Ex-British PM David Cameron praises Betsy DeVos; President Trump not so much,

Ex-British PM David Cameron praises Betsy DeVos; President Trump not so much

Gallery: Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron visits Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Former British Prime Minister David Cameron praised U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for pushing her “schools of choice” agenda at the outset of his speech to the Economic Club of Grand Rapids on Monday, June 19.

DeVos, who was in the audience as her husband, Dick DeVos, emceed the club’s 30 th Annual Dinner, is following a path that Cameron pursued when Great Britain opened more than 300 “free schools” between 2010 to 2015.

“Madame Secretary, let me say how much I admire your stance on school choice,” Cameron said at the outset of his remarks, recalling the challenges they faced from the public educational establishment.

Cameron, who resigned last summer after he lost his fight against Britain’s Brexit vote to leave the European Union, separated himself from DeVos’ boss, President Donald Trump, on several occasions during his hour-long speech and conversation with Dick DeVos.

While globalization has left behind too many people in developed countries, Cameron warned against the type of protectionism that Trump has preached in his “Make America Great Again” campaign theme.

“One of the biggest challenges we face is protectionism,” Cameron said, adding that America is greatest when it leads on the international stage.

“I deeply regret the United States getting out of the Paris Accord,” Cameron said. “We should be driving the train, not stepping off the track.”

The United States should continue to be a world leader instead of stepping back, Cameron said. “You’re still the shining city on the hill,” he said. “You’re still the country people want to come to.”

Cameron also warned against getting too cozy with Russian President Vladimir Putin, reminding the audience that Putin has described the collapse of the former Soviet Union as a great tragedy while Western leaders believe it was a great victory.

Those core differences should be a warning to Western leaders, Cameron said. He said economic sanctions are one of the most effective tools in stunting Putin’s expansionist agenda in Eastern Europe.

Trump’s charge that European members of the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) are not carrying their fair share of the burden may be true, but “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” Cameron said.

The fight against Islamic extremists “the struggle of our generation,” said Cameron, praising Trump for urging Middle Eastern nations to drive them out. “This is like the Cold War, where our values are as strong as our force.”

Cameron’s appearance at the Economic Club’s Annual Dinner marks the third time a former British Prime Minister has been the event’s keynote speaker. Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair also have appeared in past years.

The Economic Club also honored Birgit Klohs, president of the Right Place Inc. economic development agency, as its Business Person of the Year. The Meijer family, owners of the Meijer retail chain, also was honored with the Skykehouse Community Leadership Award.





How to Start a Rice Dealership Business, Pinoy Bisnes Ideas, great business

How to Start a Rice Dealership Business

Great business ideasRice is an important primary staple food in many Asian countries especially in the Philippines. Indicating the high demand for this commodity, planning to put up a rice dealership business in your area is a wise choice. There is already an assurance that this business will succeed because buyers are already there. Of course, in any kind of business, conducting a feasibility study is always a crucial step to take. This will assess the economic viability of your proposed business.

Here are some important questions to consider before plunging into this kind of business.

1. Do you have enough capital or budget for your rice dealership business? With at least P60,000 to P100,000 as a starting capital.

2. Do you want to operate as sole proprietorship or corporation? Business registration guide here.

3. Do you have a big and safe storage room for the sacks of rice that will be delivered to you?

4. Do you have a good location for your rice dealership business? Research the area of your target market, the flow of traffic and their buying habits.

5. Do you have lists of rice suppliers in your area? Make sure you have a lists of several suppliers and make a good relationship with them.

6. Do you have necessary equipments like calibrated weighing scales, rice sacks etc., and a service delivery (optional).

7. What varieties of rice do you intend to sell? Make sure to have several varieties of rice, so that your customers will have several options.

8. How will you market your business? This is also an important aspect especially you are new in this kind of business. Make a good marketing strategy and make your business known to your customers. Make a good deal with restaurant owners, hotels, resorts and small carenderias in your place to be their rice supplier.

Here are Some NFA Rice Dealership FAQ

Q: Who are required to secure license from NFA?

A: All persons, natural or juridical, that are engaging or intending to engage in the rice and/or corn business whether commercial or NFA rice/corn.

A: Before the start in any of the business activity enumerated above, the proprietor or operator should first secure a license from NFA. For those already license, businessmen should renew their annual license on any day within their scheduled month allotted by the NFA

A: Application may be filed at the NFA office that has jurisdiction over the location of the principal business of the applicant.

Q: In case we have more than one (1) store/establishment for Rice/Corn business, should all be licensed?

A: Yes, owner/operator should file a license for all outlets at the NFA office where his principal place of business is located. Additional outlets are treated as branches.

A: For new applicants, follow these procedures:

secure application form from the licensing officer upon payment of application fee;

accomplish and file application with complete requirements to the licensing officer who in turn checks the documents and determines corresponding license fee;

pay license fee to the cashier and get copy of official receipt;

prepare the facilities/equipment requirements for inspection by NFA Investigators;

after inspection of establishments, present notice of inspection to licensing officer, official receipt and proof of compliance with deficiencies, if any;

licensing officer issues license if application is found to be in order;

applicants display license in their establishments.

Procedures for renewal applicants:

secure application from licensing officer upon payment of application fee;

accomplish and file application with complete requirements together with previous year s license to the licensing officer;

licensing officer checks completeness of requirements and determines license fee to be paid;

pay license fee to the cashier and present the official receipt to licensing officer;

licensing officer issues renewal sticker and stick it to appropriate portion of the license if application is found to be in order;

applicants display licensing conspicuous place in their establishments.

Q: For New Applicants, how long do we have to wait for the Approval of our License Application?

A: The establishments and facility requirements of new applicants are inspected by NFA Investigators within 20 working days after the filling of their applications. Those inspected are given inspection notices stating the date when they can return to the NFA to show compliance with any deficiency, if any. Otherwise, their notices state the date they can get their license. In all these cases, it should not exceed 20 working days after inspection.

A: Application fee is P50.00 for a single line activity and P100.00 for two activities or more. License fees depend upon capacity of the post harvest equipment used.

A: Documentary and facility requirements depend upon the business activity.

Q: Does the NFA requires only Licensing on Rice/Corn Business Activities?

A: The NFA also require the registration of the following facilities aside from the license on the activities mentioned earlier list.

motor vehicles used or intended to be used in transport/hauling of palay/ rice/corn whether for exclusive use or for hire except public utility vehicles franchised by proper government agencies not principally used for transporting rice/palay/corn;

warehouses,threshers and sellers for own produce;

mechanical dryers for owner s/operators exclusive use;

packaging machines for owner s/operators exclusive use;

institutions/establishments securing their rice/corn requirements from the NFA;

poultry and hog raisers securing byproducts from the NFA;

manufacturers/importers/dealers and distributors of rice/corn post-harvest facilities;

non-operating mills and other post-harvest facilities. In this case, registration is done only once.

Registration is done at the office of the NFA that has jurisdiction over the location of the principal business of the applicant.

Registration fees see separate from that of the license fees.

Q: In the event that I discontinue my business, what should I do with my License/Registration Certificate?

A: Surrender your license/registration certificate to the NFA office that issued it together with a written notice of discontinuance.

Otherwise, in case you reapply, you would be charged with the fees for the entire period that you have not applied for renewal.

Q: What do you mean by Bonded Activities?

A: Bonded activities mean third party stocks are deposited in your facilities, for storage, milling, threshing, corn shelling or mechanical drying. Operators/owners of facilities accepting third party stocks are required to post a bond as well as fire insurance to safeguard the stocks of the third party.





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  • Ex-British PM David Cameron praises Betsy DeVos; President Trump not so much,

    Ex-British PM David Cameron praises Betsy DeVos; President Trump not so much

    Gallery: Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron visits Grand Rapids

    GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Former British Prime Minister David Cameron praised U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for pushing her “schools of choice” agenda at the outset of his speech to the Economic Club of Grand Rapids on Monday, June 19.

    DeVos, who was in the audience as her husband, Dick DeVos, emceed the club’s 30 th Annual Dinner, is following a path that Cameron pursued when Great Britain opened more than 300 “free schools” between 2010 to 2015.

    “Madame Secretary, let me say how much I admire your stance on school choice,” Cameron said at the outset of his remarks, recalling the challenges they faced from the public educational establishment.

    Cameron, who resigned last summer after he lost his fight against Britain’s Brexit vote to leave the European Union, separated himself from DeVos’ boss, President Donald Trump, on several occasions during his hour-long speech and conversation with Dick DeVos.

    While globalization has left behind too many people in developed countries, Cameron warned against the type of protectionism that Trump has preached in his “Make America Great Again” campaign theme.

    “One of the biggest challenges we face is protectionism,” Cameron said, adding that America is greatest when it leads on the international stage.

    “I deeply regret the United States getting out of the Paris Accord,” Cameron said. “We should be driving the train, not stepping off the track.”

    The United States should continue to be a world leader instead of stepping back, Cameron said. “You’re still the shining city on the hill,” he said. “You’re still the country people want to come to.”

    Cameron also warned against getting too cozy with Russian President Vladimir Putin, reminding the audience that Putin has described the collapse of the former Soviet Union as a great tragedy while Western leaders believe it was a great victory.

    Those core differences should be a warning to Western leaders, Cameron said. He said economic sanctions are one of the most effective tools in stunting Putin’s expansionist agenda in Eastern Europe.

    Trump’s charge that European members of the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) are not carrying their fair share of the burden may be true, but “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” Cameron said.

    The fight against Islamic extremists “the struggle of our generation,” said Cameron, praising Trump for urging Middle Eastern nations to drive them out. “This is like the Cold War, where our values are as strong as our force.”

    Cameron’s appearance at the Economic Club’s Annual Dinner marks the third time a former British Prime Minister has been the event’s keynote speaker. Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair also have appeared in past years.

    The Economic Club also honored Birgit Klohs, president of the Right Place Inc. economic development agency, as its Business Person of the Year. The Meijer family, owners of the Meijer retail chain, also was honored with the Skykehouse Community Leadership Award.





    Halloween Online – Your Guide to Anything and Everything About Halloween –

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    2016 Halloween Ideas, Costumes, Decorations and Props, Halloween Party Planning, Spooky Games and Activities and Pumpkin Carving articles since 1994! The great news is that the next three years will be great for our favorite holiday! This year, Halloween will fall on a Friday allowing both kids and grown-ups to stay out much later than a week night. Now celebrating our 21st year online! Since times really are tough financially right now, be sure to check out our budgeting and money saving articles for lots of great tips and suggestions for getting the most fright for your buck.

    Great business ideasFree Pumpkin Carving Patterns!

    Looking for the very best selection of pumpkin carving patterns anywhere on the Net? Well, SpookMaster is the place to go!

    With hundreds of unique and unusual designs, they have an incredible selection of top-rate pumpkin patterns. But the best news is. all of their carving patterns, templates and stencils are free, that’s right, absolutely free! Just head on over to their web site, download all patterns you want directly to your computer, print them out and start carving.

    Some Things Really Are Free!

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    One of the most fun and fulfilling things you can do during the season is host a Halloween party for your friends and family. Whether it’s a children’s party or one just for grown-ups, there are so many great treats, games, music, atcivities and foods that you can lavish your guests with. Planning and decorating for your party should be an all out spook fest!

    For those holding a Halloween movie party, be sure to check out our Movies and Television Guide for lots of spooky viewing suggestions. In addition to the classic Halloween movie franchise brought to us by John Carpenter, there are a slew of other horror movies just waiting to be watched. You’ll find a ton of stuff to watch in the Movie Guide section for kids, adults and everyone in between! Click Here.

    Great business ideas Halloween Decorations

    Its never to early to get in the mood for Halloween. In fact, some of us are in that mood all year long! Now that Fall is finally here, its time to start thinking about how you will decorate your home A full size coffin prop such as the one to the right is a great addition to your Halloween decor.

    Our decor section can show you some interesting and fun ways to decorate inside and out. Also try our crafts section for decorations that you can make on your own if you are a crafter. With the economy so bad, lots of stores are dropping prices just to stay in business and provide what the customer needs. Be sure to take advantage of all of these sales! Click Here.

    Great business ideasHalloween Games

    Check out our selection of classic games like Bobbing for Apples and more modern games like the much asked for Hal O’ Ween game, and even a collection of printable puzzles that you can download. This gives you some fast game entertainment for any party. Just print out and play!

    Party games will help your party fun and flowing smoothly. Sometimes it’s just as much for adults to play children’s games as it is for the kids and all of these games can be adapted for both types of party’s quite easily. If your party seems to be hitting a snag, just get a game of some kind going and it’s sure to perk your party up! Click Here.

    Great business ideasHalloween Costumes

    One of the things that makes this such a wonderful holiday is that you can dress up and pretend to be just about any fanciful character you want and still be socially accepted. Be sure to try and order your costumes well in advance to give you plenty of time to make sure that your costume fits properly and you have time to accessorize your individual look.

    Caution – Some online retailers are just affiliates and do not actually stock the products they sell. They pass the order to a distributor and the products are dropped shipped. The Costume Kingdom is one reputable online costume retailer that does stock and ship their products in-house.





    Business Plan Sample – Great Example For Anyone Writing a Business Pl…

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    10 great start-up business ideas to launch in weeks: Starting a business

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    10 great start-up business ideas to launch in weeks

    Take a look around you this morning as you drive or catch the train to work.

    From the window cleaner who arrives on your street as you close the front door behind you to the coffee cart serving cappuccinos and lattes at the station, the world is full of thriving and profitable small businesses that have been set up for relatively little initial outlay.

    These are not ‘clever’ businesses trading on the strength of innovative new products and nor do they require the backing of deep-pocketed investors to get them off the ground. They succeed because their owners are responding to genuine demand for tried and trusted services.

    And with a low initial outlay and overheads, many of these small-scale ventures can be profitable within weeks or months and over time provide their owners with a good income.

    So how do you get started? Well, to give you an idea of how it’s done, here are 10 great businesses ideas I’ve come across that you can get up and running within weeks.

    1. Mopping up – household cleaning

    The lower your outlay, the faster you turn a profit and that’s one of the big attractions of launching a domestic cleaning business. For instance Millie Dark, founder of Sussex cleaners, Mrs Muscle started her company with no real investment. “My customers supply all the equipment and cleaning products,” explains Millie.

    Millie worked part-time for a few months before advertising in the local press and word-of mouth generated enough work to go full time. Today she employs 12 part-timers. “It’s taken me a couple of years to get that stage,” she says.

    2. On cloud K9 – dog walking

    A dog walking and pet sitting service can also be set up with minimal investment. For instance, when Catherine Cleaver started her business – Catherine’s Pet Services – all she needed was £500 for a couple of garden kennels.

    Catherine placed a few ads in shop windows. Over time – and with the help of word of mouth recommendation and ads in the local magazine – what started as a part-time activity became a full time job.

    “I was earning enough to live on after about three months,” she says “and after about a year I felt I had a sustainable business.” She succeeds by offering a range of services, including dog walking, pet visits and boarding.

    3. Cutting it – home hairdressing

    Many hairdressers dream of starting their own businesses but are deterred by the cost of renting a salon. Setting up a home visit service can be an ideal way forward.

    There is a significant outlay on brushes, tongs, dryers, mirrors and products. “You’re talking several thousands rather than hundreds,” says Ela Lapus, founder of Home Hair and Make Up.

    “And customers expect to see the same products they find in a salon. Customers will also expect evidence of recognised skills. I have Level 2 and Level 3.”

    The key to profitable success is effective marketing. Hairdressers can use local ads and web directories to publicise their services. Social Media can also be effective. “About 50% of my work comes through Facebook,” says Ela.

    Once the initial investment had been made Ela was able to start earning immediately but the present business, operating across several counties has taken a number of years to build.

    4. A caffeine hit – mobile coffee bar

    We’re a coffee hungry nation and beyond Starbucks and Costa there are thousands of small mobile barista carts selling lattes on the go.

    “A coffee maker will cost about £5,000,” says Beth Baxter, co-founder of Camper Cafe. “And then you have to pay for the cart or a van to put it in.”

    Prices vary but carts or trailers can cost anything between £5,000 and £10,000. The founders of Camper Cafe were given a Volkswagen van which they kitted out to become their visual signature. Training is an additional cost. Courses for coffee making can be had for between £50 and £200.

    Finding pitches is the most challenging aspect as you are often in competition with other vendors. “It took us a year to find out about the market,” says Beth. “After that we took off.”

    5. Juiced perfect – mobile juice bar

    The rise of coffee carts has been matched by the emergence of juice bars in markets, shopping malls, public thoroughfares and events. The set-up costs are similar to coffee in terms of equipment and training.

