What Makes a Business Idea Successful?

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As I began to reflect on the topic of this blog post, the first thing that came to mind was the old expression “Necessity is the mother of Invention.” Before I looked it up online, I assumed it was a saying coined by Benjamin Franklin. (Either him or Frank Zappa).

Although Ben Franklin has been quoted as saying “Diligence is the mother of good luck,” it was the Greek philosopher Plato who came up with the quote about necessity. What I’d like to take a look at, though, is how that concept relates to the goal of creating a successful small business.

In many cases businesses become successful for the following reason: The owner(s) identified a need in the marketplace that was either unmet or inadequately served.

That brings to mind another well-known cliche: “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.”  Apparently that saying was inspired by the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, although in the original quote, no mention was actually made about mousetraps.

The essence of that quote boils down to a timeless truth about business success: If you can identify a widespread problem (or need) and solve it better than anyone else, then you’re in a strong position to achieve massive business success.

There’s more to it than just having a great business idea, though. Other parts of a success formula include factors like effective marketing, efficient manufacturing and distribution channels (if it’s a product), and strong company leadership.

Business success is elusive or short lived for many entrepreneurs because they’re more focused on making the most money in the shortest possible time, rather then channeling their energy and resources into producing superior quality products and providing outstanding service.

Small businesses that prioritize customer satisfaction often find themselves growing organically — by leaps and bounds — within a relatively short period of time. By delivering exceptional  value to customers on a consistent basis, quality-conscious entrepreneurs generate valuable repeat business, word of mouth advertising, a continuous stream of customer referrals, positive online reviews, and a reputation for being the best in the business or a preferred provider of services.

So contrary to the title of the 1961 Broadway musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, small business success usually hinges on meticulous planning, unwavering persistence, hard work, and a drive for continual improvement and innovation.

What Kind of Business Should I Start?

Many people are asking themselves that question, right now. Perhaps you’re one of them. A more detailed and revealing question to ponder is “What business would be a good match for my talents, skills, experience, interests, passions, temperament, and budget?”

50 business startup ideas: Here’s an assortment of 50+ possibilities to consider — some of which are low-cost business ideas and can be started on a part-time basis. Others, such as opening a restaurant, retail store, or franchise business, may require a large investment.

  1. Cleaning services
  2. Catering business
  3. Photography business
  4. Consulting
  5. Landscaping
  6. Real estate
  7. Construction
  8. Handyman business
  9. Vending machine business
  10. Event planning
  11. Party planning
  12. Wedding planning
  13. Retailing (physical location)
  14. Online retailing
  15. eBay business
  16. Painting business
  17. Carpet cleaning
  18. Food businesses: food truck, cafe, bakery, or restaurant (not a low-cost startup!)
  19. Computer repair business
  20. Courier services
  21. Grocery delivery service
  22. Daycare business for children, seniors, or pets
  23. Home health care business
  24. Salon
  25. Dog kennel
  26. Import/export business
  27. Freight brokerage business
  28. Janitorial business
  29. Pressure washing business
  30. Window washing service
  31. Website design business
  32. Rental car business
  33. Self storage business
  34. Moving business
  35. Locksmith service
  36. HVAC services
  37. Matchmaking service
  38. House flipping business
  39. Franchise business
  40. Call center
  41. Coaching, training, or tutoring services
  42. Junk removal and/or dumpster rental
  43. Electrician services
  44. Roofing
  45. Plumbing
  46. Farming, aquaculture, ranching
  47. Property management
  48. Security services (residential, commercial, personal)
  49. Limousine service
  50. Laundromat business

I’ll be listing more good small business ideas in coming weeks. Check out some of my earlier blog posts for other business startup options. Stay tuned for more entrepreneur business ideas, marketing strategies, and business success principles.

If you’d like to download a guide to starting a specific business, I’ve posted links to several small business startup guides* at my website Marketing Survival Kit.

Best of luck in all your entrepreneurial pursuits!

