How to Start a Small Business

If you are a person who likes to live life on his own terms and does not want to get stuck in the 10 to 6 job routine, then starting a business is a great option for you. But it is not that easy. You have to work hard till it establishes firmly. Also, business is like a 24X7 job which you cannot afford to neglect. So, think about it only if you are ready to work hard with passion. Starting a business is a planned activity, be it a small or a big venture. Organizing yourself and keeping an eye on opportunities is the first requirement. Also, it is advisable to start any venture on a smaller scale, especially when it is your first attempt at a business.

Steps in Starting a Small Business

Ideas

As someone rightly said, “a big business starts with a small idea”, which means that you must have great ideas that can fetch a lot of profit. The idea of course should be free of any illegalities. It should give you an opportunity to serve the people and cater to their needs. Also it should be commercially viable and practical. Once your vision and aim is clear along with the start up idea, you are ready to move on to the next step.

Research

Market research is one of the most crucial steps in starting a business. You must have a thorough knowledge of the sector you are planning to enter in. You also must know about the competition and the challenges you will have to face. In short, you must have the complete knowledge about the industry. This will help you start with proper precautions and will also help you taste the success a little earlier.

Plan

A business plan is very important where you need to pen down every detail of the business including the details of capital investment, type of business, money transactions, marketing strategies, advertising strategies, etc. It will help you understand the proposed amount of money required in executing your plan. It is also essential when you go asking for grants and finance to the investors, lenders, or finance companies.

Finance

Once you have a plan ready, you also have to arrange for the required finance. You have to decide if you want to start a business in partnership, proprietorship, a corporation, or a public holding company, etc., and accordingly have to go and visit the lenders. You can also seek loans or government grants. You can use your savings or apply for a bank loan. It is suggested to consult your financial adviser before you take any such major decision. But whatever way you choose, you have to submit your business plan to the lenders or associates.

Legalities

Once you arrange for the finance, you must invest in the location or area where you wish to start a business and complete all the legal formalities associated with it. If it needs a license or permit, then acquire it before you start. You may have to register for local and state taxes to obtain tax identification, compensation for the workers, employee responsibilities, unemployment or disability insurance, etc. You also have to register your business with a state authority for your identity. These steps will help you determine the legal framework of your business that would help you avoid any legal problems in the future.

Get Started

With the right advertising and marketing strategy, you are sure to start on a positive note. Make sure that you are providing your clients or customers with satisfying services. You can also ask customers to give their feedback so you can improve upon it. Always maintain the quality of your goods and service that would help you retain the customers. In addition, have some interesting offers for the first few days to attract more customers. Once you establish the name and trust among customers, your business will certainly flourish.

Applying for a Business License

If you want to start your own business, the first step you need to take is to find out if you are required to obtain a business license, and/or a permit for commencing the business legally in your area. Usually, a majority of businesses are required to obtain a license and/or a permit.

If your type of business has such requirements, then applying for such a license should be your first step. A business license can be obtained through a city, county, or the state government office; and the requirements may differ from state to state or from location to location. Understanding what you need to do in order to prepare for the submission procedure will make the process a lot faster, which will enable you to obtain the license in less time.

Applying for and Obtaining a Business License

Before applying, it is important that you have all the documentation in proper order and ready to be present for further processing. The documentation would include information regarding the establishment of the business, any kind of identification number that is needed by the national government to recognize the business as legal, any other alternate names that are used for the business, and the business’ physical location.

All important business-related documents should be in place, so that you can provide the necessary ones to the local jurisdiction, without the need to stop the process for gathering other documents at the eleventh hour.

Your next step would be to approach the local government office, and determine which department or division is responsible for operating the issuance of licenses and permits that you specifically require. You also need to inquire about the information required for the application, how long it might take for the application processing, and what are the charges involved in the complete procedure.

If you are physically applying for the license, you need to include the fees along with the application submission. But if you are using the online process, you need to make the payment with a credit card. Progressively, a majority of jurisdictions have started to offer online resources for entrepreneurs who are thinking of applying for business licenses.

These resources may include a worksheet that helps you to understand how to precisely make out the application, how to download the business form, which is a crucial part of the procedure, and also significant information on what all steps are to be taken in order to renew the license. It is recommended to download the form from the jurisdiction’s website in advance before submission, and take some time to fill it as required.

