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Archive for the ‘Business Planning’ Category

WSU Business Transition Planning Certificate Program Announced

12/23/2013 Comments off

business-newsletter

Government Contracting Checklist

09/26/2013 Comments off

Thinking about entering into the world of government contracting? Vetrepreneur Magazine has created a Contracting Checklist to help guide you and your small business through this process. The list includes information on starting up, company registration, research, networking, and proposals.

Vetrepreneur Contracting Checklist

For more information on government contracting and Veteran Owned Businesses be sure to check out http://www.navoba.com/

Trying to Name Your Business or Product? These Tools Can Help

06/18/2013 Comments off

Wordnik, VisualThesaurus, TheFreeDictionary, UrbanDictionary, Ubersuggest

These tools will help you locate words related to your product or business.  Use this group of websites to generate a word bubble that contains several descriptive terms that are related to your product, service or business.

PunGenerator

This website will change common puns and phrases into puns using a word from your word bubble.

WerdMerge

Many common words you may want to use for your business or product name are already being used by others.  WerdMerge allows you to take short words and generate unique combined spellings.

WikiRhymer

This tool will help you find words that rhyme with your chosen primary term from your word bubble.

CreativityGames.net

This word generator will create random words based on your interaction with the site.

NameThingy

The title of this site says it all.

NameChk

Once you have a name, run a quick check to see how unique it truly is.

UpStart Business Journal : Tips for Monitoring Competition

01/25/2013 Comments off

In today’s competitive markets, every piece of knowledge that puts your business one step ahead of the competition is always critical.  Sometimes this knowledge can stem from the competition itself.  Here are six easy ways to monitor your competition to look for a competitive advantage…

1.) Subscribe to their blogs

Businesses these days are becoming more and more transparent, use this to your advantage.  Reading their blogs and posts can help you understand their newest features and latest products.

2.) Use their products

Using the competition’s websites often can help you discover new features on their webpages before they are officially released.  Many companies “soft-launch” features little by little, keeping up to date with their websites can help you learn and detect these new features.

3.) Look at their photos

With social media and corporate websites, pictures are extremely easy to come by.  Taking a look at each of these pictures can help you assess the company by finding out its culture, what computers and hardware they use, even how many employees they have.

4.) Monitor their press releases and news

Similar to reading their blogs, monitoring press releases and news can give you all sorts of information on the competition. To keep up with these, set up Google alerts to notify you.

5.) Monitor their Twitter and Facebook pages

A lot can be said of how people perceive your company, and the same goes for your competition.  Monitoring these two social media sites will allow you to learn how the public feels about your competition, what they like and dislike can both be helpful.

6.) Understand their employees

Employees are the greatest asset to any business.  Understanding the competiton’s employees can help you learn about the company, why it was started, and what drives the people behind it.  Understanding them can be as simple as following them on LinkedIn or Facebook, use the web to your advantage.

For the full article, go to http://upstart.bizjournals.com/resources/advice/2012/10/29/monitoring-your-competition-online.html?ana=e_du_ubj&s=article_du&ed=2012-10-30&page=all

For more business information, go to http://upstart.bizjournals.com/

LivePlan – 12 Tips to Delivering Your Business Plan

01/25/2013 Comments off

Delivering a business pitch is the most important first step to grabbing an investor’s attention.  Here are 12 tips to help you construct and deliver that pitch confidently in 10 minutes.

1.) Start off with a compelling story – tie this story into the audience to really grab their attention

2.) Present a unique solution

3.) Share your success to date – don’t be afraid to brag a bit

4.) Explain your target market – explain why they will come to your product

5.) Explain how you will acquire your customers and keep them

6.) Be clear about who your competition is – don’t forget to include why you’re different and better

7.) Share your revenue model – be clear how you will make money

8.) Share your financial projections – don’t hesitate to include your assumptions used to obtain these projections

9.) Talk about why your team is the right team

10.) Spell out your funding needs and uses

11.) Explain your exit strategy – this will show you’ve thought about the future of your company

12.) Have fun with it

For more on these tips and business planning, go to www.LivePlan.com

Research Resources for the Small Business Owner

01/25/2013 Comments off

There are many times in business where research and data is needed, but where do you start?  Below is a list of research resources compiled by our friends at the SBDC at Cleveland State University.

