on the CD-ROM.

Topics included in the book:
·Writing a business plan
·Obtaining critical financing and capital
·Tips on buying an existing business
·What to know when considering a franchise
·Helpful marketing tips
·Tips for social media marketing
·Ideas for increasing sales volume
·Managing employees, both good and bad
·Managing payroll taxes
·Developing an accounting strategy
·Handling credit card sales
·Developing rapport with your banker
·Doing business with China
·Managing cash flow
·Developing a sound web strategy
·What to consider when incorporating

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Dedication
  4. Copyright
  5. Contents
  6. Introduction
  7. Part 1: Matching You to Your New Business
    1. 1 Creating Your Own Business Future
      1. Making Your Next Job Your Own Business
        1. The Positives of Starting Your Own Business
        2. The Negatives of Starting Your Own Business
      2. Creative People Create Their Own Opportunities
      3. Your Business Starts with You
      4. Do You Have What It Takes?
      5. What Makes a Great Entrepreneur?
      6. What Are Your Strengths and Abilities?
      7. What Is Your Personal Bottom Line?
    2. 2 We All Treat Risk in Our Own Way
      1. Your Life Situation Changes Over Time
      2. How the Road Not Taken Can Cost You
      3. The Background, Incentive, and Motivation Conundrum
      4. The Powerful Influence of Uncertainty
      5. What Are You Really Willing to Risk?
      6. How Risk Tolerant Are You?
      7. Combining Risk, Uncertainty, and Opportunity
      8. What Is Your Personal Bottom Line?
    3. 3 Finding the Right Business for You
      1. What Can You Do That People Will Pay For?
      2. What Are Your Needs?
        1. Financial Needs and Goals
        2. Family Motivations and Goals
        3. What Are Your Spiritual Goals?
      3. General Business Types and Their Requirements
        1. Manufacturing Businesses
        2. Service Organizations
        3. Restaurant Businesses
        4. Sales Representation and Agency Businesses
        5. Intellectual Property–Oriented Businesses
        6. Mom-and-Pop Businesses
        7. Major Startup-Type Businesses
      4. Using Creativity to Find the Fit
    4. 4 Creating New Ideas Using Technology and Information
      1. A High-Level Look at How Business Works
      2. Several General Online Business Models
        1. Networked Users Who Connect to Other Networked Users
        2. Competitively Connecting Buyers and Sellers
        3. Offering One-Stop Online Shopping
        4. Combining Forces for a More Powerful Offering
      3. Time and Space in Today’s Mobile World
      4. Differentiating the Technology from the Information
      5. For Your Plan
    5. 5 Reducing Risk by Buying an Existing Business or Franchise
      1. The Benefits and Drawbacks of Buying an Existing Business
        1. Finding the Right Candidate
        2. Plan to Buy in Stages
        3. Getting the Right Professional Help
      2. Franchises: Paying for Their Experience
        1. Four Basic Franchise Formats
        2. Franchising in a Nutshell
        3. Getting to Know the Franchisor
    6. 6 Mastering the Business Side of a New Professional Practice
      1. What They Didn’t Teach You in School
      2. Selling Within Ethical Constraints
      3. Billing Arrangements for Professionals
      4. For Your Plan
    7. 7 Writing the Right Plan for Your Business Idea
      1. Why Prepare a Business Plan?
      2. Think of It as a Simulation
      3. The Questions Your Plan Must Answer
      4. The Pieces of Your Plan
        1. Cover Sheet
        2. Table of Contents
        3. Executive Summary
        4. Business Description
        5. Market and Sales Analysis
        6. The Competition
        7. Marketing and Sales Strategy
        8. Operations Plan
        9. The Management Team
        10. Financial Overview and Funding Needs
        11. Summary and Conclusions
        12. Appendixes or Supplementary Materials
      5. Dealing with a Bad Business Idea
      6. Ethics and Your Plan
  8. Part 2: Evaluating Your Idea’s Sales Potential
    1. 8 Calculating Customer, Market, and Sales Opportunities
      1. Understanding and Assessing the Market’s Influence
      2. Don’t Create a Market Need
      3. Determine Overall Market Characteristics
      4. Is the Market Growing?
      5. Using Market Segmentation to Your Advantage
      6. Who Are the Major Players in Your Market?
      7. How Long Will This Opportunity Last?
      8. Finding Your Right Price
      9. Your Marketing Message and Positioning
      10. Research Data Sources Are Everywhere
      11. Researching Your Plan
      12. For Your Plan
    2. 9 Analyzing and Using the Experience of Your Competition
      1. Is the Competition Real?
      2. Accumulating Competitive Information
      3. Comparing Yourself to Them
      4. Are You a Specialty Store or a Superstore?
      5. For Your Plan
    3. 10 Creating Sales, Sales, and More Sales
      1. The Importance of Sales to Business Success
      2. Manipulating and Selling: Not the Same Thing
      3. Getting Closer to Closing the Sale
      4. Everyone Has to Sell, but Not Everyone Closes
      5. Is Your Offering a Special or Commodity Item?
      6. Is Your Prospect a Likely Buyer?
        1. Does Your Customer Need What You Have to Offer?
        2. Are You Working with the Decision Maker?
        3. Is There Money Budgeted for This Purchase?
        4. Is There a Pending Event?
        5. Is Your Customer Politically Open to Using Your Offering?
      7. The Nine Stages of Selling
