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The Ultimate Business Plan Template
Leadership 10 min read

The Ultimate Business Plan Template

A business plan template helps you set up your business for success. Download our free business plan template to begin planning and managing your business effectively.

How to Make a Budget Spreadsheet for Your Small Business in 2023
Leadership 7 min read

How to Make a Budget Spreadsheet for Your Small Business in 2023

Starting a business can be an overwhelming process, with business plans, leases, financing, legal documents — and monthly budget sheets. We know you’d almost certainly rather spend time refining your product, talking with happy customers, or honing your investor pitch than hunch over spreadsheets, calculating the seemingly impossible amount of money it’s going to take to get your business off the ground. But whether you are a manager or a business owner, creating a budget is absolutely essential to your success.  This article will help you understand small business budgeting basics to help your company thrive in 2023. If you want to make your life even easier, we offer an easy-to-use monthly budget template that will help you log expenses, sort costs by category, view monthly spending, and examine budget details — all within Wrike.  Let’s start with the building blocks: monthly budget planning.  Start with a monthly expense sheet Your monthly budget planning worksheet is a roadmap for your business, helping you define priorities, understand where your business is going, and determine whether you’re on the right path. It’s a key factor when raising capital, whether you're applying for a loan or pitching to investors, and a cornerstone of your business plan. It can help you minimize risk and experiment with how to best allocate resources. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to create an accurate and realistic budget that’s specific to your business and goals.  You need to start with basic questions that will help you gauge your finances. How much money do you have? How much do you need to spend on materials, manpower, and marketing? How much revenue is required to meet your business goals? Can you afford to buy new equipment, run a new advertising campaign, or hire another team member? Do you have an emergency fund you can tap into if unexpected costs arise? These are all key questions that will help you determine your starting point for your monthly and annual budgets.  How to make a monthly budget Making a monthly budget can seem daunting, but it essentially involves writing down each and every expense you expect to have over the course of a month. It’s helpful to categorize these expenses to get a clear idea of where your budget is being spent. Costs involved in a monthly budget typically fall into two categories: monthly expenses and one-time costs. Costs such as employee salaries, lease payments, utilities, and insurance are all recurring monthly expenses, whereas line items such as purchasing equipment and consultant fees constitute one-time costs.  Here is what you need to include in your monthly expense sheet: Revenue: Estimated sales figures (err on the conservative side if you can't be exact) Fixed costs: Rent, insurance, etc. These figures don’t typically change from month to month.  Variable costs: These costs typically correlate with sales, such as the cost of raw materials to produce your product, inventory, shipping/freight, etc.  Semi-variable costs: These expenses are influenced by the volume of your business, including salaries, marketing and advertising, etc.  Profits: To determine profits, subtract your costs from your revenue. Once you have a profit estimate, you can determine how to invest in your business, whether that means upgrading equipment, moving to a larger office or better location, adding staff, or giving your employees raises.  Now that you’ve set up your monthly budget, make sure to revisit it periodically. It should not be a static document that you check once a quarter or only at the start of the year. Revisit it every month and see where you can adjust or experiment — maybe shift some funds to give your marketing budget a boost for a few months and see how it affects your sales pipeline. If you find you’re getting a good return, that’s useful information when it comes to future decisions about allocating resources. Reviewing your budget data using accounting software will also help you anticipate your future spending needs, profits, and cash flow. Wrike’s monthly budget tracker template can help Wrike has a ready-to-use monthly budget template that can help you set up a robust budget tracking system quickly, without any coding or special knowledge required. You might be tempted to use a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel, but using a more robust budgeting app will give you a more holistic and flexible view of your annual budget, allowing you to easily create reports, visualize overspend, and more.  Wrike’s monthly budget tracker template has all the features you need to take control of your company expenses. Log expenses with a custom request form  Sort costs by category using a clear folder structure View monthly spending on a shared calendar Examine budget details with a pre-built report  These powerful features will allow you to make informed financial decisions about your business’s budget, thanks to better visibility into your revenue and expenses.  In addition, Wrike integrates directly with over 400 apps, including many of the most popular budgeting and financial apps available, so you can connect your accounts and populate your Wrike system with information instantly.  Tools for tracking business expenses and budgets Along with a monthly budget spreadsheet template, the right project management software is one of the best ways to prevent out-of-control spending and overrun costs. You’ll understand exactly where your work stands, how much money and time has been spent, and be able to more accurately predict the cost and timeline for the entire project.  Wrike helps you manage your budgets and projects with ease Use Wrike to take total control of your business finances by creating budgets, managing projects, and so much more. In addition to budget management, Wrike can also help manage projects and teams with ease. You can avail of the following features with Wrike:  @mentions for easy communication with your team Gantt charts for managing timelines In-depth performance reporting Automated team reminders Kick-start your budget planning process with Wrike. Get started with a two-week free trial of Wrike —no credit card required! 