    6. Bright idea – window cleaning

    If you have a car with a roof rack you can start a window cleaning business for a few hundred pounds (bucket, ladder, clothes, etc).

    Alternatively you might invest in high pressure pure water sprays, water tanks (around £2,000) and a van to carry them (say £15,000). This is increasingly common.

    The challenge then is to build a customer base and that tends to be up close and personal. “Initially the most effective way to do it is to knock on doors and ask,” says Guy Lupton, co-founder of Khameleon Window Cleaning Ltd.

    Building a solid base can take time. “We spent about three years of trial and error to get it right,” says Guy. “We’ve been going about five.”

    However, when you do get it right the business can grow rapidly. “We still knock on doors,” says Guy. “But we get a lot more business by word of mouth.”

    7. Showing drive – ‘Man in a Van’ business

    Advertisements for ‘Man in a Van’ and ‘Light Removals’ services are a common sight on shop window advertising boards.

    The pre-requisite is a van, probably a Luton-style box van with a tail lift and that’s also the main expense. You’ll need public liability insurance (as is the case for all the businesses listed here). The ongoing costs include petrol, servicing, MOT, and repairs.

    The main challenge is building a customer base and most operators use flyers, shop window ads and online directories. Man or woman in a van businesses can be quick to establish but work is required to build a market and perhaps the biggest challenge is getting the pricing right.

    8. Highest bidder – an eBay business

    Launching an eBay business allows you reach a national and occasionally an international market. You can auction goods or sell at a fixed price.

    Most eBay businesses will pay at least £19.99 per month as a subscription fee (rising to £59.99 for a featured shop and £349 for an ‘Anchor Shop’) and on top of that you will pay fees for each auction or fixed price insertion and each sale.

    To succeed on eBay you usually have to find goods that can’t be bought elsewhere or offer popular products at knock-down prices. For some it’s a part-time source of pin-money, for others a full-time business. Posters on eBay include Nasty Gal and six years after starting to sell vintage clothing on the auction site it’s now a £60m business .

    9. A gem of a business – jewellery and crafts

    Many small businesses are based around the skills of their founders. For instance, if you have training as a jeweller or sculptor, an obvious way to sell your work is to market direct to the public via web, craft fairs or through shops.

    Tools can cost anything from a few hundred to many thousands of pounds but you can keep costs down by working from a home studio. Ongoing costs include materials, rental at craft fairs (from as little as £20 per day to more than a £1,000).

    Jane Faulkner, a jeweller based in Sussex, sells via the web and craft fairs while also having shelf-space in a local co-operative (Billingshurst Creatives) where craftspeople and artists can display their goods in return for taking turns manning the store.

    “Craft fairs are my biggest source of income while the shop provides a regular cheque every month,” says Jane. Teaching is also part of the business.

    With these revenue streams Jane feels she has a sustainable business, but it has taken around eight years to establish.

    10. Snappy work – photography

    Photography is another skills-based business. Go to almost any event – from music gigs to vintage car rallies and weddings and you’ll find photographers hard at work.

    As Art Hutchins, a freelancer photographer trading as Artseye points out, it’s a business that requires investment in time and money. “Being a serious pro photographer requires a high level of financial investment in good quality equipment and time to acquire the knowledge and skill to use it.”

    Starting from scratch would mean buying pro-quality cameras (around £2,000) lenses (£100-£1,000), tripods and lights but many photographers who set up their own businesses will already have acquired some of the equipment over time.

    According to Art Hutchins, the best approach is to decide on a target market – in his case small businesses, editorial and family portraits. “The best marketing is word of mouth,” he says.

    Very different businesses but all can be started quickly and easily using readily available equipment or existing skills. Importantly most of these businesses take payment either at the point of sale or soon after and that’s great for cashflow.

    Demand is there but the key is to market effectively and at the right price.

    John Fagan is the head of RBS branch business, England Wales and direct banking. His team work with businesses to build a bigger support network inside the bank and beyond with partners and fellow customers. www.rbsbusinessconnections.co.uk

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    10 great start-up business ideas to launch in weeks: Starting a business

    #start up business ideas

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    10 great start-up business ideas to launch in weeks

    Take a look around you this morning as you drive or catch the train to work.

    From the window cleaner who arrives on your street as you close the front door behind you to the coffee cart serving cappuccinos and lattes at the station, the world is full of thriving and profitable small businesses that have been set up for relatively little initial outlay.

    These are not ‘clever’ businesses trading on the strength of innovative new products and nor do they require the backing of deep-pocketed investors to get them off the ground. They succeed because their owners are responding to genuine demand for tried and trusted services.

    And with a low initial outlay and overheads, many of these small-scale ventures can be profitable within weeks or months and over time provide their owners with a good income.

    So how do you get started? Well, to give you an idea of how it’s done, here are 10 great businesses ideas I’ve come across that you can get up and running within weeks.

    1. Mopping up – household cleaning

    The lower your outlay, the faster you turn a profit and that’s one of the big attractions of launching a domestic cleaning business. For instance Millie Dark, founder of Sussex cleaners, Mrs Muscle started her company with no real investment. “My customers supply all the equipment and cleaning products,” explains Millie.

    Millie worked part-time for a few months before advertising in the local press and word-of mouth generated enough work to go full time. Today she employs 12 part-timers. “It’s taken me a couple of years to get that stage,” she says.

    2. On cloud K9 – dog walking

    A dog walking and pet sitting service can also be set up with minimal investment. For instance, when Catherine Cleaver started her business – Catherine’s Pet Services – all she needed was £500 for a couple of garden kennels.

    Catherine placed a few ads in shop windows. Over time – and with the help of word of mouth recommendation and ads in the local magazine – what started as a part-time activity became a full time job.

    “I was earning enough to live on after about three months,” she says “and after about a year I felt I had a sustainable business.” She succeeds by offering a range of services, including dog walking, pet visits and boarding.

    3. Cutting it – home hairdressing

    Many hairdressers dream of starting their own businesses but are deterred by the cost of renting a salon. Setting up a home visit service can be an ideal way forward.

    There is a significant outlay on brushes, tongs, dryers, mirrors and products. “You’re talking several thousands rather than hundreds,” says Ela Lapus, founder of Home Hair and Make Up.

    “And customers expect to see the same products they find in a salon. Customers will also expect evidence of recognised skills. I have Level 2 and Level 3.”

    The key to profitable success is effective marketing. Hairdressers can use local ads and web directories to publicise their services. Social Media can also be effective. “About 50% of my work comes through Facebook,” says Ela.

    Once the initial investment had been made Ela was able to start earning immediately but the present business, operating across several counties has taken a number of years to build.

    4. A caffeine hit – mobile coffee bar

    We’re a coffee hungry nation and beyond Starbucks and Costa there are thousands of small mobile barista carts selling lattes on the go.

    “A coffee maker will cost about £5,000,” says Beth Baxter, co-founder of Camper Cafe. “And then you have to pay for the cart or a van to put it in.”

    Prices vary but carts or trailers can cost anything between £5,000 and £10,000. The founders of Camper Cafe were given a Volkswagen van which they kitted out to become their visual signature. Training is an additional cost. Courses for coffee making can be had for between £50 and £200.

    Finding pitches is the most challenging aspect as you are often in competition with other vendors. “It took us a year to find out about the market,” says Beth. “After that we took off.”

    5. Juiced perfect – mobile juice bar

    The rise of coffee carts has been matched by the emergence of juice bars in markets, shopping malls, public thoroughfares and events. The set-up costs are similar to coffee in terms of equipment and training.

    6. Bright idea – window cleaning

    If you have a car with a roof rack you can start a window cleaning business for a few hundred pounds (bucket, ladder, clothes, etc).

    Alternatively you might invest in high pressure pure water sprays, water tanks (around £2,000) and a van to carry them (say £15,000). This is increasingly common.

    The challenge then is to build a customer base and that tends to be up close and personal. “Initially the most effective way to do it is to knock on doors and ask,” says Guy Lupton, co-founder of Khameleon Window Cleaning Ltd.

    Building a solid base can take time. “We spent about three years of trial and error to get it right,” says Guy. “We’ve been going about five.”

    However, when you do get it right the business can grow rapidly. “We still knock on doors,” says Guy. “But we get a lot more business by word of mouth.”

    7. Showing drive – ‘Man in a Van’ business

    Advertisements for ‘Man in a Van’ and ‘Light Removals’ services are a common sight on shop window advertising boards.

    The pre-requisite is a van, probably a Luton-style box van with a tail lift and that’s also the main expense. You’ll need public liability insurance (as is the case for all the businesses listed here). The ongoing costs include petrol, servicing, MOT, and repairs.

    The main challenge is building a customer base and most operators use flyers, shop window ads and online directories. Man or woman in a van businesses can be quick to establish but work is required to build a market and perhaps the biggest challenge is getting the pricing right.

    8. Highest bidder – an eBay business

    Launching an eBay business allows you reach a national and occasionally an international market. You can auction goods or sell at a fixed price.

    Most eBay businesses will pay at least £19.99 per month as a subscription fee (rising to £59.99 for a featured shop and £349 for an ‘Anchor Shop’) and on top of that you will pay fees for each auction or fixed price insertion and each sale.

    To succeed on eBay you usually have to find goods that can’t be bought elsewhere or offer popular products at knock-down prices. For some it’s a part-time source of pin-money, for others a full-time business. Posters on eBay include Nasty Gal and six years after starting to sell vintage clothing on the auction site it’s now a £60m business .

    9. A gem of a business – jewellery and crafts

    Many small businesses are based around the skills of their founders. For instance, if you have training as a jeweller or sculptor, an obvious way to sell your work is to market direct to the public via web, craft fairs or through shops.

    Tools can cost anything from a few hundred to many thousands of pounds but you can keep costs down by working from a home studio. Ongoing costs include materials, rental at craft fairs (from as little as £20 per day to more than a £1,000).

    Jane Faulkner, a jeweller based in Sussex, sells via the web and craft fairs while also having shelf-space in a local co-operative (Billingshurst Creatives) where craftspeople and artists can display their goods in return for taking turns manning the store.

    “Craft fairs are my biggest source of income while the shop provides a regular cheque every month,” says Jane. Teaching is also part of the business.

    With these revenue streams Jane feels she has a sustainable business, but it has taken around eight years to establish.

    10. Snappy work – photography

    Photography is another skills-based business. Go to almost any event – from music gigs to vintage car rallies and weddings and you’ll find photographers hard at work.

    As Art Hutchins, a freelancer photographer trading as Artseye points out, it’s a business that requires investment in time and money. “Being a serious pro photographer requires a high level of financial investment in good quality equipment and time to acquire the knowledge and skill to use it.”

    Starting from scratch would mean buying pro-quality cameras (around £2,000) lenses (£100-£1,000), tripods and lights but many photographers who set up their own businesses will already have acquired some of the equipment over time.

    According to Art Hutchins, the best approach is to decide on a target market – in his case small businesses, editorial and family portraits. “The best marketing is word of mouth,” he says.

    Very different businesses but all can be started quickly and easily using readily available equipment or existing skills. Importantly most of these businesses take payment either at the point of sale or soon after and that’s great for cashflow.

    Demand is there but the key is to market effectively and at the right price.

    John Fagan is the head of RBS branch business, England Wales and direct banking. His team work with businesses to build a bigger support network inside the bank and beyond with partners and fellow customers. www.rbsbusinessconnections.co.uk

    Comments

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    10 Ways to Identify a Great Business Idea #sample #business #plan

    #business idea

    #

    10 Ways to Know If You Have a Great Business Idea

    Good Ideas

    Ready to take on the world of entrepreneurship? In order to find startup success, you need a great business idea. But a winning business idea is more than just something you’re excited about or good at — you have to make sure your idea is actually viable.

    Business News Daily asked experts how you can tell if your business idea is poised for success. Here are 10 questions to ask yourself before pursuing your business idea.

    Does it solve a problem?

    Entrepreneur and co-founder of the Web design school The Starter League Mike McGee thinks the best business ideas are those that solve a problem in some way.

    If there is a problem that affects you, your friends, family, co-workers, etc. then the chances are high that it affects people you don t know as well, McGee said.

    Will people will pay for it?

    It s paying customers who validate an idea and determine which ones have the greatest chance for success, said Wil Schroter, co-founder and CEO of Fundable .

    An idea is just an idea until you have a paying customer attached to it, Schroter said. Anyone can discredit a simple idea, but no one can discredit paying customers.

    What’s your price point?

    Credit: Profit Growth Image via Shutterstock

    Charlie Harary, founder and partner of investment firm H3 Co., said that while there are many ways to solve problems, great business ideas do it in a way that is less expensive than what the market will endure.

    Once you have determined that you are solving a legitimate problem in a scalable way, you need to determine not only the value that it delivers to the world, but what people would pay for that value, Harary said. Once you determine the price, then you can assess if your solution is businessworthy or not.

    Is there a sizable niche market for it?

    Without a large enough market, your business idea may never get off the ground. Ruben Soto, CEO of shapewear company Hourglass Angel. said your business should cater to a strong niche market.

    “Start by focusing on a niche market you know that can be served better,” Soto said. “Make sure the market is large enough and that you can serve those customers better than the alternative. Large companies won’t focus on niche markets, so there is room to compete and exceed customer expectations.”

    Are you passionate enough about it?

    Credit: Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock

    Your business will likely take up all of your time, so make sure you’re passionate enough about it to make it successful.

    “Since starting a business requires an inordinate amount of time, energy and patience, ideally, the idea will be one that you are passionate about, as well as one that you have skills or experience [in],” said Melissa Bradley, executive-in-residence and director of entrepreneurship and innovation at the Kogod School of Business at American University .

    Have you tested your idea?

    Credit: Michael R Ross/Shutterstock

    You won’t know if your business is viable until you test it on strangers.

    “Test it not just with friends who will be too polite to tell the truth, but with honest people who would make up your ideal target audience, and then listen to the feedback,” said Lisa McCartney, chief “PLYTer” at educational math board game company PLYT. “

    “If your target sample is saying [your idea] is fantastic and [asking] where can they get it, you know that you’re onto something, but if they are less than enthusiastic, it’s probably not as good an idea as you thought.”

    Are you open to advice?

    If you’re not open to changing or adapting your idea to fit what your customers will want, your business idea might not be worth pursuing.

    “Success happens when you are willing to listen and consider others’ advice,” said Angie Yasulitis, CEO and managing partner at YaZo Marketing and Business Development Strategies. “Most good ideas take some tweaking to get to market. Being closed-minded is a business killer.”

    How will you market your business?

    Many entrepreneurs think about the problems their business will solve but not about how they intend to market their business to their target customers. Jesse Lipson, corporate vice president and general manager at cloud company Citrix Cloud Services. said that your marketing strategy can determine if your business idea is a good one.

    “If you have a solid go-to market strategy and a decent product, you’ll probably be successful,” Lipson said. “But if you have a great product without any idea how to reach your potential customers, then it’s going to be really tough to make it successful. Thinking through that as early as possible is really key.”

    Are you being realistic about your goals?

    As excited as you may be about a new business idea, it’s important to stay grounded and be realistic about it. Thomas J. Gravina chairman, co-founder and CEO of cloud services company Evolve IP said you shouldn’t have a “Field of Dreams” mentality when starting your business.

    “Just because you have a vision and decide to build it does not mean the rest will follow,” Gravina said. “While you may have an idea that is original, revolutionary or ahead of its time, there should be a real, solid market opportunity to ensure it is successful. Any new business case or new endeavor has to have a viable market that you believe you can sell now not theoretically or on the premise that there is a future for this market.”

    Can you explain your idea in the simplest terms?

    Your business may solve a complicated problem, but you should be able to explain it in simple terms so that anyone can understand it, said Kris Duggan, CEO of goal management company BetterWorks. Duggan suggested using what he calls “the grandma test.”

    “When you typically hear someone pitch their idea, it’s usually chock-full of important-sounding jargon that rarely makes sense,” Duggan said. “When you think about your new business idea, ask yourself, ‘Can it pass the grandma test?’ In other words, would your grandma understand what you do? Perhaps your business is solving a complicated problem, but early on, come up with a way to explain it that makes sense to the masses.”

    Updated Jan. 13, 2016. Business News Daily Senior Writer Chad Brooks also contributed to this story.

    More Countdowns





    Business Card Designer Plus – Great Business Card Software #cool #business #cards

    #business card designer

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    Business Card Software for Windows

    The Best Software to Make Your Own Business Cards

    • Design great looking, color business cards in minutes.
  • Completely customizable. Start with a business card template or a blank design, then modify in any way to meet your needs.
  • Add your own pictures and logos or choose from the included picture gallery of 50,000+ images.
  • Make business cards for anywhere in the world. US (inch) and international (metric) sizes available.
  • Supports all business card styles including wide, tall, double sided, photo quality (full bleed), folded CD business cards.
  • Print yourself on US Letter or A4 paper stock from Avery and other manufacturers or export for professional printing.

