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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

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10 Steps For Starting a Car Wash From The Ground Up –

#car wash business

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10 Steps For Starting a Car Wash From The Ground Up

As a 40 year veteran car wash equipment manufacturer and site developer, we’ve seen it all. We know what a daunting and potentially confusing process starting a new car wash can be. What comes first? Prospecting site locations? Securing financing? Assessing your market? How soon should you begin marketing? How long will the process take?

While we certainly can’t cover everything you need to know to start a car wash in a single post, we can take a few words to cover what we feel are the 10 most important steps to launching your own car wash business.

1) Location is Everything Go Scouting

Car washes aren’t automatically successful. Great care must be taken when selecting the location on which you want to build. Our Site Model Pages have in-depth descriptions of location criteria to consider (including population, competition, street types, car counts, and more) and our site development services can help you select and approve the best locations available in your area.

Start by driving around your target area, paying close attention to the relative traffic, types of local businesses, and anything that looks for sale. Get a feel for your potential market. You should also visit a commercial real estate MLS like Loopnet.com or many others. Be sure to take your time and never rush into a purchase.

2) Review the Competition

Try to get a feel for the local car washes in the area. How many customers do they have and how aggressively are they marketing? What will they do when you open your wash? Can they afford a multi-million dollar renovation to bring their wash in line with yours? Are they debt free and can they cut prices to outcompete you (with your interest payments) in the short term? Are their customers frequent users and very loyal—or are they waiting for something better?

Entrenched local competition can be dangerous, even for Totally Tommy buildings, and selecting a location with some elbow room between you and competitors is important. But don’t worry too much about single stall automatic car washes or local fundraisers—you’ll be working in a completely different weight class.

3) Do the Paperwork

Find out what local city or county department handles business licenses and request an application, as well as information on local utility usage codes, insurance requirements, tax rates, and other requirements for opening a business. You will also need a Taxpayer Identification Number and you should use the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s trademark search tool to check your brand then register to claim it.

Each area and city has different rules, so make sure you take the time to understand everything and keep your business in line. If you can, also get information on local sanitary sewers (for your waste water), utility prices, water usage limits, and other regulations.

4) Planning and Approval Process

Set up a meeting with the city planner. Show them a rendering of your concept and try to get verbal approval of the design—or a list of probable issues to address. If you have approval you can set up a formal meeting to present your plans and have them voted on at a city council meeting. With luck, your Totally Tommy building with its modern style, efficient design, and great investment potential will blow them away! Try to be friendly, optimistic, and down to earth. If the city gets on board with your project it can make the whole process move along more smoothly.

5) Research Car Washes

Tour as many successful car washes as possible to see what makes them tick—especially if you haven’t been in the business very long. Check out automatic car washes, partially automatic, express, detailing, and other washes to see how they differ from one another. Operations, promotions, pricing, services, demographics… Try to learn as much as you can and develop as deep a background as you can with operations, staffing policies, equipment repair, and customer management (aka, complaints ).

To help out, our team has training available to teach you everything you need to know BEFORE you’re trying to run your wash on hot days with long lines.

6) Operations Decisions

Will you run your car wash independently or will you have a franchise, LLC, or S-corp? There are many models, each with pros and cons. Franchises offer support at the cost of a residual. Solo operations offer total freedom but deprive you of much-needed backup and brand awareness. How much personal involvement are you looking for? If you plan on hiring a manager instead of handling things yourself, make sure he or she has the necessary qualifications and is heavily invested in your future success.

7) Make a Business Plan!

Your car wash business plan (click for outline) should focus on both long term and short term operations. Use a professional service and remember that the more detailed, thorough, and researched your plan is, the better it will look to investors or your bank. Include costs (up front and overhead costs), planning for building to long-term revenue management, and marketing strategies (launch and long-term). Professional proforma companies are ready to help and our team is also standing by with years of experience to back up our advice.

8) Get Financing

This is likely the most challenging step, and your success here will largely depend on how well you’ve researched and prepared your business plan ahead of time. A solid revenue model can help convince investors to put up the capital for your new car wash business, so be prepared to demonstrate that you need enough funding for a truly high quality car wash facility and equipment with great return potential. You will also need a convincing resume with business and/or car wash experience, and a solid marketing plan.

