6 Ways to Run a Craft Business from Home

6 Ways to Run a Craft Business from Home |A&C Accounting And Tax Services

If you’ve ever created handmade goods for friends and family as gifts, you’ve probably wondered how you can use your skills to start a craft business. Here are six ideas to start a successful home craft business.

My wife makes children’s clothes. Watching her market her craft over the years has taught me how I can use shoestring marketing tactics to sell my writing. Not only do these methods work like a charm, but if you are diligent in marketing your crafts through the six sales channels, you will be amazed at how rapidly your business will grow.

Craft Shows

If you sell books, sell at book shows and conferences related to the types of books you sell. My wife has done well selling her children’s clothes at local craft shows, fire company events, and tractor shows.

Yes, I said tractor shows. She makes modest children’s clothing by hand and tractor shows are frequented by people with an interest in the vintage past.

The trick is to find out where your target audience hangs out and to set up shop there. Whether you sell handmade jewelry, wood furniture, wrought iron garden supplies, or some other craft, you have some idea who your ideal customer is. Find out where they shop and put your craft business there. Pay a booth fee if you have to.

The beauty behind craft shows is that they typically take place over the course of a few days, usually on weekends, so you can create your crafts between events. Take business cards. My wife has sold more clothes after the show simply by passing out business cards.

Set Up a Website With An E-commerce Store

Online marketing is a whole new gig altogether, but it’s relatively inexpensive. A $500 website is an expense you can calculate against the life of your business. If you sell just $100 worth of merchandise in your first five years, it will pay for itself.

On the other hand, free open source software like WordPress – with its huge volume of free plugins and a community of support volunteers – can offer an inexpensive way to establish your craft business online. You might have to learn some new skills – and all you have to pay for is a domain name (about $10/year) and hosting (less than $10/month), but, believe me, it’s well worth it.

Social Media

This channel works better in conjunction with your own website, but you don’t need a website to sell through social media. Chances are, you’re already there.

Facebook allows you to set up a fan page, and it’s free. You can add a store to your page that will allow your fans to buy your products through Facebook. You can also promote your craft items by pinning images of your creations on Pinterest, sharing them with friends on Instagram, and attracting your audience through other social media websites.

Find out where your audience hangs out and go social.

On Consignment

Search for consignment shops in your area and contact the owners. Some retail stores sell items completely on consignment. Others make special arrangements with crafters whose items they like.

Whether you sell handmade clothes, jewelry, iron products, wood furniture, or another type of craft, there are stores ready to take your items on consignment and sell them for you.

Become a Wholesaler

If you make items that can be replicated, then you might sell them wholesale to retailers.

Unlike with consignment, you can charge retailers up front for your craft items if they buy them in multiple units. You won’t make as much per unit this way, but if you get a few good retailers who can push your products out the door as quickly as you deliver them, then you can establish for yourself a steady stream of income.

Online Craft Vendors

You’ve likely heard of eBay. Many crafters have used eBay over the years to sell their items online. The advantage to using a site like eBay is you don’t have to build your own website, but you do have to give up a percentage of the sale for the privilege of listing your items.

Another popular website where crafters sell their items is Etsy.

RELATED: Increase Your Etsy Profits with These 5 Tips

Amazon allows third-party vendors to list their items for sale and is a great place for many craft vendors.

You may be able to find a specialty website for your type of craft just by Googling “craft directory” and your type of craft (i.e. “jewelry,” “greeting cards,” or “wood furniture”). Print-on-demand stores like Café Press and Zazzle allow crafters to open an online store and sell to their audiences for a commission fee.

Artsy Shark has published a large list of craft vendor websites where you can sell your goods.

Conclusion: Run Your Craft Business Like a Business

With some diligence and hard work, you can run your craft business frugally and sell your craft items online and in the real world. Keep in mind that your craft business is a business. Therefore, your goal should be to bring more money in than you spend to keep it running. When you achieve that goal, you’ll have a profitable craft business and you can build upon your success with more success.

Seek out sales channels that require no expenses unless you make a sale, and diversify your portfolio so that if one sales channel dries up, you still have other income streams. Start small and take one step at a time.

SEE ALSO: Transforming Your Hobby Into A Career

© 2014 Attard Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed without written permission from Attard Communications, Inc.