    “Business Card Designer Plus is the best business card design software program I have seen, and I have seen lots.”

    – Joe Tex, Shareware Junkies

    “I was amazed to see a reply to my question within an hour after I sent it. Usually it takes 1-2 days to get a reply from others. You guys are great!

    “I use Business Card Designer Plus to create business cards for my staff. I love the product because it saves me a fortune in print shop costs.”

    – Bill Nanders, Chicago USA

    Benefits of Using our Business Card Software

    Create Great Business Cards Quickly and Easily

    Create a great looking business card from a template in minutes, create a blank business card and design it yourself or import an image of an existing business card.

    Make Any Style Business Card on Any Paper Stock

    Wide, tall, double sided, photo quality (full bleed), folded and CD business card templates are all included. Print to ANY paper stock from Avery and other manufacturers or define your own.

    Customize All Aspects of Your Business Card

    Add text and graphics anywhere your want. Vary colors in backgrounds, images and text in any template in our business card maker software to create business cards that are just right for you.

    Use Pictures, Logos and Clipart in Your Business Card

    With our business card software you can choose from over 50,000 clipart images in the Cloud Picture Gallery or include your own pictures so your business card is as unique as your are. All standard formats are supported and you can even scan a picture directly into your design.

    Print Yourself or Export for Professional Printing

    Print to any printer or save your business card as an image and send it to any print shop to have your custom business cards printed professionally.

    Sample Business Cards Templates

    What Others are Saying About our Business Card Software.

    “I love how easy the business card software is to use! I have tried many other business card making programs and nothing compares to yours.”

    “You have been the most helpful support for a system I have ever had, thank you very much Chris, You just saved my neck. If you are ever going to Spain just tell me.”

    “With the Excellent Customer Service that goes with a really easy to use business card program you can be sure I will be upgrading soon.”

    “The Design Wizard is a great place to start when creating a new business card. It’s simple, easy and I can have a card up and running in 2 minutes! With 50 employees it’s a godsend.”

    “I have many employees that I create business cards for and the Personal Database and Save as Template are the best features. It saves so much time when I need to make new business card.”

    “I absolutely love the new shapes and gradient fills in this business card designer. I upgraded my version even though I bought it last year. Keep up the good work!”

    “I downloaded several business card programs and either they were too simple or too difficult to use. Yours was just the right fit for us. You had all the features we were looking for and it was very easy to use.”“How can you sell such great business card maker software for so cheap? I recommend it to everyone I know!”

    “I loved the fact that your business card maker software has a trial version and then when I bought it I almost immediately got my Registration ID and didn’t have to re-download a different version.”

    “I was very impressed that you took the time to help me fix my graphic problems with my business card, for FREE. Not many companies take the time any more to help out their end users. Kudos to you!”

    “I like to create a wild business card and love the new text tools you added! I was pleased to see the new version released. I have been using your products for many years and have come to trust them. Unlike other companies you are constantly updating your software so I know will will be able to use them with the latest versions of Windows today, and in the future. Great Job.”

    “The texture and gradient fill support for text lets me print some really cool looking text. I have not been able to find this in any other business card software.”

    “I am very impressed with the graphics support in your Business Card Designer Plus product. I was able to include some very complex images with no problems at all. And with support for so many of the popular formats I did not have to convert any of my images. Keep up the good work.”

    “The Design Wizard is a work of genius! I’ve created a template that I base each employees card on. To create a card for a new employee I simply choose the template, enter the employee’s information (BTW the database of users is another great feature) and click Finish. It could not be easier.”

    “Simply the best business card software available!”

    Helpful Links.





  • Business Plan Sample – Great Example For Anyone Writing a Business Pl…

    #business plan example

    #

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    Business Plan Sample – Great Example For Anyone Writing a Business Plan

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    Great Business #businesses #to #start

    #business mentor

    #

    Business is Great Britain Support, advice and inspiration for growing your business

    Find a mentor, as early as you can

    My biggest regret is not finding a mentor earlier on into my journey.

    When I was planning to start my business I was keen to find a mentor. I was entering a sector in which I had very little knowledge. I needed help to construct a targeted marketing plan. I knew there were people out there who had already been through this process and could guide me through it in order to prevent me from making obvious (to those in the know) mistakes to achieve success more quickly. I wasn’t looking for shortcuts, just more efficient ways to do things.

    Something I hadn’t considered was how much culture could change between industries. In my former world, everything I needed to research was on the internet. In my new world of micro bakery, the knowledge was held by the community and you went online once you knew specifically what you were looking for. A mentor in the bakery sector would have been able to point me the right direction to make my own choices but from meaningful and relevant sources.

    Another thing that caught me out was the impact the new day to day environment would have on me. A mentor would have supported me in the planning process to ensure that I was setting realistic timeframes in which to achieve my goals.

    There are options for an entrepreneur. There are 15,000 business mentors trained via the Government-funded Get Mentoring project (2012) who have all committed to giving one hour of their time once a month for 2 years and can be found on Mentorsme. Add that to the existing database and it totals over 27,000 mentors at your disposal. In many cases they offer free advice with further payable services should you wish to take them up. The filtered results from the website are still a little broad (refinement is being worked on); however, the data is all there so it’s worth spending a little time reading through the options. The Useful Resources tab gives a great brief on what you can expect from your mentor and it’s worth checking the Mentoring Spotlight to see a range of case studies.

    Another great resource is The Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs (IOEE) which is a great community network. As well as promoting Mentorsme, they are also offering free membership to potential and early stage start-ups as they recognise that the earlier people seek quality support to start or grow their business the more successful they are.

    My reluctance to pay for a service that I felt I should have been able to cope without left me disadvantaged. It’s my mission to help others prevent making the same mistake. Find a mentor. Let them support you to on your path to success. They are the hidden gems that can make or break a business in it’s first twelve months as well as support it throughout growth.

    Rekha Mehr, who contributed this blog, is founder and owner of Pistachio Rose. a London-based business creating high-end Anglo-Indian cakes and sweets. She is working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills as an ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’ to be a voice in government for start up businesses and small firms.

    Not sure what support is available for you?
    Find government-backed support and finance for business.





    Thornton Plumbers: Plumbing, Drains, Kitchens, Bathrooms North Walsham #thornton #plumbers: #plumbing, #drains,


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    Domestic Plumbing Services • Domestic Heating Services • Commercial Plumbing Services • Commercial Heating Services • Kitchen Installations • Bathroom Installations • Commercial Electrician

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    OFT 100/101 600A

    Services provided within a 25 mile radius of North Walsham

    Upper Spa Common

    Thornton Plumbers for a friendly and professional service

    THORNTON PLUMBERS is a family run co- operative combining Nigel Thornton and son Ryan Thornton.

    With Nigel’s 40 years experience in both domestic and commercial plumbing and Ryan’s OFTEC registration in oil fired heating systems, we can offer a comprehensive service to both the home owner and business.

    We pride ourselves on our commitment to give a professional and friendly service.

    From a tap washer – to a complete bathroom.

    A boiler service – to a new heating system.

    No job too small.

    A job well done leaves a satisfied customer who will use our services again. Hence our motto: “Why us? Because we care.”

    All Work Guaranteed – Quality Service

    OFTEC Technicians and Qualified Plumbers

    Local Business Established Over 30 years

    Family Run Business

    *** FREE, no obligation quotes ***

    We provide a full range of plumbing services within the North Norfolk area. Serving both commercial and domestic customers.

    Our OFTEC registration assures our customers of a professional service, for more information on OFTEC go to www.oftec.org

    Click to enlarge

    • Installation of kitchens, bathrooms, en- suites and wet rooms.
    • Complete tiling/plastering services.
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    • Unvented systems, installed and serviced.
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    • Central heating power flushing service.
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    Home Insurance, Cheap House Insurance Quotes Ireland #great #insurance #quotes


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    Cheap House & Home Insurance

    Up to 40% off your House Insurance!

    This offer is based on a quote for a 50-year old couple from Offaly with €160,000 buildings cover, €15,000 contents, a linked burglar alarm claim free for 6 years.

    Quote Devil has changed the way Household Insurance is arranged in Ireland. We are Ireland’s only exclusively online home insurance provider. This means we can offer incredibly low prices and brilliant cover in the shortest time possible.

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    Cheap House Insurance Quotes

    We at Quotedevil sold our first online home insurance policy in November 2009 and we now have tens of thousands of customers. Our mantra is simple; we offer great value online household insurance by arranging it exclusively online and therefore saving on the cost. We then pass these savings on to the customer in the form of lower premiums. You can get a house insurance quote online in sixty seconds and take out the entire policy in three minutes. At the end of the three minutes you will have your policy document and your letter of indemnity sitting in your email account. So the entire process is done and dusted in just four minutes. This is ideal if you are buying your first house. With the system offered by others you can be waiting for days for a letter of indemnity to be posted out!

    We have also kept the question set to the bare minimum so it is user friendly, we test it on the boss in here who is a bit of a Luddite! If he can use it anyone can, so it is a simple process and then offers low cost insurance quotes also. We’re delighted you have taken the time to read about us and would love for you to get a quote online. If you need to check anything call our property specialist Robert on 01 2541329. Rob is available to answer any technical question and you can contact him in the messenger app on the site also between eight and five in the evening.

    Household Insurance Comparison

    When your insurance policy for your home is up for renewal, it’s advisable to do a comparison with quotes from other insurance companies, before you renew with your current insurer – you could save yourself a surprising amount of money.

    You will be amazed at the level of variation in the price of insurance. This may seem obvious but make sure when shopping around that you are seeking the same details for your quotes. Quotes vary based on what is being insured, whether you’re looking for separate home, contents or buildings insurance policy or one to cover them all, insurance providers will be able to explain the key features of each policy they offer and some will even let you choose things such as varying your excess amounts. There are optional extras such as accidental damage, emergency cover or legal protection. Some quotes can be 4 times higher than others and some insurers even offer a discount for taking cover out online. Shopping around can take up some time but it can be worth it. Most of the time a broker like Quote Devil Insurance might be able to get a better deal for you.

    Compare Home Insurance with Us

    Why not try Quote Devil for your home insurance quote? Save your time and money shopping around and buy something nice to include in your contents cover! We beat or match competitor’s quotes 99% of the time. We offer quotes online in 60 seconds and you can take out a full policy in 3 minutes. If you are stuck on a question on our online form we have helpful and friendly agents available in our chat window in a matter of seconds.

    You are always welcome to phone in too, our lines are open from Monday to Friday 9am-6pm and 10am-3pm on Saturdays! Our house insurance policy is award winning and one of the best in the market. We offer great emergency cover too although we hope you never have to use it! You will get a faster response to your emergency and we have specially negotiated rates for your repairs or replacements of your items even if the damage is not covered under your policy. It’s worth knowing that the higher the excess you are prepared to pay the lower the policy amount. If you can dig a bit deeper in to your pocket when taking out your policy it can really save you in the long term.

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    Just recently we have launched a new product for more difficult Home insurance policies. We can now cover Period Property, listed buildings, houses under construction or renovation, unoccupied houses and even dwellings with pyrite issues. Also, cover can be provided for flat roofs, previous claims and even if your policy was refused or cancelled previously.

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    Product Reviewed: Homeowners Insurance

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    Rating: 10 / 10 stars


    10 Ways to Identify a Great Business Idea #sell #a #business

    #business idea

    #

    10 Ways to Know If You Have a Great Business Idea

    Good Ideas

    Ready to take on the world of entrepreneurship? In order to find startup success, you need a great business idea. But a winning business idea is more than just something you’re excited about or good at — you have to make sure your idea is actually viable.

    Business News Daily asked experts how you can tell if your business idea is poised for success. Here are 10 questions to ask yourself before pursuing your business idea.

    Does it solve a problem?

    Entrepreneur and co-founder of the Web design school The Starter League Mike McGee thinks the best business ideas are those that solve a problem in some way.

    If there is a problem that affects you, your friends, family, co-workers, etc. then the chances are high that it affects people you don t know as well, McGee said.

    Will people will pay for it?

    It s paying customers who validate an idea and determine which ones have the greatest chance for success, said Wil Schroter, co-founder and CEO of Fundable .

    An idea is just an idea until you have a paying customer attached to it, Schroter said. Anyone can discredit a simple idea, but no one can discredit paying customers.

    What’s your price point?

    Credit: Profit Growth Image via Shutterstock

    Charlie Harary, founder and partner of investment firm H3 Co., said that while there are many ways to solve problems, great business ideas do it in a way that is less expensive than what the market will endure.

    Once you have determined that you are solving a legitimate problem in a scalable way, you need to determine not only the value that it delivers to the world, but what people would pay for that value, Harary said. Once you determine the price, then you can assess if your solution is businessworthy or not.

    Is there a sizable niche market for it?

    Without a large enough market, your business idea may never get off the ground. Ruben Soto, CEO of shapewear company Hourglass Angel. said your business should cater to a strong niche market.

    “Start by focusing on a niche market you know that can be served better,” Soto said. “Make sure the market is large enough and that you can serve those customers better than the alternative. Large companies won’t focus on niche markets, so there is room to compete and exceed customer expectations.”

    Are you passionate enough about it?

    Credit: Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock

    Your business will likely take up all of your time, so make sure you’re passionate enough about it to make it successful.

    “Since starting a business requires an inordinate amount of time, energy and patience, ideally, the idea will be one that you are passionate about, as well as one that you have skills or experience [in],” said Melissa Bradley, executive-in-residence and director of entrepreneurship and innovation at the Kogod School of Business at American University .

    Have you tested your idea?

    Credit: Michael R Ross/Shutterstock

    You won’t know if your business is viable until you test it on strangers.

    “Test it not just with friends who will be too polite to tell the truth, but with honest people who would make up your ideal target audience, and then listen to the feedback,” said Lisa McCartney, chief “PLYTer” at educational math board game company PLYT. “

    “If your target sample is saying [your idea] is fantastic and [asking] where can they get it, you know that you’re onto something, but if they are less than enthusiastic, it’s probably not as good an idea as you thought.”

    Are you open to advice?

    If you’re not open to changing or adapting your idea to fit what your customers will want, your business idea might not be worth pursuing.

    “Success happens when you are willing to listen and consider others’ advice,” said Angie Yasulitis, CEO and managing partner at YaZo Marketing and Business Development Strategies. “Most good ideas take some tweaking to get to market. Being closed-minded is a business killer.”

    How will you market your business?

    Many entrepreneurs think about the problems their business will solve but not about how they intend to market their business to their target customers. Jesse Lipson, corporate vice president and general manager at cloud company Citrix Cloud Services. said that your marketing strategy can determine if your business idea is a good one.

    “If you have a solid go-to market strategy and a decent product, you’ll probably be successful,” Lipson said. “But if you have a great product without any idea how to reach your potential customers, then it’s going to be really tough to make it successful. Thinking through that as early as possible is really key.”

    Are you being realistic about your goals?

    As excited as you may be about a new business idea, it’s important to stay grounded and be realistic about it. Thomas J. Gravina chairman, co-founder and CEO of cloud services company Evolve IP said you shouldn’t have a “Field of Dreams” mentality when starting your business.

    “Just because you have a vision and decide to build it does not mean the rest will follow,” Gravina said. “While you may have an idea that is original, revolutionary or ahead of its time, there should be a real, solid market opportunity to ensure it is successful. Any new business case or new endeavor has to have a viable market that you believe you can sell now not theoretically or on the premise that there is a future for this market.”

    Can you explain your idea in the simplest terms?

    Your business may solve a complicated problem, but you should be able to explain it in simple terms so that anyone can understand it, said Kris Duggan, CEO of goal management company BetterWorks. Duggan suggested using what he calls “the grandma test.”

    “When you typically hear someone pitch their idea, it’s usually chock-full of important-sounding jargon that rarely makes sense,” Duggan said. “When you think about your new business idea, ask yourself, ‘Can it pass the grandma test?’ In other words, would your grandma understand what you do? Perhaps your business is solving a complicated problem, but early on, come up with a way to explain it that makes sense to the masses.”

    Updated Jan. 13, 2016. Business News Daily Senior Writer Chad Brooks also contributed to this story.

    More Countdowns





    Great Business #business #news

    #business mentor

    #

    Business is Great Britain Support, advice and inspiration for growing your business

    Find a mentor, as early as you can

    My biggest regret is not finding a mentor earlier on into my journey.

