Start Your Own Business

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  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 3/24/2004
  • Publisher: Entrepreneur Press

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Everything you need to start a successful business...except the money. (But we'll show you how to get that, too!) Previous editions of this bestselling book have already helped hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs achieve their dreams. Now, the revised and updated Third Edition is packed with additional advice on new topics, including: How to get new business ideas Secrets to getting government grants How the Internet can help you with marketing research, competitive intelligence, marketing, advertising and more. How PDA's, cell phones, and other wireless devices can make your business more efficient Tips for starting a non-profit organization Updated "hot links" that direct you to relevant web sites for detailed information Whether your just thinking about starting a new business, taken the first steps, or already own your own business, this comprehensive, easy to understand guide can help ensure your success. Written in a friendly, down-to-earth style, Start Your Own Business walks you through every step of the start-up process, from evaluating your business idea, to laying the groundwork to running day-to-day operations. You'll learn how to conduct market research, choose a business structure, create a winning business plan, handle your bookkeeping and taxes, run your business from home, and much more. Dozens of sample from, work sheets, charts, graphs and even the most complex business issues a breeze.

Author Biography

Rieva Lesonsky is Senior Vice President/Editorial Director of Entrepreneur magazine and a nationally recognized expert on small business

Table of Contents

On Your Markp. 1
You Gotta Start Somewherep. 5
Introductionp. 7
Pop Quiz: Are you ready to be an entrepreneur?p. 11
What's The Big Idea? How to get an idea for your businessp. 23
Time Is On Your Side...Or Is It? Should you launch your business part time or full time?p. 37
Made From Scratch Or Store-Bought? Starting a business vs. buying onep. 45
Building Blocksp. 71
Who Is Your Customer, Anyway? Defining your marketp. 73
If I Build It, Will They Come? Conducting market researchp. 85
What's In A Name? Naming your businessp. 107
To Inc. Or Not To Inc.: Choosing a business structurep. 117
Get With The Plan: Creating a winning business planp. 133
Mother, May I? Don't forget business licenses and permitsp. 145
You Need Professional Help: Hiring a lawyer and an accountantp. 155
Where's The Money?p. 173
Charity Begins At Home: Financing starts with yourself and friends and relativesp. 175
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: How to find and attract investorsp. 189
Can You Bank On It? The ins and outs of debt financingp. 199
Ask Your Favorite Uncle: How to get government loans and grantsp. 215
Get Setp. 239
Setting The Stagep. 243
Location, Location, Location: Choosing a location for your businessp. 245
No Place Like Home: Starting a homebased businessp. 265
First Impressions: Creating a professional imagep. 273
Taking Stock: The lowdown on inventoryp. 285
To Your Credit: Offering your customers creditp. 303
It's In The Mail: Setting up mailing and shipping accountsp. 323
People Who Need People: Hiring your first employeep. 335
Treat Your "Children" Well: Developing an employee benefits planp. 363
Cover Your Assets: Getting business insurancep. 387
You'd Better Shop Aroundp. 403
Stuff: Business equipment basicsp. 405
Get Wired! Shopping for your computer systemp. 417
Air Time: Working without wiresp. 439
Wise Buys: Shopping for phone systems, fax machines and copiersp. 453
Hit The Road: Should you lease or buy a car?p. 471
Go!p. 483
Strut Your Stuffp. 487
To Market, To Market: Advertising and marketing your businessp. 489
Spread The Word: How to promote your businessp. 533
Show & Sell: Effective selling techniquesp. 551
Keep 'Em Coming Back: Offering superior customer servicep. 569
Net Worksp. 579
Net Rewards: Using the Net for successp. 581
Site In Shining Armor: Setting up your company Web sitep. 595
Click This Way: Using the Net to advertise and market your businessp. 609
By The Booksp. 621
Bean-Counting 101: The basics of bookkeepingp. 623
Making A Statement: How to create financial statementsp. 645
Watch Your Pennies: Effectively managing your financesp. 659
The Tax Man Cometh: What you need to know about taxesp. 683
If At First You Don't Succeed... Learning from your failuresp. 699
Business Resourcesp. 709
Government Listingsp. 723
Small-Business-Friendly Banksp. 735
Indexp. 757
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


Chapter One

Buying this book may be the smartest thing you ever did. OK, I may be exaggerating some, but I am serious about the impact that starting your own business can have on your life. As the editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine, I have been covering the business of entrepreneurship for a long time now, and I can honestly say I have met few entrepreneurs who are sorry they took the leap into business ownership. Most have succeeded (though not necessarily at the business they initially launched); some have returned to life as an employee. But few regret the journey.

Start Your Own Business is designed to help you navigate your own journey to business ownership. We are here to instruct and inspire. To tell you the things you don't know and remind you of the things you do. Some will tell you that the path you are about to embark on is a perilous one, but it's not. However, it is not without its curves, speed bumps and detours. Start Your Own Business helps prepare you as you go. You will learn what to expect at each step along the way. Some wise person once said, "Forewarned is forearmed." So consider this book part of your arsenal.

I would never presume to tell anyone how to read a book. But the very first thing you might want to do is turn to the following "Pop Quiz" chapter and take our test to determine if you're cut out to be an entrepreneur. My guess is you are, or you wouldn't have bought this book. Some people mistakenly believe you have to be born an entrepreneur to succeed. You don't. You can learn what it takes. That's what this book is all about.

Start Your Own Business takes you step by step through the start-up journey, from how to get an idea for a business to finally opening the doors to your new venture. Along the way, we provide lots of forms, work sheets and checklists you can actually use in your business as well as to make sure you're on the right track. The book is also filled with five different types of helpful tip boxes:

Finally, at the end of the book, there are three appendices chock-full of business resources that list contact addresses and phone numbers:

1. In "Business Resources," we list business associations, books, and magazines and publications in areas ranging from advertising and marketing to accounting and taxes. We even provide Internet resources and equipment manufacturers.

2. Our "Government Listings" appendix provides contact information for Small Business Development Centers, Small Business Administration district offices and state economic development departments across the country.

3. Last, if you need financing, you'll definitely want to check out our listing of "Small-Business-Friendly Banks."

Starting your own business is not as mysterious as some would have you believe (for more on this, see "What's The Big Idea?" on page 23) or as frightening or risky as legend would have it. But it is a journey that is better not taken alone. With Start Your Own Business as your companion, you'll be a wiser traveler on the road to business ownership. So what are you waiting for? As an ancient Chinese philosopher once sagely said, "Every journey ... must begin with a single step.

-- Rieva Lesonsky

Editorial Director , Entrepreneur

Excerpted from Start Your Own Business by . Copyright 2001 by Entrepreneur Media Inc.. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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