–Joel
Marketing strategist, business blogger, freelance writer
Email: prowriter30years@yahoo.com

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Online Resources for Entrepreneurs

  • If you’re looking for advice on starting and running a business, the U.S. Small Business Administration is a good resource for guidance and information.
  • The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also provides a checklist for starting a business.
  • Additional business startup advice, educational programs, and mentoring programs can be found through SCORE.

One final note: Since all startup businesses entail an element of financial risk, it’s wise to develop a marketing plan, a detailed budget, and enlist the help of qualified business advisors, such as a CPA, a business insurance specialist, and a business attorney.

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*Disclaimer: I am a compensated affiliate for digital products featured in this blog, including  business guides, proposal software, email marketing services, entrepreneurial training courses, marketing templates, and other small business success tools. Unless otherwise stated, I am currently not endorsing specific products or services.

 

Starting a Photography Business

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When it comes to starting a business, one of the most popular searches on the Internet is “How to start a photography business.” According to one data base I use, more people are interested in starting a photography business or learning how to become a photographer than almost any other small business or form of self employment. This raises a lot of questions including “Why is this profession so popular?” and “Does the competition make it difficult to break into the business and make a living at it?”

I think the widespread appeal of becoming a photographer is based on several things, including the fact that it’s often associated with glamorous industries, like fashion, modeling, the entertainment business, and weddings. For many people, a photography business is an outgrowth of a lifelong hobby or a passion for capturing beautiful scenes, vacation memories, or family milestones.

Although a lot of professional photographers concentrate mostly on wedding photography, there are a variety of other things to focus on  — so to speak. Here’s a sampling of the many photography business ideas that you can pursue, specialize in, or add to your service offerings:

  1. Outdoor photography
  2. Weddings
  3. Fashion photography
  4. Portraits (aka “head shots”)
  5. Wildlife
  6. Commercial, industrial, and product photography
  7. Music photography, including concert and band photography
  8. Pet photography, especially dogs
  9. Event photography
  10. Family, children, babies, and newborn photography

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There are many other branches of photography and related business ideas, including the following:

  • Real estate photography
  • Architectural photography
  • Sports photography
  • Travel photography
  • Boudoir photography
  • Crime scene photography
  • Forensic photography
  • Lifestyle photography
  • Underwater photography
  • Aerial photography
  • Maternity photography
  • Jewelry photography
  • Medical photography
  • Landscape photography
  • Model photography
  • Automotive photography
  • News photography/photojournalism
  • War, air force, and army photography

So there’s no shortage of ways to make money as a photographer; the challenge for many freelancers is learning to effectively market themselves, stand out from the crowd, and establish a positive reputation that brings in referrals, word of mouth advertising, and a steady stream of business.

How to Start Your Own Photography Business

Some of the basic steps involved in starting your own photography business might include the following:

  1. Create a professional looking website with samples of your best work
  2. Determine competitive prices and service offerings
  3. Design and print a distinctive business card (distribute liberally)
  4. Create and register a unique business name/ getting a business permit
  5. Make sure you have the necessary equipment and editing software
  6. Get access to service agreements, release forms, and proposal templates*
  7. Creating and implementing a marketing plan for your photography business
  8. Start a referral program and network with other businesses that cater to brides, weddings, and other sources of potential photography business
  9. Rise and repeat, as necessary

This list of steps to starting your own photography business in not all inclusive, but it does include many of the key elements involved in getting started.

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Online Resources for Photographers and Other Entrepreneurs

  • If you’re looking for a list of steps for starting and running a business, the U.S. Small Business Administration is a good resources for guidance and information.
  • The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides a checklist for starting a business.
  • Additional business startup advice, educational programs, and mentoring can be found through websites and organizations like SCORE.

Photography Courses, eBooks, Training Material, Business Guides

Thanks for checking out my latest blog post on starting a business. If you have any questions or constructive feedback, feel free to post a comment or email me at prowriter30years@yahoo.com

Best of luck in carving out your own profitable niche in the photography business!