9) Build the Right Wash

Car washes thrive when they capture the attention of the local market and are designed to make turning in, purchasing a wash, and moving through the tunnel as quick and easy as possible. The Totally Tommy building is the best way to do just this, drawing huge numbers of passing customers with a great looking building, perfected layouts, and a full and fast service menu. Proven in scenarios around the country, every component of this facility design has been carefully thought out to create a single, cohesive investment that pays off. From our towers to our pay system, deceleration lanes, glass walls, stainless steel equipment, and clear roof, everything is designed to project sophistication, professionalism, and value. So why waste money reinventing the wheel, and why risk building a second-best wash when a Totally Tommy wash is waiting for you?

10) Market your New Business

Customers don’t know what they don’t know, so don’t just expect them to line up without any effort on your part. Make sure to let the community know about your wash ahead of the grand opening with onsite advertising as well as print, radio, local web, and possibly TV advertisements. You’ll begin to build a curious customer base who will drop buy and tell their friends and family afterwards. $15,000 or $1 / car for initial marketing including billboards, mailings to 5 mile radius, promotional washes, and radio commercials is a good place to start at your launch and $.10 / car is a standard ballpark long-term rate for the future. One or two day Social media campaigns (incentivize customers with free washes for best results) can also be highly successful. Be prepared to collect feedback and adapt your marketing program for the greatest possible effectiveness moving forwards.

Launching any business, and especially a brick and mortar car wash filled with high-end technology, is a complex and daunting prospect. But don’t worry. The team at Tommy Car Wash Systems has hundreds of washes behind us with thousands of installations and developments. We know the steps you’ll need to take to get your wash planed, approved, built, and operational, and we’ll help you turn a fantastic business opportunity into an even better reality.

Tommy Car Wash Systems

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The 10 Most Reliable Ways to Fund a Startup #small #business #advice


#start up business grants

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The 10 Most Reliable Ways to Fund a Startup

One of the most frequent questions I get as a mentor to entrepreneurs is How do I find the money to start my business? I always answer that there isn t any magic, and contrary to popular myth, nobody is waiting in the wings to throw money at you just because you have a new and exciting business idea.

On the other hand, there are many additional creative options available for starting a business that you might not find when buying a car, home or other major consumer item. If you have the urge to be an entrepreneur, I encourage you to think seriously about each of these, before you zero in on one or two, and get totally discouraged if those don t work for you.

Of course, every alternative has advantages and disadvantages, so any given one may not be available or attractive to you. For example, professional investors put great priority on your previous experience in building a business, and they expect to own a portion of the business equity and control for the funds they do provide. These are tough for a first-time entrepreneur.

Thus it is always a question of what you qualify for, and what you are willing to give up, to turn your dream idea into a viable business. Here is my list of the 10 most common sources of funding today, in reverse priority sequence, with some rules of thumb to channel your focus:

10. Seek a bank loan or credit-card line of credit.

In general, this won t happen for a new startup unless you have a good credit history or existing assets that you are willing to put at risk for collateral. In the U.S. you may find that the Small Business Administration (SBA) can get you infusions of cash without normal backup requirements.

9. Trade equity or services for startup help.

This is most often called bartering your skills or something you have for something you need. An example would be negotiating free office space by agreeing to support the computer systems for all the other office tenants. Another common example is exchanging equity for legal and accounting support.

8. Negotiate an advance from a strategic partner or customer.

Find a major customer, or a complimentary business, who sees such value in your idea that they are willing to give you an advance on royalty payments to complete your development. Variations on this theme include early licensing or white-labeling agreements.

7. Join a startup incubator or accelerator.

These organizations, such as Y Combinator. are very popular these days, and are often associated with major universities, community development organizations, or even large companies. Most provide free resources to startups, including office facilities and consulting, but many provide seed funding as well.

6. Solicit venture-capital investors.

These are professional investors, such as Accel Partners. who invest institutional money in qualified startups, usually with a proven business model, ready to scale. They typically look for big opportunities, needing a couple of million dollars or more, with a proven team. Look for a warm introduction to make this work.

5. Apply to local angel-investor groups.

Most metropolitan areas have groups of local high-net-worth individuals interested in supporting startups, and willing to syndicate amounts up to a million dollars for qualified startups. Use online platforms such as Gust to find them, and local networking to find ones that relate to your industry and passion.