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Choosing a Business Name? Avoid These 6 Mistakes

Choosing a Business Name? Avoid These 6 Mistakes |A&C Accounting And Tax Services

Choosing a good name for your business isn’t easy. You want it to reflect your business’ personality and be catchy without being silly. Before you make your final decision, be sure you avoid these business naming mistakes.

A business name that is appealing and memorable can do wonders for a business’s bottom line. On the other hand, no matter how great a business is, an inappropriate or poorly-chosen name can have a negative impact on its success — especially when first starting out.

Some aspects of selecting a business name are subjective and reflect the personal wishes and preferences of the owner.

There are, however, some mistakes that business owners make in naming their establishments that just don’t make good business sense. Avoid these and you’ll be on the road to having a business name that will serve as a real asset and hopefully bring many profitable returns.

1. Getting stuck in alphabet soup

A business name that comes at the beginning of the alphabet can be a plus since many business listings are alphabetical; however, some businesses have taken this strategy to absurd levels. Phone book pages produce a staggering number of businesses starting with the letter A, a number of which are somewhat nonsensical: “AAAAA Locksmith” and “AAA Active Appliance.” Other than another word that starts with the letter A, what purpose does the word “Active” serve? Using A, B, or C as the first letter of your business name can help get you an A+ in profits, but be sure the name is something that makes sense and is something you can be proud of.

2. Using names that are too long, or difficult to understand, spell or pronounce

The idea is to get people to remember your business name and to be able to understand it, spell it and pronounce it. It should also be short enough to fit on a business card or display on a sign. I doubt the “Floccinaucinihilipilification Company” name would be easy to pass along by word-of-mouth or found readily in a phone book, directory or on the Net. It actually is a word that means “nonexistence” and that’s probably what would happen to any business using it as their name; namely, no longer exist.

3. Picking business names that limit business growth

Choose a business name that is wide-ranging enough to give your business growing room.

Geographic business names are popular; i.e., Hidden Springs Housecleaners. But what happens if your business takes off and you’d like to expand the geographic area you cover or even go national? Unless you’re sure you want to stay in one particular location, avoid using geography in your business name. The same goes for naming a business after one product or service: “Al’s Refrigerator Repair Service’s” name would need to change if Al decides to take on air-conditioner repair. Lastly, stay away from names that describe current fads or trends: When the new “Millennium Diner” opened in 1999, it sounded timely — six year later, it sounds dated.

4. Letting the grey areas get you discouraged or immobilized

A business name should be one or more of the following: memorable, descriptive, imaginative or distinctive. How to go about this is where the “experts” disagree.

A good way to start is to write down key words that describe what your business is and does, and what you pride yourself on. Use a dictionary and thesaurus to find different words that express these things. Also look for famous expressions that might pertain to your business.

So, let’s say “Mary” has a small business selling her delicious fruit tarts, and she considers herself to be the best at what she does. Mary names her business “Queen of Tarts” because: she loves the play on words, it expresses what her business is and does, and the word “queen” is perfect — she’s female and her thesaurus shows that “queen” also means “person of authority.”

The following techniques of naming businesses are ones that naming pros both love and hate, depending on which pro you speak to. Review the following “bones of contention.” It will be up to you to decide if any of these feel right for you and your business name. Keep in mind your target market, the key elements of your business and mission statement, and — above all — trust that feeling in your gut.

Alliteration: The repetition of the same sounds at the beginning of words

If your name is Cathy, and you’re selling collectibles, you could name your business “Cathy’s Collectibles.”

Coinage: The invention of new words

“Forever Nailz” salon and “ErgoGrip” pens

Descriptive Words: Words in a business name that convey immediately what your business does

“Frank’s Reliable Lawn Care” and “Commercial Cleaning Corp.”

Puns: A play on words

“Hair Force One” and “Shear Artistry” haircutting salons

5. Being an island

You’ve thought up 15 business names that are in the final running, and you think they’re all pretty good. Now is the time to get some feedback. Run those names by some close colleagues, family and friends. You might be surprised at the number of things they bring to your attention that you’ve overlooked. A little constructive objectivity goes a long way when choosing a business name.

