#online business ideas
10 Personality Traits You Need to Start a Business
Traits for Success
Credit: Starting a Business Image via Shutterstock You already know you need a great business idea, a solid business plan and some startup cash to start a business. But, you also need to have a personality that’s suited to being an entrepreneur. Experts tell us the personality traits every entrepreneur needs to succeed.
Lots of Energy
Credit: Happy Workers Image via Shutterstock As a brand marketing and public relations consultant, Lisa Murray has worked with a number of serial entrepreneurs and says one quality they all have in common is their ability to always be on the go.
“Born entrepreneurs don’t know how to power down,” Murray, principal of Murray Whalen Communications, told BusinessNewsDaily. “They emit a constant hum of ideas, plans, strategies and high-octane energy.”
Credit: Sales team image via Shutterstock One of the key signs of a born entrepreneur is the salesmanship and power of persuasion they show very early on for their causes, said business coach and consultant Nancy Eberhardt.
“Whether it is a landscaping business at age 12, or selling magazines door-to-door to fund a school trip, they are persistent in telling you about it and pitching why you need it,” Eberhardt said. “They are almost fearless in who they will approach and present their idea, service or product to.”
Credit: Creativity image via Shutterstock As someone who works almost exclusively with entrepreneurs, Robin Samora, president of the business and PR consulting firm Let’s Make You Shine. said entrepreneurs all tend to have a unique way of fixing issues that may arise.
“They come up with novel ways to solve problems that others can’t even imagine,” Samora said. “Ideas flow and come naturally to them.”
Credit: Think Positive image via Shutterstock. Even in the worst situations, successful entrepreneurs always see the opportunity to glean something new, said Lili Balfour, founder of the investment banking firm Atelier Advisors.
“When their world is falling apart, they remain calm, knowing that there is a lesson to be learned.” Balfour said. “They are grateful for what has worked out and learn from what has not worked out.”
Thrives in uncertainty
Credit: Curious image via Shutterstock Especially when first starting out, executive coach Elene Cafasso said entrepreneurs are able to function without a lot of certainty.
“If you are someone who becomes paralyzed when there are too many moving pieces and too many contingencies, then owning your own business is not right for you,” Cafasso said.
Credit: Dreamstime.com Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a research affiliate with Hogan Assessments. believes entrepreneurs have an opportunistic mindset and are always prepared to take advantage of every situation.
“They see opportunities where others don’t,” Chamorro-Premuzic said. “Few people are driven to pursue them.”
Learns from mistakes
Credit: Embarrassed man image via Shutterstock New York wedding expert Nadia Digilov said entrepreneurs all have a willingness to learn from their mistakes.
“Natural entrepreneurs analyze their behavior and are not afraid to admit that they have made a mistake,” Digilov said. “They attempt to correct negative behaviors more easily then non-natural entrepreneurs.”
Credit: Dreamstime The mind of an entrepreneur is always at work, said Richard Stiennon, chief research analyst and founder of analyst firm IT-Harvest.
“He or she cannot turn off the flow of ideas,” Stiennon said. “Every problem is an opportunity to build a business to solve it.”
Credit: Dreamstime Business consultant Paul O’Leary believes born entrepreneurs have a natural gift for gab.
“They are assertive, direct and to-the-point with a sense of urgency,” O’Leary said.
Credit: Dreamstime.com Hope Katz Gibbs, founder and president of Inkandescent Public Relations, said that as an entrepreneur herself, she believes those who are born with the characteristics needed to run their own business all are willing to get back up after being knocked down.
“Our ideas aren’t always successful, but the thing that differentiates us is that we don’t give up — or give in,” Katz Gibbs said. “We just learn from what didn’t work, and what did, and start again.” Ultimately, she said, entrepreneurs are the last ones standing.
Find Your Business Idea
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#designing business cards
How to design a business card: 10 top tips
A well-designed business card lends legitimacy to your business, and can make you stand out from the crowd of competitors. Check out our top tips on how to make a lasting impression.
Although we re working in paperless offices more and more, the humble business card is still a mainstay of business. If you haven t got a card you can give out to prospective clients or collaborators, you re missing out on a key marketing opportunity.
Not all business cards are created equal, however. We live in a world where the average small business can design their own cards and order them from well-known online printers for under 20. These cards tend to be of an inferior weight, and typically use twee clipart to relate themselves to the business being advertised.
