IM Checklist Volume 12 Offline Business Startup

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IM Checklist Volume 12 Offline Business Startup by Mind Map: IM Checklist Volume 12 Offline Business Startup

1. Checklist 1: How To Advertise Your Startup Effectively

1.1. This checklist will talk about the specific questions you need to answer and keep in mind while trying to advertise your startup so that you spend as little as possible on advertising but do it in the most effective fashion as well.

1.1.1. 1 Where do your target customers go? As we discuss in the market research checklist, you need to know what type of person you want to cater to. Once you have that in mind, you can put up fliers, adverts, or posters in those areas where they are commonly found. For example, if you are making a product for teenagers or young adults, a mall may be the best place for advertising.

1.1.2. 2 How are you different from your competition? In your advertisement, it is necessary to at least briefly mention why you are different from the other options in the market. So if your product is cheaper, mention that in your ad.

1.1.3. 3 Word of mouth. If you have a large social circle, then this option is a very good one for you. Ask your friends to call up their friends and tell them about your business and soon word spreads.

1.1.4. 4 Be consistent in your ads. Try to keep the same format for all your ads, whether they are online, on pamphlets or billboards. People will recognize your brand if they can acknowledge your ads readily.

1.1.5. 5 Make strategic alliances: Engage in alliances with businesses that complement your own. If you own a car wash, a garage or car workshop is an excellent business to ally with. Give these businesses vouchers for your businesses that they can distribute amongst their customers, and do the same in return.

1.1.6. 6 Media: Use media platforms, such as certain blogs or social networking sites, to convey an occasional sense of urgency in your ads by promoting limited time offers so that people respond quickly.

1.1.7. 7 Try to network: Go to social events, meet and greets, community meetings and other gatherings where you can meet potential customers and discreetly add in a few details about your business in the conversation.

2. Checklist 2: How To Create A Business Plan

2.1. A business plan is a document that gives an overview of the business it is designed for. A described by Entrepreneur a business plan is a “written document describing the nature of the business, the sales and marketing strategy, and the financial background, and containing a projected profit and loss statement.” There are certain parts that a business plan must include and these are

2.1.1. Executive summary Structurally this is the first part of your business plan and appears at the front, but most experts recommend writing it in the last once you've written your whole plan. This includes the critical highlights of your business and provides a general overview, and most investors read only your executive summary. It has a few sub-parts: 1 Problem and solution: Execute this part with great care. Do some detailed market research and go to talk to potential customers about what problems they are facing and what solutions they want. Include all the feedback you get in this part and focus on how your solution addresses the customers' issues. 2 Target market: Try to come up with a fictitious customer and tell the investor what that customer’s likes and dislikes are and how your problem addresses them. 3 Key customers: This is for those businesses who have a very particular customer base if you are one of them do this part and explain what key consumers are essential for your business. 4 Competition: Discuss in detail how your competition is solving the problem and how your solution is better. 5 Future products/services: This section should discuss where you plan to take your business in the future. 6 Team: who is working with you to help you fulfill your goal? This is something that investors pay a lot of attention to as a successful business needs a good team. 7 Financial summary: Try including some graphs or charts that show your expenditures, predicted profits etc. 8 Funding requirements: add a line or two about the amount of money you will need to start your business. Don't write too much on this. 9 Milestones: You need to show your investors what you have achieved yet, or what you intend to achieve.

2.1.2. Opportunity This is where the main content of your plan lies. Many of the sections and topics that are touched upon in the executive summary will be explained in great detail over here. The sub-topics for this section include: 1 Problem and solution: Execute this part with great care. Do some detailed market research and go to talk to potential customers about what problems they are facing and what solutions they want. Include all the feedback you get in this part and focus on how your solution addresses the customers' issues. 2 Target market: Try to come up with a fictitious customer and tell the investor what that customer’s likes and dislikes are and how your problem addresses them. 3 Key customers: This is for those businesses who have a very particular customer base if you are one of them do this part and explain what key consumers are essential for your business. 4 Competition: Discuss in detail how your competition is solving the problem and how your solution is better. 5 Future products/services: This section should discuss where you plan to take your business in the future.

