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Business Insider

Top 10 Small Business Ideas for 2012

Starting a small business takes a lot of planning and the ability to execute your business plans. Though it doesn’t require a big capital for a small business however you cannot lose your capital as this will cause a serious trouble on the financial front at the same time your future expansion plans. If you have knowledge about how to run a business successfully, you won’t be able to take a wrong move that can affect your business plans. Before we go on further to the small business ideas, refer to the tips for running a small business.
• Can it sustain your everyday expenses and can it profit you.
• Can it raise enough funds to get it running for a long time and can become a profitable venture.
• Is it something that is needed everyday and does it has an appeal to sell on a steady basis?
• Is it something that you know how to do and can you do it well?
• Is it something that you like to do and doesn’t mind you at all doing it over and over again?
Now that we know our objective in putting up a small business let’s go forward and see what are the best idea for small business this 2012.
1. Online business – this may include article writing/blogging, virtual assistant, translator, copy writer or bookkeeper, data entry, etc. This is one of the ideal business ideas for beginners would be to take advantage of various online business opportunities. By doing online data entry and online paid survey jobs, you can earn money per hour for your work. The more accuracy and consistency you show in your job, the more work you will get.
2. Mobile apps development – almost all people nowadays possesses a mobile phone and included on the mobile phone is application that people always uses. Calendars, Alarm Clocks, notepads are some example of applications that are commonly downloaded. Whether this is a businessman, a politician, an artist or just an ordinary person has a lot or even tons of mobile application.
3. Make-up artist or hair salons – Providing either makeup artist services or hair salons is yet another interesting small business idea. Makeup artists are in great demand in the fashion and entertainment industry. If you have the required makeup skills and talent, you can start your own company and do the makeup of television and movie stars. By providing good service, you can get long-term contracts which will increase your revenues greatly. The great thing about hair salons is that they are a sure thing. No matter how dismal the economic climate, women will still scrape together the money to get their hair done, even if they have to let their nails go. So hair salons with talented stylists and well-priced services will still be real money makers.
4. Cleaning services (pool, yard, garage etc.) – A cleaning service is a good business proposition for a person who relishes the idea of cleaning apartments, homes and commercial establishments. Housekeeping is an art and people are typically deterred by the prospect of getting grease, tough stains and odors out of carpets, keeping their bathroom clean and eliminating odors from their refrigerator. Hence, a cleaning service can be a steady source of income assuming that there are no immediate competitors. Otherwise, one would have to spend money on advertising and this may eat into one’s profits. Cleaning services can operate round the clock since residential apartments are generally cleaned during the day while commercial buildings are cleaned after office-hours. Considering that cleaning services earn popularity and goodwill through word of mouth, a job that is well done will rarely go unnoticed.
5. Elder assistant or baby sitting – being a babysitter doesn’t require you to have a license, with more parents needing to work and offering a home based child care can be a great way of starting your own business while taking care of your own kids too. The growing numbers of senior baby boomers also provide growing business opportunities for senior care. In-home care and senior residences are the obvious ones, but don’t forget all the related opportunities such as driving, delivery, catering and cleaning services for seniors who want to stay in their homes. You can certainly develop your own business providing care for seniors.
6. Recycler – the best thing of being a recycler is that you’re not just earning your own money and you’re also helping the environment. Average homeowner doesn’t always know where or how to recycle the stuff they’ve got. A pickup truck are all you’d need to start buying or simply offering to remove scrap metal, old computers, electronics, ink cartridges and other recyclable materials.
7. Event management/party planner – Event management or party planning can also be a good option for a small business. Event planners have to organize a particular event by taking into consideration the suggestions given by their clients. This job requires creativity, patience and ability to get work done from people on time. It can help you be a successful event planner if have a good team of creative professional that can help you organize the event under you.
8. Online selling – whether this is a pre-loved or brand-new stuff you can still earn big bucks. This is being popularized by e-bay. There are still some people who have a whole lot of money and are willing to spend it on the name products that matter. Luxury handbags, scarves, and shoes for women are still selling well, for instance.
9. Social media consultants – With the ever rising of the social media era and the giant social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and You tube, businesses have been taking advantage of this to gain more exposure for their brands and products. With more than 800 million active users in Facebook alone, business promotion in this top social networking site is now a priority for business owners and marketers. If you have the social media marketing skills that can outsource likes and follows for your client’s business, then this business can help you earn cold cash on the Internet.
10. Pet related services such as pet sitter, pet cleaning and grooming services – Most Canadians and Americans loves pet especially dogs and feeding, caring for them and pampering their pooches a spending priority. Kennels, doggie daycare, dog treat bakeries and dog resorts are few of the things that you may want to venture in.
These are not necessarily ideas for businesses that anyone can start however you can get some idea on the list above. But in my opinion, these are business opportunities that are going to provide real chances to make money in 2012 and beyond. Business that is done right, in the right place and for the right people may be profitable enterprises for years to come. If you’ve been considering a sale in 2012, take your time and do it right. Plan ahead, research your market and stand out from the competition. Knowing the sales process is half the battle. With proper preparation, you can ensure a stress free transition and a financially successful exit from your business.