–Joel
Business startup blogger, marketing strategist, freelance writer
Website: Marketing Survival Kit

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*Disclaimer: I am a compensated affiliate of digital products, instructional materials, and  various services intended to help you start, mark, and grow a successful business.

One final note: When starting a business of any kind, it’s wise to consult with a CPA, a business insurance specialist, and an attorney to help  you anticipate and plan for your present and future needs.

 

 

21 Pet Business Ideas

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When you think about the enormous popularity of pets throughout the world, it’s no wonder that there is a large market for products and services that cater to dog and cat owners.

If you’re looking for pet-related business ideas, there’s no shortage of choices. Here’s a list of ideas that other pet entrepreneurs are now pursuing:

  1. Pet sitting business
  2. Starting a pet shop
  3. Pet waste removal service
  4. Pet photography
  5. Dog grooming and/or mobile pet grooming
  6. Dog training
  7. Pet food delivery
  8. Pet boarding (dog kennel)
  9. Cat and dog daycare services
  10. Dog walking
  11. Selling pet food, treats, supplies, and and/or clothing
  12. Pet bakery business
  13. Cat feeding service
  14. Dog breeding business
  15. Cat and dog transportation services
  16. Self-serve dog wash business (I have no idea how that would work!)
  17. Electric fence installation for dogs
  18. Breeding and selling rabbits for pets
  19. Online retail business for pet products [Note: Shopify is one option for setting up and starting your own online store. Try it for free.*]
  20. Pet cremation/pet crematory business (I’m guessing that this business model has a lot of very specific requirements, costs, and regulations associated with it.)

One of the prerequisites of being a successful pet business entrepreneur is that you love and appreciate pets and are able to effectively communicate that feeling to prospective customers. Having the ability to earn people’s trust is a major factor in attracting customers to your pet services business. (As a side note, the attire of the woman pictured below is not recommended for meetings with prospective customers!)

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Tips on Starting a Pet Business

Here are a few other important tips to keep in mind if you’re considering starting any kind of service or product-oriented business geared to pets and pet owners:

  • While there’s a lot of opportunity in the pet industry — both locally and globally — some niches and locations may already be saturated with a heavy amount of competition. It’s always wise to do some competitive analysis and market analysis to determine whether there’s a sufficient demand for the pet service or products you’re considering offer. Ideally, there should be a low amount of competition, too.
  • Among the key aspects of being successful in the pet business is the willingness and ability to deliver exceptional customer service, superior quality, and competitive prices. Pet owners — like most other consumers — are looking for value. In other words, they want to feel like their money was well spend and that they’re getting their money’s worth. The bottom line is that satisfied customers lead to repeat business and word-of-mouth advertising and referrals.

Side note about starting your own business: Although many pet business ideas have the potential to be profitable — either as a full-time business or income supplement — all businesses involve an element of financial risk. So whether you thinking of starting a pet sitting business, a dog walking business, a dog day care service, an online retail store, or a bricks-and-mortar pet store, it’s advisable to carefully plan your strategy and study all relevant aspects of the pet business. Mapping out a clear marketing strategy, for example, can be an indispensable navigational tool as you travel down the sometimes bumpy road of self employment and business ownership.

Thanks for checking out my latest thoughts on startup business ideas and small business marketing strategies.

Feel free to comment on this blog or contact me via email at prowriter30years@yahoo.com if you have any questions, inquiries, or requests.

Stay tuned for more tips, resources, and startup business ideas for entrepreneurs. In the mean time, best of luck in all your small business pursuits!

–Joel
Business startup blogger, freelance writer, marketing strategist

P.S.:  More information and resources, below, on starting a pet business.

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Websites, Business Guides, Training Videos, and Books on Pet Business Ideas*

Online Resources for Entrepreneurs

  • If you’re looking for a list of steps for starting and running a business, the U.S. Small Business Administration is one of the best resources to turn to for guidance and information.
  • The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides a checklist for starting a business.
  • Additional business startup advice, educational programs, and mentoring can be found through websites and organizations like SCORE.