6. Failing to check if your chosen business names belong to another business

Before settling on a final name, you’ll need to ensure that you won’t be violating someone else’s trademark rights to a particular business name. You want to avoid being forced to change your business name in the future and possibly paying money damages.

Here are some ways to avoid using a name that’s identical or confusingly similar to the one you want to use:

For a fee of at least a few hundred dollars, you can also hire a professional search firm to do a trademark search. Just the peace of mind alone that nothing has been overlooked can make this investment worth your while.

As far as naming your business, there are professional naming firms that will come up with a great name for your business, but costs can be prohibitive. David Burd, President of The Naming Company, quoted “$15,000 to $20,000” as a typical fee to have a professional team come up with a business name. For large corporations, Burd said, fees could easily go to “$50,000 to $60,000.”

Coming up with a business name isn’t particularly easy, but if you avoid these common mistakes — and invest some time and thoughtful effort — a great business name should be well within your grasp.


Copyright 2013 Attard Communications, Inc



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How to Conduct Market Research the Right Way

How to Conduct Market Research the Right Way |A&C Accounting And Tax Services

Starting a new business? Before you open your doors, you need to know who your customers are, what they want to buy, and what part of town they like to shop in. Use this advice to be sure you conduct good market research in advance.

It takes a lot of money to start a small business and a huge investment of time and even more money to maintain it. Making decisions not grounded in data is a potentially catastrophic mistake but too many small-business owners do it.

Near the top of the list are market decisions. How did you decide what stocks your shelves? How did you decide the type of customer you wanted to target? How did you pick the location of your business? These are only a few of the market decisions you have to make as a business owner. These are the decisions that have a large impact on the future success of your business and your revenue.

What is Market Research?

You’ve likely heard the term before but the definition is often incomplete. What we think of as market research is the time you spend before starting your business where you analyze past market trends to decide if your product or service has enough demand to make it worth your while.

That’s certainly true and it’s an important first step but market research should never stop. Before making a big business decision, you should conduct market research. Let’s say that you found a new location with more favorable lease terms. Should you move based on price alone? How likely are your current customers to follow you?

Market research also looks into the future. When Apple invested into the development of the iPad, it already knew that consumers wanted a smaller, lighter computing device. It knew that if it could make the iPhone larger, consumers would purchase the product. This was all thanks to the company’s market research.

Market research should look to the past, present and future to study consumer trends. Here’s how.

Look at the Economy

Maybe you’re not an economist but with a little research, you can learn to read and understand reports outlining economic indicators, income and earnings data, and employment statistics. If the economy is weakening, the demand for high-end products and services may lessen. If average income remains low, consumers will demand high value at lower prices.

Invest in Industry Publications

Regardless of the type of business you own, there are trade groups that compile industry statistics that are important to your business. If you’re not a member of your industry’s trade group, join today. Not only does the group advocate on your behalf, they likely publish detailed industry statistics that are essential for making business decisions.

Some of those reports are expensive but it’s far more expensive to invest in an idea that fails. Also, look for research firms that follow publically traded companies related to yours. If you own a sporting goods store, look for Wall Street analysts that follow companies like Dicks, Nike, Lululemon, and Under Armour. Along with their research of the company, these analysts also compile industry data that applies to every business—large or small—in the space.

Finally, do a good old fashioned Google search. Check industry blogs, trade magazines, and any other high quality information you can find. Much of what you uncover will be useless but some will be highly valuable. That material deserves a bookmark in your browser.

Look Internationally

If you are a typical local business without any sales taking place internationally, you still have a use for market research outside the borders of the United States. An electrician probably isn’t traveling overseas to work but the price of copper on international markets could affect the price of wire. A farmer knows that international demand for grains affect domestic prices, and a Realtor knows that global real estate markets may drive more foreign buyers to American soil.

Those in retail or e-commerce might sell to global markets. They have to know the state of the global markets. Look at the Trade Compliance Center or buyusa.gov for more information.

Pound the Pavement

Finally, ask the public. Conduct an online survey, ask your customers for their opinion when they purchase from you, call past customers, ask a question on social media or hire a firm to conduct the research for you. If you’re looking for direct feedback on a new product you’re planning to develop or a new service you want to add, the best way is through direct, personal research. It’s tedious but it will yield results.

