Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
Start Your Own Company cards, developed by Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin, are a large set of cards with tips and information on starting a business. The cards are 3 X 5 inches, the same size as a regular index card. Typically the front of the card is the “title” and the back is the information on how to complete that step.
Card sets can be a fun change from reading books and are handy to use for motivation, reminders and getting information in short, easy-to-digest snippets. This set on starting your own company takes a large, pretty complex undertaking and breaks it down in simple card-sized bits of information.
There are four introductory cards which include author bio information and suggestions on how to use the cards. The remaining cards are divided and color-coded into three main sections: Vision, Launch and Follow Through, with six additional bright orange “Milestones” cards. The author states in the intro cards that these cards are not every single step you’ll need in starting a business, that not every card applies to every business and that there’s no set order to using the cards.
Vision Cards: These 14 planning cards include typical start-up tasks such as:
Choose a Business You Love
Develop your Business Model
Study the Competition
Identify Your Target Market
Launch: This set includes 16 cards for launching your business, including:
Call Everyone You Know
Find Office Space
Have a Logo Designed
Choose a Name
Write a Business Plan
Follow Through: The 14 cards in this section include:
Review Finances Regularly
Do Great Work
Start Making Sales Calls
Create Your Marketing Plan
Milestones: These cards are just reminders to celebrate your successes. Unlike the other cards, there are no suggestions on how to “do” these things.
First Day in Business
Hire an Employee
Make your First Sale
Celebrate your First Year
The cards cover a lot of information in their “bite-sized” format. There are lots of great ideas represented here that new entrepreneurs might not know about, such as studying your competition and listing your company values and listing the skills you don’t have—all very important but often overlooked tasks. Many of these cards would be entire chapters in a book, so if you like your information short & sweet, you’ll love these.
The cards make it easy to pull out several cards to use as a to-do list. You can arrange the stack in the order you want to work on the various tasks and they serve as handy reminders of what you need to do.
For many of the cards, you will need additional information. Several of the cards reference tools available on the starter cards website, such as a visioning workbook and a marketing workbook that I was not able to find. The URL’s referenced do not work and I could not find these resources on the website. I’m hoping it’s a temporary glitch because they could be quite helpful.
Some of the steps seem in the wrong sections to me. I believe a marketing plan is definitely something you do before or during the launch phase of your business, but it’s in the “Follow-Through” section. Ditto for “Start Making Sales Calls”.
Overall, I think these cards can be a great tool to have in your start-up arsenal. For some, reading the short bits of information will be a welcome relief from reading chapters in a book. For others, the cards will be a starting point to do more reading and research on various topics.
There is a lot involved in starting a business and the cards make for a handy way to at least be aware of some of the things you may not already know about. Even if you’ve already started your business and maybe did it “by the seat of your pants”, the cards could help you go back and fill in some gaps.
To purchase “Start Your Own Company” Cards from Amazon:
Disclosure: A review copy of these cards was provided free by the author.