    When I was planning to start my business I was keen to find a mentor. I was entering a sector in which I had very little knowledge. I needed help to construct a targeted marketing plan. I knew there were people out there who had already been through this process and could guide me through it in order to prevent me from making obvious (to those in the know) mistakes to achieve success more quickly. I wasn’t looking for shortcuts, just more efficient ways to do things.

    Something I hadn’t considered was how much culture could change between industries. In my former world, everything I needed to research was on the internet. In my new world of micro bakery, the knowledge was held by the community and you went online once you knew specifically what you were looking for. A mentor in the bakery sector would have been able to point me the right direction to make my own choices but from meaningful and relevant sources.

    Another thing that caught me out was the impact the new day to day environment would have on me. A mentor would have supported me in the planning process to ensure that I was setting realistic timeframes in which to achieve my goals.

    There are options for an entrepreneur. There are 15,000 business mentors trained via the Government-funded Get Mentoring project (2012) who have all committed to giving one hour of their time once a month for 2 years and can be found on Mentorsme. Add that to the existing database and it totals over 27,000 mentors at your disposal. In many cases they offer free advice with further payable services should you wish to take them up. The filtered results from the website are still a little broad (refinement is being worked on); however, the data is all there so it’s worth spending a little time reading through the options. The Useful Resources tab gives a great brief on what you can expect from your mentor and it’s worth checking the Mentoring Spotlight to see a range of case studies.

    Another great resource is The Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs (IOEE) which is a great community network. As well as promoting Mentorsme, they are also offering free membership to potential and early stage start-ups as they recognise that the earlier people seek quality support to start or grow their business the more successful they are.

    My reluctance to pay for a service that I felt I should have been able to cope without left me disadvantaged. It’s my mission to help others prevent making the same mistake. Find a mentor. Let them support you to on your path to success. They are the hidden gems that can make or break a business in it’s first twelve months as well as support it throughout growth.

    Rekha Mehr, who contributed this blog, is founder and owner of Pistachio Rose. a London-based business creating high-end Anglo-Indian cakes and sweets. She is working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills as an ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’ to be a voice in government for start up businesses and small firms.

    Not sure what support is available for you?
    Find government-backed support and finance for business.





    Online MBA- Missouri State University or Eastern New Mexico University? #online,mba,missouri,state,university,eastern,new,mexico,university,eastern #new


    #

    Thread: Online MBA- Missouri State University or Eastern New Mexico University?

    Enmu

    I don’t know anything about MSU but I used to live near the Portales, NM main campus of ENMU. You cannot imagine how different the area is from the usual conception of New Mexico. Flat, dry, agricultural and Baptist. Very Baptist. Very, very mild chile sauce. They even sometimes put TOMATOES in it. No wonder we call the area Little Texas !

    But ENMU is a good school and those folks know what they are about. If you do decide to go with them, you will not regret it.

    Nosborne48
    J.D. LL.M. (Taxation)

    Join Date Jul 2003 Location Las Cruces NM Posts 4,077

    As a general note, I think they will accept a DETC bachelor’s degree.

    Nosborne48
    J.D. LL.M. (Taxation)

    Join Date Oct 2013 Posts 4

    The MSU is on my radar as well. I am looking for an AACSB for the lest amount of tuition, as I am coming out of my own pocket.
    U of Louisiana – Monroe has an AACSB MBA program that is 30 credits (with a lot of prereq’s which you cant CLEP and DANTES), and will be under 15k. I am CLEPing Principles of Management and Principles of Marketing the first week of January in case I decide on this one, and studying for the GMAT in March.
    The U of Nevada – Reno EMBA program is AACSB, and has a cohort program that has a high grad rate, at 24k. Since I live in NV, it has been on the top of my list as well.
    Also considering U of North Dakota MBA. and could possibly end up in the UNLV EMBA program since it is local.
    I guess I am looking for some sort of name recognition as well, or at least a state one part of a state University system. This is all a tough package to find at a discounted rate. I just do not see the ROI on spending more than 30k for an MBA. with so many of them being turned out by so many schools these days.
    At least I have it more narrowed down than a few months ago.

    American InterContinental University Online

    American InterContinental University

    AIU offers Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees in all the following programs: business administration (MBA, marketing, finance, accounting, human resources, etc), criminal justice, computer science, information technology, healthcare administration, medical billing and coding, fine arts, and education. Special learning facilities include a learning resource center, art gallery, and computer labs.

    The school is regionally accredited, the most widely recognized accreditation.

    Click Here
    to receive FREE information on this school.


    Business Card Designer Plus – Great Business Card Software #best #business #laptop

    #business card designer

    #

    Business Card Software for Windows

    The Best Software to Make Your Own Business Cards

    • Design great looking, color business cards in minutes.
  • Completely customizable. Start with a business card template or a blank design, then modify in any way to meet your needs.
  • Add your own pictures and logos or choose from the included picture gallery of 50,000+ images.
  • Make business cards for anywhere in the world. US (inch) and international (metric) sizes available.
  • Supports all business card styles including wide, tall, double sided, photo quality (full bleed), folded CD business cards.
  • Print yourself on US Letter or A4 paper stock from Avery and other manufacturers or export for professional printing.

    “Business Card Designer Plus is the best business card design software program I have seen, and I have seen lots.”

    – Joe Tex, Shareware Junkies

    “I was amazed to see a reply to my question within an hour after I sent it. Usually it takes 1-2 days to get a reply from others. You guys are great!

    “I use Business Card Designer Plus to create business cards for my staff. I love the product because it saves me a fortune in print shop costs.”

    – Bill Nanders, Chicago USA

    Benefits of Using our Business Card Software

    Create Great Business Cards Quickly and Easily

    Create a great looking business card from a template in minutes, create a blank business card and design it yourself or import an image of an existing business card.

    Make Any Style Business Card on Any Paper Stock

    Wide, tall, double sided, photo quality (full bleed), folded and CD business card templates are all included. Print to ANY paper stock from Avery and other manufacturers or define your own.

    Customize All Aspects of Your Business Card

    Add text and graphics anywhere your want. Vary colors in backgrounds, images and text in any template in our business card maker software to create business cards that are just right for you.

    Use Pictures, Logos and Clipart in Your Business Card

    With our business card software you can choose from over 50,000 clipart images in the Cloud Picture Gallery or include your own pictures so your business card is as unique as your are. All standard formats are supported and you can even scan a picture directly into your design.

    Print Yourself or Export for Professional Printing

    Print to any printer or save your business card as an image and send it to any print shop to have your custom business cards printed professionally.

    Sample Business Cards Templates

    What Others are Saying About our Business Card Software.

    “I love how easy the business card software is to use! I have tried many other business card making programs and nothing compares to yours.”

    “You have been the most helpful support for a system I have ever had, thank you very much Chris, You just saved my neck. If you are ever going to Spain just tell me.”

    “With the Excellent Customer Service that goes with a really easy to use business card program you can be sure I will be upgrading soon.”

    “The Design Wizard is a great place to start when creating a new business card. It’s simple, easy and I can have a card up and running in 2 minutes! With 50 employees it’s a godsend.”

    “I have many employees that I create business cards for and the Personal Database and Save as Template are the best features. It saves so much time when I need to make new business card.”

    “I absolutely love the new shapes and gradient fills in this business card designer. I upgraded my version even though I bought it last year. Keep up the good work!”

    “I downloaded several business card programs and either they were too simple or too difficult to use. Yours was just the right fit for us. You had all the features we were looking for and it was very easy to use.”“How can you sell such great business card maker software for so cheap? I recommend it to everyone I know!”

    “I loved the fact that your business card maker software has a trial version and then when I bought it I almost immediately got my Registration ID and didn’t have to re-download a different version.”

    “I was very impressed that you took the time to help me fix my graphic problems with my business card, for FREE. Not many companies take the time any more to help out their end users. Kudos to you!”

    “I like to create a wild business card and love the new text tools you added! I was pleased to see the new version released. I have been using your products for many years and have come to trust them. Unlike other companies you are constantly updating your software so I know will will be able to use them with the latest versions of Windows today, and in the future. Great Job.”

    “The texture and gradient fill support for text lets me print some really cool looking text. I have not been able to find this in any other business card software.”

    “I am very impressed with the graphics support in your Business Card Designer Plus product. I was able to include some very complex images with no problems at all. And with support for so many of the popular formats I did not have to convert any of my images. Keep up the good work.”

    “The Design Wizard is a work of genius! I’ve created a template that I base each employees card on. To create a card for a new employee I simply choose the template, enter the employee’s information (BTW the database of users is another great feature) and click Finish. It could not be easier.”

    “Simply the best business card software available!”

    Helpful Links.





  • 4 Creative Email Marketing Campaigns That Inspire Action #great #email #marketing #campaigns


    #

    4 Creative Email Marketing Campaigns That Inspire Action

    Email is a private experience. Unlike social media where comments are public email provides a safety zone for both B2B and B2C customers. What does that mean?

    You can receive an email, and take no action. Alternatively, a personalized email may be the tipping point that determines that you will make a purchase.

    According to a study from MarketingSherpa, 7 in 10 people have made purchases influenced by email marketing. Interestingly, that study also found that the vast majority that do purchase, are not just making purchases online.
    While it’s true that some businesses do not fit under the in-store or “over the phone” model, many do. A well developed email campaign will solve a pain point, inspire action and make you feel connected.

    Below are examples of some of the best email marketing campaigns that of this year (so far).

    #1 Sally Hogshead Find your Fascination Advantage

    Our team first heard of Sally’s fascination advantage concept when attending Copyblogger’s Authority Rainmaker conference earlier this year. If you want to determine the primary advantages that will allow you to communicate most confidently and effortlessly, all you have to do is complete a short quiz to find your type (visit: howtofascinate.com/you and use code: copyblogger).

    Once you’ve completed the quiz, you receive a chart which describes your different archetypes. But it gets even better!

    Based on your results, you’ll receive a series of customized emails that explain more about the advantages and disadvantages of your archetype as well as tips to help you be successful.

    What pain point does this campaign solve?

    Sally’s campaign provides insight into better understanding where we can be most impactful as individuals how to better communicate with our team members.

    Why is it awesome?

    Since completing my quiz in May, I’ve received a handful of emails that are specifically geared toward my identified communication style. The email copy is concise, impactful and actionable.

    What is the next step?

    Now that you have a basic understanding of your own archetype and a few helpful tips on how to play to your strengths, the logical next step is to have your entire team sign up to complete the communication exercise, and gain access to the full toolkit that will help you communicate more effectively.

    How can it make you feel?

    It’s almost like Sally is looking out for you and sharing information to help you be better. Each time I received an email I eagerly opened it to find out what I would be learning that week.

    #2 Uber Minnesota Ice Cream Delivery

    Uber frequently sends out emails with special fare promotions, local events and information on the trips you’ve taken with them.

    The email below takes an entirely different approach from the Uber norm. Uber partnered with Capital One to bring warm Minnesotans a cool summer treat.

    Uber is offering $20 ice cream delivery to people who make a request on July 24 and are able to connect. Additionally, if you’re a Capital One member you have an opportunity to score a free ice cream delivery.

    What pain point does this campaign solve?

    It’s hot as blazes outside and you don’t have time to leave work and go grab a frosty frozen dessert whenever the craving strikes. They’re making it easy and ok to eat ice cream in the middle of the day by delivering it right to your location.

    Why is it awesome?

    This campaign has seemingly nothing to do with hailing Uber for a ride when you’re in need of transportation. However, Uber is cleverly creating a great and unique experience that will keep them top of mind the next time you’re trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B.

    What is the next step?

    This campaign reminds me of the frenzy created when radio DJ’s announce that they have a front row pair of tickets for an awesome band that will be awarded to the tenth caller. I predict that many of Minnesotans will be furiously trying to “get through” to collect on their ice cream prize (even though it’s not free) on July 24th.

    How can it make you feel?

    While you may not be interested in $20 worth of ice cream, you’ll remember “how nice” it was that Uber was willing to deliver you ice cream on a hot day.

    #3 Life Time Fitness Workout with a Friend

    Getting into an exercise routine can sometimes feel like a serious form of torture. One of the best ways to stay motivated is to exercise with a friend. If you know someone is depending on you, the chances that you’ll stick to your regimen greatly increases.

    Life Time Fitness took a conversational approach to recommend that you use one of your available guest passes to workout with a friend. All you have to do is mention the email at your visit.

    But wait, there’s more. If you can convince your friend to join, you both get some free Life Time Fitness swag, and 50 LT bucks that can be used on a variety of club services.

    What pain point does this campaign solve?

    Committing to a workout routine is tough. You should consider working out with your friends to make exercising more enjoyable and stick with your program.

    Why is it awesome?

    The casual air with which Life Time encourages you to workout with a friend, offers you free things and enlists you to recruit new members is nothing short of genius.

    What is the next step?

    Bring your friends to the gym, get them hooked and have them sign up permanently. I’ve actually convinced a number of my friends to join Life Time in the past couple of years since I’ve been a member.

    How can it make you feel?

    This one email had me thinking about my closest friends, and which ones would be the most fun to work out with. Also, I could really use a new pink gym bag.

    #4 Adobe How to Reach Customers on Any Screen

    The subject line alone is enough to compel someone to open the email. Adobe s campaign empathizes with every marketers need to be a better solution for their customer s problems than their competitors.

    They are sympathetic to the fact that creating a steady flow of content isn t easy, but they can help.

    What pain point does this campaign solve?

    Simply, helping businesses create a better user experience for their customers.

    Why is it awesome?

    Their customer centric approach (to the end user, not you the buyer) is brilliant. The message is focused on helping you service your customers better, which in turn leads to more customers (and more money).

    What is the next step?

    Download their white paper to access tips on creating a better user experience for your customers.

    How can it make you feel?

    Like I truly am getting a secret weapon that will give me an edge over my competitors.

    Are Your Email Marketing Campaigns up to Par?

    Sometimes it can be difficult to create email marketing campaigns that are optimized for the devices that your customers use. evoke creativity and inspire action. Each campaign that you create should provide value and give your customers a next step.

    What are some examples of email marketing campaigns that have influenced you to make a purchasing decision?

    Ashley Zeckman is the Director of Agency Marketing for TopRank Marketing. In addition to finding innovative ways to showcase the exceptional work of her team, she is also responsible for creating digital marketing programs that drive customer acquisition and growth for the agency. Her background includes expertise in everything from content marketing strategy to branding, account management and social media.

    Outside of her role at TopRank Online Marketing, Ashley prides herself on being a great home chef, painter, prankster and dog mom.


    21 Great Small Business Blogs #business #savings #account

    #business blogs

    #

    21 Great Small Business Blogs

    If you’ve ever searched for small business blogs, you know how ubiquitous they are—everyone, it seems, is blogging about small business (as well as entrepreneurship and startups). Most of these blogs are just marketing tools their creators try to lure you in with a few bits of generic information and advice and then comes the pitch for whatever they want to sell to small businesses.

    There are some blogs, however, that do provide guidance, insight and advice for small business owners about how to build successful ventures.

    Here are twenty-one of the best blogs out there for small business owners—providing education, information and inspiration:

    BizSugar
    A blog with small business news and tips that is crowd-curated. BizSugar’s community of readers share business blog posts, videos and other content from which readers of the blog can learn something, For those that share content, they are reinforcing their reputation and brand and bringing online visibility to their content. The community votes on member-submitted tips, advice and information, advancing the most popular (and what’s considered by the community to be most useful) posts to the home page. Top posts are pushed to the top or can make it into the BizSugar Top 10 list.

    Kabbage
    Kabbage is redefining how small business find and apply for loans online and their blog is full of tips to grow, manage, fund, or innovate your small business.

    Social Triggers
    A blog from Derek Halpern, who writes about sales, marketing, entrepreneurship and the world of social media. Halpern was called “the master of social media” and the world of online communications by Inc. magazine.

    DIY Marketers
    Small business owners are often limited by their marketing budget. DIY Marketers focuses on those creative marketing strategies that help you reach more customers for less money and Ivana Taylor makes it fun.

    Penelope Trunk
    Raw, funny insights from the entrepreneur Penelope Trunk about starting, running and marketing a business. You’ll also find advice on productivity, management, blogging and other business-related issues, as well as life lessons—all of them Trunk’s, of course, but useful nonetheless.

    Marketing Profs
    If you re looking for a digest of the latest and greatest marketing tips and news, Ann Handley s got you covered. Her aim with Marketing Profs is to educate the modern marketer using real world data and examples. With the PRO membership, you get access to their best content.