How to Write a Startup Business Plan
Leadership 10 min read

How to Write a Startup Business Plan

Discover how to write a startup business plan with examples and tips that will help you create your own startup business plan from scratch.

How to Improve Customer Experience
Leadership 10 min read

How to Improve Customer Experience

Improving employee engagement to improve customer experience is an excellent strategy for customer experience management. Read on to learn more.

The Ultimate List of Legal Resources for Startups
Leadership 5 min read

The Ultimate List of Legal Resources for Startups

Intellectual property rights, patent law, incorporation, equity distribution.... Navigating the legalities of starting a business can seem like an impossible feat, especially when one misstep could spell major trouble down the line. With an abundance of questions and limited resources, startups can’t afford to keep top legal minds on retainer for whenever an issue pops up. Time and money are vital to a fledgling company's success, so save both with this list of legal resources especially for entrepreneurs. Note: This list is a collection, not a ranking.  Articles & Advice Choose Your Business Structure How to Work with Lawyers at a Startup An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Wrangling and Hog-Tying a Lawyer Online Legal Services: Are They Effective for Startups? Venture Beat's Ask An Attorney 10 Questions Co-Founders Should Ask Each Other 5 Biggest Legal Mistakes Startups Make 3 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Patent Law Reform 5 Ways Not to Respond to a Cease-and-Desist Letter 10 Big Legal Mistakes Made by Startups Blogs A View from the Valley by veteran startup lawyer Matt Bartus Counselor @ Law by speaker, writer, and public policy activist William Carleton Gust.com by a group of experienced startup founders and investors The High-touch Legal Services Blog for Startups by startup lawyer Dana Shultz Likelihood of Confusion on internet trademark and copyright infringement by lawyer Ron Coleman Mashtag Blawg by Bottom Line Law Group, a firm specializing in lean startups and business growth Startup Law 101 series of tutorials for founders and entrepreneurs Startup Law Blog by prominent startup and corporate transactions attorney Joe Wallin Technology & Marketing Law Blog, award-winning blog on internet law, intellectual property, and advertising law by law professor Eric Goldman Walker Corporate Law Blog by a boutique firm that specializes in representing entrepreneurs Websites Entrepreneur's Legal Basics for Startups, a collection of expert articles and videos from Entrepreneur magazine Startup Company Lawyer answers hundreds of specific questions, from incorporation to stock options Startup Lawyer has articles on topics like incorporation and equity, plus a helpful glossary of terms Quora Term Sheet is a collection of legal resources for entrepreneurs and investors hosted on Quora Upcounsel is a service that matches entrepreneurs to legal professionals based on their specific needs Small Business and the SEC is the official SEC guide to complying with federal securities laws while raising capital Rocket Lawyer has a collection of sample documents and a group of on-call attorneys to answer your legal questions Start-Up Launchpad holds educational materials, checklists, and sample legal documents Templates Docracy is an open collection of legal contracts. Document templates are free to download, customize, store, and e-sign, including a retainer agreement template for consulting services FormSwift Customize, sign, and download common business, legal, and personal forms, including a retainer proposal Series Seed Financing Documents Free, open-source legal documents for seed financing in MS Word (.DOC) format National Venture Capital Association's model legal documents A set of legal templates and terms GitHub repository Templates of Series Seed documents Y Combinator Financing Documents Sample forms for raising equity rounds with angel investors Orrick Term Sheet Creator Create drafts of startup and venture financing documents based on your responses to a series of interactive questions Orrick Start-Up Forms Library Key legal forms for starting and growing your company Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Term Sheet Generator Generate a venture financing term sheet based on your responses to an online questionnaire Tools Founders Workbench Access useful tools such as: capital calculator, financing terms dictionary, service tax on professional fees consideration, intellectual property laws, and more Markify Searchable trademark database Viewabill View all billable activity by your lawyer: accruals, hours, and average rate Google Patent Search Use Google to search for existing patents US Patent & Trademark Office File a patent, register a trademark, and review intellectual property laws Finding a Lawyer LawKick Find a lawyer based on price, reviews, and qualifications LawTrades Get matched with a lawyer at your budget, plus free consultation, price quote, client reviews, and law office profiles LawGives Choose from a selection of flat-fee legal services packages FINRA BrokerCheck Research brokers, firms, investment adviser representatives and investment adviser firms ShouldISign.com Post a request and receive fixed-fee proposals from vetted attorneys, and check out their bank of free legal forms Checklists Start-Up Legal and Licensing To-Do List for Small Businesses Legal Checklist for Startups The Legal Checklist Every Startup Should Read What would you add to this list? Once you've set up your legal framework, find the tools you need to launch your business: 25 Tools to Run Your Startup.