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Business Plan

The 3 “Must Do’s” Before You Start A Small Business

So you’ve got your small business idea and you want to start a small business. What do you need to do to get your small business off to a flying start?
I am going to share with you what I believe are the 3 most important things to consider when starting a small business, especially a bricks and mortar business.
1. Research
You will need to carry out thorough research on the products or service that you are going to be selling. When I started my first business more than twenty years ago, my original business idea was to open up a pet shop. I wasn’t actually sure whether there would be a demand for that type of shop, so during one of my week’s holidays I actually parked in the main shopping street for 6 hours a day for the whole week and carried out thorough research including:
Counting the number of people who visited the shops each day.
Speaking to shoppers to ask whether they felt that there was demand for a pet shop in that area.
Speaking to other shop owners in the locality to ask for any tips that they could give me on the best ways to start a retail business.
Checking what other competitors were doing in order to offer better.
Checking location i.e. making sure that there was a market for what I was selling within a given area and that I could achieve the desired profit margins within that location. Location is very important when considering a bricks and mortar business as property leases and the prices that you can charge for your goods or services, are largely governed by location.
Needless to say I did not open a pet store but I opened up a chain of convenience stores instead based on using the same research techniques.
2. Create a Good Business Plan
You can have the best small business ideas in the world, but you will seldom get them off the ground without financial backing. In order to gain that all important backing you will first of all need to present your potential lender with a business plan.
Do not be out off by this. All too often you will already have the business plan already in your head and will merely need to put in down on paper. Some things that you need to include when writing a business plan are;
The product or service that you are going to provide.
Who your targeted customers are going to be.
The cost to make or buy the product to sell on or how much it’s going to cost you to provide the service that you are going to be offering.
Your operational costs including rent, staff, fuel, vehicles, equipment, stationary, materials, legal fees, advertising etc, etc. You will need to ensure that you list them all.
The location where you are going to be offering your goods or services.
3. Financial Planning
Financial planning for a new small business is not just about how much money people they spend but more about planning the amount of sales that you hope to make each day, the purchases you will need to make, and the income that you expect to make after deducting the overall costs of trading. Many small businesses fail in the first year of trading because of poor cash flow. Below are some suggestions of how to avoid cash flow problems within your first year of trading:
Create a “small business cash flow forecast. Simply write down all of your expenditure costs for each month for the first year of trading and then add them up. Then write down what you think you will achieve in sales. Deduct one from the other and this will provide you with the targeted amount of sales that you will need to make in order to break even or make a profit.
If you don’t feel confident to create your own cash flow forecast, you could ask an accountant to do it for you. They could also create a profit and loss statement for you at the same time.
It is advisable to have some emergency funds set aside when starting a small business. Every new business needs money to get started, even if is only to buy stock or stationary.
If possible try to allow a sum of money equal to the projected turnover for the first year of business to allow for any cash flow problems.
Get the best deals from your lender. Some banks like Nat West and HSBC now offer free banking for 2 years for all new small businesses. Check out a few banks as they all offer something unique.
Don’t be disheartened if you get a few refusals. Just remain focused on your business idea and remain confident in your approach when discussing your business plans with the business advisor.
I can remember when I started my first business, eighteen lenders turned me down. However I didn’t give up and eventually a bank manager situated 90 miles away believed in my passion and drive to start my own business and decided to lend me the money that I needed.
So there are, what I believe, are three most important things to consider when you start a small business.

