Start a Business on the Cheap Using the Internet

April 11, 2012

Starting a small business has never been easier, especially if you know some of the incredible tools on the Internet. This month, I go over some of my favorites.

Free PDF Business Cards (http://www.freepdfcards.com/)

One of the first steps in starting your business is to have some business cards created. Well, now, instead of paying some printer for these essential promotional pieces, you can make them yourself. At the aptly named, FreePDFCards.com site, you can easily upload a logo, choose numerous lines of text, and, in the end, create an 8.5 by 11 PDF sheet of cards ready to print. At that point, all you have to do is buy a bunch of Avery pre-cut cardstock. Simple!

Gliffy (http://www.gliffy.com)

One of the ingredients of a good business plan is a clear explanation of EXACTLY how it will operate. And what better way to communicate that idea than a professional flow chart or diagram. Instead of going out and buying expensive software like Visio, check out Gliffy.com, a free site that allows you to create beautiful Venn Diagrams, floor-plans, and business process charts. See their site for even more ideas! (more…)

Tips from the Trenches: A Young Business Owner’s Take on Entrepreneurship After College

April 6, 2012

In our last Youth Entrepreneurship blog post, we brought up several points to consider when mulling over whether enrolling in college or starting your own business is the right post-high school choice.

Of course, the end of high school isn’t the only time you’ll be presented with two roads diverging. For those of you who attend college, “What’s next?” resurfaces in four short years—or in just a few weeks for some of you. So the question is now, in LeBron James-speak, “Where should I take my talents after college?”

While most young entrepreneurs tend to think they should acquire some real-world experience at full-time jobs before embarking on their business ventures, we recently spoke to a young entrepreneur who might encourage you to reconsider the merits of obtaining that “real-world experience.”

David Comisford, 26, started buying back college textbooks from fellow undergrads at Capital University in winter 2006. Since then, he’s transformed his dorm-based business into Frewg, Inc., an online storefront where college students can buy, sell back and rent college books. And he did it all without any full-time work experience under his belt. (more…)

Preparing For Take-off Once The Crowdfunding Bill Is Passed

April 5, 2012

Funding sources are hard to find, and without capital businesses in the initial phases of development find it difficult to move past the idea stages. “While Americans currently have trillions of dollars sitting on the sidelines in money market accounts, countless brilliant ideas, technology, research and innovation have been squandered for lack of investment, with ongoing consequences for our health, our economy and our society.

We need to encourage investment in entrepreneurs and innovation in every way possible and provide a fast track system to launch viable new ventures.” I said this several years ago to many government officials and it looks like some of them are finally listening to all of us who have been fighting to get a crowdfunding bill passed.

You can learn more here at http://www.startupexemption.com — the creators of the framework for the bill that passed the house by 407 to 17. So as the senate moves toward (we hope) the passing of the Jobs Act, which also passed the house with overwhelming bipartisan support, (that has the Crowdfunding bill in it), one thing is certain: its passage will provide startups and early stage small businesses with expanded access to capital. (more…)

Procurement Corner: Capability Statements…. ”The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”

April 2, 2012

Last month I posed the question: Are Business Cards Passé? “Probably not” was my conclusion. In my opinion, they have limited value, but are certainly useful for basic non-consequential “casual encounters”. However, I recommended that if your strategy is optimizing your marketing/branding effectiveness, consider creating a Capability Statement. What’s the difference between the two? Space, for one thing, 3 ½” X 2” versus 8 ½” X 11”; making the buyer’s job easier and faster with useful information/lasting impressions.

I also had suggested some simple content (see last month’s article) that we will look at in series over the next several months. Keep in mind that the thoughts I share are my own based on my professional procurement experience. I hope you find them useful when building your capability statement, but I encourage you to explore your own creativity,. Before starting, let me just say that if business cards are “working” for you, that’s fine, stay the course! But if you are looking beyond status quo to improve your marketing visibility, consider a capability statement. Having said that, let’s begin creating our first series: Logo, Contact Info, and Capabilities Statement. (more…)