Startup Business Checklist

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A startup checklist is the plan behind the plan, what this means is that it is a way to keep track of what you are doing. When starting a business most people get over excited and forget the importance of planning your activities.

Getting over excited is good but not planning and keeping track of things is not good, it can lead to failure. The first thing you have to do is come up with a business plan.

The business plan

A business plan is simply a guide to what you want to achieve, a business plan should contain your goals, objectives, procedures, funding and how you intend to deal with competition. Setting goals and objectives will give you something to works towards (a purpose), the procedures will determine how you reach your goals and monitoring your competition will help you stay ahead of them.

Before you start a business, you must establish its viability, meaning that it must have potential to make profit. This is where market research comes in; market research is there to help you determine whether or not you should continue with the business. If you don’t do it you can lose a lot, you should try lean marketing.

Simply put, if it doesn’t make money don’t waste your investment.

Get funding

Before you start a business you should have enough money to run it until it starts making money, this may take months depending on what you are selling. There are many sources of finance you can choose from, but the best way to fund your business is to save for it. When you start a business with money you save, you won’t owe anyone anything.

Legal and tax obligations

To run a business you need licenses and permits from the region you are operating in, if you operate an illegal business then the authorities have the right to shut you down. This makes it important to always ensure that all paperwork is in order.

The business should also be tax compliant.

Open an account for your business

Bookkeeping and keeping track of your money is very important, the best way to ensure that your money is in a safe place is by opening a bank account for your business. Once you open a bank account ensure that you get credit cards and all the necessary paperwork.

You should also set up bookkeeping for your business; if you can’t do it on your own, consider hiring an accountant.

Build a brand for your business

You start building a brand by giving your business a name and a website; other important things are business cards, logos, letter heads and anything else that can help you in branding.

Marketing plan

The next thing is to link your website to all relevant social media pages. Today social media is big and if you are trying to create a brand, this is a good place to start.

You should also create a marketing campaign for your business; the point of a marketing campaign is to get yourself out there. So ensure that you have one. A marketing plan shows how you plan to promote your business; it will tell you the do and don’ts.

Other important things you need

  1. insurance
  2. suitable technology e.g. computers
  3. a network (this can be comprised of experts in the field who can help you learn)
  4. employees (if you need any)
  5. partners
  6. business coach or mentor
More...

Keep An Eye Out For These Startups

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A start up is simply a new established business, i.e. a young company that’s still in its infancy. Startups are small and get financing by an individual or by a group. Some startups that deserve your attention this year are:

Slack

If you have been on the lookout for startups, then you probably have heard of slack. Slack is a startup that was founded by Stewart butter field, Sergei Mourachov, Carl Henderson and Eric Costello. What makes slack special is the communication app it developed for workplaces, simply put, this is a fast growing company that deserves your attention.

Currently the company is valued at $ 180 million.

Cratejoy

Cratejoy is a powerful website builder with an ecommerce angle, the company is there to help you launch a subscription product and will cover the cost of hosting, customer emails and payment collection. This is a fast growing business that grows by the day, and is expected to continue growing.

The company was founded by Amir Elaguizy and is valued over $ 6 million.

Headspace

Headspace is an app that you can use for meditation, to map your journey, and track progress. currently the company that made the app has over 1 million users in more than 100 hundred countries all over the world. The company was started by Richard Pierson and Andy Puddicombe.

Yik Yak

Even though it is unethical to spread rumors, people still love to gossip. Yik Yak is an app developed to satisfy that, by allowing users to anonymously post anything. The app is quickly gaining popularity amongst young adults and teenagers in schools and campuses.

The app maybe getting attention for the wrong reason but it’s still worth over $ 70 million, due to the amount of potential damage that this app can do, some institutions have already started imposing bans on Yik Yak. The company was started by Tyler droll and brooks Buffington.

Digital Ocean

Founded by Moisey and Ben Uretsky, Digital Ocean is a cloud hosting service built for developers, this is one of the fastest growing companies and estimated to be worth over $ 90 million.

Wish

Wish simply is a mobile shopping app; the company is estimated to be worth over $ 78.7 million and was founded by Danny Zhang and Peter Szulczewski. The company currently has over 30 million users from all over the world, a number that’s expected to continue rising.