4. Start a crowdfunding campaign online.

This newest source of funding, where anyone can participate per the JOBS Act. is exemplified by online sites such as Kickstarter. Here people make online pledges to your startup during a campaign, to pre-buy the product for later delivery, give donations or qualify for a reward, such as a T-shirt.

3. Request a small-business grant.

These are government funds allocated to support new technologies and important causes, such as education, medicine and social needs. A good place to start looking is Grants.gov. which is a searchable directory of more than 1,000 federal grant programs. The process is long, but it doesn t cost you any equity.

2. Pitch your needs to friends and family.

As a general rule, professional investors will expect that you have already have commitments from this source to show your credibility. If your friends and family don t believe in you, don t expect outsiders to jump in. This is the primary source of non-personal funds for very early-stage startups.

1. Fund your startup yourself.

These days, the costs to start a business are at an all-time low, and over 90 percent of startups are self funded (also called bootstrapping). It may take a bit longer to save some money before you start and grow organically, but the advantage is that you don t have to give up any equity or control. Your business is yours alone.

You can see that all of these options require work and commitment on your part, so there is no magic or free money. Every funding decision is a complex tradeoff between near-term and longer-term costs and paybacks, as well as overall ownership and control.

With the many options available, there is no excuse for not living your dream, rather than dreaming about living.



10 Places to Get a Free Business Education Online #business #cash #advance


#online business courses

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10 Places to Get a Free Business Education Online

Getting a business education doesn’t have to be expensive. An increasing number of colleges, universities and even nonprofit organizations offer free business courses online. Find out how you can sign up for these courses and what you can get from them.

Online Business Courses for Credit

Online business courses that don’t require students to register or pay tuition are plentiful, but these courses don’t lead to college credit. Students who would rather earn credit for the courses they take online might want to consider resources that charge a fee in exchange for access to online course materials.Study.com offers this form of distance learning through its quick and informative video lessons and corresponding self-assessment quizzes. Students also have access to free transcripts for the video lessons.

Students can start with Business 101: Principles of Management which include chapters like:

  • Management Basics – Study different managers’ roles and examine the four functions of management.
  • Leading in Organizations – This chapter explores the difference between leadership and management and how the two work together. Various leadership styles are also covered.
  • Marketing Philosophies and Ethics – Learn about marketing versus sales, corporate responsibility and cause-related marketing.
  • Consumer Decision Making – Topics include consumer behavior theory, the purchase process, cognitive dissonance and consumer buying influences.
  • Network Systems Technology – Examine client/server systems, network operating systems and wireless computing devices in this chapter.
  • Systems Development – Subjects include life cycles, graphical user interfaces, application development processes and project management tools.

Free Online Non-Credit Business Courses

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT OpenCourseWare might be the next best thing to getting an MIT education for free. Through these free online publication, students can find bachelor-level and master-level courses business courses offered by MIT’s Sloan School of Management

  • Undergraduate and Graduate Business Courses include online lecture notes, videos, labs demonstrations and more. No registration is required and more than 150 courses are available.

The U.S. Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration has one of the best selections of business courses on the web. Topics include everything from starting a business and business management to government contracting and international trade. Most courses take only 30 minutes to complete.

  • Financing Options for Small Businesses centers around determining financial needs, loans, grants, venture capital, angel investors, crowd funding and more.
  • Strategic Planning looks at the significance of strategic planning while breaking down the steps of the process.

Free Management Library

  • The Free Nonprofit Micro-eMBA(SM) Program is a great resource for students wishing to learn more about nonprofit management. Completion of this program will not result in an MBA degree, but enrollment is free. The amount of time it takes to complete the program will depend on how fast you learn, but you may expect to spend at least 200 hours on coursework.

University of California Irvine

The University of California Irvine offers several free business courses in English and Spanish through their OpenCourseWare site. Courses are broken down into lessons, and include optional reading lists for students who want to dig deeper into the course subjects.

  • Fundamentals of Business Analysis focuses on the function of a business analyst within the operating of an organization.
  • Training and Human Resource Development breaks down the information and experience needed to pick out an organization’s training and development needs while looking into the related processes.