    Both Sides Of The Table
    A blog written by Mark Suster, a two-time entrepreneur who sold one of those companies to Salesforce.com and then became a venture capitalist. (Get it? Both sides of the table?) He’s a general partner in Upfront Ventures and blogs about startups, entrepreneurship, sales, marketing, management, leadership and more.

    Copyblogger
    The mother of all content marketing blogs. Copyblogger will help you advance your content marketing skills across the board. They produce some of the most valuable content resources on the web and their topics cover a wide range. Writing well is a skill that requires frequent studying and practice and Copyblogger can be an excellent guide to improvement.

    AVC
    A blog written by Fred Wilson, managing partner of two venture capital firms, Flatiron Partners and Union Square Ventures. Wilson is a leader in the entrepreneurial community and has been a VC for more than 20 years. He has been writing on the blog everyday since Sept. 2003 and the topics are wide-ranging but related to starting and running a business (while also trying to live a somewhat normal life).

    Small Business Survival
    This blog has been around since 2006 and is geared toward rural and small town small businesses, with how-to articles and an emphasis on social media marketing, plus a chance for business owners to share good news in the blog’s weekly “Brag Basket.”

    Business Banter
    A blog written by small business experts on a wide range of business challenges. Business Banter has great content on the hard part of business to motivate you to keep going. They also write a lot about internet marketing.

    Adrian Swinscoe
    Blog of consultant and speaker Adrian Swinscoe, which features interviews with business people and posts about customer experience, building a customer-centric business, service, social media as well as employee and customer engagement.

    Buffer
    All social everything! What I love the most about Buffer is their transparency. They are not afraid to share their data, what they ve failed at, and what they ve learned. They have a buzzing community of people who want to discuss what they ve learned from the Buffer blog. Chat with Buffer s content creators and grow in a fun, exciting community!

    The Franchise King
    The blog of Joel Libava, otherwise known as The Franchise King®. Libava is a franchise ownership advisor and the author of Become a Franchise Owner! The Star-Up Guide to Lowering Risk, Making Money and Owning What You Do (John Wiley) Everything you ever wanted to know about researching, choosing and buying a franchise.

    Evergreen Small Business
    Written by Stephen L. Nelson, a Seattle-based CPA who specializes in serving small business owners, this blog is focused on the details around running a small business, like tax issues related to LLCs, a review of do-it-yourself incorporation kits, Affordable Care Act information for small businesses and how to handle past due tax returns.

    Mixergy
    Mixergy interviews entrepreneurs on their successes and failures. Learn from a wide range of passionate business leaders who not only had a business ideas but a mission. Mission is #1 at Mixergy.

    Google Small Business
    This is Google’s official blog for small business owners, where the company discusses new releases, new Google tools and how to make the most of them, and instructional information like how to set up your first data feed, and experts weighing in on how to make the most of social media. The blog is somewhat promotional—after all, it’s mostly about Google products and tools—but it’s still very useful.

    Duct Tape Marketing
    John Jantsch is his name, and the World s Most Practical Small Business Expert is his game. He runs Duct Tape Marketing, providing reliable marketing advice to small business owners and marketers.

    Farnam Street
    Have you been meaning to read up on the great philosophers but don t have the time? Farnam Street will teach you how to think, read, and perceive the world around you the way the famous big thinkers do. Become a better leader and go to bed smarter than when you woke up.

    Fast Company
    So there s Fast Company and then there s the Fast Company blog. They do things differently by using Tumblr as their blog platform filled with beautiful pics, gifs, and that same digestable information we crave from Fast Company. They cover leadership topics as well as design, productivity, business, and useful life topics.

    Richard Branson
    Because who doesn t like the dude?

    Content Marketing Playbook




    10 great start-up business ideas to launch in weeks: Starting a business

    #start up business ideas

    #

    10 great start-up business ideas to launch in weeks

    Take a look around you this morning as you drive or catch the train to work.

    From the window cleaner who arrives on your street as you close the front door behind you to the coffee cart serving cappuccinos and lattes at the station, the world is full of thriving and profitable small businesses that have been set up for relatively little initial outlay.

    These are not ‘clever’ businesses trading on the strength of innovative new products and nor do they require the backing of deep-pocketed investors to get them off the ground. They succeed because their owners are responding to genuine demand for tried and trusted services.

    And with a low initial outlay and overheads, many of these small-scale ventures can be profitable within weeks or months and over time provide their owners with a good income.

    So how do you get started? Well, to give you an idea of how it’s done, here are 10 great businesses ideas I’ve come across that you can get up and running within weeks.

    1. Mopping up – household cleaning

    The lower your outlay, the faster you turn a profit and that’s one of the big attractions of launching a domestic cleaning business. For instance Millie Dark, founder of Sussex cleaners, Mrs Muscle started her company with no real investment. “My customers supply all the equipment and cleaning products,” explains Millie.

    Millie worked part-time for a few months before advertising in the local press and word-of mouth generated enough work to go full time. Today she employs 12 part-timers. “It’s taken me a couple of years to get that stage,” she says.

    2. On cloud K9 – dog walking

    A dog walking and pet sitting service can also be set up with minimal investment. For instance, when Catherine Cleaver started her business – Catherine’s Pet Services – all she needed was £500 for a couple of garden kennels.

    Catherine placed a few ads in shop windows. Over time – and with the help of word of mouth recommendation and ads in the local magazine – what started as a part-time activity became a full time job.

    “I was earning enough to live on after about three months,” she says “and after about a year I felt I had a sustainable business.” She succeeds by offering a range of services, including dog walking, pet visits and boarding.

    3. Cutting it – home hairdressing

    Many hairdressers dream of starting their own businesses but are deterred by the cost of renting a salon. Setting up a home visit service can be an ideal way forward.

    There is a significant outlay on brushes, tongs, dryers, mirrors and products. “You’re talking several thousands rather than hundreds,” says Ela Lapus, founder of Home Hair and Make Up.

    “And customers expect to see the same products they find in a salon. Customers will also expect evidence of recognised skills. I have Level 2 and Level 3.”

    The key to profitable success is effective marketing. Hairdressers can use local ads and web directories to publicise their services. Social Media can also be effective. “About 50% of my work comes through Facebook,” says Ela.

    Once the initial investment had been made Ela was able to start earning immediately but the present business, operating across several counties has taken a number of years to build.

    4. A caffeine hit – mobile coffee bar

    We’re a coffee hungry nation and beyond Starbucks and Costa there are thousands of small mobile barista carts selling lattes on the go.

    “A coffee maker will cost about £5,000,” says Beth Baxter, co-founder of Camper Cafe. “And then you have to pay for the cart or a van to put it in.”

    Prices vary but carts or trailers can cost anything between £5,000 and £10,000. The founders of Camper Cafe were given a Volkswagen van which they kitted out to become their visual signature. Training is an additional cost. Courses for coffee making can be had for between £50 and £200.

    Finding pitches is the most challenging aspect as you are often in competition with other vendors. “It took us a year to find out about the market,” says Beth. “After that we took off.”

    5. Juiced perfect – mobile juice bar

    The rise of coffee carts has been matched by the emergence of juice bars in markets, shopping malls, public thoroughfares and events. The set-up costs are similar to coffee in terms of equipment and training.

    6. Bright idea – window cleaning

    If you have a car with a roof rack you can start a window cleaning business for a few hundred pounds (bucket, ladder, clothes, etc).

    Alternatively you might invest in high pressure pure water sprays, water tanks (around £2,000) and a van to carry them (say £15,000). This is increasingly common.

    The challenge then is to build a customer base and that tends to be up close and personal. “Initially the most effective way to do it is to knock on doors and ask,” says Guy Lupton, co-founder of Khameleon Window Cleaning Ltd.

    Building a solid base can take time. “We spent about three years of trial and error to get it right,” says Guy. “We’ve been going about five.”

    However, when you do get it right the business can grow rapidly. “We still knock on doors,” says Guy. “But we get a lot more business by word of mouth.”

    7. Showing drive – ‘Man in a Van’ business

    Advertisements for ‘Man in a Van’ and ‘Light Removals’ services are a common sight on shop window advertising boards.

    The pre-requisite is a van, probably a Luton-style box van with a tail lift and that’s also the main expense. You’ll need public liability insurance (as is the case for all the businesses listed here). The ongoing costs include petrol, servicing, MOT, and repairs.

    The main challenge is building a customer base and most operators use flyers, shop window ads and online directories. Man or woman in a van businesses can be quick to establish but work is required to build a market and perhaps the biggest challenge is getting the pricing right.

    8. Highest bidder – an eBay business

    Launching an eBay business allows you reach a national and occasionally an international market. You can auction goods or sell at a fixed price.

    Most eBay businesses will pay at least £19.99 per month as a subscription fee (rising to £59.99 for a featured shop and £349 for an ‘Anchor Shop’) and on top of that you will pay fees for each auction or fixed price insertion and each sale.

    To succeed on eBay you usually have to find goods that can’t be bought elsewhere or offer popular products at knock-down prices. For some it’s a part-time source of pin-money, for others a full-time business. Posters on eBay include Nasty Gal and six years after starting to sell vintage clothing on the auction site it’s now a £60m business .

    9. A gem of a business – jewellery and crafts

    Many small businesses are based around the skills of their founders. For instance, if you have training as a jeweller or sculptor, an obvious way to sell your work is to market direct to the public via web, craft fairs or through shops.

    Tools can cost anything from a few hundred to many thousands of pounds but you can keep costs down by working from a home studio. Ongoing costs include materials, rental at craft fairs (from as little as £20 per day to more than a £1,000).

    Jane Faulkner, a jeweller based in Sussex, sells via the web and craft fairs while also having shelf-space in a local co-operative (Billingshurst Creatives) where craftspeople and artists can display their goods in return for taking turns manning the store.

    “Craft fairs are my biggest source of income while the shop provides a regular cheque every month,” says Jane. Teaching is also part of the business.

    With these revenue streams Jane feels she has a sustainable business, but it has taken around eight years to establish.

    10. Snappy work – photography

    Photography is another skills-based business. Go to almost any event – from music gigs to vintage car rallies and weddings and you’ll find photographers hard at work.

    As Art Hutchins, a freelancer photographer trading as Artseye points out, it’s a business that requires investment in time and money. “Being a serious pro photographer requires a high level of financial investment in good quality equipment and time to acquire the knowledge and skill to use it.”

    Starting from scratch would mean buying pro-quality cameras (around £2,000) lenses (£100-£1,000), tripods and lights but many photographers who set up their own businesses will already have acquired some of the equipment over time.

    According to Art Hutchins, the best approach is to decide on a target market – in his case small businesses, editorial and family portraits. “The best marketing is word of mouth,” he says.

    Very different businesses but all can be started quickly and easily using readily available equipment or existing skills. Importantly most of these businesses take payment either at the point of sale or soon after and that’s great for cashflow.

    Demand is there but the key is to market effectively and at the right price.

    John Fagan is the head of RBS branch business, England Wales and direct banking. His team work with businesses to build a bigger support network inside the bank and beyond with partners and fellow customers. www.rbsbusinessconnections.co.uk

    Comments

    Useful business start up tools

    Forum post of the week

    Want to run a more profitable business?

    More from Startups





    Business Card Designer Plus – Great Business Card Software #free #business #email

    #business card designer

    #

    Business Card Software for Windows

    The Best Software to Make Your Own Business Cards

    • Design great looking, color business cards in minutes.
  • Completely customizable. Start with a business card template or a blank design, then modify in any way to meet your needs.
  • Add your own pictures and logos or choose from the included picture gallery of 50,000+ images.
  • Make business cards for anywhere in the world. US (inch) and international (metric) sizes available.
  • Supports all business card styles including wide, tall, double sided, photo quality (full bleed), folded CD business cards.
  • Print yourself on US Letter or A4 paper stock from Avery and other manufacturers or export for professional printing.

    “Business Card Designer Plus is the best business card design software program I have seen, and I have seen lots.”

    – Joe Tex, Shareware Junkies

    “I was amazed to see a reply to my question within an hour after I sent it. Usually it takes 1-2 days to get a reply from others. You guys are great!

    “I use Business Card Designer Plus to create business cards for my staff. I love the product because it saves me a fortune in print shop costs.”

    – Bill Nanders, Chicago USA

    Benefits of Using our Business Card Software

    Create Great Business Cards Quickly and Easily

    Create a great looking business card from a template in minutes, create a blank business card and design it yourself or import an image of an existing business card.

    Make Any Style Business Card on Any Paper Stock

    Wide, tall, double sided, photo quality (full bleed), folded and CD business card templates are all included. Print to ANY paper stock from Avery and other manufacturers or define your own.

    Customize All Aspects of Your Business Card

    Add text and graphics anywhere your want. Vary colors in backgrounds, images and text in any template in our business card maker software to create business cards that are just right for you.

    Use Pictures, Logos and Clipart in Your Business Card

    With our business card software you can choose from over 50,000 clipart images in the Cloud Picture Gallery or include your own pictures so your business card is as unique as your are. All standard formats are supported and you can even scan a picture directly into your design.

    Print Yourself or Export for Professional Printing

    Print to any printer or save your business card as an image and send it to any print shop to have your custom business cards printed professionally.

    Sample Business Cards Templates

    What Others are Saying About our Business Card Software.

    “I love how easy the business card software is to use! I have tried many other business card making programs and nothing compares to yours.”

    “You have been the most helpful support for a system I have ever had, thank you very much Chris, You just saved my neck. If you are ever going to Spain just tell me.”

    “With the Excellent Customer Service that goes with a really easy to use business card program you can be sure I will be upgrading soon.”

    “The Design Wizard is a great place to start when creating a new business card. It’s simple, easy and I can have a card up and running in 2 minutes! With 50 employees it’s a godsend.”

    “I have many employees that I create business cards for and the Personal Database and Save as Template are the best features. It saves so much time when I need to make new business card.”

    “I absolutely love the new shapes and gradient fills in this business card designer. I upgraded my version even though I bought it last year. Keep up the good work!”

    “I downloaded several business card programs and either they were too simple or too difficult to use. Yours was just the right fit for us. You had all the features we were looking for and it was very easy to use.”“How can you sell such great business card maker software for so cheap? I recommend it to everyone I know!”

    “I loved the fact that your business card maker software has a trial version and then when I bought it I almost immediately got my Registration ID and didn’t have to re-download a different version.”

    “I was very impressed that you took the time to help me fix my graphic problems with my business card, for FREE. Not many companies take the time any more to help out their end users. Kudos to you!”

    “I like to create a wild business card and love the new text tools you added! I was pleased to see the new version released. I have been using your products for many years and have come to trust them. Unlike other companies you are constantly updating your software so I know will will be able to use them with the latest versions of Windows today, and in the future. Great Job.”

    “The texture and gradient fill support for text lets me print some really cool looking text. I have not been able to find this in any other business card software.”

    “I am very impressed with the graphics support in your Business Card Designer Plus product. I was able to include some very complex images with no problems at all. And with support for so many of the popular formats I did not have to convert any of my images. Keep up the good work.”

    “The Design Wizard is a work of genius! I’ve created a template that I base each employees card on. To create a card for a new employee I simply choose the template, enter the employee’s information (BTW the database of users is another great feature) and click Finish. It could not be easier.”

    “Simply the best business card software available!”

    Helpful Links.





  • 21 Great Small Business Blogs #business #loans #calculator

    #business blogs

    #

    21 Great Small Business Blogs

    If you’ve ever searched for small business blogs, you know how ubiquitous they are—everyone, it seems, is blogging about small business (as well as entrepreneurship and startups). Most of these blogs are just marketing tools their creators try to lure you in with a few bits of generic information and advice and then comes the pitch for whatever they want to sell to small businesses.

    There are some blogs, however, that do provide guidance, insight and advice for small business owners about how to build successful ventures.

    Here are twenty-one of the best blogs out there for small business owners—providing education, information and inspiration:

    BizSugar
    A blog with small business news and tips that is crowd-curated. BizSugar’s community of readers share business blog posts, videos and other content from which readers of the blog can learn something, For those that share content, they are reinforcing their reputation and brand and bringing online visibility to their content. The community votes on member-submitted tips, advice and information, advancing the most popular (and what’s considered by the community to be most useful) posts to the home page. Top posts are pushed to the top or can make it into the BizSugar Top 10 list.

    Kabbage
    Kabbage is redefining how small business find and apply for loans online and their blog is full of tips to grow, manage, fund, or innovate your small business.

    Social Triggers
    A blog from Derek Halpern, who writes about sales, marketing, entrepreneurship and the world of social media. Halpern was called “the master of social media” and the world of online communications by Inc. magazine.

    DIY Marketers
    Small business owners are often limited by their marketing budget. DIY Marketers focuses on those creative marketing strategies that help you reach more customers for less money and Ivana Taylor makes it fun.

