Describe how you intend to price your product or service. Pricing has to be competitive to attract customers but high enough to cover costs and generate a profit. Pricing can be based on markup from cost, value to the buyer, or in comparison with similar products/services in the marketplace. Breakeven analysis can help determine sales and pricing for profitability. You'll also want to take a look at Pricing Strategies to Increase Profitability.
The terms of an OnDeck Capital loan make it appealing to business owners who need funding for a large project or planned expenditure. Unlike Fundbox, OnDeck offers borrowers terms from three to 36 months, instead of selecting either 12 or 24 weeks. The $500,000 loan limit is the same as LoanBuilder, and the only option that offers a higher loan amount is BlueVine’s invoice factoring facility.
My current company, Outbox Systems, began this way. We wanted to connect two software applications, but we didn’t have the capital to build the integration. Knowing we needed to generate money to fund our product development, I approached the partner channel at AtTask and asked if I could build a software integration for them. Fortuitously, an enterprise AtTask customer needed to integrate AtTask and Salesforce and was willing to pay us $125 per hour to build the integration. Then we turned around and resold the product to others. A typical tech entrepreneur thinks, “Raise money, build software.” But we turned the model on its head and essentially got the company to help us develop intellectual property for our business.
Once you get to a million dollars in revenue, your odds of funding increase exponentially. Banks, for example, look at funding strictly from this perspective. Banks don’t care what kind of company you are—they simply look at your profit/loss statement and make a decision. If you’re a profitable company with a million in revenue and good personal credit score, there’s a good chance that a bank will lend you up to $200,000.
Remember: The executive summary (or Lean Plan, or a one-page business plan) is usually your introductory communication with investors, so it will be your first impression. Investors will use this document to get an understanding of your communication skills as well as your ability to think critically about your business. You should spend more time on this part of your plan than on any other section.
When was the last time you went to a new restaurant without looking it up online beforehand? Or bought a product that didn’t have at least a few 5-star reviews? It seems like more and more our world is run on reviews. And you can make money online by writing them. Get started by creating accounts on sites like Vindale research, Software Judge, FameBit, CrowdTap, Influence Central, and Modern Mom. However, before you run off and start writing, be sure to check the small print on each of these sites. Writing reviews isn’t a huge source of guaranteed income and you want to make sure that it’s worth your time before you get going.
21. Facebook – Facebook swap shops are great for selling things locally. It’s like CraigsList, but a little easier. You simply search for swap shops in your area and ask to join the group. Once you’re in, take a picture of the item, write a quick description with the price and post it. It doesn’t get much easier than that. You can generally expect to get about what you would get at a yard sale, maybe a little more.
You'll also need ecommerce software, fulfillment software, worry about warehousing, customer service and refunds. But that's not all. You'll also need traffic. Think search engine optimization, Facebook ads, and other social media campaigns. It is hard work, especially on your own. You could opt for Amazon's platform, which might be the easier route. But, then again, at the end of the day, this is a serious business, which could produce significant profits. So you're either all in or you're not.
Sometimes you have to get into the trenches and make it happen. During the first two years of business at my prior company, PC Care Support, I knocked on doors, worked my own booth, and closed my own deals. I set up a table at the local college’s business school, hired five college students to work solely on commission, and knocked on people’s doors 7-8 hours per day looking for business. For those two years I didn’t receive a paycheck. But I believed in my service, and I believed we could be successful. I was, as billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk said, “hell bent on making it work.” The hard work eventually paid off.
A corporate business plan for a large organization can be hundreds of pages long. However, for a small business, it's best to keep the plan short and concise, especially if you intend to submit it to bankers or investors. Capping your plan at 30 pages should be sufficient unless you need to include photos of products, equipment, logos, business premises or site plans, etc. Potential money lenders and investors want solid research and analysis, not long, wordy descriptions.
One of the easiest ways to utilize feedback is to focus on “The Lean Startup” approach (read more about it here), but it involves three basic pillars: prototyping, experimenting and pivoting. By pushing out a product, getting feedback and then adapting before you push out the next product, you can constantly improve and make sure you stay relevant.
But that was 2007, and quite a bit has changed since then. Where a side business was once a novel idea, it has since become much more mainstream. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, freelancers now make up around 15% of the workforce, compared to only 7% in 1995. And the trend isn’t expected to stop here. The BLS reports that freelancers and self-employed individuals may comprise 20% of the workforce by 2020.
The music industry might not be as strong as it was in the 80s, but there are still plenty of ways to make money online as a musician. Sites like SoundBetter let you sell your services as a songwriter, producer, or session musician to thousands of customers a month. While Musicbed, Music Vine, Marmoset, and SongFreedom are perfect for licensing your music to TV shows, movies, and web series.
I’ve actually fielded requests from others looking for people willing to do this, so the demand is out there. To put it simply, some people are willing to pay others to get a vegetable or flower garden started for them in their yard so they can have access to ultra-fresh produce without all the legwork. If you have a green thumb and some knowledge about the vegetables that grow well in your area, this would be an easy business to start.
The executive summary goes near the beginning of the plan but is written last. It provides a short, concise, and optimistic overview of your business that captures the reader's attention and creates a need to learn more. The executive summary should be no more than two pages long, with brief summaries of other sections of the plan. See How to Write the Executive Summary of the Business Plan to get you started.
Startups requiring significant funding upfront may want to consider an investor. Investors can provide several million dollars or more to a fledgling company, with the expectation that the backers will have a hands-on role in running your business. Alternatively, you could launch an equity crowdfunding campaign to raise smaller amounts of money from multiple backers. Crowdfunding has helped numerous companies in recent years, and there are dozens of reliable crowdfunding platforms designed for different types of business. It's not challenging to find a good option for your business should you elect to launch a crowdfunding campaign.
If you live in an area where Uber or Lyft operate, why not become a driver? If you're looking to make some short-term cash, you can definitely rake it in by working for one of these popular car-hire apps. As long as your vehicle fits within the specifications of their program, and you have a clean license, you could do this on the side, especially if you're in a crunch for cash.