American FactFinder (US Census Bureau)

  • ·         Available to the public online
  • ·         US Census data for population, housing, economic, and geographic information

BCC Research

  • ·         Available to members of OhioNet
  • ·         Market research reports and in-depth industry analyses

Bizminer

  • ·         Available through subscription or Ohio University students, faculty and alumni
  • ·         Industry Statistical Reports

BLS (US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

  • ·         Available to the public online
  • ·         US data including: inflation & prices, employment & unemployment, pay & benefits, spending time & use, workplace injuries, employment projections, and more

Books 24×7(SkillSoft)

  • ·         Available to members of OhioNet
  • ·         Access to books in the following databases: BusinessPro, EngineeringPro, ExecSummaries, and ITPro.

Bplans

  • ·         Available to the public online or through free subscription
  • ·         Free sample business plans and business plan software

Business and Company Resource Center(Gale Cengage)

  • ·         Available to members of OhioNet
  • ·         Access to competitive intelligence, career & investment opportunities, business rankings and companies histories

COSE (Council of Smaller Enterprises)

  • ·         Available to the public online
  • ·         Misc information valuable to Northeast Ohio small businesses, including information on: Local affiliates, COSE sponsorship, advocacy, and management. Also publishes Small Business Monitor Survey to keep tabs on NE Ohio Small Business.

DemographicsNOW

  • ·         Available through subscription, Cleveland State University students, faculty and alumni, as well as some OhioLink and ClevNet institutions
  • ·         Interactive demographic maps and reports 

Ebrary

  • ·         Available through subscription, or to Ohio University students, faculty and alumni
  • ·         Business and Economics eBook collection

EBSCOhost

  • ·         Available to Ohio U and Cleveland State U students, faculty & alumni, as well as OhioLink and ClevNet institutions
  • ·         Databases include: Research Business News, Business Source Complete, Wall Street Journal, Academic Search Complete, Hospitality and Tourism Complete, and Regional Business News

Factiva

  • ·         Available through subscription, to Ohio University students, faculty and alumni, and members of OhioNet
  • ·         Articles from trade publications, magazines and newspapers, as well as company reports

First Research

  • ·         Available through subscription, and members of OhioNet
  • ·         In-depth Industry Profiling

IBIS World

  • ·         Available through subscription, or Cleveland State University/Ohio University students, faculty and alumni
  • ·         Reports in industry market research, industry risk, company research, & demo data

IntelliConnect

  • ·         Available through subscription, or to Ohio University students, faculty and alumni
  • ·         Federal and state tax laws, rules, regulations, and archives

IRS (US Internal Revenue Service)

  • ·         Available to the public online
  • ·         Provides information for small business regarding: Filing for an EIN, Employment taxes, filing for self-employed taxpayers, and provides a gateway to related websites, like the US Treasury and Whitehouse.gov.

Klout

  • ·         Available online to the public with free registration
  • ·         Tracks business influence by scoring companies based on their Facebook and Twitter presence

LexisNexis Academic

  • ·         Available through subscription, or Cleveland State University/Ohio University students, faculty and alumni, and members of OhioNet
  • ·         Full text news, business, and reference information 

Mergent Archives

  • ·         Available through subscription, Ohio University students, faculty and alumni and ClevNet library database
  • ·         Company and industry data and archives

Mergent Online

  • ·         Available through subscription, or to Cleveland State University/Ohio University students, faculty and alumni
  • ·         Company financials, filings, equity and industry reports, etc

Mintel Oxygen

  • ·         Available through subscription or Ohio University students, faculty and alumni
  • ·         Market research reports

MRI+(Mediamark Reporter)

  • ·         Available through subscription, or Ohio University students, faculty and alumni
  • ·         Demographics about product users

Northeast Ohio Products (Akron Beacon Journal)

  • ·         Available to the public online
  • ·         Brands, products, and companies that are headquartered or based in Northeast Ohio

 Ohio Business Gateway

  • ·         Available to the public online
  • ·         Misc. information about business in Ohio: starting, licenses, compliance, and electronic filing

Ohio Proud

  • ·         Available to the public online
  • ·         Identifies and promotes food and agricultural products/companies that are made and grown in Ohio.