2.1.3. Execution This part of the plan refers to the practical part of your business and how it is going to be run 1 Sales and marketing explain how you plan on taking the product or service to the consumer, you’re pricing plan etc. 2 Positioning: Where would you place yourself in the market: are you a more cost-effective option, are you a more high-end option etc? 3 Pricing: Do you plan on providing competitive pricing, or pricing to cover your initial costs? 4 Promotion: How do you plan on advertising and making your product attractive to customers. 5 Operation: How exactly do you plan on running the business, include distributing strategies, legal issues and the location of your business.

2.1.4. Team and Company Discuss who manages your business, but don't just focus on the bigger titles. Write about your team as a whole and who has what experience or skills that can be useful for the business.

2.1.5. Financial plan While this part seems to involve some mathematics, you don't need to have a college degree for this. You can use software to show your projections in 12 months and then your projections after 3-5 years.

3. Checklist 3: How To Manage A Startup

3.1. There are many aspects of managing a business, and each of these is crucial to the smooth running of a business. Managing a business requires keeping tabs on all aspects of a business, from the smallest to the biggest parts, and having an eye on everything to make sure everything is up to speed.

3.1.1. 1 The legal aspect: This is a crucial part of a business as a single legal issue can cost your business a large chunk of its income. This is why it is necessary that you have all your tax documentation in place, and even if you think you don't have a business that requires an exclusive license or permit, check with the state revenue office or the Small Business Administration in case you need one.

3.1.2. 2 The financial aspect: Over time you may need to hire an accountant to balance books, but it is best that you keep a close eye on the accounts yourself as well.

3.1.3. 3 Managing your team: It is essential for a good manager to keep the morale of his or her team high. This can be done through positive reinforcement and frequent perks. Try to keep a close eye on your employees and see that they work well with each other because at times conflicts with colleagues can significantly limit productivity. Also, check the quality of the work that the employees are doing and their contribution to the company and urge them to work to the best of their abilities.

3.1.4. 4 Market evaluation: Once you carry out the initial market research, your job doesn't end there. You need to be aware of the developments in your field continuously. For example, if a competitor is offering lesser prices now, see if you can do something to beat that, like offering a lesser price or some additional perk. Market research doesn't help if it's just left there, and you need to keep your company relevant and competitive constantly.

4. Checklist 4: How To Fund Your Business

4.1. Finding enough funds to start and run a business is perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of starting a new business. Money is required especially in the first months of a startup to get it afloat because in a new business, you don't begin to make a profit right away and you need to have some money at hand to get your business to a point when it can start making a profit you can use.

4.1.1. 1 Keep your day job with you: When most people start a business, quitting their jobs is one of the first things they do. This, however, is not always the smartest choice, because in today's competitive economy, once you lose a job, it might be difficult to get it back. Your day job will give you a constant source of money that you can invest in your business without relying on another source, and provides a good backup in case your business faces a few financial problems at the start.

4.1.2. 2 Participate in local contests: Many contests are held by the local Chamber of Commerce or other organizations that support entrepreneurs. These competitions allow you to pitch your ideas to a group of established businessmen who then decide whether to give you money to fund your business or not. But don’t be disappointed if you don’t succeed in one of these competitions as there will be other opportunities to get funding too.

4.1.3. 3 Small Business Grants: These are offered to new businesses by your local Chamber of Commerce, the local Small Business Administration and other similar organizations. Apply to one of these for a grant, and your appeal may succeed. All you need to be careful about is whether or not there is some condition involved with the grant or not, because at times you need to pay back the money in such grants with interest.

4.1.4. 4 Crowdfunding: Go to websites like Indiegogo or Kickstarter, and if your idea is appealing enough you may find many investors ready to invest in your business. However, there is a lot of competition on such websites, so it is necessary that your idea is appealing enough to rise above the other ideas.

4.1.5. 5 Business Accelerators or Incubators: Colleges usually offer these, and in addition to providing funding for your business these incubators also mentor you and allow you to gain some expertise regarding the business world. The small problem with these is that such programmes are usually focused on technology businesses, and so your business may not fit the bill for the kind of businesses that they provide funding for.

