I‘ve been helping entrepreneurs and business owners like you for more than 40 years — mostly from within our Business Power Tools software apps and templates, and thru my blogs and book, "Business Black Belt."   My “Hero’s Journey” started In the early ’80s, I was the electronics buyer and a copywriter for the Sharper Image catalog. Later, I also sold some really cool word-processors in Silicon Valley. After Macs and PCs became popular, I started my own business creating sales literature for tech companies. A friend had a deal going to sell his engineering software to Apple. They wanted to see his business plan to be sure his company would stay in business to provide future upgrades and support. At the time, I viewed a business plan as an elaborate brochure that sold his concept to people at all levels, and responsibilities with various perceptions, biases, and interests. (I learned that from selling word-processors.) We got the deal. Over the next year, people came to me with some brilliant ideas, but their plans weren’t getting funded. I helped them fill in the missing parts to succeed. Along the way, I saw that business plans have a fundamentally universal structure. Hmmm…    What if I took all the content I’d developed, redacted everything proprietary, but filled in the blanks with a variety of customizable multiple-choice options, and offered it as a software template that many people could use?    This became BizPlanBuilder, the first of its kind, and my new company took off!     Inspired to help others build businesses that would make our world a better place, we became our own Guinea pigs seeking to remove as many common mistakes and as much unnecessary BS as possible, and crafted tools for others building businesses to make our world a better place.    We followed-up with MarketingBuilder, which picked-up where BizPlanBuilder left off, then we went even further with PRBuilder which included sample press release templates… In another direction, we added EmployeeManualBuilder and SafetyPlanBuilder full of actual policies and procedures.     Altogether, we had 10 products in about 3,500 retail stores and built a $12 million company with 30 employees… (All that to say, I've been down the road you're on. I didn't just make this stuff up!)     Today, all of our products have been integrated into a streamlined and unified online toolbox/dashboard. And we’re the leader in business development software templates that help you build your business.     I also like dogs, kick-boxing, flying airplanes, writing, walking on the beach at sunset, candlelight dinners, and red wine... :-)

Why You Should Develop a Marketing Plan for Your Startup

Entrepreneurs pride themselves on being able to identify and capitalize on opportunities. Success requires strong business acumen, the ability to overcome adversity, and the vision to see three steps ahead of your competition. However, there is often one critical area small business owners, and entrepreneurs in general, always seem to ignore or take for granted…

How to Secure a Small Business Loan From a Bank

Securing a small business loan from a bank can be a daunting task, especially since we are still in a time of great economic uncertainty. Banks and lenders will only approve loans when they are nearly certain that they will be paid back, which means they have to be reasonably confident that business will be…

How to Use Social Media To Generate Business Leads and Build Relationships

The recent boom of social media and related applications has created a slew of new marketing opportunities for business owners. However, using these new tools and applications effectively requires a solid understanding of the medium in order to bring in more leads to a business. Although all of the latest social media darlings, including Twitter,…

Is Buying a Franchise Right For You?

Deciding to start your own business is both exciting and scary, and for many people it is a lifelong goal. These entrepreneurs intrinsically realize that owning a business is not just financially, but emotionally rewarding as well. However, for many first time entrepreneurs the thought of starting a business from scratch is a bit overwhelming…

5 Traits That Define Most Successful Small Business Owners

Life as a small business owner has its ups and its downs. It is a chosen profession that can test even the smartest, hardest working, and most ambitious individuals.  However, most small business owners would not have it any other way. While there are probably dozens, if not hundreds of traits that define successful small…