In few countries, it is possible to obtain a business license online, without the need to physically go to the local court house. After you submit the application online, it is assessed. If the application is sanctioned, you are directed to a secure site where you can see and print your license. In some cases, you might even receive the license as a file attachment through an email informing that the application has been sanctioned.

You need to keep in mind that these procedures are carried out according to the local or state laws and regulations. It simply means that there are particular conditions and criteria that must be met in order to obtain a license for your business.

Starting a Private School

A private school is an institution that is independent of the Government, which is run by a group of people by raising funds and tuition fees from children. Though it can be a bit expensive for the parents to send their children to these schools, many opt for them because these institutions offer several advantages such as excellent classroom facility, individual attention, and educational facilities like computer labs, libraries, etc. As a result, they have gained a lot of popularity over the years, and so, there is a need of more such institutions. However, a person thinking about opening one needs to know various important things about starting it. The process is a long one (at least two years) and requires a lot of preparation. Nevertheless, if a person has a vision and strong determination, this dream will surely bear fruits.

Essential Tips for Success

It is true that you have a great vision of starting a school. However, you cannot do it on your own, and so, it is important to form a committee, comprising experienced educationists, parents, teachers, community leaders, etc. It is also important to include lawyers, accountants, etc., in it. Once the committee members have been finalized, talk to them about your ideas about starting it, and ask them for their expert opinions. Divide the committee into various sections, with each group focusing on a specific area such as research work, budgets, employment, advertising, etc.
It is important to indulge in research work before deciding the type of school you want to start. Conduct surveys to know what are the local people looking for in relation to it. The results would help you in deciding whether it should have a kindergarten, boarding school, elementary classes, high school, etc. It is also important to decide how many grades would it begin with; this usually depends upon the finances available in the beginning.
As you are a novice in this area, it would be better for you to look at other private schools. Research into the history of each of them; how it began, its management, progress, etc., to get a fair idea about planning the working of yours.
Once you are done with the research work, the next step would be to develop a plan for it. It should include the budget required, location, faculty, and other staff members. The most important factor here is the budget because it determines the type of school that is going to be started. Many times, committees only think about the obvious expenditure that would come up while planning to start this institution. However, it is necessary to plan for unexpected expenses very well ahead.
Just like any other institution, it also requires the approval of state government. The lawyer in your committee could look after such legal matters such as notifying the state department of education, and also on other legal matters that are essential for its opening.
The next step would be to find donors who would provide you with the initial funding. You can apply to private companies, foundations, and people who do regular charity work for financial help. The committee would also need to do some campaigning to acquire adequate funds.
The next step is deciding the location. You can either buy a vacant plot or opt for an already built-up building for your school. If you are planning to buy an old building, look for how much money you would have to put in to remodel it, and whether it is worth the expenses. Choose an area, which could easily be accessible for students, providing them with various facilities.
The next important step is choosing your faculty and staff members. Give an advertisement for the position of principal, business manager, teachers for various grades and subjects, and other staff members. Look for experienced, as well as potential candidates who have the ability to contribute in a productive way.
Once you have selected your faculty, it is the time to admit students. Advertise about your school in newspapers, community groups, and club presentations. It would also be a good idea to start a website for the same, where parents would be able to know more about it and the admission procedures.

Though you may have big dreams about your school, start with small goals and gradually move towards bigger goals. By taking small steps, you would surely be able to achieve success in your endeavor.

How to Start a Greeting Card Business

One can start a greeting card business, which can surely be an exciting thing to do, in case you have a liking for words, design, and creativity. If you can express your feelings in a loving way, this line of work is most appropriate for you. Some people may not know, but this industry has a staggering USD 7 billion worth turnover. Nowadays, sending wishing cards through the Internet is the latest trend. However, despite this, people have always preferred to send or receive a card through mail. These cards sent through mails, definitely touch the heart in a loving and an affectionate way.

Important Aspects of the Business
Research
The first thing you need to do is to study and conduct a thorough research on the different greeting card industries. This will enable you to determine the industry’s strengths and weaknesses. It will also give you a rough idea of how many and which companies are currently competing in the industry. You may even get an understanding about what type of cards would cater to which age group and gender.

