Welcome Let’s Get Started.
Course Overview – Format and Outline
Tour of the Learning Center
1.1 Overview – Getting Organized
Lots of moving parts have to come together to start a new business – even a very small one. It does not matter if you are building software or walking dogs, there are certain things that need to be done to get you making money. There will be some variations, of course, but all businesses start with a value proposition, goods or services, and customers. Building a business is like building anything else, you start with a vision, a plan, and all the pieces to get the job done. In this section we are going to take an inventory of all the “parts” we need to get the company up and operational. We are going to collect all these parts and keep them organized so we know where to find them when they are needed. Think of this as “just-in-time” small biz manufacturing – the key is to have everything ready to go! For instance, you can’t build a website without content, and you can’t link social media accounts unless you actually have social media accounts! This first module will get you organized and ready to start your company in the shortest amount of time possible.
1.2 Things to Do to Get and Stay Organized
1.3 Evernote Video Tour – Set up for Micro-Entrepreneurship Workshop
1.3 “Stuff” to Collect and Organize
1.4 Activity – Set up Social Media Accounts
1.4 Assignment – Working Company Name – Domain Name – Brief Description of Goods and Services
1.5 Quick Quiz
Project – You will be setting up an Evernote account, or an old fashioned notebook – or anything you like and start setting up sections for all the course requirements. Then like an old fashioned scavenger hunt you will begin running from one place to another to collect all the “stuff” that will make up the value proposition of your little business.
Module 1 – Resources
2.1 Overview – Micro-Biz Planning
This micro-entrepreneurship workshop is unique because we use tried and true business planning, with website templates to get a good mix of what really needs to happen to get your business up and successful. Formal business planning is essential if you are going to seek an investor or get a loan – but micro-entrepreneurship is about just doing it all yourself. This means that you can change things if you need to, increase or lower prices – or change your marketing plan to make things work. But we don’t want to waste our time! So does this mean we are going to plan as we go? Well yes and no – we can change a plan as we go, but we need a clear path to get started. We need a map – and that is just what we are going to build in this module…
2.2 Bringing in the Money – Money Quiz
2.3 Reeling in the Customers – Customer Quiz
2.4 Creating Goods and Services – Value Proposition Quiz
2.5 Planning the “Launch”
2.6 Essential Elements of Micro-Planning – Business Plan vs. Website Plan
Project – We set up a mind-map template that you can use it to think of all the variables you might encounter when starting your new business. We took these ideas from everywhere! Our own experience, blogs, websites, books on the subject – lots of resources. So don’t think that you need to fill in all the subjects and answer all the questions, just look everything over to make sure you are not missing anything. You will refer to this map to keep things from falling through the cracks later in the process.
Module 2 – Resources
3.1 Overview – Your Website
If you have ever shopped for a car, selected a prom dress, or fallen in love – you know what it is like to find the perfect website template. Armed with your list of essential attributes from your planning project, you carefully go about searching for the best template out there for your business. You will search the racks, give them test drives, and seek that perfect chemistry that takes your breath away. You know when you find it – because it just fits perfectly with you and what you want to do with your business. A good website template will help you tell your story, give you a list of content you need to write or curate and structure your offerings so they make sense. It will help you clarify your value proposition. It is the modern day equivalent of a brochure, and it will be the hub of your marketing activities – even if you are in a low tech business!
3.2 Activity – Domain Name – Hosting Plan
3.3 Video – cPanel Tour
3.4 Activity – eMail Set Up
3.4 Activity – WordPress Upload and Admin Panel Tour
3.5 Assignment – Template Selection and Upload
Project – Register your domain name, set up your hosting service (and email) – select your template and upload it to your new site. Start the customization process for your template so it will start to tell your story in a clear and compelling way.
Module 3 – Resources
4.1 Overview Content
By the time you get here, your content should be ready to go (just kidding). You probably have given a great deal of thought about what you need to tell your prospects in order to get them to buy from you. And you certainly should have a list of the content you want to create! Now is the time to turn that message into reality. You will use words, pictures, and (hopefully) videos. In this workshop, we will work in three sections first we will develop the essential content – without which you cannot close a deal. Second is stuff that will make converting customers easier, and third is a list of things to include at a future time. We start with the essential stuff and add the other stuff as necessary to get the customers in.