Ginger.io

Ginger.io is an app that connects you with care givers and helps you understand your health; the app collects your information via your mobile device. This information is used by caregivers to detect changes in your health. This is a very practical app that deserves your attention; the company is estimated to be worth over $20 million.… More...

Find A Mentor

Starting a business can be compared to exploring uncharted territories, there is always a risk factor, but if you have a trusted adviser by your side you will be in a better position to succeed in what you are doing. A mentor is there to do just that, guide and advise you on the dos and don’ts based their experience.

Before you start looking for a mentor you should first look at yourself, learn your strengths and weaknesses. Learning about yourself means looking at your personality and how you relate with others. Remember you want a mentor that you can build a professional relationship with, so don’t settle on people who try to control you; instead, you should look for a person that listens and respects your opinions. If you don’t think a mentor is right for you then maybe consider a business coach instead like Jamaal Johnson instead.

How to spot a good mentor

Finding a good mentor is not as easy as it sounds, it requires time and a keen eye. The first step is doing some background research on the person you intend to have as your mentor. What you should look out for is

Knowledge, expertise and a willingness to share

The point of getting a mentor is to learn, look at it this way, if a person knows something but he or she doesn’t want to share the knowledge, there really is no point of having him or her as a mentor.

Mentoring is based on time and trust; this makes it very important to find the right person for the job.

Communications skills

Another important thing is that you should be able to communicate with your mentor; if you don’t communicate then you don’t learn. The mentor should also be committed to what he or she is doing, don’t find a mentor that doesn’t show commitment.

This means that your mentor should give you guidance and feedback in a way that suited to you.

Types of mentors you should consider

Expert mentors: this is a type of mentor that has vast experience in a specific field, you can learn a lot from expert mentors, therefore if you don’t already know one, find one

A connector: a connector is the kind of mentor that connects you with people around you, for startups this kind of relationship can be very beneficial because it will help you build a network around your new business.

The supporter: this type of mentor is there to give you positive support; a good example of this can be your spouse or family members. This kind of relationship will give you the motivation to continue.

The business mentor: this is someone who has experience on what you are doing, meaning that they have gone through similar situations that you are currently undergoing with your new business. This type of mentor will help you learn from their own personals successes and failures.

The bad side of mentoring

It is important to understand that not all mentoring relationships will go right; in fact things can go horribly wrong for both sides of the equation. Simply put a bad mentor will give you bad results, so ensure that you get a respectable and trustworthy person to help you start your business.… More...

What is CrowdFunding?

Crowd funding is a practice of raising capital or funding a project from a large number of individuals, this could friends, customers, family or through the internet. A good place to try this method is on social media or on crowd sourcing platforms such as indiegogo.

Types of crowd funding

There are three types of crowd funding:

Donations: the easiest way to get funding is through donations, when someone donates funds to you they don’t expect anything in return, they just want to see you succeed. But as a sign of good will you should always give something back e.g. t-shirts or other freebies.

Debts: this type of crowd funding involves receiving funds in form of debts, but instead of getting loans the traditional way from banks, you get it from investors. This type of crowd funding is also referred to as peer ton peer lending. The important thing to understand is that you will have to pay back the money plus interest.

Equity: equity based crowd funding, means that you receive funding is exchange for partial ownership of your business. If you chose this method ensure that you have proper agreement, because you can end up losing your business if not careful.

Benefits of crowd funding

The biggest benefit of crowd funding is that it gives you access to cash that you can use to start or improve your business. It is simply a great alternative to seeking funding from banks. Another big advantage of crowd funding is that it is not just limited to small businesses; even larger organizations can use it.

Crowd funding also helps the business establish relationships with people around it, this is because people identify themselves with the business. These early adopters will be loyal to the business and will probably help you get more customers.

Crowd funding also reduces risk and creates employment, look at it this way. If a new business is formed new opportunities that didn’t exist are created

How to use crowd funding to start a business

You start with your goals, it is always important to set clear goals on what you want to achieve. This means that you should do the math and know exactly how much is needed before you start asking for funds.