    Penelope Trunk
    Raw, funny insights from the entrepreneur Penelope Trunk about starting, running and marketing a business. You’ll also find advice on productivity, management, blogging and other business-related issues, as well as life lessons—all of them Trunk’s, of course, but useful nonetheless.

    Marketing Profs
    If you re looking for a digest of the latest and greatest marketing tips and news, Ann Handley s got you covered. Her aim with Marketing Profs is to educate the modern marketer using real world data and examples. With the PRO membership, you get access to their best content.

    Both Sides Of The Table
    A blog written by Mark Suster, a two-time entrepreneur who sold one of those companies to Salesforce.com and then became a venture capitalist. (Get it? Both sides of the table?) He’s a general partner in Upfront Ventures and blogs about startups, entrepreneurship, sales, marketing, management, leadership and more.

    Copyblogger
    The mother of all content marketing blogs. Copyblogger will help you advance your content marketing skills across the board. They produce some of the most valuable content resources on the web and their topics cover a wide range. Writing well is a skill that requires frequent studying and practice and Copyblogger can be an excellent guide to improvement.

    AVC
    A blog written by Fred Wilson, managing partner of two venture capital firms, Flatiron Partners and Union Square Ventures. Wilson is a leader in the entrepreneurial community and has been a VC for more than 20 years. He has been writing on the blog everyday since Sept. 2003 and the topics are wide-ranging but related to starting and running a business (while also trying to live a somewhat normal life).

    Small Business Survival
    This blog has been around since 2006 and is geared toward rural and small town small businesses, with how-to articles and an emphasis on social media marketing, plus a chance for business owners to share good news in the blog’s weekly “Brag Basket.”

    Business Banter
    A blog written by small business experts on a wide range of business challenges. Business Banter has great content on the hard part of business to motivate you to keep going. They also write a lot about internet marketing.

    Adrian Swinscoe
    Blog of consultant and speaker Adrian Swinscoe, which features interviews with business people and posts about customer experience, building a customer-centric business, service, social media as well as employee and customer engagement.

    Buffer
    All social everything! What I love the most about Buffer is their transparency. They are not afraid to share their data, what they ve failed at, and what they ve learned. They have a buzzing community of people who want to discuss what they ve learned from the Buffer blog. Chat with Buffer s content creators and grow in a fun, exciting community!

    The Franchise King
    The blog of Joel Libava, otherwise known as The Franchise King®. Libava is a franchise ownership advisor and the author of Become a Franchise Owner! The Star-Up Guide to Lowering Risk, Making Money and Owning What You Do (John Wiley) Everything you ever wanted to know about researching, choosing and buying a franchise.

    Evergreen Small Business
    Written by Stephen L. Nelson, a Seattle-based CPA who specializes in serving small business owners, this blog is focused on the details around running a small business, like tax issues related to LLCs, a review of do-it-yourself incorporation kits, Affordable Care Act information for small businesses and how to handle past due tax returns.

    Mixergy
    Mixergy interviews entrepreneurs on their successes and failures. Learn from a wide range of passionate business leaders who not only had a business ideas but a mission. Mission is #1 at Mixergy.

    Google Small Business
    This is Google’s official blog for small business owners, where the company discusses new releases, new Google tools and how to make the most of them, and instructional information like how to set up your first data feed, and experts weighing in on how to make the most of social media. The blog is somewhat promotional—after all, it’s mostly about Google products and tools—but it’s still very useful.

    Duct Tape Marketing
    John Jantsch is his name, and the World s Most Practical Small Business Expert is his game. He runs Duct Tape Marketing, providing reliable marketing advice to small business owners and marketers.

    Farnam Street
    Have you been meaning to read up on the great philosophers but don t have the time? Farnam Street will teach you how to think, read, and perceive the world around you the way the famous big thinkers do. Become a better leader and go to bed smarter than when you woke up.

    Fast Company
    So there s Fast Company and then there s the Fast Company blog. They do things differently by using Tumblr as their blog platform filled with beautiful pics, gifs, and that same digestable information we crave from Fast Company. They cover leadership topics as well as design, productivity, business, and useful life topics.

    Richard Branson
    Because who doesn t like the dude?

    Content Marketing Playbook




    10 great start-up business ideas to launch in weeks: Starting a business

    #start up business ideas

    #

    10 great start-up business ideas to launch in weeks

    Take a look around you this morning as you drive or catch the train to work.

    From the window cleaner who arrives on your street as you close the front door behind you to the coffee cart serving cappuccinos and lattes at the station, the world is full of thriving and profitable small businesses that have been set up for relatively little initial outlay.

    These are not ‘clever’ businesses trading on the strength of innovative new products and nor do they require the backing of deep-pocketed investors to get them off the ground. They succeed because their owners are responding to genuine demand for tried and trusted services.

    And with a low initial outlay and overheads, many of these small-scale ventures can be profitable within weeks or months and over time provide their owners with a good income.

    So how do you get started? Well, to give you an idea of how it’s done, here are 10 great businesses ideas I’ve come across that you can get up and running within weeks.

    1. Mopping up – household cleaning

    The lower your outlay, the faster you turn a profit and that’s one of the big attractions of launching a domestic cleaning business. For instance Millie Dark, founder of Sussex cleaners, Mrs Muscle started her company with no real investment. “My customers supply all the equipment and cleaning products,” explains Millie.

    Millie worked part-time for a few months before advertising in the local press and word-of mouth generated enough work to go full time. Today she employs 12 part-timers. “It’s taken me a couple of years to get that stage,” she says.

    2. On cloud K9 – dog walking

    A dog walking and pet sitting service can also be set up with minimal investment. For instance, when Catherine Cleaver started her business – Catherine’s Pet Services – all she needed was £500 for a couple of garden kennels.

    Catherine placed a few ads in shop windows. Over time – and with the help of word of mouth recommendation and ads in the local magazine – what started as a part-time activity became a full time job.

    “I was earning enough to live on after about three months,” she says “and after about a year I felt I had a sustainable business.” She succeeds by offering a range of services, including dog walking, pet visits and boarding.

    3. Cutting it – home hairdressing

    Many hairdressers dream of starting their own businesses but are deterred by the cost of renting a salon. Setting up a home visit service can be an ideal way forward.

    There is a significant outlay on brushes, tongs, dryers, mirrors and products. “You’re talking several thousands rather than hundreds,” says Ela Lapus, founder of Home Hair and Make Up.

    “And customers expect to see the same products they find in a salon. Customers will also expect evidence of recognised skills. I have Level 2 and Level 3.”

    The key to profitable success is effective marketing. Hairdressers can use local ads and web directories to publicise their services. Social Media can also be effective. “About 50% of my work comes through Facebook,” says Ela.

    Once the initial investment had been made Ela was able to start earning immediately but the present business, operating across several counties has taken a number of years to build.

    4. A caffeine hit – mobile coffee bar

    We’re a coffee hungry nation and beyond Starbucks and Costa there are thousands of small mobile barista carts selling lattes on the go.

    “A coffee maker will cost about £5,000,” says Beth Baxter, co-founder of Camper Cafe. “And then you have to pay for the cart or a van to put it in.”

    Prices vary but carts or trailers can cost anything between £5,000 and £10,000. The founders of Camper Cafe were given a Volkswagen van which they kitted out to become their visual signature. Training is an additional cost. Courses for coffee making can be had for between £50 and £200.

    Finding pitches is the most challenging aspect as you are often in competition with other vendors. “It took us a year to find out about the market,” says Beth. “After that we took off.”

    5. Juiced perfect – mobile juice bar

    The rise of coffee carts has been matched by the emergence of juice bars in markets, shopping malls, public thoroughfares and events. The set-up costs are similar to coffee in terms of equipment and training.

    6. Bright idea – window cleaning

    If you have a car with a roof rack you can start a window cleaning business for a few hundred pounds (bucket, ladder, clothes, etc).

    Alternatively you might invest in high pressure pure water sprays, water tanks (around £2,000) and a van to carry them (say £15,000). This is increasingly common.

    The challenge then is to build a customer base and that tends to be up close and personal. “Initially the most effective way to do it is to knock on doors and ask,” says Guy Lupton, co-founder of Khameleon Window Cleaning Ltd.

    Building a solid base can take time. “We spent about three years of trial and error to get it right,” says Guy. “We’ve been going about five.”

    However, when you do get it right the business can grow rapidly. “We still knock on doors,” says Guy. “But we get a lot more business by word of mouth.”

    7. Showing drive – ‘Man in a Van’ business

    Advertisements for ‘Man in a Van’ and ‘Light Removals’ services are a common sight on shop window advertising boards.

    The pre-requisite is a van, probably a Luton-style box van with a tail lift and that’s also the main expense. You’ll need public liability insurance (as is the case for all the businesses listed here). The ongoing costs include petrol, servicing, MOT, and repairs.

    The main challenge is building a customer base and most operators use flyers, shop window ads and online directories. Man or woman in a van businesses can be quick to establish but work is required to build a market and perhaps the biggest challenge is getting the pricing right.

    8. Highest bidder – an eBay business

    Launching an eBay business allows you reach a national and occasionally an international market. You can auction goods or sell at a fixed price.

    Most eBay businesses will pay at least £19.99 per month as a subscription fee (rising to £59.99 for a featured shop and £349 for an ‘Anchor Shop’) and on top of that you will pay fees for each auction or fixed price insertion and each sale.

    To succeed on eBay you usually have to find goods that can’t be bought elsewhere or offer popular products at knock-down prices. For some it’s a part-time source of pin-money, for others a full-time business. Posters on eBay include Nasty Gal and six years after starting to sell vintage clothing on the auction site it’s now a £60m business .

    9. A gem of a business – jewellery and crafts

    Many small businesses are based around the skills of their founders. For instance, if you have training as a jeweller or sculptor, an obvious way to sell your work is to market direct to the public via web, craft fairs or through shops.

    Tools can cost anything from a few hundred to many thousands of pounds but you can keep costs down by working from a home studio. Ongoing costs include materials, rental at craft fairs (from as little as £20 per day to more than a £1,000).

    Jane Faulkner, a jeweller based in Sussex, sells via the web and craft fairs while also having shelf-space in a local co-operative (Billingshurst Creatives) where craftspeople and artists can display their goods in return for taking turns manning the store.

    “Craft fairs are my biggest source of income while the shop provides a regular cheque every month,” says Jane. Teaching is also part of the business.

    With these revenue streams Jane feels she has a sustainable business, but it has taken around eight years to establish.

    10. Snappy work – photography

    Photography is another skills-based business. Go to almost any event – from music gigs to vintage car rallies and weddings and you’ll find photographers hard at work.

    As Art Hutchins, a freelancer photographer trading as Artseye points out, it’s a business that requires investment in time and money. “Being a serious pro photographer requires a high level of financial investment in good quality equipment and time to acquire the knowledge and skill to use it.”

    Starting from scratch would mean buying pro-quality cameras (around £2,000) lenses (£100-£1,000), tripods and lights but many photographers who set up their own businesses will already have acquired some of the equipment over time.

    According to Art Hutchins, the best approach is to decide on a target market – in his case small businesses, editorial and family portraits. “The best marketing is word of mouth,” he says.

    Very different businesses but all can be started quickly and easily using readily available equipment or existing skills. Importantly most of these businesses take payment either at the point of sale or soon after and that’s great for cashflow.

    Demand is there but the key is to market effectively and at the right price.

    John Fagan is the head of RBS branch business, England Wales and direct banking. His team work with businesses to build a bigger support network inside the bank and beyond with partners and fellow customers. www.rbsbusinessconnections.co.uk

    Comments

    Useful business start up tools

    Forum post of the week

    Want to run a more profitable business?

    More from Startups





    21 Great Small Business Blogs #business #first

    #business blogs

    #

    21 Great Small Business Blogs

    If you’ve ever searched for small business blogs, you know how ubiquitous they are—everyone, it seems, is blogging about small business (as well as entrepreneurship and startups). Most of these blogs are just marketing tools their creators try to lure you in with a few bits of generic information and advice and then comes the pitch for whatever they want to sell to small businesses.

    There are some blogs, however, that do provide guidance, insight and advice for small business owners about how to build successful ventures.

    Here are twenty-one of the best blogs out there for small business owners—providing education, information and inspiration:

    BizSugar
    A blog with small business news and tips that is crowd-curated. BizSugar’s community of readers share business blog posts, videos and other content from which readers of the blog can learn something, For those that share content, they are reinforcing their reputation and brand and bringing online visibility to their content. The community votes on member-submitted tips, advice and information, advancing the most popular (and what’s considered by the community to be most useful) posts to the home page. Top posts are pushed to the top or can make it into the BizSugar Top 10 list.

    Kabbage
    Kabbage is redefining how small business find and apply for loans online and their blog is full of tips to grow, manage, fund, or innovate your small business.

    Social Triggers
    A blog from Derek Halpern, who writes about sales, marketing, entrepreneurship and the world of social media. Halpern was called “the master of social media” and the world of online communications by Inc. magazine.

    DIY Marketers
    Small business owners are often limited by their marketing budget. DIY Marketers focuses on those creative marketing strategies that help you reach more customers for less money and Ivana Taylor makes it fun.

    Penelope Trunk
    Raw, funny insights from the entrepreneur Penelope Trunk about starting, running and marketing a business. You’ll also find advice on productivity, management, blogging and other business-related issues, as well as life lessons—all of them Trunk’s, of course, but useful nonetheless.

    Marketing Profs
    If you re looking for a digest of the latest and greatest marketing tips and news, Ann Handley s got you covered. Her aim with Marketing Profs is to educate the modern marketer using real world data and examples. With the PRO membership, you get access to their best content.

    Both Sides Of The Table
    A blog written by Mark Suster, a two-time entrepreneur who sold one of those companies to Salesforce.com and then became a venture capitalist. (Get it? Both sides of the table?) He’s a general partner in Upfront Ventures and blogs about startups, entrepreneurship, sales, marketing, management, leadership and more.

    Copyblogger
    The mother of all content marketing blogs. Copyblogger will help you advance your content marketing skills across the board. They produce some of the most valuable content resources on the web and their topics cover a wide range. Writing well is a skill that requires frequent studying and practice and Copyblogger can be an excellent guide to improvement.

    AVC
    A blog written by Fred Wilson, managing partner of two venture capital firms, Flatiron Partners and Union Square Ventures. Wilson is a leader in the entrepreneurial community and has been a VC for more than 20 years. He has been writing on the blog everyday since Sept. 2003 and the topics are wide-ranging but related to starting and running a business (while also trying to live a somewhat normal life).

    Small Business Survival
    This blog has been around since 2006 and is geared toward rural and small town small businesses, with how-to articles and an emphasis on social media marketing, plus a chance for business owners to share good news in the blog’s weekly “Brag Basket.”

    Business Banter
    A blog written by small business experts on a wide range of business challenges. Business Banter has great content on the hard part of business to motivate you to keep going. They also write a lot about internet marketing.

    Adrian Swinscoe
    Blog of consultant and speaker Adrian Swinscoe, which features interviews with business people and posts about customer experience, building a customer-centric business, service, social media as well as employee and customer engagement.

    Buffer
    All social everything! What I love the most about Buffer is their transparency. They are not afraid to share their data, what they ve failed at, and what they ve learned. They have a buzzing community of people who want to discuss what they ve learned from the Buffer blog. Chat with Buffer s content creators and grow in a fun, exciting community!

    The Franchise King
    The blog of Joel Libava, otherwise known as The Franchise King®. Libava is a franchise ownership advisor and the author of Become a Franchise Owner! The Star-Up Guide to Lowering Risk, Making Money and Owning What You Do (John Wiley) Everything you ever wanted to know about researching, choosing and buying a franchise.

    Evergreen Small Business
    Written by Stephen L. Nelson, a Seattle-based CPA who specializes in serving small business owners, this blog is focused on the details around running a small business, like tax issues related to LLCs, a review of do-it-yourself incorporation kits, Affordable Care Act information for small businesses and how to handle past due tax returns.

    Mixergy
    Mixergy interviews entrepreneurs on their successes and failures. Learn from a wide range of passionate business leaders who not only had a business ideas but a mission. Mission is #1 at Mixergy.

    Google Small Business
    This is Google’s official blog for small business owners, where the company discusses new releases, new Google tools and how to make the most of them, and instructional information like how to set up your first data feed, and experts weighing in on how to make the most of social media. The blog is somewhat promotional—after all, it’s mostly about Google products and tools—but it’s still very useful.

    Duct Tape Marketing
    John Jantsch is his name, and the World s Most Practical Small Business Expert is his game. He runs Duct Tape Marketing, providing reliable marketing advice to small business owners and marketers.