Financial Management Training Center Courses

The Financial Management Training Center provides 20 free downloadable business courses for people who need to learn the finer points of financial management. All courses can be taken online. They include full exams as well as evaluation forms for people seeking Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits.

  • The Management of Capital provides a basic overview of navigating a company’s financial structure.
  • Creating Value through Financial Management serves as an introduction to concepts related to Value Based Finance.
  • Project Management introduces the concept and components of project management.

Kutztown University – Small Business Development Center

  • Strategic Planning and Execution Course presents strategies for crafting and executing business visions, mission statements and goals. The SBDC also provides strategic planning software free to all course participants.

University of California Berkeley

The University of California Berkeley offers a new selection of business courses each semester. Courses are lecture-based and typically include either audio or video or both.

  • Business Administration Videos are uploaded to the school’s YouTube page often. Videos are presented by leading business experts such and cover topics like leadership, investment strategies and behavioral economics.
  • Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Business teaches students about descriptive statistics, probability models, confidence intervals, controlled experiments vs. observational studies, tests of significance, correlation and regression.

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

An admission advisor from each school can provide more info about:

  • programs curriculum
  • career opportunities
  • tuition financial aid
  • admissions starting dates

1 Southern New Hampshire University

Minimum eligibility requirements:
  • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED

Get Started with Southern New Hampshire University

2 Kaplan University

Minimum eligibility requirements:
  • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
  • Graduate faster & save money with Study.com transfer credit

  • Doctor of Management in Organizational Development and Change
  • Doctor of Management in Project Management
  • Doctor of Management (DM) – General Concentration (Executive Format)
  • Doctor of Management in Leadership
  • Doctor of Management – Nonprofit Leadership (Executive Format)
  • Master of Business Administration
  • MBA in Entrepreneurship
  • MBA in Project Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Accounting
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – International Business
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Marketing
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Human Resource Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Organizational Behavior
  • Associate of Science in Business Administration
    • (BS) Accounting
    • (BS) Business Administration
    • (BS) Business Admin – Asset Management
    • (BS) Business Admin – Human Resources
    • (BS) Business Admin – New Media Marketing
    • (BS) Business Admin – Technology
    • (AAS) Business Management & Accounting


  • 10 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business #business #account


    #sell my business

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    10 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business

    If you re thinking about selling your business, think twice. Selling a business should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision, says Curtis Kroeker, group general manager for San Francisco-based BizBuySell.com and BizQuest.com. business-for-sale marketplaces that have an inventory of about 40,000 businesses. You need to figure out things like if you should sell, when is the best time to sell, and what you need to consider before selling, among many other considerations.

    So, should you sell your business? Here are 10 key questions to help you figure it out.

    Is my business ready to sell? Kroeker recommends at least two years of preparation before putting your business on the market. Make sure you can produce two to three years of tax returns that are accurate and show maximum profitability to get the best price for your business, he says. You can t start putting things together the month before you sell.

    How is a buyer going to value my business? Particularly with family ownership, companies sometimes run everything through the business, such as country club dues and car allowances, says Robert Kibby, section head of the corporate and securities group at Dallas-based Munsch Hardt Kopf Harr Attorneys and Counselors. Loading the business with tax write-offs can make you appear less profitable and cause a buyer to undervalue your business.

    Who should be on my team when I sell? It s important for entrepreneurs to figure out whose services will bring them through the sales process and help them get the best price for their business. Do you need an accountant? How about an appraiser, attorney, consultant and business broker? The buyer is typically going to have a good team to go over your business, so you should, too, Kibby says.

    Is it the right time to sell? Many people wait till their business is on the decline to sell. That s the exact opposite of what you should do, says Debbie Allen. a Phoenix-based business and brand strategist and consultant. You want to sell when you are at the top of your game peaked out, she says. Some will say, I m making good money now. Why should I sell? That s thinking like a business owner, not an entrepreneur.

    Is the market right? Before selling, look at current market conditions for your industry. Selling a home improvement business in 2006 showed a pretty good return. Fast forward a couple of years and many roofing, siding, home financing and other housing-related companies had lost a big chunk of their value. I saw companies who turned down an offer in 2005 who couldn t get three-quarters of that price a few years later, says Allan Siposs, a managing director of FMV Capital Markets in Irvine, Calif. which offers services for mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. Wait until market conditions are better to sell.