Don’t set unattainable goals, instead you should set realistic goals that can be attained with the amount of funding you need. You must give the donor a reason to want to fund you.

Find a platform

Once you have clear goals, objectives and a business plan the next thing is to find a platform. Below are some Crowd funding companies that are worth your attention

If you need money to start a business you should consider one of these crowds funding websites.

  • Indiegogo
  • Kickstarter
  • Crowdrise
  • Rockethub
  • Crowdfunder
  • Appbackr
  • Angelist
  • somolend
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Deliver

Once you have the funding that’s not the end of it, you have a responsibility to show the people who funded you that you are putting their money to good use. Show them progress and keep them involved in what you are doing.… More...

Do I Need A Business Coach Or A Mentor?

There are many similarities between mentoring and coaching, but there are also differences. One major difference is in the definition. A mentor is defined as an experienced and trusted adviser whereas a coach is someone who helps you learn and achieve a specific professional or personal goal. Coquitlam plumbers, DJ Plumbing has been using a business coach to help them get their garburator repair service off  the ground and work through the challenges of running a business in a competitive market.

Differences between businesses coaching a business mentoring

Longevity

One major difference between coaching and mentoring is the longevity, mentoring requires a lot of time, making it a long term effort. The reason for this is that the mentor and the mentee need to build trust and this takes time.

Unlike mentoring that can take up to nine or more months, coaching is a short term effort that can only last for a number of sessions. The amount of time is dependent on your needs.

Orientation

When it comes to orientation, mentoring is relationship oriented. This means that it aims to create a sharing relationship between the mentor and the mentee, where they can share anything be it work or non work related issues.

on the other hand coaching is task oriented, it’s not about building relationships, rather it’s about solving concrete issues such as teaching a person to think strategically, speak articulately or managing his or her business more accurately.

Performance

Another major distinction between business mentoring and coaching is the performance, the difference is that mentoring is driven by development; this makes its purpose to develop the individual for now and later. This is done by teaching the mentoree skills that he or she can use now and in the future.

But unlike mentoring coaching is driven by performance, this is done by teaching the coachee new skills that he or she needs in order to improve current performance on the job. Coaching ends as soon as the coachee learns these skills.

Importance of mentors

Before you start looking for a mentor it is important to understand what he or she can do for your business. Some benefits that you can get from a mentor are:

  • Improved skills and knowledge: a mentor is there to teach and guide you to learn new things; this can be social or business wise.
  • Mentoring exposes you to new ways of thinking and ideas
  • Mentoring teaches you how to develop your strengths and overcome your weaknesses.

Importance of coaching

Unlike mentoring, coaching is a short term measure, but it can help you to achieve things such as

  • experience
  • improved profitability
  • personal development
  • better focus

Whichever option you go for is dependent on you, but remember it is important to always base your choice on experience, personality, time, reputation and respect. The point is to choose someone you can easily work with, someone who is ready to give advice and listen.

Another important thing is that you shouldn’t chose a coach or mentor that you are sexually attracted to, this will complicate things and you may end up spending money on something that will be of zero benefit for your business. The idea here is to create a professional relationship, don’t complicate things.… More...

Lean Marketing Tips

Lean marketing is a concept that was introduced by an entrepreneur named Eric Ries; the concept is all about experimentation instead of the traditional planning. If you are starting up a new business you will spend a lot of money depending on the nature of the business you are in. lean marketing is a strategy that tries to help you cut costs.

Remember, no matter how well you plan, things always have a way of going wrong. Question is how can you use lean marketing to minimize loss?

Start with testing

Ask yourself this, what happens when your marketing strategy fails after investing a lot of money into it? The sure thing is that you may land in debt or you may end up losing the investment. To avoid this you should test your marketing ideas in small batches instead going all in and hoping for the best. Paul James did exactly that when started to look into the different areas of his website. He paid particularly close attention to his home page www.pauljames.ca and was able to tweak the content in a way that made it easier for people to use the website. These changes made a tremendous improvement on the website.

A good way to do this is to break down your marketing budget into smaller pieces; this reduces the risk of you losing all your investments in one move. By doing this you will get to test the market and find customers. The point here is to minimize risk.