Make use of some online associations like the Greeting Card Association (GCA) to be in touch with publishers and freelancers who are in this business. Read books and articles on designing. Collect various cards of different companies, and learn how the designers would’ve made them. You also need to study the styles and ideas of those.

Strategize
Make a short-term business plan or strategy, and create a mission for your company. Note down all the aims and objectives. Choose a specific market, and conduct research on its demands and target consumers. Prepare a budget plan to determine the cost of the equipment and materials needed. It is suggested that you take help from an accountant, to determine the exact amount of money needed for you to start operating.

Creativity
Create your own expressive ideas and styles which would make your cards unique. Using humorous and inspirational quotes and sentences is a must. Moreover, you need to ensure that different ideas and expressions are to be used for different occasions and seasons. Collect materials and equipment and start off with your creativity. You may even employ a creative designer for your company.

Marketing
Create a trademark name and a logo for your company, complete all the legal formalities, and register your company formally. The company logo should be present on all the cards that are produced by your company. Approach few reputed stores, and make a deal regarding your cards being displayed for sale in their stores. Initial marketing can also be done by employing some marketers who would make public presentations of your company and the cards. Carry on with your business and incorporate efficient marketing strategies for it to reach the top.

Now that you know how to start a greeting card business, and what you need to be successful in it, you certainly need to be truly dedicated in working harder and smarter towards your goal. Moreover, sufficient finances and proper management is also required for this purpose.

Why Everyone Should Take Risks

Do you consider yourself to be a person who always plays it safe? If yes, are you experiencing the best life possible? Chances are, if you routinely choose not to take chances, you haven’t achieved your dreams, and are not living the lifestyle that you have always wanted.

The Benefits

With every risk, there is a chance that good things will happen. If you take a chance that could lead to something good, that good thing may happen. Starting a business, for example, can prove to be the source of financial freedom for you. Asking that person out for a date may lead to marriage (eventually).

Taking risks can make you a better person. If you can face the fears that would hold you back from achieving your goals, it can build your confidence. Learning to embrace possibility can make you a more positive and energetic person.

Sometimes, taking a chance, regardless of how crazy it seems, can make your life more enjoyable. Trying new things that you have always wanted to try, but were too afraid, can free your spirit.

The Danger Factor

Of course, there is a possibility that things won’t go as planned. Your business could fail. The person you like, could reject you. Yes, these things could happen. There would be no such thing as a risk if there were nothing to lose.

The key is not to dwell on the negative possibilities, but the positive ones. The most difficult part about taking risks is knowing that something bad could happen. In fact, it is this danger factor that keeps people from ever stepping out and making the moves, that could lead them to success, happiness, and freedom.

Preparing yourself for the negative, can ease the pain if things go wrong. Sometimes, there are ways to minimize the danger. Educating yourself about what you plan to do can help. There is a fine line between preparing for a negative outcome and expecting one. If you plan well, sometimes you can avoid the danger. For example, starting a business can have minimal risk if you create a solid plan and do your research.

Learn the difference between good and bad risks. Calculate what you could lose, and make sure that you can do without whatever it is you may lose. Is it truly worth it? Consider others in your life who are important to you. Taking risks can be wonderful, but not at someone else’s expense.

Why should you take certain risks anyway? You will never know until you put yourself out there and try. Give yourself a fair chance. If you fail you fail, but if you succeed, you succeed! Not taking the chance, that could bring you what you want in life, can haunt you in the form of regret. Every great success story includes some risk-taking. If you want to reach your goals and dreams, the choice is yours.

Tips to Start a Courier Service

Starting a courier service is not difficult at all. In fact, there are many resources that are dedicated to the effort. They make advice and tips available to commence the endeavor via online chat rooms, as well as offline. The business provides you with the opportunity to earn from a delivery niche in the business world. This empowers the work-at-home business and increases your personal network.

Courier Service

It is the one that delivers documentation and special material between related businesses. The service has stood the test of time and survived in spite of the information and communication revolution. The advent of the Internet technology and email marketing has not affected the contracts that many companies have with private couriers. The technology transfers and communicates data that could be stored online. But, in the case of material that needs to be physically stacked and stored, like hard copies of legal documents and backup files, the immediate deliveries can only be taken care of by a good courier service. It helps in the delivery of legal documents and special material and is economically more feasible.