    Can I cope with the changes on the horizon? Rapidly changing technology, increasing globalization and other business trends can prove too much for some business owners. Keep your eyes trained three or four years down the road, and if you don t believe you can keep up, sell before your failure to adapt catches up with you. Some people find it hard to leave, but if you wait too long, the industry may pass you by, Allen says.

    Can my business thrive without me or without a key customer? If a buyer is concerned that a business is too dependent on the owner or a single customer, he may take his offer elsewhere. A good business can operate when the owner is on vacation and has good revenue diversification, where no one customer represents more than five percent of the business, Siposs says.

    Would I be willing to stay on if the buyer wants me to? Sometimes you can seal a deal by agreeing to stay on in a consulting role for a period of six months. But first, you need to determine whether it s really worth it to you. If you re willing to stay on, it might reduce the risk to the buyer and increase the value of the company, Siposs says.

    What are the potential deal breakers? Unresolved issues can rear their ugly head and interfere with a sale, particularly in areas such as company ownership, accounting and intellectual property rights. For example, an owner may have used a contractor to write software for the company without requiring him to assign his rights to the company. This can create questions about who possesses critical rights, which can scuttle the deal, Kibby says. So, consider what your potential deal breakers are and try to resolve them before you re near to closing a deal.

    Would I consider alternatives to an outright sale? If an outright sale isn t right for you, a CPA or investment banker can help evaluate other options. How about structuring a deal to pass on the ownership to employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)? Would you consider selling a percentage of the company to a private equity fund? Or would you do a leveraged recapitalization, which is a loan that puts a portion of the proceeds in your pocket?



    10 Business Valuation Calculators To Gauge Business Value #business #quotes


    #business valuation calculator

    #

    10 Business Valuation Calculators To Gauge Value of A Business for Sale

    Believe it or not, there’s no right or wrong way to work out how much a business is worth. Experts use loads of different valuation methods and the number those calculations come up with will vary greatly depending upon the criteria set forth.

    That being said, if you know exactly what it is you value in a business, it’s not hard to work out a ballpark figure. After all, nobody in their right mind would pay for an existing business without knowing what it’s worth.

    To help you get started, here are some of the Web’s top free business valuation calculators.

    10 Business Valuation Calculators

    1. CalcXML

    CalcXML has been providing a wide range of financial tools to small businesses for a while now. And the company’s valuation calculator is a tried-and-tested model.

    It’s a simple tool designed to give potential buyers a quick snapshot. It takes all of the basics into consideration, including: annual earnings, excess compensation and level of business risk. Best of all, it only takes a few minutes.

    2. EquityNet

    EquityNet is one of the globe’s leading pioneers in crowdfunding. Established in 2005, the platform works to connect thousands of entrepreneurs with investors of all shapes and size and has already helped start-ups across the globe raise hundreds of millions in equity, debt and royalty-based capital.

    As part of that mission, EquityNet provides a valuation calculator backed by real market data gathered from over 3,000 business across North America. That enables you to weigh the value of a business against potential competitors which is a factor some analysts often overlook.

    EquitNet also provides free calculators to work out a company s profit margin, cash flow and startup risk.

    3. ExitAdviser

    ExitAdviser is an online support service that enables business owners to connect with potential buyers. In line with that service, ExitAdviser plays home to an extremely quick business valuation calculator designed to give potential buyers quick quotes.

    To get an estimate, buyers simply need to enter net profit from a company’s most recent financial year and forecast its sales growth. That said, there are plenty of more advanced input options to help generate more accurate valuations.

    4. BizEx

    Like most free valuation calculators, BizEx hosts a platform based upon the ‘Multiple of Earnings’ method. But their calculator is far more advanced than most of the free models you’ll find kicking about on other sites.

    By including an in-depth breakdown of a company’s discretionary and multiple earnings, you’re able to create instant valuation ranges depending upon a range of variables. Afterwards, you’re given the option to talk these numbers over with a broker if you’re so inclined.

    5. Bridge Ventures

    The Bridge Ventures calculator is designed to create an estimated market value for a company based upon a diverse set of attributes. Technically speaking, this calculator is only meant to be used for small businesses with revenues of under $2 million.