Learn from your customers

The point of testing the market is to learn, and you learn by listening. A Good place to learn from customers is on social media. Note that if you don’t interact with the people you are trying to sell to you won’t learn anything. But if you take time to actually listen or read customer feedback, you will be in a better position to satisfy their needs. Social media sites such as Facebook twitter etc offer instant feedback. You should take advantage of this today.

The whole point of lean marketing is to learn marketing options without spending too much, this means that if you are not learning anything, then there is really not point of trying it. Your goal in learn marketing should be to learn as much as you can about your customers.

How to use lean marketing

  1. Lean marketing is all about contact between you and your audience; this makes it very important to always engage directly with them. A good way to do this is through social media.
  2. Instead of going all in, you should breakdown your marketing budget into smaller pieces. Remember you are trying to find out what people want a task that can be costly if you hire third parties; this is a measure that will save you money.
  3. Lean marketing is a continuous process where you learn every day; it is not a onetime thing like other types of research. Remember customers needs and wants change every day, and if you learn from them, you will be able to adapt easily without spending too much on research.

Benefits of lean marketing

The first and the most obvious benefit of lean marketing is that it saves you money; you no longer have the need to hire third party research firms to do research for you. This is because you have first hand access to your customers; you know what they need and how to satisfy them. Using a recruiting agency to find entry level employees to carry out your marketing tasks is an effective way to use your time and dollars. Interns are another option but typically require more hand holding and training.

But once you are interacting with the customers, you must ask the right questions, don’t just focus on the positive, the negative is also very important. Look at it this way, if you don’t know what you are doing wrong then you are not learning.… More...

Nanaimo Home Inspection Tips

Nothing beats the fulfilling and relaxing feeling of a brand-new home. Lounging on the comfortable new couch while admiring the well-organized furniture in a new space, the life you ever dreamed of. But as you get comfortable living in your paradise, sometimes we tend to forget that the house isn’t going to care for itself and in no time, it needs fixing. Worry not for we list down some tips on how to maintain the ‘new’ look of your home.

  1. Clean Your Window Wells

As much as window wells are great for letting natural light into your basement and providing ventilation plus keeping the soil away from your window fixtures, they can put your basement at risk if they’re not looked after. To avoid breakage from water pressure due to leaves and other debris that clogged the drainage, clean it using a shorthanded shovel, a snake, or just your hands to remove any blockages from the pipe. Find out more by visiting https://nanaimohomeinspectionspro.ca/.

  1. Clean Your Dryer Vents

Unmaintained dryer means fire hazard. When using the dryer, always check the vent for a blockage. After every use, you’re adding a little bit of lint to the vent which makes it less efficient at cooling down and will take longer to dry your clothes. Remove the vent at the back of the dryer and vacuum the area. This way we can avoid the potential start of the house fire.

  1. Replace the Batteries in Detectors

Batteries have a limited lifespan so to be safe, it is advised to change the battery for both smoke and carbon dioxide detectors twice a year. You should have at least one of each type of detector on each level of your home. Don’t rely on the automatic beeping to tell you when to change the batteries. To keep tabs on the task, change the batteries the same time you change your clocks for daylight savings time. To test the battery, hold the test button down for 15-20 seconds after changing and it will sound off indicating that the battery is faulty.

  1. Clean Your Chimneys Yearly

If your house comes with a wood-burning fireplace, make it a habit to hire a chimney sweep to clean it up annually. It can easily catch fire and may burn your house down if a buildup of dirt, birds’ nests or objects end up in your chimney. Not to mention, a chimney that doesn’t efficiently air the house out can cause a build-up of smoke or deadly carbon monoxide.

  1. Keep Your Gutters in Top Condition

The number one cause of breakage of gutters is clogged because it put a strain on the roof itself. In the winter, they can fill with ice that causes thawing damage or strains the material. There are two ways to do it. Either get special gutter cleaning tools or do it the old-fashioned way:

  • Put on a long-sleeved top and rubber gloves
  • Steady the ladder against the side of the house
  • Scoop the dirt out with a small shovel
  • Dump it onto a tarp, not your lawn
  • Flush the gutters out with a hose

Cleaning the gutters may not be a fun thing to do, but it can save you money on replacement gutters, and even on repairing roof damage.