4.1.6. 6 Small business loans: These are given out by banks, and due to the increased number of microfinance banks that have come into existence, more and more loans are being given to small businesses. However, there are lots of requests with the banks already for these kinds of loans, so your request may not always succeed.

4.1.7. 7 Personal friends and family: It may not always be a good idea to borrow heavily from friends and family, but for small amounts, they are an excellent source (if they are willing) and can help you overcome some little shortfalls in your funds.

5. Checklist 5: How To Carry Out Market Reseach For Your Startup

5.1. Proper market research is one of the critical features of a good startup business. There are two types of market research: primary and secondary. Primary research refers to researching the kinds of customers you want to cater to directly, and this is most commonly done using telephone interviews or even opinion polls. Secondary research refers to studying statistics gathered by other organizations, or by reviewing blogs and articles written by experts in the field. For doing market research, you need to answer a few questions:

5.1.1. 1 Who exactly are your customers? You need to research in detail about the characteristics of the type of people you want to cater to their age, occupation, interests, needs etc.

5.1.2. 2 What products are they currently buying? You need to know the type of products/services your customer buys, what their quality is, their prices etc. This is the way you’ll know what the minimum standard is that you have to deliver it.

5.1.3. 3 Why do they buy the products/services they buy currently? You need to find out what your customers give priority to, whether they buy a product because of its quality, or its price? For example, if you are producing some new kinds of bed sheets, you need to research why people buy your competitor's products, and what the customers give most importance to, e.g. the material, the price, the durability?

5.1.4. 4 Why will the customers buy your product? This is the key question you need to answer when doing market research. Collect data using platforms like Facebook and then put all the statistics you find (from graphs, opinion pools etc.) into software or spreadsheet to draw up some comparisons with your company's data.

5.1.5. 5 You need to visit the websites and review pages of other companies. The criticism and the praise that you will read about on these pages will give you an insight as to what the customers are looking for and what mistakes you should avoid.

5.1.6. 6 Comparative research refers to that aspect of market research where you investigate the size and services/products provided by your competitors to have an idea of what you need to do and what successful companies are doing. Keep the following points in mind when doing research: Research about companies of relative size Companies that already conduct their business nearby Companies that are relatively new so you know how they are faring and the difficulties they are facing

5.1.7. 7 Follow these steps to spend money on research wisely: Decide what you need to know about your market. If research is relevant and focused, it will be more useful. Prioritize the results. You can’t research everything, so focus on the information that will give you the best and/or quickest payback. Look for cost-effective research alternatives. Small Business Development Centers and the Small Business Administration are two organizations that can help you carry out customer surveys, so use their services! Estimate the cost of doing the research yourself. If you are using the internet or blogs for your research, then it will probably cost you nothing, but if you hire a proper research team or give out pamphlets or surveys, you need to be very careful of the cost of research and remember not to go overboard.

6. Checklist 6: Basics About Using Kickstarter

6.1. Kickstarter is one of the most popular crowdfunding platforms that there are. However, before you start using it, you need to know what it is.

6.1.1. 1 It is a funding platform that can be used for funding projects, the most common of which are related to technology, art and music. You should read the Project Guidelines once to be sure that your project meets the guidelines that Kickstarter requires.

6.1.2. 2 It works in a simple way. You will set a funding goal for your project. If your campaign doesn't meet the funding, none of the people who promised (pledged) to give money will not have to. Of your project does meet the goal than before the time limit expires, the backers' credit cards will be charged.

6.1.3. 3 If a project's funding goal is met, Kickstarter charges 5 percent as a fee of all the funds collected.

6.1.4. 4 There are numerous reasons why people support projects on Kickstarter: they want to help their friends, they want to get some reward that the creator is offering, or some other perks, such as getting a limited edition good or some exceptional service.

6.1.5. 5 In the USA, funds that are earned through Kickstarter are considered as income. For example, if a person raises 1000 dollars in one year for their project and spends the money in the same year, income tax will be charged on the 1000 dollars.

6.1.6. 6 On Kickstarter, you can also label funds raised as a non-taxable gift, so income tax may not be charged on them.