What this means is that there are a lot of poorly designed business cards out there! This is both a challenge and an opportunity: to stand out you need to create a design that looks fantastic, and helps you differentiate yourself. If you can make it tactile and feel pleasant in the hand, you ll be well on your way. Create an effective card and you can elevate your business above your competitors before the prospect has ever seen your website!
So, with all that in mind we ve brought together 10 of our top tips for creating effective, innovative business cards .
01. Use good design principles
It might seem obvious but it s worth reiterating that a business card is a piece of printed material like any other. Because of this, the basic principles of paper-based design apply to business cards:
- keep all your key copy at least 5mm from the trim edge
- work at 300dpi for best image reproduction
- ensure you maintain a minimum size for your typography to maintain legibility
- design in CMYK unless you re working exclusively with spot colours
Many designers also find it helps to use a grid to lay out their cards, as this can help you to achieve the right hierarchy of information as well as ensure your alignment is sound.
02. Get creative within the constraints
There are a couple ‘standard’ sizes for business cards, depending upon where you are in the world. One typical example is 55x85mm, although you’ll see many other sizes quoted on the web. Working within this tiny canvas you can still get creative with the space: start by considering the key information you want to include, which will typically be a name, phone number and email address, then work your design around presenting this information in a creative way.
03. Avoid common pitfalls
There are some common pitfalls to designing business cards that it helps to be aware of. The first and most obvious is to ensure you provide a bleed as specified by your printer. This is commonly 3mm, but can be 5mm so check! Just as important is to avoid using a straightforward border around the entire of the card, as this will show up any misalignment in the trim if the card isn’t perfectly cut.
04. Use special finishes
This example features a UV spot to highlight fret positions, on the reverse of a guitar tutor s business card
An instant way to add impact to your business card, and make it stand out from the crowd, is to use a special finish. Special finishes include the likes of foil blocking, spot-UV and metallic inks, and can add significant cost to your print. What they offer, however, is the opportunity to make your card more tactile, visually impressive and memorable.
Different printers offer different options for finishes, so speak to them to find out what they can do for you, and don t be afraid to go to a specialist if your usual printer only offers straight four-colour print.
05. Cut into your card
This card, designed by Phil Jones, Ryan Coleman and Jeff McCullough for Yoga One, shows how some creative thinking with die-cuts can result in a fun and memorable card
A great way to make your card unique is to use a die-cut process to remove elements from the card stock, leaving a void. You can either use a die to change the shape of your card (by rounding the corners, for example), or you can cut shapes out of the centre.
Dies are expensive to create the first time, although increasingly printers are offering laser-cut options that make it economical to create a die-cut look on shorter print-runs. There are some amazingly creative examples on the web, and when combined with creasing you can use the process to create architectural features in your card design. Also, don’t overlook letterpress as an option.
06. Use unusual materials
This card is constructed from a printed circuit board, and works as a USB device. When plugged in, it provides additional information about the owner
Most business cards are printed on card stock. This is the most cost-effective option for printing your cards. If you re willing to get a little more creative, you can print onto all sorts of different materials including transparent plastics, metals, wood and even slate.
Here dog treats have been used as a business card material, allowing the card to serve two purposes simultaneously
Keep in mind that cards need to be portable, and easy to file away in a pocket or briefcase, but get creative with your choice of stock material and you’ll instantly stand out from everyday business cards.
07. Make it useful
This business card designed by Emily Berry converts into a handy chair that can hold your phone upright on a desk
One of the problems with paper is that it s everywhere. Some people hold on to every bit of paper they receive, while others are far more ruthless and recycle at the first opportunity. To avoid the risk of being recycled, make your business card work as more than simply a calling card.
This card was designed by Jamie Wieck and includes a seed that sprouts after a few days of soaking
Some of the most memorable designs incorporate function as well as form. Examples include business card that act as a holder for hair clips or turn into a miniature armchair for your mobile.
08. Make your own
Breakfast Creatives cut up old cereal boxes to form their own, brand-relevant business card design. Credit: http://breakfastcreatives.co.uk
If you re feeling creative, why not make your own business cards? You can find letterpress kits on eBay at reasonable prices, allowing you to convert any card stock into your own business card with ease. This is a time-consuming but very satisfying way of expressing yourself in a card!
