Credit Manipulation

Unlike current bank loans, credit cards carry high repayment charges. The monthly interest rate is often four times higher. Yet used judiciously, credit cards can be a quick way to purchase goods and indirectly fund your business. Using your credit card as a source of finance makes complete sense, provided the retail price (after all bad debts) is well ahead of the total production costs plus all likely interest. Credit providers are delighted to extend your credit if you have a good payment...

Leave Grazing to the Project Manager

Nothing is worse than a stuck programmer delving into the Internet, finding a bit of code to get him around a problem, embedding it into the program, and plodding on. You have no idea of the implications of quality, source, support, updates, and copyright, to say nothing of the licence fees. You can't expect new programmers to understand these issues. Finding solutions via the Internet is a black art and uses up a lot of time. It's far better that the developers tell the project manager what...

Contents

Chapter 1 How Winners Spot Winners 1 Where Winners Find Their Ideas 1 How to Bottle Step 1 - Sit Step 2 - Stretch Your Idea 3 Step 3 - Make Sure Your Idea Is Well Defined 4 Step 4 - Open Up Your Concept 4 Step 5 - Check the Concept against Your Own Experience 5 Step 6 - Gather Your Inner Sanctum 6 Step 7 - You Are Only Human 7 Why Development Chapter 2 What Successful People Ask 9 Who to How Many People Must You Survey 11 The A Task for a Framing the What Might You Charge 14 Sales Office Sticky...

How to Approach Selling

Advertising and PR, if you are fortunate enough to have them, set the vehicle in motion. With or without them, you have to start from where you are. Buyers aren't fools. Initially, they will be inclined to take you at your word, but they will feel let down if you deliver less than you promise. And they won't give you the benefit of the doubt a second time. Sales managers have an old saying The more you tell, the more you sell. It is not quite true. It is the...

Distributors

Every country seems to have at least one of these. These are wholesalers who sell exclusively to the trade (normally dealers), but never to end users, at least that's the theory. Large end users, corporations, and government departments frequently place significantly larger orders than many dealers, so distributors frequently suppress their ethical objections. The increase in electronic delivery and software activation makes this shortcut particularly tempting. Where distributors won't play...

Web Based Distributors

Where software can be dispatched electronically, Internet-based distribution is an obvious solution. There are two types of distribution via the Web traditional and facilitators. Traditional distributors use their Web sites simply to sell products and take orders. The goods are stored, shipped, and invoiced manually. Shareware sites such as Tucows also list, review, and make software available for download and purchase (if found acceptable). A newer phenomenon is that of facilitators. They sell...

Selecting Distributors and Dealers

Many firms are so relieved to get a distributor, they pay scant attention to finding out what sort of job that distributor will do before they place their future in the distributor's hands. Then they wonder why little or nothing happens. Don't just jump in because you must have distribution. Don't assume just because they have done a good job for X they will do a good job for you. You have to vet distributors and direct dealers as carefully and reflectively as you do when you are hiring staff....

Do It Yourself

Do you really need outside funding A group of experienced IT directors in Europe were starting a new venture using some software that had been in hibernation for about six months. The previous owners had gone bankrupt and the product was finished but needed launching. It was a blue chip product that enabled companies to put together secure and potentially complex Web forms in 1 10th the time it took normally. Everything looked great except that they felt very insecure without regular salaries...

Structure

There is no universal definition of the right structure for a business plan. The right business plan for your project is the one that works, raises the capital you need, delivers the goods, and scoops the profit. However, the business plan should ideally be less than 30 pages long. Supporting documents such as market research, detailed financial projects, and so on are usually best placed in a separate appendix so the plan doesn't appear overwhelming. Business plans that work are clear, simple,...

Reward and Risk

Researching for your business plan should give you a strong understanding of the financial outgoings. The hard part is anticipating your income. How will you handle major risk What happens if a key deal falls through What will you do if a supplier or subcontractor begins to run late How will you handle it if you are preempted by an unexpected competitor Good strategists prepare contingency plans that cater to most foreseeable circumstances. Look the factors in the face and develop an...

Is It Worth Going After Venture Capital

It takes about a full month to research, write, polish, and rehearse a good business plan. It will take a further two months to contact, dispatch, and await preliminary judgment from the VCs that you approach. The business plan is not to be undervalued as it provides the thinking and roadmap of how your operation is to operate anyway but the level of polish required for external acceptance is dramatically different from the worksheet that can be used internally. With only a one...

The Executive Summary

The executive summary is a snapshot of the business plan. It's the 30-pager on a post card. Venture capitalists need to be able to see at a glance whether your project is likely to interest them. They can only do justice to so many business plans per month. Although the executive summary is always read before the business plan, you should deal with it after completing the full plan because it is easier to cut down a proposal than to inflate a summary. In a sentence or paragraph of not more than...

The Business Plan

Business plans force you to lay out in writing the roadmap and mechanism by which you believe your product can succeed. They are also the key to securing funding from any financial institution. There's a myth that if you write a perfect business plan, the gates will open and untold riches will flow just because you put the right words down in the correct order. Unfortunately, like so much in life, nothing is guaranteed but clearly the better your business plan, the better your chances....

Mark II Method

Charles Symons' Mark II method focuses on the effort required to encode 20 parameters. It thus avoids using estimated number of functions. Mark II is predominantly used in the United Kingdom. It is similar to Function Point in the parameters it uses, but it works in a simpler way. The idea behind Mark II is to reduce subjectivity by using the same yardsticks regardless of the program's application. Mark II adds six more yardsticks to the 14 General System Characteristics. Distributed Data...