6.1.7. 7 If your product involves making some sales, then sales tax may be charged on your Kickstarter fund (this, however, depends significantly on local rules) if it is found that you have some link with the actual location of the backer, e.g. you could be situated in the same area, your product could be up for sale in the backer’s area etc.

7. Checklist 7: How To Calculate Your Company’s Financial Needs

7.1. For any business to succeed it is essential to have a realistic idea of the amount of capital, you need to invest in your business. You might not be able to get your business going if you don't have enough money, and in addition to this, you cannot ask investors for money without knowing how much money your business requires. This checklist shows how to calculate the financial needs of your business so you start with a realistic idea of the money you'll need for your startup.

7.1.1. 1 Calculate your one-time costs: These costs include legal fees, the cost of registering your business, the cost of starting a business inventory, the fees for licenses and permits, buying machinery, real estate and/or vehicles. It is recommended that your business also has a website for advertising and information purposes, so the cost of website development is a one-time cost that you will have to incur.

7.1.2. 2 Calculate your recurring expenses: These are those costs that you will have to incur periodically, as they are involved in the day-to-day running of your business. These costs include lease payments, salaries, overhead costs, and the fuel of any delivery vehicles you may have.

7.1.3. 3 Once you have added the one-time and recurring costs, calculate, given on the basis of your projected sales, the money you will have at your disposal that may be used for emergency needs.

7.1.4. 4 This fourth step requires some research on your part. Go out into the market, or interact with other business owners and suppliers to put a value on your one-time and recurring costs. This is where you will get an accurate estimate of the money you will need.

7.1.5. 5 Then calculate all the money you have available from your various funding resources at your disposal.

7.1.6. 6 Calculate the amount of money you are predicting to make in the start-up period.

7.1.7. 7 Now compare the values in Step 5 and Step 6, and if you’re available money is less than the money you are predicting to make, you have a financial shortfall, and you need more funding, or you need to cut back some costs. If there is no shortfall, you are set to go.

8. Checklist 8: How To Register A New Business

8.1. For any new business, it is important to register it so that your business exists as a legal entity that can carry out its operations legitimately and can enter into contracts with other businesses. There are specific steps that you need to follow to make this happen:

8.1.1. 1 Register a business name: Most people keep a name for their business that is not that their own. For example, a man named Mark Delaware might want to open a business called MD Traders, so they’ll need to register the trade name or a DBA (doing business as) name with the name of their state. Another thing that you’ll need to keep in mind while registering a business name is trademark infringement, special information on which is available with the SBA.

8.1.2. 2 Registering your business as a legal entity: All businesses need not do this step, and some people will register their business as a sole proprietorship, in which there is no difference between the person and the businesses and such businesses are usually run by one person as well. However, you might want to register a business as an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) or an S corporation, depending upon your requirements and location.

8.1.3. 3 Registering a business with the IRS and state revenue office: If you have employees then you will need to get EIN (employee registration number) for them, but if you don't you can use your own Social Security number to conduct business. Also, if you plan to collect sales tax from your customers, you will need to register for a sales tax permit. You'll need to get estimated quarterly tax vouchers from these offices as well.

8.1.4. 4 Business licenses and permits: Most people do not know that they need a permit to operate their business, especially people who run their business from home. You need to contact the SBA or the local Chamber of Commerce to find out the exact kind of permit or license you need.

9. Checklist 9: How To Hire The Right People For Your Startup

9.1. When you start your own business, initially it might only be you or some close family members or friends. However, with the passage of time, you will need to gather more people to be a part of your team to carry out tasks quickly and efficiently. No matter how hard you try, it's going to be very difficult for you to manage and run your business simultaneously and you'll need to delegate tasks one time or another. However, you need not have a background in HR in order to hire the best talent for your startup and the following checklist will help you greatly with that.

9.1.1. Before the interview, there are a few things that you need to check for: 1 Were there any spelling errors on the resume? Such basic mistakes could indicate carelessness. 2 Did the candidate jump from one job to another very frequently? Could be a sign of instability. 3 Check the candidate’s Twitter feed, social media or blog posts to get an idea what kind of projects they are interested in. 4 Have they worked at any startups before? As you are hiring employees for a new business, investigating whether a person has worked in a startup back is of extreme importance as they might have the relevant skills and experience you require.

