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Souped Up

Get your start-up running at peak performance levels with our 20-point tuneup.
October 1, 2002

So you're sitting in your cubicle, dreaming about starting your own business and being your own boss. Well, as any experienced entrepreneur will tell you, it's not easy-especially when it comes to learning the basics. There are dozens of loose ends to take care of in the early stages, from researching and writing your business plan to securing funding to insuring your company.

When it comes to your strategy, there will be some things you don't want do in haste only to regret later. Writing your business plan, for one. And you could end up being penny-wise and pound-foolish with some aspects of your business if you're not careful. So where should you take your time, and where can you save a bit of money without ruining your business before it even takes off?

A little bit of knowledge is key. "You can't be an expert at everything, but know as much as possible so you can connect the dots," says Heidi Krupp, 36-year-old founder and president of Krupp Kommunications Inc., a five-employee New York City publicity, marketing and consulting firm that she started with $5,000 of her own money.

Here's a rundown of a few business basics, with advice for connecting those dots better, faster or cheaper.


Start-Up: Do It . . .


Do It Better

There are always things you can do better in starting a business, aspects of your company that you should put a little more time into to avoid problems down the line. Here are a few:

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Check out's business plan resources:

Read our extensive guide, "How to Build a Business Plan."

Ask our Business Plan Expert your question.
Start-Up: Do It . . .

Do It Faster

Some aspects of your business can be done faster, provided you know the shortcuts. Here are some tips for wrapping up some of the business basics more quickly:

Today, it's important to look beyond the obvious when money-hunting. Have you considered starting with your developing client and customer base? If you land a customer of some magnitude, you can try to get impending invoices financed early on to provide working capital, says Petersen. Another option is the convertible bridge loan, which converts debt into equity in the form of preferred stock as a company grows. "It's very tied-up equity money," says Tom Kinnear, executive director, also of the Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. This loan can give investors incentive to provide you with funding in your company's early years.

If you're really stuck, try this creative approach: "Take out a classified ad in the help wanted section saying 'Needed: a mentor for a young entrepreneur,'" Krupp says. "That would catch someone's attention."

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Start-Up: Do It . . .

Do It Cheaper

Who doesn't want to save money when starting a business? While you don't want to scrimp on everything, here are a few areas where you should definitely shop around:

Start-Up: Do It . . .

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