Archive for April, 2008

Business Plan format for a small eCommerce start-up?

I am currently working on a business plan for my tiny start-up (haven’t launched yet). At first, the business plan was only for me as a planning/goal guide, but now I have a couple of people interested in viewing it. I am updating it and cleaning it up, but I need more guidance as to what a small eCommerce should emphasize.

Carla Rose

Owner, Green and Chic

the best approach is to write your plan based on the target audience. If you want something that’s a little more generic, you basically need to put together a plan that shows that you:
-have thought out your model
-have metrics, milestones or some other decision points for mitigating risk
(ie: you have a way of knowing when you’re successful or when to throw in the towel and recover what’s left of their money)
-understand your market
-have considered your competition
-know what money you need and when
-have a plan for reimbursing your investors.

Basically, you need to convince your audience that you know what you’re doing and you aren’t going to flush their money down the toilet.

If you haven’t got much experience with Business Plans, I would recommend using a tool like Business Plan Pro ( to walk you through the process (at least the first time). It’s an investment that you won’t regret

Sorry, we’re out of bandwidth

Last week AT&T announced that the Internet will run out of bandwidth by 2010. Do you think people will care more about the “death of the internet” or Global Warming?

Here is the full article:

Do you think there will come a day when there will be mandatory “internet bandwidth rationing” like water rationing when there is a drought?

Or do you think a quasi government agency will step in a institute some kind of bandwidth regulations?

Or could providers start charging by the kilobyte of bandwidth used?

Why is AT&T the only provider out there saying that the sky is falling? They have apparently committed to investing over $19 Billion into upgrading the infrastructure. The article states it will require approx $130Billion so where’s the rest coming from?

Is the mostly a US based problem or a WorldWide problem? I can’t see how it really affects people with little to no internet access to but entire Corporations here in the US have built on the Internet as it’s sole source of customer contact; how will companies like Amazon, YouTube, Etrade, Linkedin Etc continue to run if they loose internet access or it slows down so much it’s like working on a 28K modem again? I doubt their users will put up with increasing wait times for pages to load.

Why isn’t there a huge cry from the Web Development community for better video compression standards, smaller graphic files, more efficient site development to decrease bandwidth needed to use/browse a site etc?

Besides laying a whole bunch of fiber in the ground what other technologies can be utilized that could help offset this issue?

A lot of questions I know but I don’t see this getting a whole lot of media attention so either they have their head in the sand or it’s getting buried by other “more newsworthy stories.

These are mostly retorical questions and I’m just hoping to act as a conduit to open up the topic for a discussion. And I think it’s a pretty important topic. Esp for those of us that make their living on the internet.

Jeff Weidner
I never IDK!

Jeff Weidner 20,000+

Talent Sourcing Mgr at Comcast

We don’t yet know how much of the actual bandwidth usage is a result of normal fluctations in the environment or natural cycles. So we should just convene a council of scientific minds to study the problem and make policy recommendations. <ahem>

In both cases, the majority of people aren’t going to pay attention until they’re personally impacted by the problem. Fortunately for the Internet, large corporations will feel the problem long before it trickles down and they’ll drive the mitigation. In addition, there will be good money to be made from the “power users” who pay a premium for an improved infrastructure (especially if they notice their Halo lag times going up or their massive bittorrent downloads slowing to a crawl)

Now if we could just find a way to make global environmental remediation something that people would be willing to pay for.

When to Give up on an Unsuccessful Startup

How do you know if it is time to close your unsuccessful startup?

Robert Yang (

HR Manager-Staffing and Recruiting at Evonik Degussa GmbH

The easiest way is to have clear criteria at the beginning of your project/business/initiative. Think of it as a pre-nup for when your assumptions start cheating on you πŸ™‚

It’s almost impossible to be objective once you’ve sunk any significant time or money into the business. It’s easy to get into the “Gambler’s Fallacy” of believing that just one more investment is all it will take to solve all of the problems of the business and make it big. It’s a very dangerous situation to be in and one to avoid at all costs.

As soon as possible, stop what you’re doing and sit down with your accountant and legal counsel and set some clear exit criteria for your business (both for a successful exit to take your profits and run, and an unsuccessful exit to cut your losses). Then STICK TO YOUR CRITERIA!!! No “Oh…just one more year” waffling or “I can be successful if I just mortgage my wife and kids” or even “I’m doing so well, I should squeeze another year of profits out of this”. Be objective and treat a business like a business. It’s not your child. It’s not your pet. It’s not a comment on your value as a person. It’s a financial transaction.

If your assumptions change or the market shifts, it’s OK to sit down and reset the criteria. But you need to do everything possible to stay objective. Mistakes, failures and bankruptcies are part of the death spiral that comes from losing that objectivity.

A few years ago, my wife and I bought an established business. We saw a lot of potential and opportunities to streamline it. We set some aggressive growth and profitability goals when we bought it and at the end of the first year, we were quite a bit below target. We were doing well, but the growth just wasn’t there. Since we missed our targets, we reluctantly sold the business for a modest profit. Over the next 3 years, the market that we had been in continued to erode. Had we stayed in the business, we would have lost our shirts. The lower growth and profit were just warning signs that the business wasn’t going to pan out the way that we expected. It was tempting to stay in and “play one more hand”, but we remained objective and managed to come out slightly ahead.