How to Launch a Product in 2 Weeks (Work Management Roundup)
Leadership 3 min read

How to Launch a Product in 2 Weeks (Work Management Roundup)

Friday is here, which means the Work Management Roundup is back with links to the week's helpful articles on productivity, product management workflow, startups, team building, management, and technology. Read on! From Zero to Product in 14 Days (Medium): Ben Hoffman walks us through how he and his team built Venture Route in two weeks. An insightful look into the planning and execution of a startup's minimum viable product aimed at serving the VC community. Singing is the Best Team-Building Exercise, Study Shows (Yahoo! Finance Canada): Here's something that our colleagues in Asia have known for quite some time — karaoke singing is an awesome team activity. It allows people to let their guard down in a fun setting. All you really need is a venue... and maybe some Bon Jovi. The One Side Project per Year Challenge (Medium): Stuck wondering which side project to spend time doing? Here's a suggestion: start one side project per year. You dispense with analysis paralysis by cutting down your choices to just one and you set a 12-month time frame that forces you to buckle down and get to work. Tony Schwartz’s Internet Addiction (and Why You Should Care) (Cal Newport's Study Hacks): When a person like Tony Schwartz admits he struggles with cutting back his Internet time, that's when you know it's a serious problem. He's made a career out of coaching people to reach their full potential and yet found it easier to quit soda and alcohol than to lessen screen time. Let's face it: his struggle is our struggle too. Digital Natives: Creating and Maintaining a Work/Life Balance at Home (Fresh Business Thinking): Three concrete strategies on maintaining productivity even within a potentially distracting home office setting. More Work Management Reads Think About This: Dropbox’s Move Reminds Us Teams Must Evolve Beyond Email (Wrike) 50 Free Apps to Make you an Incredibly Productive Person (Fast Company) 23 Best Productivity Hacks of the Year (Inc) Go Try This: Stock Your Break Room for Better Productivity [Infographic] (Wrike) 5 Rules for Building a Family Friendly Startup for Grownups (Fast Company) 9 Aggressive Time Management Techniques (Sharepoint Aaron) Browse The Work Management Roundup on Flipboard If you use Flipboard on your mobile device, then you can choose to read these links via The Work Management Roundup magazine. View my Flipboard Magazine.