One final note: When starting a business of any kind, it’s wise to consult with a CPA, a business insurance specialist, and an attorney to help  you anticipate and plan for your present and future needs.

*Disclosure: I am a compensated affiliate of Shopify ecommerce services and various digital products, ebooks (starting a business books), business proposal software, and email marketing services featured on this blog and on my website Marketing Survival Kit.

 

 

Craft Business Ideas

clay-1220103_640Although the idea of making and selling craft items has been around for hundreds of years, the emergence of the Internet has made the craft business easier and potentially more profitable than it once was.

Not only does the Internet give you the capability to quickly search for and find the location of craft shows in your area (or anywhere else you’re willing to travel), but you also have online access to everything from craft supplies and craft kits to  a free newsletter* for novice craft show vendors.

The Internet also provides access to other helpful resources and information, including:

  • Craft fair ideas, such as the ones in this blog
  • Craft tutorials and step-by-step instructions
  • Craft show display ideas, shelves, folding craft tables, booths, signs
  • Online access to wholesale craft outlets
  • Info about craft supply stores near you
  • Sources of cheap craft supplies
  • Craft show websites where vendors can sign up online or inquire
  • Websites offering leather craft supplies, wood craft supplies, wood craft patterns
  • Sewing craft ideas
  • Craft books (the old-fashioned kind and e-books you can download)

Ideas for Making Crafts You Can Sell

Although making and selling crafts at craft shows and through your own online store sounds like a fun business idea, it does require planning, good organizational skills,  record keeping, creativity, talent, and a budget for startup and operating costs.

If you like making gifts, decorative items, and things people can use, then starting a craft business might be a rewarding experience for you — both monetarily and personally. As is the case with any business, there’s no guarantee you’ll make any money. However, if you approach it as a fun business that can be potentially profitable, then you’ll be more likely to get the most out of it.

There are hundreds of craft ideas and handmade products you can sell online, as well as at retail stores, craft shows, fairs, and festivals. Here’s a list of craft ideas to sell (in no particular order) that will hopefully help you come up with the best possible mix of products for your online store or craft booth.

50 Ideas for Craft Businesses, Artists, and Vendors

  1. Animal figurines and animal-themed gift items: pig crafts, penguins, elephant crafts, sheep crafts, turkeys, lion crafts, ladybug-themed crafts, butterfly craft items, monkey crafts, roosters, owl crafts, turtles, frog crafts , ducks, bear crafts, horse crafts, bird crafts, bumble bees
  2. Teddy bears and other stuffed animals
  3. Dream catchers
  4. Angel crafts
  5. Religious-themed crafts
  6. Buddha statues, figurines, sculptures
  7. Baby crafts and gifts for baby showers
  8. Bird feeders
  9. Craft items using recycled items
  10. Tote bags
  11. T-shirt crafts
  12. CD cases and holders
  13. Jewelry, such as earrings and bracelets, and beaded crafts
  14. Hand-made greeting cards
  15. Holiday crafts, especially Christmas crafts, autumn crafts, Halloween (including craft pumpkins), Easter, Valentine’s Day, Mothers’ Day, and so on.
  16. Wedding favors, decorations, keepsakes, and other wedding crafts
  17. Pottery: bowls, coffee mugs, plates, jugs, vases, pitchers, urns
  18. Wood crafts and craft furniture
  19. Retirement gifts, anniversary gifts, and gifts for other special occasions
  20. Engraved gifts
  21. Jewelry boxes
  22. Cigar boxes
  23. Craft magnets
  24. Craft mirrors
  25. Wind chimes
  26. Dolls
  27. Masks
  28. Sculptures
  29. Desk caddies
  30. Mason jar crafts and wine bottle crafts
  31. Lamps
  32. Clocks
  33. Coasters
  34. Place mats
  35. Serving trays
  36. Picture frames
  37. Baskets, bins, storage chests
  38. Gift baskets
  39. Candles, soaps, spa items
  40. Sea shell crafts
  41. Stone crafts
  42. Angel crafts
  43. Heart crafts
  44. Flower crafts
  45. Mosaics
  46. Stained glass crafts
  47. Quilts, blankets, comforters, pillows, sweaters, knitted or crocheted clothing
  48. Woodworking projects like small tables, stools, benches, clocks, plaques, wooden toys
  49. Garden crafts which can run the gamut from planters and pots to stepping stones , garden gnomes, frogs, squirrels, and sun-themed sculptures and artwork
  50. Decorative kitchen cutting boards

