Monday, January 18, 2010 Business plan

I'm dying. I need four, $50,000 angel investors to fund a business I am creating as a legacy for my two daughters. Call it the "New Journalism."

Two blogs: one to discuss small business and politics in Colorado; another to discuss the arts in the state, primarily literary art. But also to offer a markeplace for young artists to sell and license their work.

That's my goal. My doctor, Tom Kenney who works out of Porter Hospital, has given me "two, maybe three years" to live under the spell of chemotherapy. So I cannot guarantee a return-on-investment for my investors, other than to pay off the debt at 4 percent interest as soon as revenues reach the point when I can afford to begin making payments.

But time has already passed on the two-year minimum Kenney has given me. So here is my business plan for making my exit. If you are an angel, I hope it interests you. If you are a reader, I hope you enjoy the way I put it to words here.

THE BUSINESS BLOG: “Schwab on Anything” is a speculative play.

The small-business blog, "Schwab on Anything," has already been established and is being marketed on Facebook and Twitter, as well as with a distribution list of e-mail addresses of people interested in the writer's work.

Blogs are the new journalism forced on professional journalists following the Internet's destruction of the traditional newspaper business model. Robert Schwab is an experienced journalist who has covered small business in Denver and Colorado for 13 years at both The Denver Post and ColoradoBiz magazine, where he was editor of the publication for more than six years. At The Post, he started a weekly column on small business called "Schwab on Small Business," which appeared on Saturday's usually on the cover of the business section.

"Schwab on Anything" is an extension of that work. It will profile interesting small businesses from around the state and cover, journalistically, small business issues. It will also cover state politics, and occasionally touch on topics outside either realm that are of interest to the writer. The writer has already, for instance, written several pieces about his personal experience fighting colo-rectal cancer, called "In the Chemo Room." “Anything” reflects an expansion of the writer’s interests, and opens a door to comment on such broad political issues as labor, health care and education.

Advertising will support the blog, but ads will be sold at rates Colorado small businesses can afford, offering an alternative to more expensive mass-media advertising available in The Post and on Denver-area radio and TV broadcast stations. Blog ads will be priced at $300 per month for a display ad. anticipates selling 10 new ads per month and retaining at least 60 percent of initiated ads for periods of at least six months to a year. That revenue stream along with the startup capital provided by investors will allow the business to launch a Colorado Business Almanac and Small Business Directory, which will create another, if limited revenue stream.

Business-card sized ads will be sold for $300 per year for a business to be listed in the directory. The ad will appear in various digital sortings: by industry, by service or product provided, alphabetically, and by years of operation. In the latter list the business owner will have a chance to provide a profile of the business (or have it written by the writers of which can be updated through a password-protected Wiki, allowing the company to update its accomplishments and growth.

(Cash-flow projections will be provided to potential investors as part of a printed presentation of this business plan.)


The almanac will be another reader-friendly entrance to On a separate website from the blog, an almanac of business information gathered from all public sources available in the state will be compiled and updated to provide any current or prospective business owner market information important to his or her business. The directory of small businesses, over time, should include a fairly extensive (and hopefully exhaustive) list of competitor participating in a specific market, including information voluntarily given by business directory participants in their self-written profiles.

The front of the book, however, will contain updated information regarding the latest business and market statistics available statewide, including demographics drawn from Census information, all to be used as reference material to judge the business climate in Colorado.

Once established, it is expected that this front-of-book material, too, would attract advertisers from businesses big and small, drawn particularly by low ad rates and widening readership. That increasing traffic would be driven, too, by the self-promotional ads included in the Small Business Directory – and the business-owner’s ability to update his or her own business profile.

There is no way to project the success of this revenue stream. The book needs to be established and to begin to draw readers in order for ad sales to take place. Until then, no projectons can be made.


This separate website will create a conversation between artists in Colorado and art consumers, and will provide a market for young artists to post their work in hopes of licensing their images or selling original property through the site. It will also serve as a marketplace for writer/owner Robert Schwab’s poetry, fiction and non-fiction.

This is perhaps the most speculative enterprise to be described for because there is no such Internet meeting place for Colorado artists of every stripe, or their audiences, and no venue for young (or old) not-yet-established artists to market their wares.

Bloggers from the various arts will be paid for their contributions to the ARTS BLOG, and a one-percent-of-sales fee will be charged to artists to facilitate the online showroom they will have at their disposal.

As traffic increases on this blog and marketplace, it is anticipated that ad sales will also be possible: to music venues, to artists, to publishers, to bookstores, to galleries and other business vendors trying to reach the growing artistic community in Colorado.


Print and Internet advertising to market these three venues will be purchased once the sites are established as a viable product for readers and small business owners.

Invested capital will be used to make these purchases. Radio and other advertising also might be possible, depending on revenue streams generated by the business. Technology services also will have to be purchased to set up the various websites, directories and Wiki. Invested capital will be used for those purposes as well.

Conclusion (minus financials)
This is the legacy I hope to leave to my daughters, one of whom is a visual artist, and the second, still in college, an undecided potential aid-worker, lawyer, writer or businesswoman, with a bent toward international arenas. I have two to ten years to make my business happen. I think that’s more than possible, and an opportunity to establish two lasting institutions to serve Colorado for the foreseeable future.

(Relevant financial information will be provided to interested investors.)

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