09. Recycle old cards
These cards were made by hand out of business cards, christmas cards and screenprints that went wrong. Credit: http://designbyif.co.uk
Old business cards, postcards or packaging can be repurposed and given a new life as your business card. Recycling is both environmentally sound and can allow you to express your creativity in new and exciting ways. There are some fantastic examples on the web to get your creative juices flowing. The process can be as simple as getting some stickers printed, or as complex as hand-illustrating over the top of each old card to suit the recipient.
10. Double-check your artwork
This tip applies to every bit of print work you do, but it s so crucial it s worth repeating. When sending your artwork off to the print shop, make sure you ve double-checked every single detail. There s nothing worse than getting back your cards and discovering you missed a typo in the email address or name. Check twice, print once is a a well learnt adage!
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Have you got any tips for designing effective business cards? Let us know in the comments below.
10 great start-up business ideas to launch in weeks: Starting a business advice and
#start up business ideas
10 great start-up business ideas to launch in weeks
Take a look around you this morning as you drive or catch the train to work.
From the window cleaner who arrives on your street as you close the front door behind you to the coffee cart serving cappuccinos and lattes at the station, the world is full of thriving and profitable small businesses that have been set up for relatively little initial outlay.
These are not ‘clever’ businesses trading on the strength of innovative new products and nor do they require the backing of deep-pocketed investors to get them off the ground. They succeed because their owners are responding to genuine demand for tried and trusted services.
And with a low initial outlay and overheads, many of these small-scale ventures can be profitable within weeks or months and over time provide their owners with a good income.
So how do you get started? Well, to give you an idea of how it’s done, here are 10 great businesses ideas I’ve come across that you can get up and running within weeks.
1. Mopping up – household cleaning
The lower your outlay, the faster you turn a profit and that’s one of the big attractions of launching a domestic cleaning business. For instance Millie Dark, founder of Sussex cleaners, Mrs Muscle started her company with no real investment. “My customers supply all the equipment and cleaning products,” explains Millie.
Millie worked part-time for a few months before advertising in the local press and word-of mouth generated enough work to go full time. Today she employs 12 part-timers. “It’s taken me a couple of years to get that stage,” she says.
2. On cloud K9 – dog walking
A dog walking and pet sitting service can also be set up with minimal investment. For instance, when Catherine Cleaver started her business – Catherine’s Pet Services – all she needed was £500 for a couple of garden kennels.
Catherine placed a few ads in shop windows. Over time – and with the help of word of mouth recommendation and ads in the local magazine – what started as a part-time activity became a full time job.
“I was earning enough to live on after about three months,” she says “and after about a year I felt I had a sustainable business.” She succeeds by offering a range of services, including dog walking, pet visits and boarding.
3. Cutting it – home hairdressing
Many hairdressers dream of starting their own businesses but are deterred by the cost of renting a salon. Setting up a home visit service can be an ideal way forward.
There is a significant outlay on brushes, tongs, dryers, mirrors and products. “You’re talking several thousands rather than hundreds,” says Ela Lapus, founder of Home Hair and Make Up.
“And customers expect to see the same products they find in a salon. Customers will also expect evidence of recognised skills. I have Level 2 and Level 3.”
The key to profitable success is effective marketing. Hairdressers can use local ads and web directories to publicise their services. Social Media can also be effective. “About 50% of my work comes through Facebook,” says Ela.
Once the initial investment had been made Ela was able to start earning immediately but the present business, operating across several counties has taken a number of years to build.
4. A caffeine hit – mobile coffee bar
We’re a coffee hungry nation and beyond Starbucks and Costa there are thousands of small mobile barista carts selling lattes on the go.
“A coffee maker will cost about £5,000,” says Beth Baxter, co-founder of Camper Cafe. “And then you have to pay for the cart or a van to put it in.”
Prices vary but carts or trailers can cost anything between £5,000 and £10,000. The founders of Camper Cafe were given a Volkswagen van which they kitted out to become their visual signature. Training is an additional cost. Courses for coffee making can be had for between £50 and £200.
Finding pitches is the most challenging aspect as you are often in competition with other vendors. “It took us a year to find out about the market,” says Beth. “After that we took off.”
5. Juiced perfect – mobile juice bar
The rise of coffee carts has been matched by the emergence of juice bars in markets, shopping malls, public thoroughfares and events. The set-up costs are similar to coffee in terms of equipment and training.
6. Bright idea – window cleaning
If you have a car with a roof rack you can start a window cleaning business for a few hundred pounds (bucket, ladder, clothes, etc).
Alternatively you might invest in high pressure pure water sprays, water tanks (around £2,000) and a van to carry them (say £15,000). This is increasingly common.
