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Business Skills: Creating a Business
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NOTE: This course requires compulsory materials to be ordered for those students that are pursuing the Professional Development Certificate. Students working on the Personal Historian program may find this required reading helpful. Please click on the Supplies tab for details.

Creating a genealogical or personal historian business requires many steps. First, there is self-analysis to determine who you are, what you want, how to achieve balance in work and personal life, and what kind of business you wish to start. Next, you will need to conduct business and marketing planning, market analysis, and establish an overall business structure. Finally, you must consider what you need for your business including supplies, income, and marketing opportunities. A productivity tool chest will help round out your plans and get you off on the right footing. In this course you will learn the skills you need to accomplish all these things and prepare yourself for starting a successful business.

This course assumes that you have intermediate or advanced in either genealogy skills or personal historian skills (i.e. family history research, writing, photography, audio and video recording, and/or interviewing) and that you want to use those skills to create a business.

One student’s experience:
To hear a student discussion regarding their experience with this course, please click here. (This is a large file and may take a minute or two to download.)

Course Content

Module 1
So You Want to Create a Business
• Course Introduction
• Note about Web Addresses
• Websites
• Required Reading
• Introduction to Creating a Business
Becoming a Professional
• Goal Setting
Self-Analysis: Are you Ready to Start a Business?
Why Do You Want This?
What Type Of Business Structure Do You Want?
• Sole Proprietorship
• Limited Liability Company
• Partnerships
• S-Corporation
Establishing Your Business
• Tax ID Numbers
• Licenses
• Zoning
• Taxes
• Financial Planning & Business Records
Building a Library
• Additional Business Resources
Things to Consider
• Networking
• Volunteering
• Balance
Additional Resources

Module 2
Writing Your Business Plan
• Required Reading
What is a business plan and why do you need one?
Steps of Writing a Business Plan
• Things to consider before you start
Pieces of a Business Plan
• Executive Summary
• Company Description
• Market Analysis
• Organizational Structure
• Services
• Marketing Plan
• Financial Planning/Funding
• Financial Projections
• Appendix/Supporting Documents
Updating the Business Plan
Business Plan - Example #1
• Executive Summary
• Introduction
• Description of Business
• Industry
• Company Basics
• Services
• Market Overview
• Marketing Plan
• Target Market
• Brand Positioning
• Promotion
• SWOT Analysis
• Management Plan
• Operational Plan
• Financial Plan
• Strategic Growth Plan
• Business Model
• Objectives
• Strategies
• Recommendations
• References
Business Plan - Example #2
• Executive Summary
• Educational Background
• Memberships and Associations
• Business Description & Vision
• Mission Statement
• Company Vision
• Goals and Objectives
• About the owner
• Definition of the Market
• Description of Services
• Organization and Management
• Marketing and Sales Strategy
• Financial Management
• Appendices
Additional Resources

Module 3
Contracts and Fee Structure
• Required Reading
Things to consider when creating a contract
Types of Contracts
• Letters of Agreement
• Research Contracts
Example Contract - Letter of Agreement
Research Contract - Example #1
Research Contract - Example #2
Research Contract - Example #3
Research Contract - Example #4
Final Thoughts

Module 4
• Websites
• Required Reading
What should you market?
Marketing Avenues
• Online
• Blogging
• Facebook
• Twitter
• Pinterest
• Other ideas
• Offline
• Join a Group
• Word of Mouth
• Writing
• Teaching & Lecturing
• Volunteering
• Schools
• Local News Outlets
• Paid Advertisement
Trade Shows & Conferences
Writing a Marketing Plan
Marketing Strategies to Keep in Mind
Final Thoughts
Additional Resources

Module 5
Time Management
• Required Reading
Identifying Time Wasters
Personal vs. Professional Time Management
Tips for Time Management
Additional Resources

Module 6
Tools For Productivity
• Websites
Being Productive in Daily Life
Old School Tools for Productivity
• Paper and Pencil
• Paper Calendars and Planners
• Index Cards
• Bulletin Boards, Whiteboards, and Notebooks
New School Tools for Productivity - Technology Items
• Smart Phones
• Digital Cameras
• Hand-held scanner
• Two monitors
• Digital Recorder and Video Camera
• Technological Bulletin Boards, Whiteboards, and Notebooks
• Scrivener
• Microsoft OneNote / Growly Notes
• Online Storage
• Google Drive
• DropBox
• Backup System
• Client Timer
• Social Media & Email
Tools to Organize Client Information
• Organizing Paper and Digital Files
• Family Tree Programs - Computer Based
• Family Tree Programs - Online
• Spreadsheets or Databases
Things to Consider
Additional Resources

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