9.1.2. During the interview: 1 Before calling candidates for a face-to-face interview, call them for a screening test. Here you can filter out the serious candidates from the less serious ones. Try to find out about their interests, past jobs etc. Pick out a few things in the resume, such as a past job or some extra-curricular activity they have participated in and then ask them about it. Through this, you'll even find out which people were lying on their resume and who wasn't. 2 During the interview, try to include activity. This should be related to the field your startup is involved in or the job the person is applying for. For example, if someone is in customer service, do a little role play, pretend to be a disgruntled customer and ask the candidate to calm you. This will demonstrate their practical skills. 3 Ask the candidates what they know about your line of business and whether they are aware of recent developments, if any, in your field of work. 4 Most importantly, look for a personal connection with the candidate. It is essential that there is mental coordination between employee and employer for the startup to run smoothly. 5 Look at a candidate as a whole, not just a job or educational experience, and give great importance to whether they have the required skills for the job.

10. Checklist 10: How To Make An Account On Kickstarter

10.1. Kickstarter is a website that we continually refer to as a platform where you can carry out your crowdfunding campaign. However, using this website for crowdfunding requires that you make an account on it first.

10.1.1. 1 On the top of the page, there will be a blue link that says Start. Click hat and watch the video that it leads to as it will provide you with some basics required for using Kickstarter.

10.1.2. 2 Then click the green Start your Project and press the Continue button to confirm that you meet all the eligibility criterion required for using the website.

10.1.3. 3 Then set up your username and password. Remember to make the password tough!

10.1.4. 4 You can even choose to use Kickstarter with Facebook Connect. This will save some time as there are fewer steps involved. However, it is recommended that you create a new Kickstarter account alone, and then share whatever you want on Facebook. If you use Facebook Connect, then everything you do on Kickstarter will be linked to your Facebook account.

10.1.5. 5 If you are making a unique account on Kickstarter, they will then ask you to provide an email address with which you want to connect your account. If you use Facebook Connect, you'll have to put in your Facebook information. However, Kickstarter will tell you to set up a new password for Kickstarter alone and not use the Facebook password.

10.1.6. 6 Then it is essential that you read the project guidelines. This is to make sure that you know your project fits Kickstarter’s criteria.

10.1.7. 7 Then click the Start Project button again, and you will be taken to a dashboard where there will be six links that will provide you guidance regarding different subjects at any time. These are: Rewards Story About You Account Review Basics

10.1.8. 8 There is also a Preview option at the side that you can use to see how your project will look like once it is launched.

11. Checklist 11: How To Reduce Costs In A Startup

11.1. There are numerous costs that you will have to incur when you start a startup business. These will include necessary advertisement expenses, purchasing materials etc. However, there are many areas where you can cut back on costs that are not that necessary.

11.1.1. 1 Make the most of technology: Try to hold video conferences rather than physical ones as these conferences are quicker, and if you’re holding a bigger meeting you won’t have to rent out a larger space.

11.1.2. 2 Avoid landlines: Having a landline that works all the time and for which you have to pay all year round even though you might not use it. It is best to use a mobile phone or email, also though you might want to get a new mobile phone number for work purposes only. A mobile phone is more practical as it allows you to answer business calls even when you are on the move.

11.1.3. 3 Reduce costs by using less paper: A lot of money is used when you buy printing paper for letter or invoices, but you can cut on that by sending online bills, accepting online payments and emailing business documents.

11.1.4. 4 Reduce credit card debt: It may be easy to make immediate or substantial payments through credit cards, but never let your credit card debt increase too much as high-interest rates and the enormous debt payments are significant costs that you will have to incur over time.

11.1.5. 5 Buy refurbished equipment: Everyone wants their office space to look good, but that can be managed easily by buying good quality second-hand furniture from a local furniture store as well.

11.1.6. 6 Try bartering: This is an excellent strategy for new businesses. If you want to get a service or a product from another business, you can ask them that if instead of paying their bill with money, could you pay by offering something in return. E.g. if you sell linens and bedclothes, ask a local motel or B and B to advertise you by putting up brochures of your business on their premises and give them free samples, or even some linen products for use in their motel.

