May 1, 2003 Issue #8
IN THIS ISSUE
- 3 simple things to do for your business this month
- Entrepreneurship: The entrepreneur's most underutilized tool
- Free download
- Business Odyssey.com renovation
- Write to us; pass it along; reprint articles
3 simple things to do for your business this month
- ESTABLISH AN OUTGOING E-MAIL "SIG FILE." You've all seen this - it's a short "ad" at the end of an e-mail. If you aren't using one in your own outgoing e-mails, you're missing a really easy and FREE way to keep your message in front of customers and prospects.
If you are using one, great! But when was the last time you changed it? Just like all ad messages, these can get "tired" after a while.
Develop a short, punchy "teaser" and a link to your web site or the product you are offering. Instruct your e-mail program to add this to each outgoing
e-mail automatically. If you aren't sure of how to do this, go into "Help" and type in "signatures" for instructions. (In Outlook Espress, click on Tools, then Options then the Signature tab.)
- SCHEDULE TIME OFF. Entrepreneurs often have a very, very hard time with this but it is essential to maintaining health and sanity and for staying on top of your game.
Schedule time with your family and time for yourself. Do something you love. Each week plan at least one 24 hour period in which you do nothing business related. It's also important to schedule longer periods of time away from
work - 3 or more days away a couple of times a year at minimum. It will help relieve stress and recharge your batteries. You'll return to work energized
and more productive.
- SIGN UP FOR A SEMINAR. Busy entrepreneurs often neglect one of the
biggest contributors to success - constant upgrading of skills. At
conferences and seminars you can catch up on new developments, strengthen
your skills and learn new ones, get fresh ideas, and network with other
entrepreneurs. Some seminars are only an hour or two. Check out local
business publications, community colleges and universities, and business
organizations for announcements.
Entrepreneurship: The entrepreneur's most underutilized tool
How do you tell if that great idea you have is going to pay off before you
invest time, money and energy? Whether you're starting a new business or
extending your current offerings, checking things out before you dive in is
always prudent. Feasibility testing is the best way to avoid wasting time
and resources on non-starters so you can focus your energy on the winners.
There are 2 phases to doing a feasibility analysis.
1. Do one or more "quick tests" to start the process. A quick test gives you
a snapshot of the situation and allows you to make an informed decision
without investing a lot of time. Here are several quick test approaches.
TALK to respected peers about your idea. Weigh their responses. Keep in mind
that a totally unique idea might be rejected even if it has merit. You have
to be the final judge of the responses that you receive. That's why it is a
good idea to do several different quick tests.
LIST the pros and cons. Judge the results by both the quantity and the
quality of items in each column.
ANSWER critical questions such as why you are interested in this idea, if
the market is interested in it, if people are willing to pay you money for
this product or service.
EXAMINE the results of your quick tests to see if the facts support the idea
being marketable and if you are motivated to go on to the second phase of
your feasibility analysis.
2. The second phase is more involved and will actually serve multiple
purposes. It will tell you exactly what has to happen in order to bring your
idea to market and it will be the foundation for your business plan.
The feasibility study begins with a good written description of your business
concept. This will include detailed descriptions of the new product or
service, your prospective customers, what benefits the customer will derive
from the products, and how that value will be delivered.
Next, develop an industry and market analysis. This information
will help you determine your entry strategy. This involves doing some
research to answer important questions including whether:
You will also want to develop a detailed description of who will be buying
your product or service. This will be the basis for developing a unique
selling proposition and marketing strategy that will appeal to your
- the industry will support a new player
- competition is strong or weak
- raw materials are available
- there are threats such as regulatory changes
- you can overcome the hurdles to entering this market
Pro forma financial statements will help you determine your probable
break-even point and profit potential. As you research the industry andmarket, develop an estimate of demand. This will be your starting point.
Research will also reveal your costs and give you an idea of how much will
have to be spent on marketing.
The product development analysis of the feasibility study lays out exactly
what has to happen to make the product marketable. Will you need prototype
development, product testing, patent protection, etc. Even services need to
go through this process.
Establishing your founding team will ensure that you have people with the
skill, experience and time to launch the new product.
Then you determine the timeline to launch.
At each point along the way you will have the opportunity to make a decision
about whether or not you want to go on with the project. As you gather infor
mation, you can refine and improve your concept so that you go to market
with the best product you can produce. You will know the likelihood of
success BEFORE you dive in and understand what needs to be done to be
For a more detailed look at the feasibility analysis, see Kathleen Allen's excellent book, Entrepreneurship for Dummies. Available at many public libraries and at this Amazon link:
Business Odyssey is always on the lookout for solid information sources that
will benefit entrepreneurs. When we find something that we think is useful,
we pass it along - especially if it's a freebie.
Whether you have had a business for years or if you are just starting out,
the Service Sellers Master Course offers tons if great information that
would take you years to find on your own.
This free download provides 230 pages packed with insider tips and tricks
for successfully developing and marketing your service. It takes you from
the beginning brainstorming of your product idea through start-up and
marketing. For beginners, this is a terrific format for getting started on
the right foot with minimal investment. For veterans, the course will
provide you with dozens of new ideas for landing new prospects and for
keeping them coming back.
Why is this being offered for free? Well, there is a sales pitch for the
Site Sell web site hosting service, Site Build It! However, the information
is excellent and can be used by anyone no matter what hosting service they
At this price, there is certainly no risk. Take a look. I think you will be
impressed by the quality of information here. If you aren't, please let me
Business Odyssey.com renovation
We are in the midst of a major overhaul of the Business Odyssey web site.
This has been a less-than-smooth-going project but I firmly believe that the
results will be worth the pain. At the moment of this writing, the old web
site is still up. I hope that changes soon.
Initially the new page will have only a limited amount of information on
it. All of the links and resources will be restored in short order with lots
of new additions.
The new format will allow me to more easily make additions and to update
more frequently. I am looking forward to the increased flexibility. It will
make it a lot easier to add new features, tools, information and products
that make life easier for entrepreneurs.
In the meanwhile, if you have problems accessing the site, my apologies. The
problems should not last long so check back often.
Want a web site but don't know how to start? Afraid it will cost too much? Suffering from "technophobia"? Site Build It! is an incredible, complete package - hosting, software, powerful e-commerce tools, detailed, non-technical instructions - all at a very affordable price. Take a "quick
Write to us; pass it along; reprint articles
If you have questions, comments or an idea for an article you would like to see in The Chronicle, please drop us a line at
Feel free to pass this newsletter along to anyone you think might find it of interest. If you do, be sure to forward it in its entirety and include the copyright notice.
To use an article in your own publication, just send me an e-mail telling me which article you want to use. I will e-mail you the complete article withan information block which MUST be included.
Copyright 2003 Kathleen Thompson