    Farnam Street
    Have you been meaning to read up on the great philosophers but don t have the time? Farnam Street will teach you how to think, read, and perceive the world around you the way the famous big thinkers do. Become a better leader and go to bed smarter than when you woke up.

    Fast Company
    So there s Fast Company and then there s the Fast Company blog. They do things differently by using Tumblr as their blog platform filled with beautiful pics, gifs, and that same digestable information we crave from Fast Company. They cover leadership topics as well as design, productivity, business, and useful life topics.

    Richard Branson
    Because who doesn t like the dude?

    Content Marketing Playbook




    Business Plan Sample – Great Example For Anyone Writing a Business Pl…

    #business plan example

    #

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    Business Plan Sample – Great Example For Anyone Writing a Business Plan

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    10 great start-up business ideas to launch in weeks: Starting a business

    #start up business ideas

    #

    10 great start-up business ideas to launch in weeks

    Take a look around you this morning as you drive or catch the train to work.

    From the window cleaner who arrives on your street as you close the front door behind you to the coffee cart serving cappuccinos and lattes at the station, the world is full of thriving and profitable small businesses that have been set up for relatively little initial outlay.

    These are not ‘clever’ businesses trading on the strength of innovative new products and nor do they require the backing of deep-pocketed investors to get them off the ground. They succeed because their owners are responding to genuine demand for tried and trusted services.

    And with a low initial outlay and overheads, many of these small-scale ventures can be profitable within weeks or months and over time provide their owners with a good income.

    So how do you get started? Well, to give you an idea of how it’s done, here are 10 great businesses ideas I’ve come across that you can get up and running within weeks.

    1. Mopping up – household cleaning

    The lower your outlay, the faster you turn a profit and that’s one of the big attractions of launching a domestic cleaning business. For instance Millie Dark, founder of Sussex cleaners, Mrs Muscle started her company with no real investment. “My customers supply all the equipment and cleaning products,” explains Millie.

    Millie worked part-time for a few months before advertising in the local press and word-of mouth generated enough work to go full time. Today she employs 12 part-timers. “It’s taken me a couple of years to get that stage,” she says.

    2. On cloud K9 – dog walking

    A dog walking and pet sitting service can also be set up with minimal investment. For instance, when Catherine Cleaver started her business – Catherine’s Pet Services – all she needed was £500 for a couple of garden kennels.

    Catherine placed a few ads in shop windows. Over time – and with the help of word of mouth recommendation and ads in the local magazine – what started as a part-time activity became a full time job.

    “I was earning enough to live on after about three months,” she says “and after about a year I felt I had a sustainable business.” She succeeds by offering a range of services, including dog walking, pet visits and boarding.

    3. Cutting it – home hairdressing

    Many hairdressers dream of starting their own businesses but are deterred by the cost of renting a salon. Setting up a home visit service can be an ideal way forward.

    There is a significant outlay on brushes, tongs, dryers, mirrors and products. “You’re talking several thousands rather than hundreds,” says Ela Lapus, founder of Home Hair and Make Up.

    “And customers expect to see the same products they find in a salon. Customers will also expect evidence of recognised skills. I have Level 2 and Level 3.”

    The key to profitable success is effective marketing. Hairdressers can use local ads and web directories to publicise their services. Social Media can also be effective. “About 50% of my work comes through Facebook,” says Ela.

    Once the initial investment had been made Ela was able to start earning immediately but the present business, operating across several counties has taken a number of years to build.

    4. A caffeine hit – mobile coffee bar

    We’re a coffee hungry nation and beyond Starbucks and Costa there are thousands of small mobile barista carts selling lattes on the go.

    “A coffee maker will cost about £5,000,” says Beth Baxter, co-founder of Camper Cafe. “And then you have to pay for the cart or a van to put it in.”

    Prices vary but carts or trailers can cost anything between £5,000 and £10,000. The founders of Camper Cafe were given a Volkswagen van which they kitted out to become their visual signature. Training is an additional cost. Courses for coffee making can be had for between £50 and £200.

    Finding pitches is the most challenging aspect as you are often in competition with other vendors. “It took us a year to find out about the market,” says Beth. “After that we took off.”

    5. Juiced perfect – mobile juice bar

    The rise of coffee carts has been matched by the emergence of juice bars in markets, shopping malls, public thoroughfares and events. The set-up costs are similar to coffee in terms of equipment and training.

    6. Bright idea – window cleaning

    If you have a car with a roof rack you can start a window cleaning business for a few hundred pounds (bucket, ladder, clothes, etc).

    Alternatively you might invest in high pressure pure water sprays, water tanks (around £2,000) and a van to carry them (say £15,000). This is increasingly common.

    The challenge then is to build a customer base and that tends to be up close and personal. “Initially the most effective way to do it is to knock on doors and ask,” says Guy Lupton, co-founder of Khameleon Window Cleaning Ltd.

    Building a solid base can take time. “We spent about three years of trial and error to get it right,” says Guy. “We’ve been going about five.”

    However, when you do get it right the business can grow rapidly. “We still knock on doors,” says Guy. “But we get a lot more business by word of mouth.”

    7. Showing drive – ‘Man in a Van’ business

    Advertisements for ‘Man in a Van’ and ‘Light Removals’ services are a common sight on shop window advertising boards.

    The pre-requisite is a van, probably a Luton-style box van with a tail lift and that’s also the main expense. You’ll need public liability insurance (as is the case for all the businesses listed here). The ongoing costs include petrol, servicing, MOT, and repairs.

    The main challenge is building a customer base and most operators use flyers, shop window ads and online directories. Man or woman in a van businesses can be quick to establish but work is required to build a market and perhaps the biggest challenge is getting the pricing right.

    8. Highest bidder – an eBay business

    Launching an eBay business allows you reach a national and occasionally an international market. You can auction goods or sell at a fixed price.

    Most eBay businesses will pay at least £19.99 per month as a subscription fee (rising to £59.99 for a featured shop and £349 for an ‘Anchor Shop’) and on top of that you will pay fees for each auction or fixed price insertion and each sale.

    To succeed on eBay you usually have to find goods that can’t be bought elsewhere or offer popular products at knock-down prices. For some it’s a part-time source of pin-money, for others a full-time business. Posters on eBay include Nasty Gal and six years after starting to sell vintage clothing on the auction site it’s now a £60m business .

    9. A gem of a business – jewellery and crafts

    Many small businesses are based around the skills of their founders. For instance, if you have training as a jeweller or sculptor, an obvious way to sell your work is to market direct to the public via web, craft fairs or through shops.

    Tools can cost anything from a few hundred to many thousands of pounds but you can keep costs down by working from a home studio. Ongoing costs include materials, rental at craft fairs (from as little as £20 per day to more than a £1,000).

    Jane Faulkner, a jeweller based in Sussex, sells via the web and craft fairs while also having shelf-space in a local co-operative (Billingshurst Creatives) where craftspeople and artists can display their goods in return for taking turns manning the store.

    “Craft fairs are my biggest source of income while the shop provides a regular cheque every month,” says Jane. Teaching is also part of the business.

    With these revenue streams Jane feels she has a sustainable business, but it has taken around eight years to establish.

    10. Snappy work – photography

    Photography is another skills-based business. Go to almost any event – from music gigs to vintage car rallies and weddings and you’ll find photographers hard at work.

    As Art Hutchins, a freelancer photographer trading as Artseye points out, it’s a business that requires investment in time and money. “Being a serious pro photographer requires a high level of financial investment in good quality equipment and time to acquire the knowledge and skill to use it.”

    Starting from scratch would mean buying pro-quality cameras (around £2,000) lenses (£100-£1,000), tripods and lights but many photographers who set up their own businesses will already have acquired some of the equipment over time.

    According to Art Hutchins, the best approach is to decide on a target market – in his case small businesses, editorial and family portraits. “The best marketing is word of mouth,” he says.

    Very different businesses but all can be started quickly and easily using readily available equipment or existing skills. Importantly most of these businesses take payment either at the point of sale or soon after and that’s great for cashflow.

    Demand is there but the key is to market effectively and at the right price.

    John Fagan is the head of RBS branch business, England Wales and direct banking. His team work with businesses to build a bigger support network inside the bank and beyond with partners and fellow customers. www.rbsbusinessconnections.co.uk

    Comments

    Useful business start up tools

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    10 great start-up business ideas to launch in weeks: Starting a business

    #start up business ideas

    #

    10 great start-up business ideas to launch in weeks

    Take a look around you this morning as you drive or catch the train to work.

    From the window cleaner who arrives on your street as you close the front door behind you to the coffee cart serving cappuccinos and lattes at the station, the world is full of thriving and profitable small businesses that have been set up for relatively little initial outlay.

    These are not ‘clever’ businesses trading on the strength of innovative new products and nor do they require the backing of deep-pocketed investors to get them off the ground. They succeed because their owners are responding to genuine demand for tried and trusted services.

    And with a low initial outlay and overheads, many of these small-scale ventures can be profitable within weeks or months and over time provide their owners with a good income.

    So how do you get started? Well, to give you an idea of how it’s done, here are 10 great businesses ideas I’ve come across that you can get up and running within weeks.

    1. Mopping up – household cleaning

    The lower your outlay, the faster you turn a profit and that’s one of the big attractions of launching a domestic cleaning business. For instance Millie Dark, founder of Sussex cleaners, Mrs Muscle started her company with no real investment. “My customers supply all the equipment and cleaning products,” explains Millie.

    Millie worked part-time for a few months before advertising in the local press and word-of mouth generated enough work to go full time. Today she employs 12 part-timers. “It’s taken me a couple of years to get that stage,” she says.

    2. On cloud K9 – dog walking

    A dog walking and pet sitting service can also be set up with minimal investment. For instance, when Catherine Cleaver started her business – Catherine’s Pet Services – all she needed was £500 for a couple of garden kennels.

    Catherine placed a few ads in shop windows. Over time – and with the help of word of mouth recommendation and ads in the local magazine – what started as a part-time activity became a full time job.

    “I was earning enough to live on after about three months,” she says “and after about a year I felt I had a sustainable business.” She succeeds by offering a range of services, including dog walking, pet visits and boarding.

    3. Cutting it – home hairdressing

    Many hairdressers dream of starting their own businesses but are deterred by the cost of renting a salon. Setting up a home visit service can be an ideal way forward.

    There is a significant outlay on brushes, tongs, dryers, mirrors and products. “You’re talking several thousands rather than hundreds,” says Ela Lapus, founder of Home Hair and Make Up.

    “And customers expect to see the same products they find in a salon. Customers will also expect evidence of recognised skills. I have Level 2 and Level 3.”

    The key to profitable success is effective marketing. Hairdressers can use local ads and web directories to publicise their services. Social Media can also be effective. “About 50% of my work comes through Facebook,” says Ela.

    Once the initial investment had been made Ela was able to start earning immediately but the present business, operating across several counties has taken a number of years to build.

    4. A caffeine hit – mobile coffee bar

    We’re a coffee hungry nation and beyond Starbucks and Costa there are thousands of small mobile barista carts selling lattes on the go.

    “A coffee maker will cost about £5,000,” says Beth Baxter, co-founder of Camper Cafe. “And then you have to pay for the cart or a van to put it in.”

    Prices vary but carts or trailers can cost anything between £5,000 and £10,000. The founders of Camper Cafe were given a Volkswagen van which they kitted out to become their visual signature. Training is an additional cost. Courses for coffee making can be had for between £50 and £200.

    Finding pitches is the most challenging aspect as you are often in competition with other vendors. “It took us a year to find out about the market,” says Beth. “After that we took off.”

    5. Juiced perfect – mobile juice bar

    The rise of coffee carts has been matched by the emergence of juice bars in markets, shopping malls, public thoroughfares and events. The set-up costs are similar to coffee in terms of equipment and training.

    6. Bright idea – window cleaning

    If you have a car with a roof rack you can start a window cleaning business for a few hundred pounds (bucket, ladder, clothes, etc).

    Alternatively you might invest in high pressure pure water sprays, water tanks (around £2,000) and a van to carry them (say £15,000). This is increasingly common.

    The challenge then is to build a customer base and that tends to be up close and personal. “Initially the most effective way to do it is to knock on doors and ask,” says Guy Lupton, co-founder of Khameleon Window Cleaning Ltd.

    Building a solid base can take time. “We spent about three years of trial and error to get it right,” says Guy. “We’ve been going about five.”

    However, when you do get it right the business can grow rapidly. “We still knock on doors,” says Guy. “But we get a lot more business by word of mouth.”

    7. Showing drive – ‘Man in a Van’ business

    Advertisements for ‘Man in a Van’ and ‘Light Removals’ services are a common sight on shop window advertising boards.

    The pre-requisite is a van, probably a Luton-style box van with a tail lift and that’s also the main expense. You’ll need public liability insurance (as is the case for all the businesses listed here). The ongoing costs include petrol, servicing, MOT, and repairs.

    The main challenge is building a customer base and most operators use flyers, shop window ads and online directories. Man or woman in a van businesses can be quick to establish but work is required to build a market and perhaps the biggest challenge is getting the pricing right.

    8. Highest bidder – an eBay business

    Launching an eBay business allows you reach a national and occasionally an international market. You can auction goods or sell at a fixed price.

    Most eBay businesses will pay at least £19.99 per month as a subscription fee (rising to £59.99 for a featured shop and £349 for an ‘Anchor Shop’) and on top of that you will pay fees for each auction or fixed price insertion and each sale.

    To succeed on eBay you usually have to find goods that can’t be bought elsewhere or offer popular products at knock-down prices. For some it’s a part-time source of pin-money, for others a full-time business. Posters on eBay include Nasty Gal and six years after starting to sell vintage clothing on the auction site it’s now a £60m business .

    9. A gem of a business – jewellery and crafts

    Many small businesses are based around the skills of their founders. For instance, if you have training as a jeweller or sculptor, an obvious way to sell your work is to market direct to the public via web, craft fairs or through shops.

    Tools can cost anything from a few hundred to many thousands of pounds but you can keep costs down by working from a home studio. Ongoing costs include materials, rental at craft fairs (from as little as £20 per day to more than a £1,000).

    Jane Faulkner, a jeweller based in Sussex, sells via the web and craft fairs while also having shelf-space in a local co-operative (Billingshurst Creatives) where craftspeople and artists can display their goods in return for taking turns manning the store.

    “Craft fairs are my biggest source of income while the shop provides a regular cheque every month,” says Jane. Teaching is also part of the business.

    With these revenue streams Jane feels she has a sustainable business, but it has taken around eight years to establish.

    10. Snappy work – photography

    Photography is another skills-based business. Go to almost any event – from music gigs to vintage car rallies and weddings and you’ll find photographers hard at work.

    As Art Hutchins, a freelancer photographer trading as Artseye points out, it’s a business that requires investment in time and money. “Being a serious pro photographer requires a high level of financial investment in good quality equipment and time to acquire the knowledge and skill to use it.”

    Starting from scratch would mean buying pro-quality cameras (around £2,000) lenses (£100-£1,000), tripods and lights but many photographers who set up their own businesses will already have acquired some of the equipment over time.

    According to Art Hutchins, the best approach is to decide on a target market – in his case small businesses, editorial and family portraits. “The best marketing is word of mouth,” he says.

    Very different businesses but all can be started quickly and easily using readily available equipment or existing skills. Importantly most of these businesses take payment either at the point of sale or soon after and that’s great for cashflow.

    Demand is there but the key is to market effectively and at the right price.

    John Fagan is the head of RBS branch business, England Wales and direct banking. His team work with businesses to build a bigger support network inside the bank and beyond with partners and fellow customers. www.rbsbusinessconnections.co.uk

    Comments

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    Forum post of the week

    Want to run a more profitable business?

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    Business Plan Sample – Great Example For Anyone Writing a Business Pl…

    #business plan example

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    Business Plan Sample – Great Example For Anyone Writing a Business Plan

    The Business Plan Team

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    LinkedIn Corporation 2016





    10 great start-up business ideas to launch in weeks: Starting a business

    #start up business ideas

    #

    10 great start-up business ideas to launch in weeks

    Take a look around you this morning as you drive or catch the train to work.

    From the window cleaner who arrives on your street as you close the front door behind you to the coffee cart serving cappuccinos and lattes at the station, the world is full of thriving and profitable small businesses that have been set up for relatively little initial outlay.

    These are not ‘clever’ businesses trading on the strength of innovative new products and nor do they require the backing of deep-pocketed investors to get them off the ground. They succeed because their owners are responding to genuine demand for tried and trusted services.

    And with a low initial outlay and overheads, many of these small-scale ventures can be profitable within weeks or months and over time provide their owners with a good income.