Starting a Courier Service

There are many considerations that have to be made when considering this business. You have to consider typical delivery needs in the locality and global connectivity of the same. There has to be a good business plan in place for success. Following are some important tips and considerations regarding the same:

Research and Network Business Needs
Prior to investing any money in the business, it is very important to network and identify the implications, both on a local level and for future expansion. You need to research the area you wish to cover under the business. Personal presentations to understand the explicit requirements of different businesses are very important.

Assimilate Information on Business Specifics
It is essential to assimilate maximum knowledge about the business. You have to know the turf well before you venture into it. There are many workshops and seminars that are regularly held by professionals in the business. It pays well to invest in these rostrums. The educational opportunities in the business also provide you with the chance to interact with local business associations and their executives. This, in turn, helps to generate leads and get specific advice on customer service.

Research the Probable Fallout
There are a number of considerations that you need to research, prior to embarking on this ambitious venture. You need to look into the courier specifics that local businesses desire like meeting national and international deadlines and integrating the services with the in-house requirements. You would also have to consider the frequent use of business franchise and price points commonly bargained.

Identify the Business Scope
As part of entrepreneurship, you would also have to consider the area you are equipped to cover via the business. You need to map the metropolitan area and generate a grid of potential customers, as well as business competition. It is not going to be easy; however, it is not difficult or impossible either. If the base work is sound, it is easy to identify the delivery radius of competitors and your target area. These would help set the courier business parameters.

Identify Staff and Mobility
You also need to consider your staff. The business may be small at start, but in a delivery-related business, you need additional hands to meet urgent requirements. Depending on the profit potential you are envisioning for the business, you could keep the costs as low as possible, but that would also mean service to only a couple of clients. You could identify your staff from among teenagers in the family and friends, with bicycles and other two wheelers. While you take care of their pocket money expenses, they help the business to expand and contribute to mobility.

Market the Proposition
You need to network and identify small business marketing strategies for your business proposition. Identifying prospective clients and sealing business are not easy initially. Clients need to be aware of your vision and effort. This calls for word-of-mouth advertising, and enlisting on the Yellow Pages. You could also tap the potential of handouts and private presentations. Make the most of wireless internet access and connectivity.

The courier business has certain special considerations like insurance of the material transferred, benefits on income tax, and subcontracting. The presence of legal guidance is very important when starting the business with limited know-how. Competition is stiff in the industry. However, sound customer service and proven reliability guarantee long-term success.

Planning for Starting a Home Based Business

A home based business needs to have a proper plan in place for it to be successful. Working from home is a wonderful option for those of us who cannot, for whatever reason, go to an office for work. Several employment options exist for such entrepreneurs. However, to take advantage of the offers, you need to be well planned and organized.

Step One

First things first, you need to know in which area you want to provide work. For that you need to examine your skill sets and qualifications. That should give you a fair idea of which service you are able to provide.

Step Two

Even at home, you should have a dedicated work area where you can work peacefully. Finding such an area is the key, especially if you are staying at home because of kids or some other responsibilities. You need to find a time and place, where you would not be disturbed or distracted. You can then fix the number of hours, that you can devote to your work based on these factors. Your earnings would therefore depend on the number of hours you can spend working, and how fast you can do your work within these restraints.

Step Three

The next thing you need to have is a business plan. An ideal plan will outline the above mentioned factors in clear cut terms. An analysis of cost and market factors, will determine your cost per hour. You can thus calculate your projected income based on the number of hours you work.

Step Four

Once you have a plan in place, you need to apply for the necessary licenses and registrations. Check with your local government for the required formalities. It pays to have the paperwork in order, so as to avoid legal complications at a later date.

Step Five

The next step is, obviously, getting the work. If your work is internet based, then you need to look for websites where you can get such work. There are several wonderful websites where you can get such work on the Internet. However, if your work is not Internet based, then you need to generate work from other sources. Place an Ad in the local newspapers. Throw a launch party for all your friends and family, and put the word out there.

Going Further

Let the work come to you. Once you get the work, do it well, so that your clients remember you. Don’t forget to discuss payment terms before the work is done, so that there are no misunderstandings later. Word of mouth publicity only works, if you work well and deliver on time. As for publicizing your work via other media: you need to keep on doing it all the time, so as to generate constant work.