Thursday, July 19, 2007

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Friday, July 13, 2007

How to stay postive about your Business: Advice for those gloomy days

You know the best thing about owning your own business is that IT'S YOUR BUSINESS (don't caps always look rude?). When things are going all fine and dandy, it's easy to stay positive and believe yourself to be the narcissistic, all-powerful, god-like king of the world. Though there are times when you will feel downright beat down, aka Kevin Federline in the Nationwide commercial (flipping burgers anyone?), usually due to the lagging sales and cash flow that comes around periodically.

Fear not my friends! I have compiled a list of things to do when those dark clouds hang over your heads:

  • Write down all the good things that happened to you in the last month, and reflect on them. You will really learn to appreciate some of them, and remember that good times come and go, just like the bad times.
  • Put motivational quotes around your work desk, computer (on stickies) or wherever so you choose to work, heck put a few opposite of the toilet seat. I found motivational quotes to always refresh my mind, and they usually offer support to me in ways that are not so apparent at first.
  • Concentrate on opportunities you still have. Don't spend your time on negative thinking, it's not healthy. Focusing on the future will keep you from ignoring the potentially great opportunities you have missed while wallowing in your sorrow.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. If you have friends and family in business, support each other in times of despair. Offer encouragement to those who need it, and accept it when it's given to you.
  • Visualize where you want to be. Usually we are so caught up in the moment, we forget why we started a business in the first place. Take some time to visual your objectives while clearing your head of all other worries and thoughts. You would be surprised how much this helps in clearing your mind and making you more productive.
  • Don't give up! Even the most successful entrepreneurs have had their bad times, so never think you're alone. Be brave and go on!

Business Idea of the Day: Lawn Care Service

Taken from "Adams Businesses You Can Start Almanac"

Startup cost: $500-$1,500
Potential Earnings: $25,000-$50,000
Typical fees: $12-$15 per hour or flat rate of $50-$100 per job
Advertising: Flyer's left in front doors, ads in local or community newspapers
Qualifications: Love for working outdoors and some knowledge about lawn care
Equipment needed:Power mowers, rakes, leaf blower, power trimmer and spreader, pickup truck or station wagon
Home Business potential: Yes
Staff required: No
Hidden costs: Insurance, transportation, some equipment rental

Many people could find time to mow their own lawns if they wanted to, but it's the weeding, trimming, fertilizing, aerating, and leaf removal that are difficult to squeeze in. By providing these services, plus the mowing, you can rake in the profits. There's a lot of competition out there, from neighborhood kids who mow lawns on the cheap to the expensive professional lawn services that include landscaping and related services. But if you plant you seeds in the right places, develop you niche, and cultivate the business, your lawn care service can grow.

Let's assume you already have a truck to carry your equipment. You'll need to shell out at least $300 for basic tools, such as rakes and edgers; more if you need to upgrade the power lawn mower you probably already have. Consider renting some of the items you don't use regularly. Double or triple your costs if you decide to have a team of workers mowing a lawn simultaneously (you'll make more money that way). You can charge roughly $50-$100 per job in a residential lawn care business; more if you can handle corporate accounts. Keep in mind, however, that you income isn't limited to flat fees; many happy customers also include a tip for your trouble.

Bottom Line Advice:
By scheduling some or all of your services with customers in the same neighborhoods, you can save on transportation and rental costs. One day you might be mowing lawns and another you'll be aerating. You might have to rent an aeration roller at a cost of $25 or more a day, but if you schedule aerations in one neighborhood for the same day, you'll easily recoup the investment. In many parts of the country lawn care is a seasonal business. To pick up the slack in winter, you might consider adding rock salts, shovels, and snow blowers to your equipment inventory.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sell products without carrying inventory: Why Drop Shipping should be your choice

What is Drop Shipping? If you’ve never heard of the term, Drop Shipping is basically selling products offered by wholesalers directly to the end consumers, while making a nifty profit in between which is usually decided by you. To be more specific, I’ll give the Wikipedia definition of it:

“Drop shipping is a supply chain management technique in which the retailer does not keep goods in stock, but instead transfers customer orders and shipment details to wholesalers, who then ship the goods directly to the customer. The retailers make their profit on the difference between the wholesale and retail price.”

Sounds like a great idea right? But you might be asking yourself how you can start, and how would you sell these, considering you don’t have inventory; its simple really.