12. Checklist 12: How To Carry Out Crowdfunding Campaigns

12.1. Crowdfunding refers to a process where you put up the idea for your startup onto a platform, such as Indiegogo or Kickstarter, and allow people to fund your project. While we deal with starting a campaign on Kickstarter in detail in our other checklist, here are the general points for launching any crowdfunding campaign.

12.1.1. 1 Plan out the campaign: Employees at Kickstarter and Indiegogo say that the main reason why they see many crowdfunding campaigns fail is that of the fact that they lack planning. The campaign needs to follow a plan, where you set milestones for yourself and plan your strategy regarding advertising your campaign.

12.1.2. 2 Set a goal: Calculate the money that you need to start your business because you'll need to set that before you start the campaign. This is also necessary for you to see whether or not your campaign is succeeding.

12.1.3. 3 Tell the investors what they will be getting: You will need to tell the pledgers on these websites what advantage they will be getting from investing in your startup. There is usually a small percentage commission that should preferably give to your pledgers as a reward. Remember to include this money in the goal that you set out to earn through the whole campaign, but the commission you should offer should be realistic as you will most probably have many pledgers and you don’t want to be making promises you can’t keep.

12.1.4. 4 There are numerous platforms that you can use for crowdfunding, but you can use Crowding In by Nesta to choose the platform that is right for your particular business.

12.1.5. 5 Create some buzz: There are a lot of projects competing for resources on crowdfunding platforms, but only a few of them succeed. You need to use social media and other methods, such as interacting with investors on a personal basis, making bio videos etc. to create some hype about your project.

12.1.6. 6 Email potential investors: Once you have started your campaign, it is possible that you might reach a certain portion of your goal and the campaign slows down. Prevent this and keep on emailing your previous investors or potential investors and keep on informing them of the progress of your project and try to convince them to invest more!

12.1.7. 7 Keep taxes in mind: Certain countries don't have the same amount of compliance with crowd-funded projects because of which taxation on them may be higher than usual. Carefully collect information about such policies in your country so that you don't end up paying exorbitant amounts of taxes that you were not expecting. Keep this in mind when you start the campaign and remember to include a margin for tax money in your funding project.

13. Checklist 13: How To Use Social Media To Advertise Your Kickstarter Campaign

13.1. Social media is a potent tool in today's day and age, and you can use it to your advantage and advertise your Kickstarter campaign on it to make sure that word of your campaign reaches as many people as possible and you reach your funding goal.

13.1.1. 1 For Facebook: Go to your Facebook account, or make a new one specifically for this purpose. Then go to the Facebook Pages link and pick out the page you want to make. Yours will probably fall in the “Local Business” or “Company, Organisation or Institutions” category. Then put in the necessary details of your startup on the page, choose a nice page picture and make the page public. Share this page on your Facebook profile and ask your friends to like it. On your Kickstarter campaign homepage, there is a link to your own Facebook account as well. You can share news from your Kickstarter campaign on Facebook using this link.

13.1.2. 2 For Twitter: Twitter has a 140 character limit which significantly restricts what you can do for your Kickstarter campaign. The best way is to advertise your Kickstarter motto in a tweet, and then provide a URL to your Kickstarter campaign.

13.1.3. 3 For video-sharing platforms: There are numerous platforms like this on the web, some of which include Vimeo, YouTube, Dailymotion and Google Video. Each of these has different yet easy to follow uploading procedures, and you can open these websites and upload a video on them by making an account with them. However, some general tips are: Make the video public so that it appears in people’s search results and reaches a maximum number of people. Keep it short and refer to your name and the business’s name frequently so that people know who they are supporting. In your video name, keep a few words that are related to your project so that interested investors look at the video. In the description of your video, provide a URL to your Kickstarter campaign so that all people have to do to go to your campaign is click a link.

14. Checklist 14: How To Avoid Common Mistakes When Creating A Business Plan

14.1. 1 Don’t write too much: It is important that you stick to the point and provide only relevant details. Keep the tone formal and informative, and don’t go into storytelling mode.