  1. Check Air Filters

At least once a month, change your HVAC air filters. Swapping out filters is easy. There’s no cleaning to be done, so just take the old one out, dispose of it, then slot the new one in its place. If you do it regularly, you can cut energy bills by 5-15%! Plus, if you live in an area with lousy air quality or pollution, you need to keep the filters fresh to stay safe.

  1. Give Your HVAC a Complete Tune-Up

Make sure you AC is functioning at peak capacity by getting an HVAC tune-up at least once a year. It’s safest to schedule it annually in advance because you don’t know exactly if and when you need this. Or you could just risk your unit breaking down on the hottest day of the year, your choice.

  1. Keep Your Garbage Disposal Running Smoothly

A smelly house is never a good place to thrive in. So, make sure to always run the machine with cold water for a minute with dish soap inside after use. Cold water will help solidify any grease so it can be chopped up before hitting the trap. If the garbage disposal is giving off a particularly nasty smell, just pour 4 tablespoons of Borax down the drain and leave it to sit for an hour or so before rinsing with hot water. Since you throw all kinds of junk into your garbage disposal, it’s only logical it’ll need a little care and attention on a regular basis.

These are just some of the tons of home maintenance you could do to keep your place at best condition. Of course, there is also seasonal maintenance to do. But, as long as you’re putting an effort in making sure your house is at its best, you have nothing to worry about.… More...

Things You Need to Start a Tree Service Business in Vancouver

Starting out a tree service business in Vancouver requires adept knowledge in tree servicing and the types of equipment involved. If you have related experience in the past and consider yourself an expert in this field, then you could quite qualify to start your own. Always remember that there are many challenges along the way when starting up a business.

That is what we are going to talk about. The things you should keep in your mind or in your list when you have decided to finally start your own in Vancouver. Yes, tree services can be a demanding job but it can also depend on the area that you will cover. The geography around you will greatly affect the business and how far you are willing to offer your services. So might need to know what weather in Vancouver will affect your business the most. Of course, the larger the target market the higher chance of getting lots of clients. Consider the climate in your area as well. Usually, spring and fall are the highlight season for tree services companies. During winter, trees are usually given protection against the strong winds and the freezing weather.

If you have been working with a tree services company before, you would already know about knots, tree rescue techniques, working around hazardous trees, pressure cutting, safe chainsaw usage, and a proper dispose of wood all of which needs compliance to the state’s safety procedure.

This type of business relies greatly on skills thus your skills will be the primary product of your business. If you are confident enough with your skills, think about what you can offer and what quality it can bring to your customers. Skills will be mainly your edge against established competitors plus a competitive service pricing.

Start with a business plan. This is very crucial especially that you are just starting out. Make a formal business plan including a competitor analysis and a SWOT. Start researching your target market, the possibilities of a failure, and a backup plan.

Preparing your equipment. One of the most important aspects in the tree service industry is your equipment. Make sure to have equipment such as safety tools, cutting tools, climbing rope, helmet, logging saw, clips, bull rope, eye guard, wedges, climbing boots, ear protection, pole saw, oil can, saddle, orange cones, wedges, and ladder. You might also need some mechanism for stump grinding and your other offered services. If you can’t think more of what you need to check this www.vancouvertreeservices.ca to seek for an advice.

Insuring your business. Accidents can happen the least we expect it. It is best to get an insurance for your company in case of an accident that may happen to you, your workers, or your client’s property. While you can also work without insurance, clients tend to trust contractors who are insured.

Promoting your business. After you have figured out the technical and the essential parts of your business. You can go out and figure out the effective way of promoting your business. The key here is how your target market consumes ads every day. If you think most of them spend time online, then you can consider digital marketing. If not, consider doing print media.… More...

What Is An Angel Investor?

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According to religion, an angel is a being sent by God to help humans. But business-wise an angel investor or angel is an individual who provides capital for startups, the capital angel investors provide can be ongoing or an onetime thing such as seed money. Another term for an angel investors is an informal investor.