The challenge then is to build a customer base and that tends to be up close and personal. “Initially the most effective way to do it is to knock on doors and ask,” says Guy Lupton, co-founder of Khameleon Window Cleaning Ltd.
Building a solid base can take time. “We spent about three years of trial and error to get it right,” says Guy. “We’ve been going about five.”
However, when you do get it right the business can grow rapidly. “We still knock on doors,” says Guy. “But we get a lot more business by word of mouth.”
7. Showing drive – ‘Man in a Van’ business
Advertisements for ‘Man in a Van’ and ‘Light Removals’ services are a common sight on shop window advertising boards.
The pre-requisite is a van, probably a Luton-style box van with a tail lift and that’s also the main expense. You’ll need public liability insurance (as is the case for all the businesses listed here). The ongoing costs include petrol, servicing, MOT, and repairs.
The main challenge is building a customer base and most operators use flyers, shop window ads and online directories. Man or woman in a van businesses can be quick to establish but work is required to build a market and perhaps the biggest challenge is getting the pricing right.
8. Highest bidder – an eBay business
Launching an eBay business allows you reach a national and occasionally an international market. You can auction goods or sell at a fixed price.
Most eBay businesses will pay at least £19.99 per month as a subscription fee (rising to £59.99 for a featured shop and £349 for an ‘Anchor Shop’) and on top of that you will pay fees for each auction or fixed price insertion and each sale.
To succeed on eBay you usually have to find goods that can’t be bought elsewhere or offer popular products at knock-down prices. For some it’s a part-time source of pin-money, for others a full-time business. Posters on eBay include Nasty Gal and six years after starting to sell vintage clothing on the auction site it’s now a £60m business .
9. A gem of a business – jewellery and crafts
Many small businesses are based around the skills of their founders. For instance, if you have training as a jeweller or sculptor, an obvious way to sell your work is to market direct to the public via web, craft fairs or through shops.
Tools can cost anything from a few hundred to many thousands of pounds but you can keep costs down by working from a home studio. Ongoing costs include materials, rental at craft fairs (from as little as £20 per day to more than a £1,000).
Jane Faulkner, a jeweller based in Sussex, sells via the web and craft fairs while also having shelf-space in a local co-operative (Billingshurst Creatives) where craftspeople and artists can display their goods in return for taking turns manning the store.
“Craft fairs are my biggest source of income while the shop provides a regular cheque every month,” says Jane. Teaching is also part of the business.
With these revenue streams Jane feels she has a sustainable business, but it has taken around eight years to establish.
10. Snappy work – photography
Photography is another skills-based business. Go to almost any event – from music gigs to vintage car rallies and weddings and you’ll find photographers hard at work.
As Art Hutchins, a freelancer photographer trading as Artseye points out, it’s a business that requires investment in time and money. “Being a serious pro photographer requires a high level of financial investment in good quality equipment and time to acquire the knowledge and skill to use it.”
Starting from scratch would mean buying pro-quality cameras (around £2,000) lenses (£100-£1,000), tripods and lights but many photographers who set up their own businesses will already have acquired some of the equipment over time.
According to Art Hutchins, the best approach is to decide on a target market – in his case small businesses, editorial and family portraits. “The best marketing is word of mouth,” he says.
Very different businesses but all can be started quickly and easily using readily available equipment or existing skills. Importantly most of these businesses take payment either at the point of sale or soon after and that’s great for cashflow.
Demand is there but the key is to market effectively and at the right price.
John Fagan is the head of RBS branch business, England Wales and direct banking. His team work with businesses to build a bigger support network inside the bank and beyond with partners and fellow customers. www.rbsbusinessconnections.co.uk
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19 Hot Sports Business Ideas
There’s a lot of money in sports. Usually, that adage is associated with negativity high player salaries, ticket prices, concessions but on another level, it’s true on a small business level.
Sports present a lot of small business opportunities to entrepreneurs and there are plenty of sports business ideas that don’t require any athletic ability whatsoever. In fact, there are a number of businesses that are more just ways of marketing established businesses to a sports audience.
Athletics appeal to one of the broadest ranges of people. For many children, youth sports remain a rite of passage. And adults are being encouraged to be more athletic every day.
Check out these hot and potentially lucrative sports business ideas.
Hot Sports Business Ideas
For a lot of blue-chip college recruits, they’re making names for themselves in elementary school literally thanks to the fame they’ve built on YouTube and other video sites. Professionally edited “mixtapes” showcasing their skills serve as a way of getting their names in front of the public and, more importantly, college recruiters.