    It’s worth noting this calculator is most compatible with Google Chrome, as there are a few unwanted kinks when opened on Internet Explorer. That said, it’s a simple calculator that renders quality results.

    6. Hadley Capital

    Hadley Capital ’s business valuation calculator is slightly different, in that it applies a multiple of EBITDA to determine the Enterprise Value of your business. In general, a small business will usually trade for around three or four times its normalized EBITDA. That said, the multiple will slide dramatically based upon a variety of characteristics specific to your business.

    This calculator understandably places particular emphasis on your annual EBITDA, annual capital expenditures and how much of your revenue comes from top customers.

    7. John Hancock Life Insurance

    John Hancock has been around for a long time. As such, you’d expect the company to have worked out a pretty reliable way in which to tally up the value of a business.

    First-time buyers may be inclined to check out this calculator, as it includes an incredibly useful glossary of terms designed to cut through all of the meaningless financial jargon associated with business valuations. It also clearly explains all methodologies involved in calculating your valuation.

    8. MassMutual Financial Group

    MassMutual is an all-encompassing insurance provider that represents over 13 million clients across the globe. Consequently, the company values user experience far more than some of the industry’s smaller websites. Its business value calculator is no exception.

    This user-friendly calculator very clearly and concisely walks you through every step of the valuation process in order to work out a decent estimate in as little as two minutes.

    9. HelpSME

    HelpSME is a great resource for small businesses in need of tutorials and advice. That’s why the site offers an easy-to-use valuation calculator using the Net Present Value (NPV) method. This approach uses a company’s future cash flows to try and work out how much it’s worth in the here and now.

    HelpSME’s calculator also includes useful guides designed to help you wrap your head around the value provided.

    10. National Life

    National Life is an all-encompassing collective of financial services companies, and its online valuation calculator draws upon that power in order to generate fairly well-informed market estimates.

    Similar to HelpSME, National Life’s calculator finds the worth of a company by looking at the present value of its expected future earnings. It places particular consideration on a company’s lack of marketability and excess compensation.

    In the same way that no two valuations are alike, it s crucial to bear in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive. There are loads of brilliant valuation calculators online that you can use in order to generate a snapshot of how much a business may be worth.

    Just remember: these free business valuation calculators aren t always accurate. At the end of the day, it s up to you to do your homework in order to ensure you ve put in (or accepted) the best possible offer for an existing company.

    Nash Riggins is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and an American journalist based in central Scotland. Nash covers industry studies, emerging trends and general business developments. His writing background includes The Huffington Post, World Finance and GuruFocus. His website is NashRiggins.com.

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    10 Ways to Identify a Great Business Idea #business #card #holders


    #business idea

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    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.

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    Business Degree: 10 Best Colleges for Business – Management #business #phones


    #business colleges

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    10 Great Colleges for Business Majors

    All offer an excellent education, affordable prices, and substantial salaries for their graduates.

    Business is the single most popular major for college students today. But one of the first lessons future business leaders have to learn is buyer beware. Some colleges business programs seem to provide little in the way of an earnings boost for graduates, while other schools names help get their grads r sum s to the top of job recruiters lists.

    Here are 10 high-value colleges where alumni with bachelor s degrees in business tend to out-earn their counterparts from most other schools.

    These colleges scored the best overall when we combined MONEY s measures of each institution s educational quality and affordability. including graduation rates and student and parent debt loads, with the earnings reported to Payscale.com by alumni who earned a bachelor s in business and didn t go on to earn an MBA or other graduate degree.

    Each of those main factors educational quality, affordability, and post-graduate success was given an equal weight of 1/3.

    For more business-savvy advice, see our companion article Find Your Best College for Majoring in Business .

    10. University of California–San Diego

    Location: La Jolla, Calif.

    Estimated net price of a degree: $125,593

    Average annual early career earnings for business majors: $52,100

    MONEY Best Colleges overall ranking: 32

    9. Cornell University

    Estimated net price of a degree: $201,768

    Average annual early career earnings for business majors: $60,300

    MONEY Best Colleges overall ranking: 34

    8. Brigham Young University–Provo

    Location: Provo, Utah

    Estimated net price of a degree: $80,988

    Average annual early career earnings for business majors: $56,300

    MONEY Best Colleges overall ranking: 15

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    As a regular visitor to MONEY.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

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    10 Low-Cost Business Ideas #harvard #business #publishing


    #low cost business ideas

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    10 Business Ideas with (Almost) No Startup Costs

    Starting a business is quite the financial undertaking. There is a lot to consider, and lack of money can sometimes be a deterrent for would-be entrepreneurs. For those who are dreaming big but are on a small budget, here are a few low-cost businesses to inspire that entrepreneurial passion.