How does angel investing work

An angel investor can be a wealthy individual or individuals, but generally it all starts with wealthy investors forming a group where they pool together capital and resources. The aim of doing this is to help startups and for their own benefit. This means that if you need capital to start a business, you can pitch your idea to the angels, if they find that your business is potentially profitable they will give you the money you need. But there is a catch; the business must already be making money during the early stages and have potential.

Therefore this means that angel investors are there to take you to the next level of business, remember they are putting their money on the line, and if you have no potential for profit then you’ll probably get no funding.

It is important to understand that these investors don’t do this for free; they do it in exchange for equity interest. Equity interest is partial or full ownership of a company by shares of stock rather than a creditor’s interest from being owed money. This means that when they invest in your business, they will be partial owners of it.

Types of angel investors are:

  1. individual angel investors
  2. angel investor networks
  3. family and friends

The amount of money that angel investors can invest in your business is usually in the range of $ 25,000 to 100,000 but this figure can go higher.

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How to appeal to angel investors

In order to get funding you must appeal to the investors, and the best ways to this are:Build your business, in order to attract funding you should always strive to be the best in your industry. This means that you have to focus your efforts on creating the best products or services; this will help you prove your worth.

Create a business plan; your business plan should focus on creating a solution to a problem. You must show the investors what you are doing different from the competition if there is any. The point is to be as unique as possible

Create a team but not just any team; you should create a team that can work together effortlessly. This will show the investors or investors that you are capable of delivering what you are promising. Adding a mentor or business coach to your roster will also help to fast track your success.

The bad side of angel investing

Angel investors can be very beneficial for your business, but they can also pose a real danger to it. this makes it important to always understand the agreement, for example how much is the investor expecting from you when it’s time to pay back or what amount of control will the investor have over the business, will he or she have the ability to throw you out in future? Just watch shark tank and you will get an idea.… More...

Buying An Existing Business Vs. A Startup

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Being your own boss is something most of us dream about, but when it comes down to it, a very important question exists. Should you buy an existing business or should you start from scratch? What most people fear is the hard work and money you will have to put in if you start a business from scratch, buying business also has a good side and a bad side. A perfect example of an existing business available for purchase is Steveston Seabreeze Adventures.

So which is better buying or starting a business?

Startup cost

Buying a business means that you are buying into something that already has established itself, it has customers and a procedure in place. The problem with this idea is that it can be expensive especially if the business is profitable. However when you decide to start your own business the startup costs will depend on the type of business you are starting, therefore the costs may be lower than buying a business.

The problem here with starting your own business is that you won’t have immediate cash flow; it will take you sometime to start making money. But when you buy a business you have immediate cash flow depending on the condition of the business. If the business was neglected then you may have to spend a lot on it.

Independence

When you start your own business you have freedom to choose where you want it to be and how you want it to run, you are also responsible for all the items and equipment the business needs.

But when you buy a business the location has already been decided for you, you can’t relocate it to where you want it to be; also the business itself may need major improvements that can cost you a lot. The good thing about buying a business here is that you acquire the existing customers, staff, equipment, contacts and suppliers, this mean that you can easily adapt to the business.

Risk

Starting your own business can be very risky; this means that you will always have to be on top of your game at all times, because if you don’t make it, you lose your investment. Remember if you are a sole proprietor you will be liable for any debts you incur during operation.

Buying a business also posses the risk of hidden debts, a business may look profitable on the outside but it could have debts everywhere. If you are not careful you may buy yourself into debt, this makes it very important to always look at the businesses debts and loans, because if you don’t do that you will be left responsible for them.

The culture of the business

The culture of a business is built; this means that when you start your own business you build a culture for it. You decide what goes and what doesn’t. On the other hand, when you buy a business, you are buying something that already has an established culture.

Note that you can’t relate to your new employees like the previous owner, meaning that you will have to build new relationships with your new employees. And as human nature dictates people are naturally resistant to change, therefore it will take time to get things rolling the way you want it to.

Whether you chose to start or buy the choice is really up to you, so weigh your options find which one suits you.… More...