Passport GMID

  • ·         Available through subscription, or to Ohio University students, faculty and alumni
  • ·         International consumer market reports

Plunkett Research Online

  • ·         Available through subscription, or Ohio University students, faculty and alumni, and members of OhioNet
  • ·         Market research, industry stats, trends and company analyses

ProQuest Entrepreneurship

  • ·         Available through subscription and members of OhioNet
  • ·         Database collection of market research, start-up plans, business cases, and more – the entrepreneur’s best friend and source

Quantcast

  • ·         Available to the public online or through a subscription
  • ·         Audience demographic reports for millions of web properties

ReferenceUSA

  • ·         Available through subscription, to Cleveland State University students, faculty and alumni, and the ClevNet library database
  • ·         Business and residential information for reference and research

SBA(US Small Business Administration)

  • ·         Available to the public online
  • ·         Misc. information about small business: Loans and Grants, contracting, taxes, equipment and employees

SBDC Net

  • ·         Available to official SBDC advisors, and some content to the public
  • ·         Small business research resources including help topics, market research, industry data and sub-industry small business snapshots

SimplyMap

  • ·         Available through subscription or to Ohio University students, faculty and alumni and members of OhioNet
  • ·         Demographic, business, marketing data from state and local levels + maps

Small Business Resource Center (Gale Cengage)

  • ·         Available through subscription or to Ohio University and Cleveland State University students, faculty and alumni and members of OhioNet
  • ·         Complete small business management resources via periodicals and reference content

Statista

  • ·         Available through subscription or to Ohio University students, faculty and alumni
  • ·         Market statistics: data, research and studies

The Conference Board

  • ·         Available through subscription, or to Ohio University students, faculty and alumni
  • ·         Economic data coupled with superior business management research

VAST: Academic Video Online

  • ·         Available through subscription or to Ohio University students, faculty and alumni
  • ·         Subject-based video content: documentaries, interviews, news programs, ads, raw footage, etc.

WARC (World Advertising Research Center)

  • ·         Available through subscription or to Ohio University students, faculty and alumni
  • ·         Marketing communications case studies, research reports and summaries

Seven Startup Sins to Avoid from CNet News

05/04/2012 Comments off

CNet News put together a concise article on the major sins of many small business start ups.  We felt it was worth re-posting.  There is a link to the full story at the bottom.

1. Losing Focus. Many entrepreneurs start off with an overload of ideas. The trick here is to manage your urge to build too many features. Instead, focus on the most applicable  to effectively move your product forward. Giving your users too many options can overwhelm them thus causing them to abandon your product. Keep it simple at first.

2. Ignoring Your Cash Flow. In the beginning, managing cash flow trumps the importance of profit or revenue by a large margin. Your new business will need a lot of room for take off. The best way to ensure stability is to have enough cash to support the business.

3. Obsessing Over Competition. If you focus on your competition too much, it will effect your product. Instead of worrying about what others are doing, focus on your own business and you will ultimately enhance user experience.

4. Failing Slowly. The chances of your product or company being a dud are fairly high. In order to prevent a long and painful end, use the beginning stages wisely to research and develop your ideas. That way if you are bound for failure you’ll be the first to know about it.

5. Ignoring Company Culture. While it’s easy to make your company’s culture a low priority in the beginning, it has to be noted that company culture is like plaster; once it’s dry it’s awfully hard to reshape. So make sure you know what kind of culture you want your company to have and that you are encouraging it from day one.

6. Being Complacent. Never get too comfortable. Just because you are doing well doesn’t mean you’ve eliminated all of your competition or your challenges.

7. Not Building. It’s hard to take risks, especially when you are just getting on your feet. But your best bet is to build and just see what happens. That way your business at least has a chance to grow.

You can find the full story here.

If you are interested in attending a Small Business Start-Up course, please check our class schedule to view course offerings.

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