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Small Business

The Elevator Pitch – A Small Home Business Idea

What floor of success are you on. Are you ready to ride the elevator to success? What you are about to read will change the way you deal with the elevator. You are about to learn about a business technique that can help your business grow. Never has there been a better time to become a business networker.
Abound, there are plenty of industry gatherings, trade shows, card exchanges and Chamber of Commerce meetings. “What do you do” is the most frequently asked question at these events. What is the answer you will give? If you are serious about increasing your business, that moment is not the time to go blank. Having an answer that is well thought out, timely and easy to understand is vital for your business survival and prosperity. You have a 15-30 second window to dazzle and describe how your business will benefit theirs.
Have you ever struck up a conversation with someone in the elevator? If you have, you are more than half way to understanding and using your elevator pitch. The elevator pitch is business jargon for a quick and powerful description of your business that can be given to someone before they get off of the elevator. The elevator pitch is not just a small home business idea. It is a powerful tool than can transform your business.
An effective elevator pitch is absolutely, positively necessary for your business promotion. It needs to become a major part of your business success arsenal. Once you develop it, you will use your elevator pitch time and time again. It will not be used exclusively at networking events. You will use it whenever someone wants to know “what do you do”. It will become of your advertising, website description, letterhead and other promotional items.
As you begin to develop your elevator pitch something amazing happens. You begin to focus on the core theme of what your business is about. This thought process will naturally allow you to ground your business model. It allows you to figure out what makes your business unique and what makes it stand out from your competition.
Try it soon. People want to hear your story! Every day millions wake up looking for solutions to their problems. Head to the local office building, (one with more than one floor of course) and start having some fun. Try doing this: Ask the person riding with you, “oh, did you ask me what I do?” Of course they will be a little startled. Just smile and tell them I am working on my elevator pitch for a big business meeting. Then just spring it on them! 99% of the time, you will get a smile. Don’t forget to ask the magic question, what do you think? What they think is not as important as what you just accomplished. You promoted your business to a perfect stranger who now knows you have something to offer. You never know, that practice session may lead to a million dollar sale! Just keep practicing.
After all, it takes pondering and practicing to make your business crystal clear and enticing to others. Here is an important key. Your pitch must be short and some parts of the services you provide will be left out. That is why it is so important to focus on your companies core value proposition.
Another key element is that your pitch must be very clear. Your neighbor or brother in-law must be able to understand what you do. After all, brother in-law will be needed to promote your business too. He wants his god-children, (niece and nephew) fed properly!
“Hi, I help people turn their ideas into income using the internet. Everybody has one or two special talents and we help them profit from those talents. What set’s us apart from our competition is our phone policy, if you have a phone, you can call us.” Your elevator pitch should talk a little about what makes you different from your competition.
Make sure your elevator pitch gives them something to remember you for. As business networking becomes more and more important, we all need to spend time telling others what makes us someone they want to do business with. Your elevator pitch will provide that brief window into your business and what you have to offer. So, is the elevator pitch a great small home business idea? Without a doubt it is. Create your elevator pitch today and start sharing “what do you do” to everyone who has time between the 1st and 15th floor! Here’s to all the success you are willing to work for.

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Small Business

Why Start A Small Business

As with any career, there are no guarantees that starting a small business will make you happy. Even though becoming your own boss will empower you to take control of your own destiny, it will also present many challenges along the way. So why start a small business and will it bring you the happiness and the lifestyle that you yearn for?
As the current economical downturn continues to cause uncertainty, more and more people are choosing to start a small business. Some are taking this route by choice, while others are being forced due to not earning enough money, personal debt soaring and becoming fed up of waiting for things to improve. Even graduates are starting to turn their back on their chosen careers and opting for the entrepreneurial route instead. However can anyone be successful in business?
The answer is sadly, no. Even if you have the best small business ideas in the world, have a great work ethic and a determination to succeed, these things alone will not guarantee you success.
You will need to be able to market your small business idea to others. Firstly to a bank or lender in order for them to support you by allowing you to open up a business account with them and to lend you funds if your business requires it.
Then you will need to convince your customers that you have what they need. Whatever line of business you choose, there will usually be a lot of competition out there so you will really have to work hard to convince them to buy from you. This can be achieved by building up your brand, (either your product or yourself), in order for them to connect with you and to build up trust for them to buy from you. Having a good reputation is paramount for success in business.
Even when you have branded yourself well, this alone will not a guarantee you success within business. For example, even well known celebrities who have embarked on business ventures have not always been successful, despite having a great brand. For example whilst Jay Z has been extremely successful within his business ventures having co- founded many successful companies including 40/40 club sports bar, Carol’s daughter beauty products, Brooklyn nets NBA, Def Jam records, Roc -a- fella records and clothing company Roca wear, fellow singer Kanye West was not so successful in his attempt at launching his clothing line Pastelle.Despite having a passion for fashion, two days after launching photos of his new fashion line, the business folded. Many believe that his interruption of Taylor swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV music awards contributed to the demise of his fashion line, thus proving how important having a good reputation is in business.
I, myself know only too well how quickly things can change in business. I lost count of how many times other supermarkets opened up close to my retail outlets causing my profits to drop. However fortunately I only lost customers for a short period as they always came back to my store largely due to the excellent customer service that I provided and also because I kept introducing more lines and better promotions to give them more value for their money. I regularly reviewed what my customers wanted and made sure that I provided for their needs.
I also constantly faced stiff competition when starting up my building company. However, again, the good reputation that my company built up, along with establishing the best marketing for that business, ensured the success of that business too.
When starting a small business it is important to be able to face the challenges that it can present. As well as being able to diversify to meet the ever changing needs of your customers, you also need to be aware of how difficult it can be to suddenly be accountable to others as well as yourself.
You will suddenly be accountable to your bank manager, your staff (If you have any), your customers and also your family as they too will be dependent on the success of your business. You will also find yourself suddenly without the luxury of having a guaranteed wage, sickness benefit and pension, all of which can be added pressure especially if you have any dips in trade which can often happen.
The best way to deal with such worries is to try to keep some spare cash aside when starting your own business, as security to pay bills in case of any hiccups along the way. You will also need to regularly analyse what is working well within your business in order to stop what is not working and do more of what is working.
To close, if you have any new business ideas that you feel passionate about, starting your own business can be a great way to create a better work/life balance. It can be very exciting and rewarding but you will need to recognise that you will have to work very hard at the beginning to get your business ideas off the ground. You will also need to have a detailed business plan, work hard at marketing and branding your product or service, build up a good reputation and most of all have a passion and determination to succeed. Take it from one who knows!