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Evaluating Your Craft Business Ideas

When you’re considering different crafts to make and sell, it’s advisable to ask yourself some blunt questions, such as “Are people really going to want to buy this type of item?” Sometimes it pays to ask family and friends whether they think prospective customers would want to pay for a specific craft item, handmade gift, or decorative knickknack. (Ask your family and friends to be brutally honest in helping you evaluate crafts you’re considering selling — and assure them you will not be offended!)

It’s better to have to go back to the drawing board and come up with more marketable crafts to make and sell, rather than wasting time and money on something that doesn’t sell or appeal to your prospective customers.

The challenge is to try and be objective about a craft idea that might seem to be cute or useful or have sentimental value to you, but, in reality, it’s not going to inspire people to open their wallets. Keep in mind that nobody is eager to part with their hard-earned money unless they feel a connection to the items you’re selling. It needs to catch their eye and strike a chord with them, in terms of  value, beauty, uniqueness, usefulness, practicality, and other subjective qualities.

A Few Basic Marketing Tips

From a marketing standpoint, it’s always a good idea to have an ample supply of professional-looking, creative business cards available to hand out to new and prospective customers. Having a website, e-commerce store, craft blog, Pinterest page, or Facebook page can also result in more craft sales, potential referrals, and future business.

If you’re thinking of starting your own online store to sell handmade crafts or other products to a national or global marketplace, Shopify* can provide you with the necessary ecommerce tools to help get you set up and started quickly!

Try Shopify free for 14 days* (No credit card required!)

Thanks for checking out my latest entrepreneurial thoughts, marketing strategies, business startup ideas and — in the case of today’s blog post — craft business ideas.

Follow this blog for more ideas for starting a small business.

–Joel
Business blogger, freelance writer, marketing strategist
Email address: Prowriter30years@yahoo.com
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*Disclosure: I am a compensated affiliate of Shopify ecommerce services, as well as various digital products, ebooks (starting a business books), and email marketing software featured on this blog and on my website Marketing Survival Kit.

Options For Starting a Consulting Business

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When I hear the word “consultant,” three categories immediately come to mind:

  1. Management consultant
  2. Marketing consultant
  3. Information Technology consultant

As it turns out, those three areas of expertise are only the tip of the iceberg in the business of consulting. As you can see from the following list, the consulting business is extremely diverse. Here’s a sampling of some of the many consultant jobs and self-employment options that are available or that can be created in the financial, medical, business, marketing, academic, and technical fields:

Top 100 List of Consultant Jobs and Business Ideas

  1. Lactation consultant
  2. Legal nurse consultant
  3. Business consultant
  4. Marketing consultant
  5. SEO consultant
  6. Educational consultant
  7. Management consultant
  8. Tax consultant
  9. Financial consultant
  10. Sales consultant
  11. Stock consultant
  12. Fashion consultant
  13. SAP consultant
  14. Environmental consultant
  15. Internet marketing consultant
  16. Political consultant
  17. Restaurant consultant
  18. Security consultant
  19. Wedding consultant
  20. Computer consultant
  21. Healthcare consultant
  22. Jury consultant
  23. Mortgage consultant
  24. Art consultant
  25. Benefits consultant
  26. HR consultant
  27. Immigration consultant
  28. Media consultant
  29. Real estate consultant
  30. Sales consultant
  31. Travel consultant
  32. Bridal consultant
  33. Implementation consultant
  34. Recruitment consultant
  35. Security consultant
  36. Technical consultant
  37. Technology consultant
  38. Travel consultant
  39. Wardrobe consultant
  40. Wine consultant
  41. Nutrition consultant
  42. Investment consulta
  43. Brand or branding conSsultant
  44. Business development consultant
  45. Career consultant
  46. College consultant
  47. Customer service consultant
  48. Design consultant
  49. Feng Shui consultant
  50. Military life consultant
  51. Organizational development consultant
  52. Resume consultant
  53. Style consultant
  54. Wellness consultant
  55. Search marketing consultant
  56. Strategic planning consultant
  57. Grant consultant
  58. College admissions consultant
  59. Communications consultant
  60. Credit repair consultant
  61. Digital marketing consultant
  62. Engineering consultant
  63. Health consultant
  64. Image consultant
  65. Software consultant
  66. Food industry consultant
  67. Recruitment consultant
  68. Business plan consultant
  69. Business process consultant
  70. Dental consultant
  71. Drilling consultant (unrelated to #70!)
  72. Fitness consultant
  73. Human resources consultant
  74. Lifestyle consultant
  75. Retail consultant
  76. Safety consultant
  77. Script consultant
  78. Sustainability consultant
  79. Sales lead generation consultant
  80. Loss mitigation consultant
  81. Sales training consultant
  82. Accounting consultant
  83. Administrative consultant
  84. Behavioral specialist consultant
  85. CRM consultant
  86. Diversity consultant
  87. Fundraising consultant
  88. MBA admissions consultant
  89. Music consultant
  90. Pharmacy consultant
  91. Sleep consultant
  92. Social media marketing consultant
  93. Special education consultant
  94. Weight loss consultant
  95. e-learning consultant
  96. Metallurgical consultant
  97. Outplacement consultant
  98. Team building consultant
  99. Business intelligence consultant
  100. Change management consultant

But the list goes on and on!

  1. Email marketing consultant
  2. Financial aid consultant
  3. HR consultant
  4. Internet consultant
  5. Lighting consultant
  6. PR consultant (I’m surprised this one wasn’t higher on the list)
  7. Prison consultant
  8. Project management consultant (ditto for this one)
  9. Property tax consultant
  10. Risk management consultant
  11. Statistical consultant
  12. Direct marketing consultant
  13. Cost consultant
  14. Trainee recruitment consultant
  15. Compensation consultant
  16. Construction consultant
  17. Drug test consultant
  18. Ecommerce consultant
  19. Efficiency consultant (that title sounds redundant)
  20. Employment consultant
  21. Information security consultant
  22. Innovation consultant
  23. Interior design consultant
  24. International business consultant
  25. Supply chain consultant
  26. Benefits consultant
  27. Farm consultant
  28. Etiquette consultant
  29. Executive coaching consultant
  30. Natural health consultant
  31. Retirement planning consultant
  32. Actuarial consultant
  33. Advertising consultant
  34. Audio visual consultant
  35. Behavioral consultant
  36. Business analyst consultant
  37. Business strategy consultant
  38. Certified asbestos consultant
  39. Compliance consultant
  40. Credit consultant
  41. Database consultant
  42. Digital media consultant
  43. Economic consultant
  44. Energy consultant
  45. Ergonomics consultant
  46. FDA consultant
  47. Franchise consultant
  48. Higher education consultant
  49. Hospitality consultant
  50. International tax consultant

So if you’re considering becoming a consultant, there’s an almost unlimited field of potential career and business opportunities. The challenge for many entrepreneurs seeking to start a consulting business is marketing. In many cases, the only difference between a thriving consultancy and one that is struggling to get by is the ability to attract and retain clients.

The most successful consultants are not only extremely knowledgeable about their area of expertise, but they’re also polished communicators, marketing strategists, and  business managers.