        1. The Suspect Stage—Stage 1
        2. The Prospect Stage—Stage 2
        3. The Entrée Stage—Stage 3
        4. The Discovery Stage—Stage 4
        5. The Proposal Stage—Stage 5
        6. Trial Close Stage—Stage 6
        7. The Budget Stage—Stage 7
        8. The Close Stage—Stage 8
        9. The Postsale Stage—Stage 9
      8. Sales Stage Timing for a Commodity and Complex Sale
      9. Matching Personnel to the Sales Requirements
      10. Picking the Right Sales Channels
        1. Distributors and Independent Representatives as Sales Agents
        2. Should You Use Your Own Sales Force?
      11. Selling Services Instead of Products
      12. For Your Plan
    4. 11 Using Social Media as a Powerful Marketing and Sales Tool
      1. Viewing the Online and Social Media Landscape
        1. Differentiating Websites from Social Media
        2. Understanding the Uniqueness of Social Media
        3. Mobile Technology and Social Media Are Linked
      2. A Social Media–Based Approach to Startup Marketing
        1. Setting Up Your Website and Domain Name
        2. Creating Awareness of Your Website and Company
      3. For Your Plan
  9. Part 3: Finalizing Your Plan and Making a Decision
    1. 12 Delivering On Your Business’s Promises
      1. Relating Operations to Your Sales Promises
      2. Matching People to Tasks for Efficiency and Savings
      3. Comparing Operations for Product and Service Companies
      4. Linking Purchasing, Production, and Marketing Forecasts
      5. Maintaining Quality
      6. For Your Plan
    2. 13 Estimating Your Startup Financial Requirements
      1. Accounting 101
        1. Accounting Periods
        2. Recording Sales Revenue and Expenses
      2. Comparing the Cash and Accrual Accounting Methods
      3. Understanding Financial Statements
      4. The Income Statement
      5. The Balance Sheet
      6. Cash Flow Analysis
      7. For Your Plan
    3. 14 Finding the Money You Will Need
      1. Investors Give Money to Get Something Back
      2. The Greater the Perceived Risk, the Greater the Required Return
      3. Expect That Investors Will Check You Out
      4. Comparing Loan to Stock Sale Funding
      5. Company Maturity Stages and Funding
        1. Seed Stage
        2. Startup Stage
        3. First Stage (Early Stage)
        4. Second Stage
        5. Third Stage (Mezzanine)
        6. Harvest Stage (Exit Strategy)
      6. Typical Funding Action Sequence
      7. Basic Types of Funding
        1. Funding Out of Your Own Pocket
        2. Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? Family Funding
        3. Venture Capital—Not for Everybody
        4. Agency-Guaranteed Bank Funding
        5. SBA and Governmental Program Realities
        6. Stock Sales (Not an IPO…Sorry)
        7. Seller Financing When Buying a Business
      8. Ethics and Funding
      9. For Your Plan
    4. 15 Selecting the Right Legal Structure for Your New Business
      1. An Overview of the Various Business Structures
        1. Sole Proprietorship: Going It Alone
        2. Partnership: A Business Marriage
        3. Corporations: Share the Wealth
        4. Subchapter S-Corporations: Protection with a Smaller Tax Bite
        5. Limited Liability Company (LLC)
        6. Professional Corporations
      2. Dealing with the Tax Man
      3. Picking the Right Structure
      4. For Your Plan
    5. 16 Putting All of the Pieces Together
      1. Revisiting the Six Questions Your Plan Must Answer
      2. Comparing Your Needs and Tolerance to the Plan Risks
      3. Running It by the Other Stakeholders
      4. Making a Choice and Beyond
      5. Dealing With a Plan That Does Not Work
  10. Part 4: Surviving the First Year
    1. 17 Treating Cash Like Air for Your Business
      1. When You’re Out of Cash, You’re Out of Business (Usually)
      2. How Success Can Kill Your Business
      3. Factoring, Credit Terms, and Loans
        1. Factoring Receivables
        2. Offering Early Customer Payment Discount Terms
        3. Buying on Credit
        4. Taking Out a Loan Secured by Receivables
      4. Properly Handling Credit Card Sales
        1. The Way Credit Cards Work
        2. Covering Your Legal Bases
    2. 18 Hiring Good Employees and Staying Legal
      1. When You’re Successful, You’ll Need Help
      2. Employee Practicalities
      3. Good Help Isn’t Hard to Find
      4. More Employees, More Restrictions
      5. No Solicitation and Noncompete Clause Realities
      6. Payroll Taxes: You Can’t Avoid Them, So Learn How to Deal with Them
      7. For Your Plan
    3. 19 Seizing Unexpected Opportunities While Remaining Focused
      1. Revisiting the Reason for Planning
      2. Short- and Long-Term Planning
      3. Adapting to What Life, Competition, and Customers Throw Your Way
      4. Don’t Forget Your Existing Customers and Stakeholders
      5. Going Back to Your Plan’s Initial Assumptions
      6. Should You Go in a Completely New Direction?
    4. 20 When Commitment and Perseverance Are Not Enough
      1. Know Your Business’s Success Metrics
      2. Monthly Status Check of How You Are Doing…Again
      3. The Danger of Believing Your Own Advertising
      4. Living in the Question—Again for Your Survival
      5. Keep It Secret
      6. Evaluating Your Personal and Business Commitments
      7. Taking Action—Either Way
  11. Appendixes
    1. A Glossary
    2. B Dog Grooming Services (DGS) Business Plan
    3. C The Kwik Chek Auto Evaluation Business Plan
    4. D Resources and Bibliography
  12. Index
  13. Abouth the Author