Startup

Startup Basics: Intellectual Property for Small Business Owners

As a business owner, you may want to seek protection for a product or service, a new invention, or printed material. There are three main types of intellectual property protection: patents, trademarks, and copyrights. All three are different from each other, and from business name registration, so it’s important to make sure which, if any, are appropriate for your business.

4 Steps to an Effective Brand Identity

“Once we have enough revenue, we can invest in building a brand.”

Sound familiar? It’s common for small business owners to think this way, if they think of brand identity at all. Some think they don’t have the time to worry about brand in the startup phase of a business. However, skipping the important work of brand identity usually causes more time-consuming challenges in the long run.

7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Business

Running a business is tough. Whether you're a brand-new startup or an operating company, it’s important make sure you've considered your own strengths, weaknesses, and reasons for wanting to be an entrepreneur.

In the NaperLaunch Academy, participants use an entrepreneur profile questionnaire to reflect on whether entrepreneurship is a good fit with their interests, skills, and life circumstances. For those who have already started a business, this profile can provide deeper insight into how they and their organization affect each other.

Startup Basics: Federal and State Tax ID Numbers

State and federal tax ID numbers (also known as an Employer Identification Number or EIN) are like a personal social security number for your business. They let your small business pay state and federal taxes.

A federal EIN is used by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to identify a business entity. This 9-digit number is required to pay federal taxes, hire employees, open a bank account, and apply for business licenses and permits.

Accounting vs. Bookkeeping

As a new business owner, you may hear the terms bookkeeping and accounting used interchangeably. While both bookkeepers and accountants work with financial data and help business owners manage their finances, they have complementary but different responsibilities. This blog post will distinguish between the functions of each and their respective roles in a business.

From Minimum Viable Product to Scale Up

The Minimum Viable Product

At NaperLaunch and in the NaperLaunch Academy, we promote and teach the Lean Startup Process. As described on our blog, that process was developed by Steve Blank and Eric Ries to help would-be entrepreneurs start new enterprises and bring new products to market. Others, including Frank Robinson, Ash Maurya, and Alex Osterwalder, originated or helped define many of the lean concepts used today.

Best Practices for Startup Break-even Analysis

Early in the startup process, it is important for founders to consider the financial needs of the potential business and complete a break-even analysis. After determining a customer problem that will be solved by a new business enterprise and determining how to create and deliver that solution through a new product or a new service, a founder should make sure delivery of that solution will not only cover operating costs but also deliver a profit. If break-even and a profit cannot be achieved, then the enterprise, product or service should not be pursued.

Unique Value Proposition, Part 2: Use Your UVP to Create a Value-Based Pricing Strategy

As we have written in previous posts, a business’ unique value proposition (UVP) should clearly state why customers will want to buy from that business. It must identify the value promise being made for a service or product. That means that a strong UVP is relevant to a target customer group’s specific problem, promises certain benefits of quantifiable value, and states how a service or product is different from other offerings in the marketplace.