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Lesson Ten -
Writing a Business Plan and Funding a Startup

Lesson Goals

The Strategies and Advantages of Creating a Legal Business

The Strategies Behind Writing a Workable, Saleable Business Plan

To Identify the Best Sources for Learning How to Start a Business

The Strategies for Getting Money to Start Your Business

The One-Person Business Option

Even if you're only a one-person business, there are still many tax advantages which become available if you incorporate. If you don't need money to start your business, you can incorporate a business by visiting a lawyer and paying a few hundred dollars to establish a legal corporation. If you are uncomfortable with your lack of knowledge maintaining a business, such as keeping up with quarterly reports, paying yourself as an employee, etc., you can hire a certified public accountant to do this for you.

Starting Your Own Business

Do you want to start your own business? Do you need money? If you have a good idea, there are many people who would like to put money in your capable hands. There is a process to follow and extensive resources are available to assist you. Patience and perseverance are required, but if you take it one step at a time, you'll be surprised at how quickly your new business concept can become a reality.

To receive funding you need a business plan. Many investor's and/or banker's templates and guides exist to help you create one. You have to convince them that you have a viable product and/or service, a realistic market to sell to, and a plan to deliver your goods, and make a profit. Reading successful business plans is how you'll learn to structure your own.

Copyrights, Trademarks, and Borrowing Workable Ideas

Copyright laws prohibit you from directly copying an existing business name or an existing implementation of an idea. But, you are free to implement an existing idea in original ways. Learning more about what does and does not constitute a copyright or trademark violation is important. Since you can't copyright an idea, just the expression or implementation of that idea, you're free to borrow existing great ideas and implement them as an original business model. You've seen this with businesses borrowing the great ideas presented by Ebay.com and Bluemountain.com.

Winning Money to Start Your Business

The Small Business Administration http://www.sba.gov has many loan and grant programs you should learn about. Furthermore, most state economic development initiatives offer additional funding opportunities. As a strategy, first get to know what funding resources are focused on supporting new businesses in your region.

Venture Capital is money given to promising business start-ups for an anticipated share of the profits. Plan to identify regional and national venture capital sources and existing resources on strategies for how to win venture capital.

Learn about the world of non-profit organizations and grant-writing skills. If you create a non-profit organization with a 501c3 designation, you're able to receive grants from foundations. Non-profits often make lots of money and provide many great jobs. Plan to learn about the profit-making potential of non-profits as they represent many important trends related to Ecommerce opportunities.

Social Entrepreneurship and Venture Philanthropy
There's a whole new field of funding opening up in the middle between traditional philanthropy - where giving may or may not guarantee a tangible return, and Venture capital - where an economic return is expected. Since many non-profits lack the internal organizational expertise to create sustainable enterprises - Venture Philanthropy has emerged as a source of funding to support social entrepreneurship businesses and non-profits. In such ventures the social good is served at the same time organizational expertise is provided along with funding to create an economically sustainable business or non-profit organization.  An important trend to pay attention to is that many for-profit businesses also have a non-profit organization in order to benefit from the advantages of both models.

Initial Public Stock Offerings (IPO's

Perhaps you'd like to know about putting your business up for an Initial Public Offering on the stock market as a way of generating funding? This is only for existing businesses that have proven their potential, but is another area of exploration you might consider. You can find information at most online brokerage sites.

Completing This Course

In the hands-on activities for this lesson you will find an extraordinary number of quality resources focused on the themes for this lesson - which you are strongly advised to explore thoroughly. Visit your local and regional small business development offices and learn about those services available to you. Make a point of meeting new people locally.

Having now reached the final lesson for this online course, you now know that whatever you need - It's Out There!  With your searching skills, innovative tenacity, and the wealth of exposure to quality resources which you've already achieved, you'll be in good shape for continued learning on any topic you desire.

The fact that you've demonstrated patience and perseverance to have made it to this final lesson marks you as an early pioneer of Ecommerce and online self-empowerment.

Remember how intimidated you may have felt when you started this course? Think about how you might extend encouragement to others. Consider the opportunity for becoming a paid mentor helping others maintain their confidence as they move through the ten lessons of this course.

You're limited only by your imagination.
Albert Einstein.

Hands-on Activities

1. You've already taken a first look at the following resources, but this time, review them specifically for the best existing resources for starting a business, writing a business plan, and funding a start-up and create your own listing of the most appropriate resources.

Small Business Knowledge Base
Teach yourself how to start a business, marketing, financial management and international trade! Too many ads, but if you keep digging you'll find serious resources.

Small Business Association
www.sba.gov  and particularly www.sba.gov/classroom 
Federal resources, funding, online courses on how to create a business, write business plans, and much more.

Entrepreneur's Edge
"Championing the Entrepreneurial Spirit! Learn how to be a successful Entrepreneur! From the Edward Lowe Foundation. Select 'Start-up Resources' for the motherlode.

The 'E' in Me",
Select the link to Online Resources for a rich listing. Hosted by the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, http://www.emkf.org/ 

Select Media Resource Center, then Entrepreneurship Quick Facts

Business@ Home
Making a life while making a living. Select "Resources" for a directory of home-based business support organizations listed by state and country.

2. Review Patent and Trademark Services

The U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office

Invention Submission Corporation

3. Find 3 major resource sites with information on venture capital sources
    and each of the following topics. Since this is the last lesson, now you
    should have full control of your own self-directed Internet learning skills.

Here's one great site you won't want to miss.

Venture Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship
Created by http://www.morino.org

" venture capital" AND tutorial*

"social entrepreneurship"   Return to the Kauffman Foundation site for resources. www.emkf.org

"venture philanthropy"       Return to http://netpreneur.org and http://www.venturephilanthropypartners.org

"Initial Public Stock Offerings"

Email your instructor your answers to the following questions based on a scale of lowest to highest; 1-10

1-3 Very Negative - Low 4-6 Fairly Positive - Medium 7-10 Confident - High

1. My motivation for learning about technology AFTER taking this class.

2. My self-confidence with technology and my ability to teach myself     what I need to know.

3. My current skill level with computers and Internet (rough estimate)

4. My anticipation that I'll be able to learn what I need to know about Ecommerce AFTER this class

5. Please include a note on how well this course worked for you and any suggestions you might have to offer.

Recommended Readings

If you're serious about business, you might consider subscribing to the Wall Street Journal http://www.wsj.com  Free two-week online subscriptions are available, but extensive resources are free to all. Make an effort to learn the vocabulary of Ecommerce and note how quickly things are evolving. It is likely this and similar publications can help you stay current in a world of accelerating change.

The Wall Street Journal Start-up Journal and Center for Entrepreneurship:
Includes a toolkit for creating a business plan, trademark searches, and more.

Submissions Required for the Ecommerce and Telework Certification

1. Email your instructor a one page write-up on the time you spent on this lesson and which specific strategies you're prepared to adopt. Reference the best specific resources you reviewed during this lesson with emphasis on your particular interests. Verify you've completed all activities and readings presented in this lesson.

Share with your instructor a self-assessment of your skills related to this lesson and which skills you plan on developing further.
Use the following Subject line in your message "Submission for Lesson Ten."

2. Send your instructor your decisions on whether you plan to start a business and/or what you have decided to do as your next step upon finishing this course. Identify what you think you'll need that you don't already have at your fingertips.

3. Submit your final electronic portfolio web page and whether you'd like to be considered as a paid mentor for future learners who enroll in this course.