This isn’t just for the Thon Maker’s of the world, either. Any high school athlete with eyes on an athletic scholarship can benefit from a seamless highlight reel.
Every youth sports team still takes the time to sit down for team and individual pictures. These images often become family keepsakes and are shared with relatives and friends. And there’s usually a local photographer responsible for delivering those images.
Your community’s youth soccer league generally looks for a local photographer. Marketing your photo studio to these organizations could land a lucrative and long-lasting contract.
Want to go beyond the standard still team shot or the posed standing-with-bat picture? One of the more popular trends in youth sports is for a team or organization to partner with a photographer who can deliver in-game action shots.
Parents can then check out the real-time photos being taken of their youngster and purchase prints of their kids sliding into second base or hitting a big shot.
Sure, the value of some of those sportscards has come down drastically in recent years but there’s still a thriving sports memorabilia market.
A word of advice: for as long as there has been sports memorabilia, there has been an active fraudulent sports memorabilia market, too.
Sports League Organizer
We’re not talking the level of the NFL’s Roger Goodell but starting a sports league on the local level is a real possibility for a creative entrepreneur.
Amateur public basketball leagues, kickball leagues, dodgeball leagues all have someone at the helm to keep it all organized.
Referees are typically in high demand and it can become a regular gig for a lot of solopreneurs. Scholastic and collegiate sports organizations are always in need of refs for any number of sports.
Additionally, amateur athletics organizations like the Amateur Softball Association have a regular call for umpires and other officials.
Solopreneurs with some time to commit can become a team coach. Typically, these roles are filled by former players not necessarily star players, either with a knowledge of how the game is played and taught.
Coaching gigs are typically available through local school districts and at colleges and universities. Also, select and travel teams certainly need coaches.
Tennis coaches. Golf coaches. They’re still in demand and if you’re skilled in the sport, there’s a young protege in waiting who could benefit from one-to-one sessions.
Those examples are pretty standard. Today, specialization in sports has opened new opportunities. Think, a shot coach for basketball. A goalie coach in hockey.
Sports Camp Organizer
Camps can last anywhere from one day to a week or longer. These are specialized training sessions usually held during off-season months for players of a sport to hone their skills.
The best sports camps partner with a locally well-known athlete to boost credibility and attendance.
Personal Fitness Trainer
There’s always a demand for people to help others get healthy. Really, those people need personal trainers to keep them to a fitness regimen.
Becoming a trainer requires a lot less overhead and infrastructure in place to get started, too.
Whether it’s investing in a gym franchise or starting a small independent weight room, fitness-conscious people and bodybuilders need “their church” where they congregate.
This type of business clearly requires a little investment, obviously. Gym equipment, a gym, and insurance are just the beginning.
Martial Arts Instructor
There is a rise in interest of martial arts of all kinds. This goes beyond the ordinary karate dojo, too.
Martial arts enthusiasts are showing keen interest in more specialized forms of the sport. Of course, the rise of mixed martial arts fighting has increased interest in martial arts, too.
Private practice psychologists can market their scientific skills to the athlete’s mind. There’s usually a lot going on up there.
Create a marketing campaign that targets athletes. And it needn’t be athletes that are struggling with performance slumps either. Coaches needing confidence, assertiveness, and leadership training may seek counsel, too.
Yoga appeals to a particular audience but it can benefit so many more.
Marketing an existing yoga studio to team or field sports athletes can boost the amount of people walking into that studio. Targeting an entire team and offering a package deal on a special night one you may normally not be open may help alleviate any insecurities these athletes may have about attending yoga.
This is another business that only requires a targeted marketing effort. Reach out to teams local to your practice and offer your services.
Got a passion for one particular team, sport, player, or league? Craft a clever domain name hint: a lot of the names you’ve probably already thought of are taken and get to producing a lot of content.
Remember, the sports blogosphere is a crowded one. To stand out, you’ll need a unique take or angle and content quality is of the utmost importance. You ve got to know as much as and more than the average fan.
Sports Bar Owner
Not everyone in the business of sports needs to participate in on-field activities. The public still likes to watch sports more than play them. And they need a place, in public, to watch these games with their fellow die-hard fans.
Bounce House Owner
A popular group outing especially for kids (and their parents) are bounce houses. We’re not talking the blow-up variety at a children’s party, either. Think, a room full of trampolines.