    Content creation

    Social media and the 24-hour news cycle have created the perfect storm of opportunity for creative professionals like writers and graphic designers, who can use their talents to create high-quality, shareable content for businesses and media outlets. Thanks to a growing part-time economy of freelance and contract workers, it s easier than ever to market yourself as a professional freelancer. [See Related Story:New Content Marketing: 5 Major Changes Brands Need to Make ]

    Event planning

    If you re a highly organized, detail-oriented individual who loves putting parties together, you might have the right personality to launch an event-planning business. Working for weddings, birthday parties and class reunions, event planners make it easy for others to host an exciting party. LinkedIn, cold calling and planning a few pro-bono events will help give you the proper experience. This will also help you build up a solid database of vendors and contacts so you can help your clients orchestrate the event of their dreams.

    Errand/concierge service

    Parents are busy with job responsibilities and driving their children from one activity to the next. So most working parents have very little time left to take care of personal errands like grocery shopping, making returns at the mall or mailing packages. The right, driven individual can take care of these time-consuming errands for clients and free up their days for the important things in life. Account for travel expenses when determining your rates, which can be hourly or by the task.

    Music lessons

    For the musically gifted, offering lessons to others who want to learn an instrument can be a great source of extra income. Unless you re teaching piano, students can likely bring their own instruments to your home for hour-long lessons. Stock up on sheet music or songbooks in varying genres and aimed at various skill levels so you can offer a wide selection for your potential clients. Voice lessons can also bring in a lot of money if you market yourself to local high school and community theater groups.

    Social media consulting

    Larger firms can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their Facebook and Twitter accounts and blogs, but small businesses often have to take care of their own social media marketing. With so many other responsibilities, business owners may be too busy or overwhelmed to spend time coming up with a great social media strategy. As a consultant, you can help them determine the best tactics, posting schedules and content for their target audience. As their follower counts grow, so will your business.

    Etsy shop owner

    Etsy is a popular online marketplace that hosts thousands of at-home retailers and larger productions, like the highly-rated Wildflower + co. selling jewelry, patches and DIY merchandise. Starting an Etsy shop is incredibly affordable. It s free to join the site and start a shop, though business owners should be aware there are three selling fees. the listing, transaction and payment-processing fees.

    Online courses and tutoring

    What are you passionate about? Yoga? Baking? Web design? If you know something inside and out, you can help others enrich their lives by offering virtual classes. Create downloadable instructional packets and videos, or schedule real-time Skype lessons with clients. Another option for aspiring educators is to start a virtual or home-based tutoring service.

    Personal chef

    This business requires you to plan and prepare weekly or daily meals for your clients, so strong cooking skills and a working knowledge of nutrition and special diets (if applicable) are a must. You don t necessarily need to have graduated from culinary school, but having some cooking classes under your belt will boost your credibility. While you may have to do some traveling to and from supermarkets and client homes, your customers should cover the cost of ingredients in addition to your service charge.

    Translation service

    If you re fluent in a second language, you can find work converting written and spoken words from one language to another. Broadening international ties and an increase in the number of non-English speakers in the U.S. make this a fast-growing field, with the Bureau of Labor Services predicting 42 percent growth by 2020. You can start your own independent service and market yourself to businesses, schools, hospitals, courtrooms and conference centers.

    Software training

    Are you proficient in a highly specialized software? There s a big demand for training from amateurs and professionals looking to expand their skill sets. Technical manuals are available for programs like QuickBooks and Final Cut Pro, but these are often expensive and difficult for the average user to understand. Schedule small group workshops or private sessions, and charge by the hour when giving a full tutorial of the program. Patience and a great personality are critical.

    Additional reporting by Nicole Taylor .

    Shannon Gausepohl graduated from Rowan University in 2012 with a degree in journalism. She has worked at a newspaper and in the public relations field, and is currently a staff writer at Business News Daily. Shannon is a zealous bookworm, has her blue belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu, and loves her Blue Heeler mix, Tucker.