How to Make Project Management Best Practices Work in a Small Organization
Project Management 5 min read

How to Make Project Management Best Practices Work in a Small Organization

One thing I've noticed about smaller organizations, though, is that beneath that layer of enthusiasm lies a company in need.  They often lack structure, but that may not really be their primary need.  Indeed, too much structure will stifle the efforts of those entrepreneurial spirits running the show at a smaller, startup-type company.  But they are almost always in need of more efficient processes and some organization.  Their wins are often coming by luck, because they're too busy innovating and meeting growing customer demands to actually track what's working and repeating those steps again. Setting the stage So, as a project manager or incoming consultant, the best thing you can offer to a smaller organization is an injection of project management best practices.  How you do that and what exactly those best practices are may indeed be somewhat dependent on the organization, the industry, and the state of the projects that are in progress or ready to start.  From my past experience, what I've found these organizations need quickly are: Customer education.  Sit down with each customer for the small organization and explain what changes will and are being made to make their projects more successful and the PM oversight more accountable. Injection of successful project management processes.  Next, rollout PM best practices within the organization and on the many projects being executed.  This likely will involve some teaching and learning and it will definitely take some refinement over time.  Eventually it will be second nature as project successes become more frequent with more PM structure. Project management oversight of the development process.  To further ensure a tighter ship and more successful PM practice, I highly recommend initially having heavy oversight of the development team by project management.  I've seen it work in smaller startup-type situations…I've made it work personally in smaller startup-type situations.  When you must inject better processes and you must turn projects around quickly, it may be your only choice. The best practices We've discussed some quick actions to take to roll out best practices into a small organization where they were previously needed but lacking.  Now let's consider what those best practices should be for the small startup-types... Consistent project status reporting.  Come up with a fairly standard project status report and stick to it.  Include project status, key dates, key tasks and assignments and outstanding issues.  Include all key information for both your team and your customer and provide it on a weekly basis to every stakeholder on the project. Consistent project status meetings.  Hold weekly meetings with your team and customer on the project.  Adhoc meetings are ok and often necessary, but relying on them all the time can be annoying and can lead to decreased attendance and, subsequently, decreased effectiveness. Detailed budget management.  Manage the project budget tightly.  Too many PMs shoot from the hip in small organizations because they're given too much freedom.  And then they wonder why the project failed because it went way over budget. A budget that is watched carefully, reforecasted consistently, and reported on relentlessly can never get too far out of hand.  Don't let the financials be the reason why your project failed. Use of a collaborative project management software.  I highly recommend going web-based for a project management tool, but it's imperative that it be a collaborative tool.  In a smaller organization like the ones we're discussing, everyone is wearing multiple hats and often working long hours.  They also may be very decentralized – they may often be very geographically dispersed.  Many small organizations don't even have a headquarters yet.  So a powerful, inexpensive, and web-based project management tool that allows the team to gather, share documents, update tasks, etc. on their own without the obligation of running every piece of information through a central PM figure will ensure that the project is well-managed in real time. Summary While there's no way to guarantee project success in any organization – big or small - no matter what you do, utilizing PM best practices will always provide some level of benefit to the projects being managed and the organization as a whole.  Communication is improved, customers are more comfortable during the engagement, and the project staff is usually able to work more cohesively as a unit focused on the overall goals of the project.  Injecting PM best practices into a newer, smaller, growing organization will help that organization retain customers and develop into a mature organization that can regularly and successfully deliver on projects in the future.

Why Startups Fail: Everything You Need to Know
Leadership 10 min read

Why Startups Fail: Everything You Need to Know

To the chagrin of startup investors, most startups fail in their first year. Learn why startups fail and how to build your startup the right way using Wrike.

