This Week in Small Business: From the Science of Business Planning to Product Design

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Looking for proof that business planning leads to success? Maybe you’re hoping to design your product yourself, but not sure you have the tools? Or maybe you’d like to reach out to the pros, and see what tips they have for budding entrepreneurs. Check out these articles on Bplans for a mix of practical tools you can use right now; and for inspiration to fuel your next project.

1. Business Planning Makes You More Successful, and We’ve Got the Science to Prove It

If you use LivePlan or are familiar with our free business planning resources, you’ll know that at Palo Alto Software, we are all about the planning process. But have you ever wondered if, statistically speaking, business planning is actually beneficial to entrepreneurs? Our COO, Noah Parsons, decided to find out. With the help of Jeff Gish from the University of Oregon, he looked into a number of studies and collated the data, to bring you data-driven evidence that if you plan, you’re more likely to succeed. If you are interested in the planning process, or are starting your first business and want to know how to proceed, this article is for you.

2. 8 Quick Tips on How to Establish Business Credit and Get Financing

Are you hoping to receive financing for your business? Your personal credit will not be enough to secure you a loan, no matter how high your score. This article lays out exactly how to establish credit for your business, which will enable you to receive business financing.

3. Boost Your Facebook Business Page Reach with Engaging Images

If you run a Facebook page for your business, you might be wondering how to create interesting visuals for your audience, to spark their interest and hopefully reach new customers. However, beware of grabbing just an image off the internet, even the ones that everyone seems to be using as it could get you in a lot of legal trouble. In this article, you’ll get great tips on how to easily create your own visuals.

4. 17 Venture Capital Blogs You Should Be Reading

Whether you are seeking venture capital funding or simply looking for advice from other entrepreneurs, these top venture capitalist blogs are a good place to spend an idle afternoon. They’re packed full of advice that can teach you all about pitching and attracting an investor’s interest. Plus, so much of the advice is widely applicable to even businesses not seeking venture capital funding.

5. How to Design Your First Product

Got a great idea for a product? You’ll need to figure out how to design it. We rounded up some of the most interesting new design technology—from 3D printers to open source blueprint creation software that will get you started on creating your own product yourself. While some of the technology is still very new (and comes with an associated high sticker price), it’s also a fascinating glimpse into what is to come. Check out this article for design inspiration, and a book giveaway—enter to win one of 3 copies of Jon Kolko’s book, “Well-Designed: How To Use Empathy To Create Products People Love.”

6. Webinar Recap: 14 Tips on How to Pitch and Get Funded

Are you looking for advice on how to successfully pitch your startup to lenders and investors? Check out this webinar with our own Caroline Cummings, the VP of Business Development at Palo Alto Software. Caroline has served as co-founder and CEO of two technology companies, and speaks regularly on pitching and starting a business. Needless to say, her tips are worth paying attention to! Both the audio and the transcript for this webinar are available.

7. 11 Excellent Free Online Courses for Entrepreneurs

With a wealth of information right at our fingertips, new or aspiring entrepreneurs need only look to the many online courses to expand their knowledge. If you are looking to learn more about entrepreneurship—from advice on starting, to innovative ideas, or pitching your business—you are sure to find a course that suits your needs. And, best of all, they’re all free!

What would you like to see covered on Bplans? Do you have a question about a specific topic? Let us know in the comments below.

Posted in Management