14.2. 2 Don’t add a lot of formatting details: While it is good to add sub-headings, bold font and bullet points where necessary, remember that your business plan is a formal document, and inserting in complex fonts, page layouts and colours may make it difficult for the investor to focus on the key information.

14.3. 3 Give your business idea the value that it is due: Do not oversell your business idea. Give an honest account in your business plan about the profit that your business is expected to make so as not to disappoint and discourage your investors later on.

14.4. 4 Get your priorities straight: Investors have more confidence in business when they know the owner or manager has a clear focus about where they want to spend the money. You should have two or three priorities and stress on them in your business plan as well so your investors know what you are aiming for. For example, if one of your goals is to provide competitive pricing as compared to your competition, stick to how you plan on achieving that goal and don’t diverge from it.

14.5. 5 Do not think that cash equals profit: It is essential for you to recover payments due to you by your customers as soon as possible. Allow some customers to have a little bit of credit but remember to take payments because that encourages cash flow, and maintaining a steady stream of cash is necessary for paying bills, buying equipment etc.

14.6. 6 Give true details about the first twelve months: This is crucial for your business plan as this will allow investors actually to assess your business. Your milestones, financial plans and marketing strategies should be very accurately described, with true projections and not overly-ambitious numbers that you might not be able to meet.

14.7. 7 Don’t go into a lot of details about the future: It is practical to give 3-5 year projections, but there is no need to add predictions of up to 10 to 20 years as the future is full of uncertainties and market conditions may change significantly in a decade or two.

14.8. 8 Keeping a rough copy with you: This might seem like a very mundane tip, but it is necessary to have a soft copy, or even a hard copy of the plan with you even after you have submitted it to your investors. A lot of hard work goes into making a business plan and if you lose it, or one of your investors loses it you should have one with you that you can use instead.

14.9. 9 Avoid general statements: Try not to make very vague statements about your milestones, goals or projections. Some fact or figure should support almost everything that you say. Investors will not be impressed if you make statements that they can see are not backed by any facts.

15. Checklist 15: How To Manage Startup Stress

15.1. While starting a new business, it is easy to get so deeply lost in the workload that one may forget to look after themselves. As a business owner, it is important that you manage your stress in such a way that your health is not affected. This issue is often not discussed on most forums, but increased stress is a very natural consequence of a startup as you have a lot of workload on your shoulders all of a sudden.

15.1.1. 1 If you feel tired, pay attention to your body's natural signals. At times you might ignore things like headaches, increased exhaustion etc. as being routine, but over time these things could potentially mean something serious, and it's better to rest and get better fast before things escalate.

15.1.2. 2 Deal with a cause of concern immediately: If you have an angry customer, or a lazy employee, or even a difficult business decision, it is best that you deal with it as soon as possible and not procrastinate. We do not mean that you make ill thought out, or bad decisions, don't delay something unnecessarily.

15.1.3. 3 Try to do healthy activities daily. Exercise can be a great stress buster, and while it may not seem like much, even a daily 30-minute walk, especially in the fresh air, can do great things for your body.

15.1.4. 4 Delegate where possible. We know that as a new business owner, you might not want to hand over tasks to others and try to do as much as possible yourself. The thing is that no matter how much you might dislike it, or however reluctant you are, it is necessary that you delegate tasks to others. This leads to tasks being handled more efficiently, and quickly as well. This is why you should hire competent people so that even if you delegate tasks to them, they handle them well also if they are unsupervised.

15.1.5. 5 Try not to be too much of a perfectionist. It is good to have high standards of quality of the work you expect from your employees and the products or services you deliver to the customer. However, being too much of a perfectionist will only lead to too much stress for you, so try your best, and let that be enough. Also, remember that you can't compete with everything that your competitors are providing.

16. Checklist 16: How To Calculate The Profit Of A Startup

16.1. Making a reasonable profit is the main aim of any business. With a startup, you will most probably not make a margin in the early days, but the profit will come eventually. There are three main types of profits and different formulas for calculating each of them.