6 Fatal Mistakes of Startup Founders
Leadership 3 min read

6 Fatal Mistakes of Startup Founders

Adeo Ressi is Founder and CEO of the Founder Institute, where he and his team mentor hundreds of first-time founders. In addition, over the last 20 years he has founded several successful companies of his own. So when we asked him about the typical mistakes that first-time founders make that could prove fatal to their companies, we listened! Ressi emphasizes that the fatal mistakes are often made in those critical first few months in the founding of a new company. That's when every move can have a huge positive or negative impact on the fledgeling company. During this time the founder needs to make a lot of critical decisions in a short period of time. According to Ressi, there are at least six fatal mistakes that new founders often commit. Let us know other mistakes that you see founders make (or that you've made yourself) in the comments below the post! The 6 Fatal Startup Mistakes Selection of initial team and cofounder — Getting the wrong people involved in your company can lead to ineffectiveness, arguments, stalemates, power struggles, and worse: the death of the company. Add new people very carefully. Structuring of company, cofounder, and team deals — Managing compensation, stock, or options wrongly can set the company up for failure. Also, care must be taken with any initial investors and how their deals are structured. It's almost impossible to undo poorly structured deals. Adoption of technology — If you pick tech which is unpopular or unusable, your company won't grow as fast, you'll have trouble finding good developers, and your product won't be top-notch. Business and revenue models — Selecting a business model that allows the company to grow and (eventually) become profitable is critical. Go-to-market model — Determining how your company will reach customers is a decision that will make or break success. Consider your sales approach, partnerships, and distribution options carefully. Name of the company — Even something like the wrong name can be potentially fatal. If it doesn't communicate the benefits clearly, or is too silly or difficult to pronounce, type, or remember, tread carefully. Hear Adeo Ressi talk about the biggest founder mistakes — start at 20:34 In the genesis of a new business, every decision that the founder makes, large or small, can have fatal consequences. So take care with each of these six points raised by Ressi, and seek help during this important time period. To learn how the Founder Institute can help your startup, visit their website. Have your own story to share? Tell us about other fatal startup mistakes in the comments below.

5 Ways Your Perfectionism is Killing Your Business
Leadership 5 min read

5 Ways Your Perfectionism is Killing Your Business

As a business owner, having perfectionist tendencies can push you to go the extra mile. Yet the desire to excel and the desire to be perfect are two separate outlooks that business owners and leaders often confuse. While having high standards and goals is a profitable business strategy, and a great way to motivate employees, perfectionism can actually be detrimental to your success. Here are six ways this mindset can hurt your business. You Never Take Risks Year after year, you’re in charge of making the decisions that impact the growth and productivity of your business. Innovative ideas and risky decisions may arise and if you’re a perfectionist, your first instinct may be to shoot them down. While it’s necessary to weigh the pros and cons of major decisions, creativity and evolution are critical to your business’ success—and that means accepting some element of risk. The willingness to adapt to changes across your industry is a must if you want to stay competitive. Run the numbers, get advice on the situation, and make an informed decision—don’t automatically say no. You’re Not Well Liked It’s no secret that perfectionists aren’t the easiest people to work with. If you strive for perfection each and every day, you’re likely also demanding perfection from your employees as well (or they perceive that you do). This could lead you to become controlling and critical, hyper-focused on your exact vision of what the project or final outcome should be. No one wants to work for a dictator, and if your team doesn’t respect you as their leader and don’t enjoy working for you, you risk losing great employees. Take a step back and consider how your perfectionist tendencies are projecting onto your employees. Make it clear that they have your trust and the freedom to do their jobs, and remember that their ideas and visions of success are likely just as good as yours. You’re Afraid to Fail   Fear of inadequacy could be driving your perfectionism. In a poll of 1,000 American adults, fear of failure was the number one fear, and as a business owner, it’s easy to cover that up with perfectionism: If it’s perfect, then nothing can go wrong. If it’s perfect, I can be sure I’ve done the absolute best that I can. While it’s good to let fear push you, rather than control you, you run the risk of letting that mindset take over. When that happens, nothing is good enough, skewing your idea of what a job well done actually looks like. In the end, nothing is good enough, and you’re still not managing the fears that are hurting you and your business. You Hate Opposition Although you may strive to be perfect, your ideas, work and management skills aren’t. No one’s are! If you take extreme offense to feedback or are closed off to different ideas, you’re hindering the growth of your business. “In the modern workforce, true perfection is flexible—and is completed by working as a team to develop ground-breaking innovations. Even if your method is flawless, it can always be enhanced by the insight of others,” say small business experts at The Office Club. The most successful leaders across all industries adapt to new developments and changing circumstances—sometimes on a daily basis—and being a perfectionist can stop you from achieving that. You Can’t Meet Deadlines Perfectionists often feel the need to thoroughly review every single thing with a fine-tooth comb. While supervising and consistently reviewing the work of your employees is vital, micromanaging others keeps people from meeting deadlines and being productive—and it may even drive them to look for another job. Once you’ve approved a project, delegate it to the senior employee involved, and move on. Make a point to do this once a week so that one day it just comes naturally. You’ll slowly feel yourself start to unwind and loosen up, allowing the perfectionist tendencies to fade away—and your team and business to thrive. Author Bio: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and has five years of experience in the marketing world. She is currently a professional blogger and has been featured on Ms. Career Girl, LifeHack, ThinDifference, Manta and StartupNation. Follow her on Twitter at @Jlsander07.  