Skate Park Owner
Skateboarding remains one of the most popular action sports. Of course, there are a lot of concerns that need to be addressed before you allow anyone to start going airborne off ramps and trick apparatus.
These are just a few sports business ideas, do you have any to share? List some of your ideas below.
Joshua Sophy is the Assistant Editor for Small Business Trends and the Head of Content Partnerships. A journalist with 17 years of experience in traditional and online media, Joshua got his start in the newspaper business in Pennsylvania. His experience includes being a beat reporter covering daily news. He eventually founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press, covering his hometown. Joshua supervises the day-to-day operations of Small Business Trends’ busy editorial department including the editorial calendar and outgoing assignments.
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10 Steps For Starting a Car Wash From The Ground Up – Tommy Car
#car wash business
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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#start up business grants
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.
#naming a business
10 Rules of Thumb for Naming a Business
It’s been a busy week across the pond — on Monday, July 22, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, welcomed a royal baby boy into the world. Upon arrival, and particularly on Tuesday July 23 when the couple first stepped out of St. Mary’s Hospital with the newborn in tow, the world was satisfied in now knowing the sex of the baby. But what about the name? After all, this is a baby that despite being two days old is third-in-line to the throne and upon arrival, is also expected to boost Britain’s economy by nearly 240 million pounds in baby-related product sales — the equivalent of almost $400 million in USD.
Bets were made and while names including Philip, James, George, and Alexander all ranked high on the guessing list, the final name was revealed as George Alexander Louis. Named for his great great grandfather George VI, the new name ensures he will become a future King George VII.
Royalty aside, undoubtedly there was a great deal of care and consideration that went into deciding on the name for the royal baby — especially one that will be a commercial success with collectibles commemorating the event and tourist arrivals. In a similar thread is how a business decides on its own name. With a reported 252 million domain names currently registered online. start-ups at this point have names featuring every misspelling, mashup, hyphen, and underscore under the sun possible to set them apart from competitors. But is this even recommended for a business? And what’s to say that the first name out of the gate doesn’t get changed a few months later? Before you get in too deep on the details of how to name your business, keep the following tried and true tips in mind.
1) First off, conduct a business name search.
Maybe you have a name for your company in mind that is so secret (and amazing) you’re afraid to tell everyone lest somebody else beats you to the punch in using it. Or worse, if you decide to go ahead and use the name and it turns out similar names are out there like it and you’re up in arms on a trademark infringement case. Conduct a business name check first and then reserve the name online if it’s available before you begin the incorporation process.
2) Name needs to be meaningful and memorable.
As stated by the Wall Street Journal. businesses face the challenge of creating names that carry meaning, are memorable, and aren’t “alphabet soup” George Louis Alexander has a name full of meaning with the first name from his great great grandfather and “Louis” from Prince Philip’s uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten. Keep in mind what your business offers and tie that in as specifically as possible whenever you can.
3) The shorter the better.
Keep the name of your business short and easy to spell. No muss, no fuss, and definitely makes it easier to claim a website address or URL that way too.
4) Skip nods to pop culture.
And while we’re here, avoid Internet memes too. Sweet Brown’s “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” catchphrase is tired, to say the least.
5) Tell your business like it is.
One of my favorite company name game stories is the story behind Virgin and how Richard Branson (circa age 20) and his team came up with the name because a team member chimed in, “What about Virgin? We’re complete virgins at business.” When in doubt, consider the core of what your business does and stick to that core, rather than trying to cover it up with something fancier or more stately but ultimately confusing.
6) Keep alliteration in mind.
Lululemon, TED Talks, Coca-Cola, and hey, even Kim Kardashian — all brands (and people) that exercise the use of alliteration well and stake out a place in our memory banks while they’re at it.
7) When in doubt, make it up.
See: Haagen-Dazs here, believe it or not! Go for unique and original as much as you possibly can.
Steve Jobs began working on a line of personal computers in the 1970s during a time when computers were hardly for everyone and too huge and seemingly complicated to figure out. “Apple” came about as a means to attract people from all walks of life – universally inviting all around. Don’t try to complicate the name of your business or you might wind up alienating some of your audience.
9) Grab your social media spots.
Along with the URL for the business name, you’ll want to check and make sure there are places on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr (at the minimum) to claim early on.
10) Changing names? Do it with a purpose.