Some of these companies may actually offer catalogues (though they may you want you to become a member prior to trusting you with their materials) by which you can show customers different products that you can offer to them. You may find many drop shippers like this that engage in selling antiques, women’s products, household products, collectables, and decoration pieces. This is a nice choice if you have an extensive number of friends and family, especially if you are active in your community since it can open may different prospects for you to form a customer base and develop a network of customers that spreads by word of mouth.

Nowadays, many drop shippers offer services by which you can sell directly through the Internet. Many of these are also geared towards people who wish to sell on eBay, which can prove to be a positive choice considering you won’t have to stock up on inventory and worry about building an excess. In fact if a product doesn’t sell, you won’t even have to worry too much as you didn’t even pay for it in the first place. Plus if you wish to work from home or work from home already, you can’t miss the chance to build some extra income from something that probably wouldn’t take much time out of your day. There is only money to be made in this business, since you have virtually no up-front costs for it (unless the company requires you to be a member).

Given these reasons, it should be a no-brainer for many people why this is an ideal choice for a home based business. But keep in mind that there are many scams out there too. Some of these scams include selling you false drop ship lists that have outdated or fraudulent companies. They may not even be drop shippers at all, but other businesses or individuals who act as middlemen between the wholesalers and retailers, which would leave little room for retailers to make profits.

Business Idea of the Day: Handbill Distribution

Taken from "Adams Businesses You Can Start Almanac"

Startup Cost: Between $200-$500
Potential Earnings: $15,000-$$20,000
Typical Fees: $5-$10 per drop-off
Advertising: Fliers or classified ads
Qualifications: Marketing Sense, time-management skills
Equipment Needed: A method for tracking and processing payments due to your crewmembers
Home business potential: Yes
Staff Required: Yes
Hidden Costs: Spot-checking your distribution crew, insurance

Businesses are moving beyond traditional marketing avenues (magazine and newspaper advertising, radio spots, etc.) to develop less expensive, more effective alternatives. In many areas of the country, there is a return to an old tried and true advertising method, handbill distribution. If you live in an area with a high concentration of people and plenty of retailers, restaurants, and services nearby, you can develop a handbill distribution service. Unless you are willing to log alot of miles on foot yourself, you will need a crew of people to do the actual distribution, but you will have to carry out spot checks to make sure they are actually handing out each bill and not simply dumping them along the way. If you recruit and manage a good crew, handbill distribution can be an effective marketing approach for you clients and a profitable business for you.

Aside from the fliers with which you promote your own business, your primary costs will be what you pay to your crews. You may need to carry insurance against work-related mishaps; check with your agent to be sure you are covered. You will derive your income from the clients whose handbills you distribute. Expect to bill between $5 and $10 per drop-off; add extra for jobs involving more time and effort.

Bottom Line Advice:
The simplicity of this business has great appeal, especially for those who thrive on person-to-person, face-to-face interaction. You'll be building a service that is almost pure service, which can be quite satisfying. Expect, however, to expand a lot of your energy in marketing your operation and hiring and managing your crew.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Adams Businesses You Can Start Almanac

I recently purchased this book. 500 small and Mid-sized business ideas packed into one book. I'll be reading into it more, seems to have many great ideas that you would normally never think of. A few include being a Dog trainer, licensing agent, bicycle rental (probably a great idea if your in the city) and many more. I would definitely recommend this book if you've hit a mental roadblock and can't seem to get any ideas flowing.

Book Description
The time to start your own business is now! Whether you're a previously employed manager seeking new opportunities and greater job satisfaction, starting up a home-based business, re-entering the job market, or just looking to earn some extra cash on the side, this book will help you discover the business that's just right for you.
This detailed reference provides more than 500 different business opportunities to choose from; each entry features:
  • A description of the business
  • Start-up and hidden costs
  • Potential earnings
  • Qualifications and equipment needed
  • Marketing tips for the best ways to advertise your new business
    In addition, this book contains critical advice on:
  • Putting together a business plan
  • Survival strategies
  • Legal considerations
  • Long-term growth strategies
  • And more!
    No matter what your criteria-start-up costs, skill sets, professional and personal interests-the Adams Businesses You Can Start Almanac, 2nd Edition will prepare you to take the most exciting step of your career-being your own boss!

  • Welcome

    This is my first post. Welcome to my Blog. In it I will be writing and posting articles related to Small Business Ideas and News. Hopefully we can all mutually benefit from it.