Best Practices for Project Delivery

In days when ROI and meeting deadlines are the most important, what do you think should be the best practice – out-of-the-box for deliverying and do it on time with the best quality?

Yoav Aviv

Projects Management Professional | | | LION | 8200+

Honestly, it doesn’t really matter what methodology or tools you use. The most important things are to set clear baselines for your requirements, implement a solid change management process to prevent or mitigate scope creep and make it very clear (through very visible executive support and empowerment) that changes to deliverables will automatically trigger a renegotiation of schedule, budget or resources. In addition, having a clearly defined set of *business* measurements that will be used to assess the success of the specific project will go a long way towards helping you “sanity check” any project changes, prioritize issues and generally keep the project on track. (If you can get support for it, full end-to-end requirements traceability has a huge impact on project success.)

With that said, I believe that a lot of organizations have lost sight of the fact that ROI, schedule and budget are just performance indicators. The true measurement of project success is whether the project deliverables meet the customer requirements. It doesn’t matter one whit if a project delivers on-time and on-budget if it fails to deliver any business value. By all means use the standard measures as indicators of relative project health, but remember that they’re just indicators and not the goals themselves. Remember “why” you’re doing a project and work with your customers to make sure that their needs are continuing to be addressed.

Finally, don’t be afraid to kill a project if it’s not going to deliver the anticipated business value. I’ve seen some PMOs that consistently deliver on-time and on-budget, but often sacrifice key deliverables or quality and ultimately deliver a project that has no (or negative) net business value.

What is the best pitch you have ever recived from a recruiter?

At this point in my career, I have heard and used just about every pitch when trying to recruit people or clients. What are some of the most memorable calls you have received from a recruiter? What is the best (or funniest, most effective) pitch you received from a recruiting calling you?

Hal Moore

Executive Recruiter/Asst. Market Lead – Bolton Consulting at The Bolton Group [Toplinked 8000+]

The best “pitch” is any recruiter that actually takes the time to look at my resume and tell me specifically why they thought that I’d be a good fit for the position. The vast majority of recuriters these days just swing blind and hope to hit something. On an average week, I get half a dozen recruiters reaching out to me with oppportunities. Maybe once a month I get one that’s actually a decent match.

The funniest call that I had was a recruiter that called me up and in a very strong chinese accent opened with a “You want job? I have super good job for you. You send resume and I give to manager. Very much pay with super good match.” I thought that it was a telemarketing pitch or someone playing a joke on me. But he was just so high-energy that I had to play along and see what he had to say. The real kicker was that after about 10-15 minutes of him saying “You send resume…send resume now…I send to manager”, it turned out that the job he was trying to fit me to was a job posting that I had had just put out to bid. (guess he didn’t notice the similarity in names between the hiring manager and the name on the resume πŸ™‚

What consulting services would be most helpful to you

As a new or small business owner what consulting services (aside from marketing) would be most helpful to you.

Michael Laffey

Innovative and experienced attorney, entrepreneur and business consultant

In general, I would say Business Process consulting and the type of operational and strategic planning assistance that you’d get from an incubator. Most new businesses miss a lot of opportunities and efficiencies because they simply don’t recognize them. It’s not until they start hitting walls that they recognize a need to take a good hard look at what they’re doing, how they’re doing it and why.

Unfortunately, most new and small businesses wouldn’t see a need for it, so you’d have to aggressively market the services. Surprisingly, a lot of large corporations have the same issues, but they’re less obvious because the issues are “just the way we do things” and the companies succeed in spite of them. (no pain=no need to change)

I’ve always thought that it would be fun to pull together a group of experts and innovators and have them do “business makeovers” like they do with homes on those reality TV shows. Anyone have a link to Mark Burnett? πŸ™‚

Credit where credit is due

Need to know how to get credit for a quote…

Thanks to all who answer in advance.

I’d like to establish myself as the author of a few quotes I’ve concocted over the years. How do I go about?



Jean-Pierre Khoueiri

SEO Director

Publish. Write an article, letter to the editor or book and include the quote(s). You could also try submitting them to something like Reader’s Digest for publication. Many magazines and journals accept submissions of quotes as filler. Note that online publication doesn’t generally have the same weight that paper does. Even then, I’m not sure that you’d have any *practical* ability to stop others from using the quotes without attribution.

I’ve done a lot of training, given numerous presentations, posted on BBSs, forums, etc and published a lot of internal white papers over the years and later found a my quotes embedded in analyst white papers, books, training, etc. (and often attributed to “anonymous” or others). The most annoying part is that the ones that *are* attributed to me are generally quite useless from a career perspective.

At this point, I just take pride in seeing that what I said had enough value to be stolen. πŸ™‚

Note that if you push for acknowledgement of your more brilliant quotes, you’re quite likely to get credit for quotes that may turn out to be monumentally stupid in hindsight. Luckily, my “less insightful” quotes have never caught on or have been (thankfully) attributed to others.