In an effort to avoid being seen as another “box” like Dropbox, YouSendIt recently switched over to “Hightail” as their new brand name of choice. When deciding on switching names for your business, lead by example and avoid following any crowd you might be seen too closely following. And when further in doubt, seek divine mythology intervention to guide you — Blue Ribbon Sports sought out the Greek winged goddess of victory when it came to switching over their now infamous name, Nike.
From Our Partners
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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#small business ideas
10 Google Tricks for Taking Your Local Business Digital
By Kim Zimmermann, BusinessNewsDaily Contributor February 29, 2012 07:21 pm EST
Google may be a global search giant, but there are lots of ways to leverage the power of search to promote your small business to local customers. If you haven t yet embraced digital marketing for your local business, Google is a good place to start.
Consumers increased reliance on social media and online research to make purchasing decisions is helping drive the value of using Google to promote small companies. Yet, many companies still don t even have a website. In fact, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of businesses do not yet have a website, Frederick Vallaeys, Google s AdWords evangelist. told BusinessNewsDaily.
Google Places is a good place to plant your flag, he said. These are free directory pages for local businesses; there are 50 million Type in your business name in Google, he said. If a Google Places page exists, it will show up in the results.
When you re ready to invest in advertising, you can take advantage of Google s AdWords. This is self-service, keyword-based advertising that works on a cost-per-click basis. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad and comes to your site.
Learn with Google can help business owners get acquainted with Google s business side. Entrepreneurs can check out free video courses, read how-to guides and follow worksheets to promote their businesses online.
Here is a brief overview of Google tools that will help you get your business going in the digital direction.
Since many small-business owners don t have a lot of time or advertising agencies at the ready, this is a quick and simple solution. Business owners provide some basic information and Google creates their ad.
Google will also manage your ad, pushing it to the right people whether they re searching on laptops or mobile devices.
Google+ Your Business
Facebook has become an unstoppable marketing force for many businesses, and Google has its own version.
You can share links, photos and promotions with the right customers at the right times.
The posts can be public so people can find them using search, or you can use the Circles feature to tailor specific messages to specific followers. You can even initiate live video chats with potential customers who want to dig deeper.
You need to know that your marketing efforts are not being wasted, and Google Analytics can measure your success. You don t need an army of analysts or even an enterprise to use this enterprise-worthy tool.
The free system allows business owners to track sales and conversions and measure your site engagement goals against thresholds. Once you know who is coming to your site and what they re looking for, you can write more highly targeted ads and strengthen your marketing initiatives.
Customers are still driven by deals and Google Offers matches your business with relevant customers in your area looking for discounts.
Customers prepay for these targeted discounts and small-business owners are paid a few days after the offer runs.
While Google can drive customers to your business, it can also be a money maker.
Small-business owners can add custom search engines to their site and earn cash from ads on the search results pages.
With AdSense, entrepreneurs can also display ads that match their audience s interests on their website and earn from valid clicks or impressions.
Google Keyword Tool
It is all about the keyword, and it is important to select the right ones to attract the right customers to your business. This feature enables you to test-drive keyword ideas using any combination of keywords, a URL and categories.
Users can compare statistics for your keywords with one or more match types at the same time.
The mobile search component provides data by search volume and competition types.
Once you perfect your keywords, you want to know how much your campaign will cost.
Business owners will get a report on average estimated cost per click, total estimated clicks and total estimate costs for each keyword.
Word spreads on the Web like wildfire, and Google s +1 button makes it easier for customers to share their experiences about your business.
The +1 button that connects Google+ makes it easier for your customers to start conversation with their circles while also providing timely recommendations. In addition, +1 annotations on Google search help bring these recommendations to users who are searching for your products and services.
There are Google Search, Display and YouTube ads, but mobile is becoming a prime methods for targeting consumers at the point of decision.
It is also important that your website displays well on an array of mobile devices. Using howtogomo.com, business owners can see how their site looks on a mobile device and get customized recommendations for creating a mobile-friendly experience.
Google Apps for Business
Communicating with customers and potential customers is key to your business, but it is not always easy without tech support.
Google offers a suite of online tools that are ready for business, including email, a calendar and documents.
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10 Best Android Apps for Business
Let your Android smartphone help you by downloading the right apps. / Credit: Shutterstock
You work hard running your small business, so let your Android smartphone or tablet help you by downloading the right apps. Desktop PC apps keep you on top of things at the office, but why stay chained to your desk when you have a powerful computer right in your pocket?