How to Build a Killer Growth Engine (Work Management Roundup)
Leadership 3 min read

How to Build a Killer Growth Engine (Work Management Roundup)

It's Friday, November 20th. That means Hunger Games: The Mockingjay Part 2 is being released in theaters across the US — which is more relevant to work than you may think. After all, your company is competing against others in your industry for customers and capital — you're Katniss in your own right! Here is our roundup of links that will give you and your organization an edge over the other "tributes." May the odds be ever in your favor. How to Build a Killer Startup Growth Engine (Dan Martell): Entrepreneur Dan Martell shares the formula for creating a killer growth engine: it's a great marketing strategy + product story + product marketing. Study Links Daily Coffee Habit To Longevity (NPR): Rejoice, coffee addicts! A new study by the Harvard School of Public Health says that people who drink 3 to 5 cups of coffee a day have a 15% lower risk of premature death compared to non-coffee drinkers. And even decaf drinkers see benefits. You Have 70,000 Thoughts a Day. This is How to Organize Them for Maximum Productivity (Quartz): With so much going on in your head, how do you manage it all? Here are five steps to organize and declutter your mind so you're on track for a productive day. How to Be Good at Managing Both Introverts and Extroverts (HBR): Some excellent tips on balancing the needs of different personality types in your team. Best tips: promote privacy, and rethink the workday (eg: no meetings before 12:30 PM). What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Steve Jobs About Silicon Valley (Fortune): Wrike CEO Andrew Filev answers the question "How important is it for startups to be in Silicon Valley?” More Work Management Reads Think About This: The Cult of Productivity is Preventing You From Being Productive (Quartz) Retailers Failing When Using Social Media to Answer Complaints (Forbes) Don't Believe These 5 Leadership Myths That Undermine Your Confidence (Entrepreneur) How to Run 4 Miles When You Really Don't Want To (Jon Acuff) Go Try This: How to Be Confident and Reduce Stress in 2 Minutes Per Day (James Clear) 10 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs (Slideshare) The Simple Technique to Fit a 40-Hour Workweek Into 16.7 Hours (Fast Company) Browse The Work Management Roundup on Flipboard If you use Flipboard on your mobile device, then you can choose to read these links via The Work Management Roundup magazine. View my Flipboard Magazine.

Turning Employees Into Entrepreneurs: Interview with Adeo Ressi
Leadership 3 min read

Turning Employees Into Entrepreneurs: Interview with Adeo Ressi

You're a hard-working individual. You work long hours everyday, so you can breathe easy on the weekends. You also have a passion to start your own company, but you don't have the time or tools to do it. How do you fulfill your passion and find enough time to start a company without quitting your full-time job? We're excited to release our video interview with Adeo Ressi, CEO & Founder of The Founder Institute, who helps passionate individuals start their own companies. After founding nine companies himself, Ressi built The Founder Institute as a way to help people achieve their dreams while balancing their day jobs. During the interview, he shares tips on entrepreneurial best practices, how to deal with investors, and what qualities make a good founder. Check out the full video interview with Ressi: [inlinetweet prefix="" tweeter="" suffix="via @Wrike"]"A company dies when a founder gives up." —Adeo Ressi @adeoressi[/inlinetweet] Some key takeaways from the interview: Lessons learned from being an entrepreneur Differences between good and bad investors Qualities of successful founders Deadliest mistakes commonly made by founders The current state of the startup industry Why there are so many "Unicorns" (and if that's good or bad news) Are you an thriving entrepreneur? Share some of your founder tips and advice in the comments.

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