4.2 Structuring your Template
4.3 Organizing Content Files on your Computer
4.4 Pages – Quick Video
4.5 Posts – Quick Video
4.6 About Media – Pictures – Videos – Sound
4.7 Writing and Posting Content
4.8 Video – Basics of search engine optimization (SEO)
Project – Write your content – pages and blogs. Select your pictures and get your videos up on YouTube or Vimeo – if necessary. You have an outline which came directly from your website template, so now is the time to “fill in the blanks” and produce your value proposition in clear and certain terms. It is not as terrible as it sounds – because most of this “stuff” is already in your notebook at this point in the workshop!
Module 4 – Resources
5.1 Overview – Inbound Marketing
Whether you have a grass roots, brick and mortar micro-biz, or a high tech project – you have to learn the basics of marketing. And in today’s Internet-connected economy, that means you will need to understand the basics of inbound marketing. If you are deathly afraid of pounding on doors to get your products sold, cold calling until you find that one magic person interested in your stuff – then you are becoming a micro-entrepreneur at the right time! Gone are the days of banging a customer over the head until they buy something. In this lesson, you will learn to bring your customers to you by attracting attention, providing information and persuading them to purchase. You will do this through providing valuable content – teach and train your customers on the value of your offerings then follow up with personal attention until you have a customer for life and a large referral base. This is the modern method of marketing, and it is free but for your labor.
5.2 Inbound Marketing Strategy for your Business
5.3 Selecting your Media Channels
5.4 Setting up social media links on your website
5.5 Managing an Ongoing Marketing Campaign Yourself
5.5 Video – Setting up Google Analytics on your Website
Module 5 – Resources
6.1 Overview – The Principles of Micro-Profit
Micro-entrepreneurship is all about juggling – keeping lots of balls in the air at once – producing, marketing, selling, servicing, and growing your client base. There are so many hours in a day and every one counts when you are a micro-entrepreneur – especially when you are getting started. Evaluating your time, what it is worth and how you spend it will be absolutely critical to your success. Consider your time, effort and energy as important as the crucial “resources” section of a big fancy business plan. As a micro-entrepreneur, you can always have a “business” that doesn’t make any money (as long as it is a part time gig), but we are really in this to make lots of money and have the freedom to spend it without worrying if your employees are going to keep the doors open. Leveraging you for profit is critical. In Module 2 we did enough planning to get the project off the ground – now we are going to do some serious long term planning.
6.2 Common Ways Micro-Entrepreneurs Make More Money (Without Employees)
6.3 Selling goods with services and vice versa
6.4 Short versus Long Run Manufacturing and Outsourcing – Goods Productions
6.5 Leveraging your Know-How in the Services Business – Including eTraining
6.6 Assignment – Personal Time Management and Goal Achievement Strategies
Project – Now that you know exactly what it will take to be a successful micro-entrepreneur, you will produce a personal productivity plan (PPP) that is designed to take you where you want to go in the future. This is a good old “Franklin Planner” exercise that will help you define your long term goals in terms of your new business and break down critical long term projects into smaller tasks that can be accomplished while you run the day-to-day operations of your company. This will keep you from looking back someday and wondering what you did all this for.
Module 6 – Resources
7.1 Overview Launching the Company – Filling Orders and Serving Customers
The “wild card” is the goods or services you are offering – and when they will be ready for “prime time”. Do you have enough inventory on hand to get through a successful launch? What if customers call you for your service – are you ready to fill the orders? From dog walking to app downloading, the company has to be ready to start – and once it is, it is time to launch. The basics of the launch were discussed in Module
7.2 Case Studies of Successful Launches
7.3 Referral Programs
7.4 Cultivating Excellent Reviews
7.5 Soft Launch Options
7.6 Refining and Re-launching – until You Get it Right
Module 7 – Resources
8.1 Overview – Financial and Legal Considerations
This final module contains information concerning keeping your business legal and getting your books organized. A successful small business will need to file an IRS return of some sort eventually – and hopefully you will have some income to write off against. This module contains very little advice and lots of resources for the following topics:
8.2 Which Business Structure is right for you?
8.3 Permits, zoning, insurance, special licensing and other details to check on.
8.4 A basic primer on liability – what it is and how to reduce it.
8.5 Basic Bookkeeping – Software Reviews
8.6 Planning beyond Micro-Entrepreneurship
8.7 Quiz on Future Planning
Project – Set up a basic accounting system and set some goals for profits into the future. Be sure your business is set up correctly given your future plans. As a micro-entrepreneur, many aspects of your life could be potential business expenses – start treating them as such and do some future planning.
Module 8 – Resources