16.1.1. 1 Gross Profit: This is the most straightforward metric for calculating the profit of a company. Only includes costs directly related to the production of goods such as raw materials, wages, labour expenses etc. Does not include debt, taxes, and overheads, operating expenses or the costs of one-time purchases. This type of profit is used to calculate the profit in comparison with total revenue and calculates the total percentage of profit left behind with each revenue dollar after the cost of production has been deducted.

16.1.2. 2 Operational profit: More complicated than gross profit and takes into account operational costs.

16.1.3. 3 Net Profit: This is the first reflection of the profits that a company has indeed made. In the end, your company will say to be successful mainly on the basis of your net profit. Includes the COGS (cost of goods sold) along with debt, taxes, one-time expenses and also any other investments made by your company. Formula: For example, if the fiscal year ended in February 2018, XYZ CO. had a recorded revenue of $20 billion. Gross profit and operating profit amounted to $35 billion and $5 billion respectively. The net profit for the year is $2 billion. The profit margins for XYZ CO. would be calculated in the following method: Gross profit margin = ($35 billion ÷ $50 billion) x 100 = 70%. Operating profit margin = ($5billion ÷ 50 billion) x 100 = 10%. Net profit margin = ($2 billion ÷ $ 50 billion) x 100 = 4%

17. Checklist 17: How To Choose Which Supplier Is Best

17.1. If you are starting up a new business and you produce some goods, or even for providing certain services, you might need certain materials for making this possible. Here is how you can choose the best supplier to meet your needs:

17.1.1. 1 Set your requirements: You need to make a list of everything you want in your supplier, this can include things like their payment policy, credit services, return policy, storage facilities, minimum and maximum order limits etc.

17.1.2. 2 You can then use two methods actually to find suppliers. First of all, you can put up an advert in a newspaper where you can put up the list of requirements you need and ask the suppliers of the relevant materials to send in their information.

17.1.3. 3 The second method is searching the internet yourself, looking for suppliers, or finding them through contacts, and then approaching each and every one yourself to obtain the relevant information.

17.1.4. 4 Then announce a call for bids, according to whichever process you choose. Make a form and ask relevant buyers to fill them out and return them to you.

17.1.5. 5 Evaluating the bid submissions is a crucial part of this whole process. Look at all the bids that you have gotten, assess them all in terms of whether or not the supplier's policy meets the requirements you had in mind, e.g. if you had wanted that the maximum order for paper that a paper supplier should have accepted to be 50 reams of paper, which supplier's maximum order limit was the same or very near?

17.1.6. 6 Choose the supplier according to the previous steps. However, throughout your business interaction with the supplier, assess their performance as even the best of them can get complacent and their quality could be suffering. Don’t be reluctant to come out of something that might be detrimental for your business.

18. Checklist 18: What Are The Early Signs Of The Success Of A Startup

18.1. There are usually signs from the start of a business which indicate whether or not the business will succeed in the long run. It is true that a business takes time to succeed, and you need to have the patience for that, but the thing is that these signs will help you decide whether or not you need to change something in your business so as not to suffer later on.

18.1.1. 1 Clear mission: It is necessary for a business to have a clear mission from the start. If you own a startup based on an app that connects home-based cooks with customers, then stick with that idea. Don't introduce too many variations that might make people lose the sense of what your business is about.

18.1.2. 2 Consumer response: The success of a business can very easily be gauged from the fact that consumers use your services and not those of your competitors. This means that there has to be something that they find in your product or service that they don’t find in your competitor’s.

18.1.3. 3 Good cash flow: This is a good sign that shows you are on the right track. Even if a lot of consumers haven't found you yet if you spend less than you take in then you are off to a good start.

18.1.4. 4 Transparency: This is very necessary as any company that keeps too many secrets becomes so involved in protecting them that it forgets to pay attention to more important things like product/service quality, customer service etc. It is good to have some trade secrets that you may not want to give to other people, but to keep secrets as to pricing and deals from your customers may fire back. Having transparency can be a sign of success.

18.1.5. 5 Motivated team: A company whose employees are in good spirits is usually on the right path. It is evident that employees make become disgruntled if you are too strict, or if they don't like the content of their work, but you need to be sure to keep them motivated as that can increase productivity. Strictness is reasonable, but know when to stop.