Read on for 10 of the best Android apps to help you run a better small business.
1. Microsoft Office for Tablets (Free)
Android tablet owners don t have to waste their time with Microsoft s super-limited Office Mobile apps, which were the only option for mobile office users until recently. Now Microsoft has launched a full-featured version of Office for Android tablets. The Android apps, which include Word. PowerPoint and Excel. are a lot like the full desktop versions, right down to the iconic options ribbon at the top of the interface. And they re optimized for touch devices, with large, easy-to-tap buttons. Plus, they integrate with Microsoft s OneDrive cloud-storage platform, so your documents stay synced across all your devices. The Office for Android apps aren t available for Android smartphones just yet, however.
2. Google Docs, Sheets and Slides(Free)
The best productivity suite for Android smartphones is still Google s own collection. The apps include word processor Docs. spreadsheet editor Sheets. and presentation maker Slides. Google s apps have more features and a cleaner, more attractive interface than competing office apps on the platform. They also offer better tools to insert tables, images, charts and other complex elements into your documents, and they re compatible with Microsoft Office files, so you can seamlessly transition between your desktop computer and your mobile device. And since you can edit offline now, you never have to worry about losing service.
There are quite a few solid cloud-storage options available for Android, but Google Drive is our top pick, because this service comes built right into the operating system. Like similar services Dropbox, Box and OneDrive, to name a few Google Drive lets you store files and documents online, so they re backed up and accessible from anywhere on any Android device with an Internet connection. As a bonus, Google Drive is integrated with QuickOffice; just sign in with your Google account credentials to get access to all documents stored in the cloud. Plus, every edit you make in QuickOffice is automatically backed up to Google Drive.
4. Microsoft Remote Desktop (Free)
For small business owners, Microsoft s Remote Desktop app is a reliable and secure way to connect remotely to your work PC from your Android phone or tablet. It s also a simple way to use your Windows applications on the go. For example, you can take advantage of the full desktop versions of Microsoft Word or Excel right from your smartphone or tablet to view and edit documents from anywhere.
Microsoft s OneNote has a few advantages over competing note-taking apps. For starters, we prefer its easy-to-use interface; Evernote may have more in-depth features, but it s not as user-friendly as OneNote. Plus, OneNote automatically syncs all your notes to OneDrive, so they re backed up and accessible via the cloud. We like the OneNote integration because it works with your existing Microsoft account, so there s no need to create and maintain another account. OneNote works best with a stylus-equipped device, such as those in Samsung s Galaxy Note line, so you can draw diagrams and write notes by hand. The app can even transcribe handwritten notes so they re searchable later on.
6. QuickBooks for Android (Free with a Quickbooks desktop subscription, starting at $12.95)
QuickBooks offers solid accounting tools to help you track and manage your finances. The Android app isn t a fully-featured, mobile version of the QuickBooks desktop application; think of it as a mobile companion app with useful tools to help you track sales, send out invoices and review recent payments when you re away from the office. It requires a QuickBooks subscription, but a free 30-day trial is available.
7. Square Register (Free)
No small business is too small to accept credit cards, and you don t need a lot of special equipment to do it. Once you download the Square Register app, you can sign up to receive a credit card reader dongle free in the mail. Just plug the dongle into the headphone jack on your iPhone, and swipe a credit card to start processing payments on the go. The app also allows you to enter credit card information manually. Square takes a cut of every payment, but face it: If your business doesn t accept credit cards, you are losing out on business.
8. Expense Manager (Free)
Expense Manager is a personal finance app with tons of tools for entrepreneurs. The app lets you categorize, record and track your small business s expenses with an easy-to-use interface, then organizes them into visual graphs to show you where your money is going. In other words, Expense Manager will help you keep your bank account so you can stay focused on business operations.
If you need a solid video conferencing app to meet remotely with employees or clients, it s hard to beat the service that s synonymous with video chat. The Skype app for Android lets you make video calls using the front-facing camera on your handset. The platform is flexible, so you can connect with users on nearly any device. And if you re away from the office, it can virtually drop you into a staff meeting.
Our favorite overall calendar app for business users on the Android platform is the innocuously named aCalendar. Simply put, the app strikes the best balance between ease of use and powerful features. It hits all the basics, making it easy to toggle between day, week, month and year views. Plus, setting reminders for important engagements is a snap. On top of that, aCalendar has a bunch of business-specific features, like the option to schedule a meeting and invite attendees without leaving the app.
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