Marketing Tools for Consultants

If you’re in the market for small business marketing tools, such as proposal writing software or sales letter templates, visit my website Marketing Survival Kit. To learn more about the proposal writing process and the availability of proposal writing templates, check out this article.*

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Thanks for visiting my blog on how to start a business, what business to start, and small business marketing ideas. Stay tuned for more startup business ideas in coming weeks.

–Joel
Marketing strategist, business blogger, freelance writer
Email: prowriter30years@yahoo.com

NOTE: If you’re looking for a list of steps for starting and running a business, the U.S. Small Business Administration is one of the best websites to turn to for guidance and information. A checklist for starting a business is available from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). When starting a consulting business, it’s wise to consult with a CPA, a business insurance specialist, and an attorney to help  you anticipate and plan for your present and future needs.

*F.Y.I.: This blog and my marketing website contain links to products and services for which I am a compensated affiliate.

 

The First Step in Starting a Business

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The statistics on small business failures can be sobering if you’re considering starting your own business.

The question to ponder is this: “Is the percentage of small business failures a reflection of a bigger picture?” In other words, failure in any endeavor is a natural outcome of poor or faulty planning, a lack of persistence, counterproductive habits, and negative attitudes. Perhaps the number one reason many small businesses fizzle out before they have a chance to build up a head of steam is that their owners don’t possess an entrepreneurial mindset.

To put it another way: Most people are more comfortable working for someone else, rather than being responsible for making sure a business is set up properly, marketing it proactively, addressing customer service issues, solving problems, managing people, complying with government regulations, and always working to stay one step of the competition.

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Steps to Starting a Business

In my opinion, the first step to starting a business is doing an honest self assessment. Do you honestly have the temperament, the organizational skills, the long-term commitment, and the energy to start and run your own business? Although the idea of it may appeal to you, not everyone has the resilience, the foresight, the self belief, and the determination to stay the course and persist until they succeed.

One of the few guarantees of starting your own business is that there will be difficulties, challenges, and setbacks on the road to profitability. If you don’t approach it in a methodical, focused, and steadfast way, your probability of success in a small business startup will be low.

On the other hand, if you’re passionate about a particular business idea and are prepared to navigate around or through the difficulties and setbacks that are sure to come your way, then self employment and the entrepreneurial life style may be a good fit for you!

Once you’ve resolved that big question, you’ll be ready to proceed to the next steps, such as developing a business plan, a marketing plan, business startup costs, deciding on a business structure, coming up with a distinctive business name and logo, and obtaining the necessary permits, working space, supplies, and equipment needed to get your business underway. Every business had different requirements and steps to getting started, so it pays to ask questions, talk  with certified business advisors, and, if possible, find a mentor to point you in the right direction. Check with your local SCORE organization to inquire about the availability of small business mentoring programs.

If you’re looking for a list of steps for starting a business, the U.S. Small Business Administration is one of the best websites to turn to for guidance and information. A checklist for starting a business is available from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). When starting a new business, it’s also wise to consult with a CPA, a business insurance specialist, and a business attorney to help  you anticipate and plan for all your business, financial, and legal needs.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments, especially if they relate to small business marketing.

I also invite you to visit my website, Marketing Survival Kit, to get access to step-by-step manuals* for a variety of business startups, service business ideas, and self-employment options.

Thanks!

–Joel
Business blogger, journalist, marketing strategist
Email address: prowriter30years@yahoo.com

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*Disclaimer: I am a compensated affiliate of the  business startup books featured on my website, Marketing Survival Kit, as well as other templates, software products, and business marketing services.

 

 

Ideas For Starting a Cleaning Business

If you’re looking for a part-time or full-time income, then starting a cleaning business may be one of the easiest ways to create a self-employed job for yourself. The actual work is not always easy and the customers may be a bit demanding at times, but it’s a very low-cost business idea and, with a little networking and self-promotion, you can get your first paying customers within days. Just about everyone needs a reliable cleaning person for their house, apartment, business, or office — even if they’re not ready to admit it!