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Business Line

Small Business Idea – How to Start a Translation Service Business

Although the United States does not have an official language, the vast majority of the population speaks American English. However there are an estimated 337 other languages spoken by the population. Spanish is the second most common language in the U.S. with it being spoken by over 12% of the population. The Chinese languages, French, German, Tagalog (of the Philippine’s), Vietnamese, Italian, Korean and Russian round out the top ten languages spoken in the United States according to the 2000 census.
As we move towards a more culturally diverse country, coupled with the impact of globalization on our economy – the need for translation services will increase. Most, if not all major corporations offer a Spanish language translation to their customers via telephone IVR systems, marketing materials and other customer promotional items. It’s easy for them to do this because they have the budget and manpower to put into it, but this isn’t the case for the small business owner – and this is where you come in!
If you are fluent in multiple languages, consider putting that highly valuable skill to good use by starting a Translation Service business. The Internet book of the last 15 years has had a tremendous effect on marketing, for the first time in history the small business owner can reach a global audience with just a few clicks of the mouse. The unfortunate thing is that most of them are not capitalizing on this wonderful advantage due to fears of language and cultural barriers. If a Translation Service sounds like a business that you’d be interested in keep these things in mind:
1. What are the set up costs of a translation service business: For the price of marketing materials, a website, and the cost of your business license – you can start a translation service business. The main component of your business model is the ability to speak another language(s), however it is important that you are fluent and well versed in the proper spelling, grammar, tenses, etc. If you need to brush up on those things, we suggest making the investment in Pimsleur or Rosetta Stone language courses. Remember that your clients are business owners and professional so their documents must reflect that no matter what language they are written in.
2. How much money can I expect to make?: The going rate for professional translation services is 0.15 to 0.30 per word, however the larger companies tend to pad this amount with minimal requirements and other processing fees. It’s not uncommon for a 75 word document to run the neighborhood of $100 if not more. Considering the fact that the average email sent in the United States contains 50 words, paying $100 for translation is not cost effective.
Your competitive edge will be found in your price point. By keeping your minimum requirements low coupled with a wide range of services, you will make a name for your business.
3. How can I market my translation service business?: The first thing you’ll want to do is establish your online presence. This will allow you to reach a global market. Your marketing efforts however will begin on a more local level until you can build the revenue to advertise on a broader skill. Your target demographic will be businesses that while they attract a culturally diverse client base, they have no materials available in the language(s) you specialize in. Offer to, for a free or reduced rate – translate one page of their brochure, website or other important documents in exchange for their testimonial or reference.
Don’t limit yourself to brick & mortar businesses, reach out to online businesses as well.
When approached with professionalism, the possibilities of the translation service business are endless. As your client base grows, you may also consider hiring employees who are fluent in other languages as well. This will expand your reach and give you a leg up on the competition!