Consider Entrepreneurial Edge.org (http://edge.lowe.org) a present from a rich distant relative. It's the Web site of the Edward Lowe Foundation, which dedicated a great part of Lowe's $800 million fortune to create a "whole campus for entrepreneurs" at a private, 3,000-acre complex in Michigan. Now the campus extends to your home, as the financial section of this site includes great how-to information on analyzing profitability; analyzing your business using financial ratios; preparing balance sheets; and preparing profit-and-loss/cash-flow summaries and statements.
The collection of more than 3,000 documents is selected from entrepreneurs, government agencies, small-business consultants, small-business publishers and material published by the foundation itself (http://www.lowe.org).
Here are just a few of the financial education topics at Edge.org:
- A venture capital primer. After conventional financing mechanisms have been exhausted, borrowers often turn to venture capitalists. This document explains what motivates venture capitalists and other investors. (http://edge.lowe.org/resources/document/htmldocs/1093.htm)
- Record-keeping and accounting. An appropriate record-keeping system-including a constant and detailed knowledge of expense, income and profit or loss--can determine the survival or failure of a new business. For those already in business, good record-keeping systems can mean the difference between flying blind and accurate forecasting. This document includes information on inventory and expense control, payroll requirements, improving cash flow, determining profit margins and many other topics. (http://edge.lowe.org/resources/document/htmldocs/1620.htm)
- SBA interest-rate policy. Just how is the interest rate for SBA-guaranteed loans figured? This document tells all. (http://edge.lowe.org/resources/document/htmldocs/1216.htm)
- Business plan outline. Savvy advice about creating a business plan that'll entice your banker or backer to just say "yes." (http://edge.lowe.org/resources/document/htmldocs/1224.htm)
- Collections strategies. The nuts-and-bolts approach to keeping up with your accounts receivable. Both manual and computerized systems are analyzed.
- Asset management. Discusses the tracking and management of cash (petty cash, undeposited receipts, certificates of deposit), accounts receivable and fixed assets. (http://edge.lowe.org/resources/document/htmldocs/1780.htm)