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How to Start Your Own Cleaning Business

While it is possible to start a cleaning business with no no money, I would personally recommend spending a modest amount of money printing up (and distributing) a supply of business cards and flyers. Both of those marketing materials can be produced pretty cheaply by using a laptop computer and an inexpensive home printer. If you don’t own computer equipment or a printer, perhaps you know a friend, acquaintance,  freelancer, or student who can help you out.

Tips on Starting a Cleaning Business

Even though you’ll be self employed, which has its advantages and disadvantages, you’ll still need to be punctual, dependable, and hard working. If you have a good work ethic and get along well with people, then starting a cleaning business might be the perfect solution to unemployment or a tight household budget.

Probably one of the most important things to remember about starting a cleaning business pertains to “word of mouth” advertising. Referrals can be the most effective way to attract new customers and grow your business. That’s why it’s beneficial to both you and your customers to do great work, exceed their expectations, and let them know you’re always looking for ways to do a better job (so they shouldn’t hesitate to make suggestions or requests).

Making sure you fully understand their expectations is an essential first step to providing great service. Periodically asking them if they’re satisfied with your work — or if there’s anything they’d like you to do differently or better — can be a good way of keeping the lines of communication open. If you feel comfortable asking customers if they know anyone else who might also need a reasonably priced house cleaner or office cleaner, then that could help you expand your customer list and build your income.

As a side note: Residential customers often provide house cleaners with cleaning supplies, including mops and vacuum cleaners, but it’s wise to discuss details like that in the very beginning. Sometimes leaving a handwritten note for an established customer about needing a particular cleaning supply can be an effective way to get your supplies replenished. (It’s probably a good policy to keep a few extra supplies in your car, though, just in case!) In our home, the cleaning person we use writes down cleaning supplies on our grocery shopping list, but you might want to get approval from your customers before going ahead and doing that.

Whether you’re thinking starting a house cleaning business, a janitorial service, or an office cleaning business, you can offer different service “packages” and pricing options, depending on the menu of services you want to offer. It’s necessary, of course, to be competitive in your pricing, and to give customers the feeling that they’ve received a lot of value for their dollar.

Business Startup Tips

Call your city or county clerk’s office to find out whether you need any kind of permits or business license.  If you’re considering starting a commercial cleaning business, it might be necessary to look into getting insured and bonded. (Those details are beyond the scope of this blog post)

If you need specific advice on how to start your own cleaning business, you can get helpful guidance from websites like SCORE and the U.S.Small Business Administration. It’s also a good idea to get tax planning advice from a CPA or an experienced accountant.

Cleaning Service Business Ideas

In addition to the more obvious types of cleaning businesses to start, there are other options to consider, such as a carpet cleaning business, window cleaning business, rain gutter cleaning, and pressure washing business.

As I mentioned earlier, starting a commercial cleaning business, such as an office cleaning service or janitorial business, can be more involved and complex than starting a housecleaning business — especially if you plan on hiring employees.

When bidding for commercial cleaning accounts, it’s typically necessary to submit a formal proposal, a  price quote, and a proposed service contract. One of the easiest ways to prepare a professional proposal for commercial cleaning services is by using proposal writing software that contains the documents and templates you need. For more information, check out this article.*

Note: My area of expertise is in business marketing, public relations, and web content development, so if you need legal, accounting, or business insurance advice, make sure to seek out the help of qualified professionals in your area.

Thanks for taking a look at my thoughts and ideas about starting a cleaning business. Visit my website, Marketing Survival Kit, to get access to step-by-step manuals on starting a house cleaning business, a janitorial service, a commercial cleaning business, and several other self-employment business ideas.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments, especially if they relate to small business marketing strategy, marketing templates, or customer acquisition.

–Joel
Business blogger, journalist, marketing strategistEmail address: prowriter30years@yahoo.com

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*Disclaimer: I am a compensated affiliate of the proposal writing software (Proposal Kit), mentioned above, and the cleaning business startup books featured on my website, Marketing Survival Kit.