    So how do you get started? Well, to give you an idea of how it’s done, here are 10 great businesses ideas I’ve come across that you can get up and running within weeks.

    1. Mopping up – household cleaning

    The lower your outlay, the faster you turn a profit and that’s one of the big attractions of launching a domestic cleaning business. For instance Millie Dark, founder of Sussex cleaners, Mrs Muscle started her company with no real investment. “My customers supply all the equipment and cleaning products,” explains Millie.

    Millie worked part-time for a few months before advertising in the local press and word-of mouth generated enough work to go full time. Today she employs 12 part-timers. “It’s taken me a couple of years to get that stage,” she says.

    2. On cloud K9 – dog walking

    A dog walking and pet sitting service can also be set up with minimal investment. For instance, when Catherine Cleaver started her business – Catherine’s Pet Services – all she needed was £500 for a couple of garden kennels.

    Catherine placed a few ads in shop windows. Over time – and with the help of word of mouth recommendation and ads in the local magazine – what started as a part-time activity became a full time job.

    “I was earning enough to live on after about three months,” she says “and after about a year I felt I had a sustainable business.” She succeeds by offering a range of services, including dog walking, pet visits and boarding.

    3. Cutting it – home hairdressing

    Many hairdressers dream of starting their own businesses but are deterred by the cost of renting a salon. Setting up a home visit service can be an ideal way forward.

    There is a significant outlay on brushes, tongs, dryers, mirrors and products. “You’re talking several thousands rather than hundreds,” says Ela Lapus, founder of Home Hair and Make Up.

    “And customers expect to see the same products they find in a salon. Customers will also expect evidence of recognised skills. I have Level 2 and Level 3.”

    The key to profitable success is effective marketing. Hairdressers can use local ads and web directories to publicise their services. Social Media can also be effective. “About 50% of my work comes through Facebook,” says Ela.

    Once the initial investment had been made Ela was able to start earning immediately but the present business, operating across several counties has taken a number of years to build.

    4. A caffeine hit – mobile coffee bar

    We’re a coffee hungry nation and beyond Starbucks and Costa there are thousands of small mobile barista carts selling lattes on the go.

    “A coffee maker will cost about £5,000,” says Beth Baxter, co-founder of Camper Cafe. “And then you have to pay for the cart or a van to put it in.”

    Prices vary but carts or trailers can cost anything between £5,000 and £10,000. The founders of Camper Cafe were given a Volkswagen van which they kitted out to become their visual signature. Training is an additional cost. Courses for coffee making can be had for between £50 and £200.

    Finding pitches is the most challenging aspect as you are often in competition with other vendors. “It took us a year to find out about the market,” says Beth. “After that we took off.”

    5. Juiced perfect – mobile juice bar

    The rise of coffee carts has been matched by the emergence of juice bars in markets, shopping malls, public thoroughfares and events. The set-up costs are similar to coffee in terms of equipment and training.

    6. Bright idea – window cleaning

    If you have a car with a roof rack you can start a window cleaning business for a few hundred pounds (bucket, ladder, clothes, etc).

    Alternatively you might invest in high pressure pure water sprays, water tanks (around £2,000) and a van to carry them (say £15,000). This is increasingly common.

    The challenge then is to build a customer base and that tends to be up close and personal. “Initially the most effective way to do it is to knock on doors and ask,” says Guy Lupton, co-founder of Khameleon Window Cleaning Ltd.

    Building a solid base can take time. “We spent about three years of trial and error to get it right,” says Guy. “We’ve been going about five.”

    However, when you do get it right the business can grow rapidly. “We still knock on doors,” says Guy. “But we get a lot more business by word of mouth.”

    7. Showing drive – ‘Man in a Van’ business

    Advertisements for ‘Man in a Van’ and ‘Light Removals’ services are a common sight on shop window advertising boards.

    The pre-requisite is a van, probably a Luton-style box van with a tail lift and that’s also the main expense. You’ll need public liability insurance (as is the case for all the businesses listed here). The ongoing costs include petrol, servicing, MOT, and repairs.

    The main challenge is building a customer base and most operators use flyers, shop window ads and online directories. Man or woman in a van businesses can be quick to establish but work is required to build a market and perhaps the biggest challenge is getting the pricing right.

    8. Highest bidder – an eBay business

    Launching an eBay business allows you reach a national and occasionally an international market. You can auction goods or sell at a fixed price.

    Most eBay businesses will pay at least £19.99 per month as a subscription fee (rising to £59.99 for a featured shop and £349 for an ‘Anchor Shop’) and on top of that you will pay fees for each auction or fixed price insertion and each sale.

    To succeed on eBay you usually have to find goods that can’t be bought elsewhere or offer popular products at knock-down prices. For some it’s a part-time source of pin-money, for others a full-time business. Posters on eBay include Nasty Gal and six years after starting to sell vintage clothing on the auction site it’s now a £60m business .

    9. A gem of a business – jewellery and crafts

    Many small businesses are based around the skills of their founders. For instance, if you have training as a jeweller or sculptor, an obvious way to sell your work is to market direct to the public via web, craft fairs or through shops.

    Tools can cost anything from a few hundred to many thousands of pounds but you can keep costs down by working from a home studio. Ongoing costs include materials, rental at craft fairs (from as little as £20 per day to more than a £1,000).

    Jane Faulkner, a jeweller based in Sussex, sells via the web and craft fairs while also having shelf-space in a local co-operative (Billingshurst Creatives) where craftspeople and artists can display their goods in return for taking turns manning the store.

    “Craft fairs are my biggest source of income while the shop provides a regular cheque every month,” says Jane. Teaching is also part of the business.

    With these revenue streams Jane feels she has a sustainable business, but it has taken around eight years to establish.

    10. Snappy work – photography

    Photography is another skills-based business. Go to almost any event – from music gigs to vintage car rallies and weddings and you’ll find photographers hard at work.

    As Art Hutchins, a freelancer photographer trading as Artseye points out, it’s a business that requires investment in time and money. “Being a serious pro photographer requires a high level of financial investment in good quality equipment and time to acquire the knowledge and skill to use it.”

    Starting from scratch would mean buying pro-quality cameras (around £2,000) lenses (£100-£1,000), tripods and lights but many photographers who set up their own businesses will already have acquired some of the equipment over time.

    According to Art Hutchins, the best approach is to decide on a target market – in his case small businesses, editorial and family portraits. “The best marketing is word of mouth,” he says.

    Very different businesses but all can be started quickly and easily using readily available equipment or existing skills. Importantly most of these businesses take payment either at the point of sale or soon after and that’s great for cashflow.

    Demand is there but the key is to market effectively and at the right price.

    John Fagan is the head of RBS branch business, England Wales and direct banking. His team work with businesses to build a bigger support network inside the bank and beyond with partners and fellow customers. www.rbsbusinessconnections.co.uk

    Comments

    Useful business start up tools

    Forum post of the week

    Want to run a more profitable business?

    More from Startups





    Great Business #own #your #own #business #ideas

    #business mentor

    #

    Business is Great Britain Support, advice and inspiration for growing your business

    Find a mentor, as early as you can

    My biggest regret is not finding a mentor earlier on into my journey.

    When I was planning to start my business I was keen to find a mentor. I was entering a sector in which I had very little knowledge. I needed help to construct a targeted marketing plan. I knew there were people out there who had already been through this process and could guide me through it in order to prevent me from making obvious (to those in the know) mistakes to achieve success more quickly. I wasn’t looking for shortcuts, just more efficient ways to do things.

    Something I hadn’t considered was how much culture could change between industries. In my former world, everything I needed to research was on the internet. In my new world of micro bakery, the knowledge was held by the community and you went online once you knew specifically what you were looking for. A mentor in the bakery sector would have been able to point me the right direction to make my own choices but from meaningful and relevant sources.

    Another thing that caught me out was the impact the new day to day environment would have on me. A mentor would have supported me in the planning process to ensure that I was setting realistic timeframes in which to achieve my goals.

    There are options for an entrepreneur. There are 15,000 business mentors trained via the Government-funded Get Mentoring project (2012) who have all committed to giving one hour of their time once a month for 2 years and can be found on Mentorsme. Add that to the existing database and it totals over 27,000 mentors at your disposal. In many cases they offer free advice with further payable services should you wish to take them up. The filtered results from the website are still a little broad (refinement is being worked on); however, the data is all there so it’s worth spending a little time reading through the options. The Useful Resources tab gives a great brief on what you can expect from your mentor and it’s worth checking the Mentoring Spotlight to see a range of case studies.

    Another great resource is The Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs (IOEE) which is a great community network. As well as promoting Mentorsme, they are also offering free membership to potential and early stage start-ups as they recognise that the earlier people seek quality support to start or grow their business the more successful they are.

    My reluctance to pay for a service that I felt I should have been able to cope without left me disadvantaged. It’s my mission to help others prevent making the same mistake. Find a mentor. Let them support you to on your path to success. They are the hidden gems that can make or break a business in it’s first twelve months as well as support it throughout growth.

    Rekha Mehr, who contributed this blog, is founder and owner of Pistachio Rose. a London-based business creating high-end Anglo-Indian cakes and sweets. She is working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills as an ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’ to be a voice in government for start up businesses and small firms.

    Not sure what support is available for you?
    Find government-backed support and finance for business.





    10 great start-up business ideas to launch in weeks: Starting a business

    #start up business ideas

    #

    10 great start-up business ideas to launch in weeks

    Take a look around you this morning as you drive or catch the train to work.

    From the window cleaner who arrives on your street as you close the front door behind you to the coffee cart serving cappuccinos and lattes at the station, the world is full of thriving and profitable small businesses that have been set up for relatively little initial outlay.

    These are not ‘clever’ businesses trading on the strength of innovative new products and nor do they require the backing of deep-pocketed investors to get them off the ground. They succeed because their owners are responding to genuine demand for tried and trusted services.

    And with a low initial outlay and overheads, many of these small-scale ventures can be profitable within weeks or months and over time provide their owners with a good income.

    So how do you get started? Well, to give you an idea of how it’s done, here are 10 great businesses ideas I’ve come across that you can get up and running within weeks.

    1. Mopping up – household cleaning

    The lower your outlay, the faster you turn a profit and that’s one of the big attractions of launching a domestic cleaning business. For instance Millie Dark, founder of Sussex cleaners, Mrs Muscle started her company with no real investment. “My customers supply all the equipment and cleaning products,” explains Millie.

    Millie worked part-time for a few months before advertising in the local press and word-of mouth generated enough work to go full time. Today she employs 12 part-timers. “It’s taken me a couple of years to get that stage,” she says.

    2. On cloud K9 – dog walking

    A dog walking and pet sitting service can also be set up with minimal investment. For instance, when Catherine Cleaver started her business – Catherine’s Pet Services – all she needed was £500 for a couple of garden kennels.

    Catherine placed a few ads in shop windows. Over time – and with the help of word of mouth recommendation and ads in the local magazine – what started as a part-time activity became a full time job.

    “I was earning enough to live on after about three months,” she says “and after about a year I felt I had a sustainable business.” She succeeds by offering a range of services, including dog walking, pet visits and boarding.

    3. Cutting it – home hairdressing

    Many hairdressers dream of starting their own businesses but are deterred by the cost of renting a salon. Setting up a home visit service can be an ideal way forward.

    There is a significant outlay on brushes, tongs, dryers, mirrors and products. “You’re talking several thousands rather than hundreds,” says Ela Lapus, founder of Home Hair and Make Up.

    “And customers expect to see the same products they find in a salon. Customers will also expect evidence of recognised skills. I have Level 2 and Level 3.”

    The key to profitable success is effective marketing. Hairdressers can use local ads and web directories to publicise their services. Social Media can also be effective. “About 50% of my work comes through Facebook,” says Ela.

    Once the initial investment had been made Ela was able to start earning immediately but the present business, operating across several counties has taken a number of years to build.

    4. A caffeine hit – mobile coffee bar

    We’re a coffee hungry nation and beyond Starbucks and Costa there are thousands of small mobile barista carts selling lattes on the go.

    “A coffee maker will cost about £5,000,” says Beth Baxter, co-founder of Camper Cafe. “And then you have to pay for the cart or a van to put it in.”

    Prices vary but carts or trailers can cost anything between £5,000 and £10,000. The founders of Camper Cafe were given a Volkswagen van which they kitted out to become their visual signature. Training is an additional cost. Courses for coffee making can be had for between £50 and £200.

    Finding pitches is the most challenging aspect as you are often in competition with other vendors. “It took us a year to find out about the market,” says Beth. “After that we took off.”

    5. Juiced perfect – mobile juice bar

    The rise of coffee carts has been matched by the emergence of juice bars in markets, shopping malls, public thoroughfares and events. The set-up costs are similar to coffee in terms of equipment and training.

    6. Bright idea – window cleaning

    If you have a car with a roof rack you can start a window cleaning business for a few hundred pounds (bucket, ladder, clothes, etc).

    Alternatively you might invest in high pressure pure water sprays, water tanks (around £2,000) and a van to carry them (say £15,000). This is increasingly common.

    The challenge then is to build a customer base and that tends to be up close and personal. “Initially the most effective way to do it is to knock on doors and ask,” says Guy Lupton, co-founder of Khameleon Window Cleaning Ltd.

    Building a solid base can take time. “We spent about three years of trial and error to get it right,” says Guy. “We’ve been going about five.”

    However, when you do get it right the business can grow rapidly. “We still knock on doors,” says Guy. “But we get a lot more business by word of mouth.”

    7. Showing drive – ‘Man in a Van’ business

    Advertisements for ‘Man in a Van’ and ‘Light Removals’ services are a common sight on shop window advertising boards.

    The pre-requisite is a van, probably a Luton-style box van with a tail lift and that’s also the main expense. You’ll need public liability insurance (as is the case for all the businesses listed here). The ongoing costs include petrol, servicing, MOT, and repairs.

    The main challenge is building a customer base and most operators use flyers, shop window ads and online directories. Man or woman in a van businesses can be quick to establish but work is required to build a market and perhaps the biggest challenge is getting the pricing right.

    8. Highest bidder – an eBay business

    Launching an eBay business allows you reach a national and occasionally an international market. You can auction goods or sell at a fixed price.

    Most eBay businesses will pay at least £19.99 per month as a subscription fee (rising to £59.99 for a featured shop and £349 for an ‘Anchor Shop’) and on top of that you will pay fees for each auction or fixed price insertion and each sale.

    To succeed on eBay you usually have to find goods that can’t be bought elsewhere or offer popular products at knock-down prices. For some it’s a part-time source of pin-money, for others a full-time business. Posters on eBay include Nasty Gal and six years after starting to sell vintage clothing on the auction site it’s now a £60m business .

    9. A gem of a business – jewellery and crafts

    Many small businesses are based around the skills of their founders. For instance, if you have training as a jeweller or sculptor, an obvious way to sell your work is to market direct to the public via web, craft fairs or through shops.

    Tools can cost anything from a few hundred to many thousands of pounds but you can keep costs down by working from a home studio. Ongoing costs include materials, rental at craft fairs (from as little as £20 per day to more than a £1,000).

    Jane Faulkner, a jeweller based in Sussex, sells via the web and craft fairs while also having shelf-space in a local co-operative (Billingshurst Creatives) where craftspeople and artists can display their goods in return for taking turns manning the store.

    “Craft fairs are my biggest source of income while the shop provides a regular cheque every month,” says Jane. Teaching is also part of the business.

    With these revenue streams Jane feels she has a sustainable business, but it has taken around eight years to establish.

    10. Snappy work – photography

    Photography is another skills-based business. Go to almost any event – from music gigs to vintage car rallies and weddings and you’ll find photographers hard at work.

    As Art Hutchins, a freelancer photographer trading as Artseye points out, it’s a business that requires investment in time and money. “Being a serious pro photographer requires a high level of financial investment in good quality equipment and time to acquire the knowledge and skill to use it.”

    Starting from scratch would mean buying pro-quality cameras (around £2,000) lenses (£100-£1,000), tripods and lights but many photographers who set up their own businesses will already have acquired some of the equipment over time.

    According to Art Hutchins, the best approach is to decide on a target market – in his case small businesses, editorial and family portraits. “The best marketing is word of mouth,” he says.

    Very different businesses but all can be started quickly and easily using readily available equipment or existing skills. Importantly most of these businesses take payment either at the point of sale or soon after and that’s great for cashflow.

    Demand is there but the key is to market effectively and at the right price.

    John Fagan is the head of RBS branch business, England Wales and direct banking. His team work with businesses to build a bigger support network inside the bank and beyond with partners and fellow customers. www.rbsbusinessconnections.co.uk

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