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  • 10 Free PDF Business Plan Templates #business #computer


    #sba business plan

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    10 Free PDF Business Plan Templates

    PDF business plan templates for all types of businesses. / Credit: Tablet image via Shutterstock

    Business plan templates come in all forms, shapes and sizes. The beauty of PDF business plan templates, however, is that users can create their own business plans while having a guide or reference point readily available in front of them. Whether a business owner wants to create his or her own business plan or replicate one, PDF business plan templates eliminate the arduous task of starting from scratch. Below are 10 PDF business plan templates to help you get started.

    1. SBA business plan template

    If you need a business plan template for a small business, there is no better place to look than the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA not only offers a Web-based business plan creator, but also a downloadable PDF business plan template from sba.gov s 8(a) Business Development Program. This no-fuss, straightforward business plan template hashes out the details of a business, with more than 50 prompts to help users answer the questions needed for a complete business plan. [How to Start a Business: Step-by-Step]

    2. VA business plan template

    Another government organization, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), also provides useful resources for starting a business. In addition to offering a business plan template and financial projections charts, the VA s Writing a Business Plan PDF contains information on why an entrepreneur should create a business plan, basic business plan guidelines and tips on the do s and don ts of writing a business plan.

    3. New York StartUP! business plan

    Used as the official business plan for the New York StartUP! 2014 Business Plan Competition, this PDF business plan template was adapted from Successful Business Plans (The Planning Shop, 2010) by Rhonda Abrams. Each of the 12 sections of this business plan template includes instructions explaining what type of information to enter, as well as chapter references so you can look up more details. In addition, the template includes a SWOT analysis and optional technology plan.

    4. BEC s elevator pitch template

    Need a quick and painless, albeit unconventional, business plan? Try the Business Entrepreneurship Center s (BEC) elevator pitch business plan. Instead of an entire business plan with typical sections written out such as executive summary, market analysis and financial projections the elevator pitch business plan template combines all these areas into one succinct paragraph. Find examples at the BEC s downloadable PDF elevator pitch small business plan template .

    5. The One Page Business Plan Company s business plan template

    Hate the idea of writing out an entire essay for a business plan? The One Page Business Plan Company offers a one-page business plan separated into several sections vision, mission, objectives, strategies and action plans. You can answer all of these sections using keywords and short phrases. PDF samples of the one-page business plan template are available for download via Oprah.com.

    6. $100 Startup One-Page Business Plan

    Business plans don t have to be complicated. The $100 Startup s One-Page Business Plan template helps users craft a business plan by answering several short questions. You can answer each question in one or two sentences. This PDF one-page template covers everything from an overview of your business to marketing, money matters and obstacle projections.

    7. Biz Kids business plan template

    Biz Kids, an online portal where kids teach kids about money and business, offers a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan. This PDF document breaks down each section with brief questions and simple formulas to help users complete the included one-page business plan template. Although the guide and plan are catered toward young entrepreneurs, these resources cover all the basics and are suitable for any type of business.

    8. Rowan University College of Business sample plan

    Thinking about starting a consulting business? Check out Rowan University s sample consulting business plan template. Part of the university s Center for Innovation Entrepreneurship 2013 Rohrer Business Plan Competition, this 30-page PDF business plan template is a comprehensive example of what a consulting business plan entails, complete with financial charts and balance sheets.

    9. iPlanner.net business plan template

    IPlanner.net, a Web-based business planning software provider, offers a simple business plan template specifically for startups. The downloadable PDF business plan template includes instructions and tips for completing each section, as well as sample charts to help users complete the financial areas of the business plan.

    10. SNIEDC fill-in-the-blank business plan

    If you want to cover all of your bases, look no further than the Seneca Nation of Indians Economic Development Company s (SNIEDC) PDF fill-in-the-blank business plan template. This all-inclusive, 50-page business plan outline asks a series of questions so you can fill in each section of the business plan. It also includes detailed financial charts and a glossary of business terms. The SNIEDC is a Salamanca, N.Y.-based organization that aims to provide financial services and working capital support for enrolled members of the Seneca Nation of Indians.

    Originally published onBusinessNewsDaily.

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