Bottom Line

If you’re making decisions, your thesis should be largely based on objective data. Your gut instincts may carry a little bit of weight but companies that conduct complete market research quickly learn whether an idea is worth the investment of time and capital.

© 2013 Attard Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed without written permission from Attard Communications, Inc.


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7 Ways to Start a Business Without Going Broke

7 Ways to Start a Business Without Going Broke |A&C Accounting And Tax Services

Is finding the money to support yourself during the early stages of your business holding you back? There’s no doubt that some sacrifices will be necessary, but if you’re trying to support a family, your choices are limited. Here are seven strategies you can employ to reduce the financial strain of your startup.

A 40’s something woman was talking to me the other day about her growing sense of frustration over “working for someone else” and her longing to “do my own thing, drive my own wagon”. But, she said with consternation, “I have family counting on me and a standard of living I don’t want to sacrifice.”

Everyone has to decide for themselves what level of sacrifice and risk they’re willing to undertake in order to enjoy the satisfactions of working independently. Knowing some strategies for managing the risk will allow you to make a well-informed decision.

Of the seven strategies included below, the first two suggest ways to gradually transition from salaried to solo, instead of diving off the edge. The second two are ways to stretch the dollar; and the final three are ideas for getting started without stopping.

1. Continue to draw a (reduced) salary.

Leaving your current employment in order to develop your new business may look like the only option, based on an assumption that you won’t get approval for reducing your hours. While this may prove to be the case, asking yourself why and how your company will profit from retaining your skills and experience for a transitional period can provide the basis for approaching your employer. Be sure to do your homework first, however, and be able to back up your request with a solid rationale.

Also consider the issue of timing. You want to weigh informing your employer of your wish to leave with being prepared to leave if the answer to your request is no.

2. Develop another income stream.

If you need to leave your present employment, is there a skill in your toolbag that you can resuscitate and put to work without a significant expenditure of time or energy? Is moonlighting or freelance work an option? Virtual e-lancing websites (such as Guru.com and Upwork.com) may be worth looking into for short-term professional services opportunities.

Examples: A community mental health worker transitioning to private practice used his conflict resolution experience to sell a training package to public schools. A woman transitioning out of an insurance brokerage created and sold seminars on long term care financing at local retirement centers.

3. Reduce expenses.

Apart from fixed expenses – mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc. – are discretionary expenses that make up the larger part of budgets. Doing a careful analysis of these expenses and choosing what you can forego for awhile can often save thousands per year.

Carefully analyzing hidden expenses – credit card interest rates, bank charges, late fees, auto debits, phone plans – or “lost money” from low interest rates on savings may generate several thousand more per year.

RELATED: 34 Low-Cost Ways to Promote Your Business

4. Borrow.  

It isn’t necessary to wait to borrow for start-up costs until you have a well-documented idea to submit for a business loan. Refinancing a home or taking a line of credit are relatively low-cost ways of generating capital. Depending on your credit rating, you can also get time-limited low-interest loans from credit card companies.

If you choose this option, applying for loans or refinancing packages while you’re still employed is strongly advised. Your rating as a borrower declines quickly once the regular paychecks stop.

You don’t have to wait!

Get started on your new business idea while you’re still employed. Several of the all-important first steps (below) can be started while standing in the grocery line or running on the treadmill. They involve asking yourself some questions and doing some informal research to get crystal clear about your idea. This can take weeks off your actual start-up time.

5. Identify your niche.

Think about the services you’re uniquely qualified to provide, as well as the ones you most enjoy providing. Be specific! Write them down! Then think about what group of people would get benefit from those services and have the ability to pay for them. Again, be specific: age, where they congregate, habits and values, how they define the problem your services are going to solve. If you don’t know, ask. Find someone who fits your “ideal client” profile (s/he may be on the treadmill next to yours at the gym) and get permission to ask some questions. People generally love to be helpful.

6. Create your marketing plan.

Don’t be intimidated by the term “marketing plan”. While what you need from a marketing plan will get more sophisticated as your business develops, for now it simply means answering the question, How is my business going to make money? What is the product or service you’re going to sell? How will you describe it so people quickly recognize the value? How will you package it? (fee for service? by the project? on retainer?) How will you price it? (What’s being charged for comparable services? What “feels right” to you?)

RELATED: Free Marketing Plan Worksheet

7. Manage fear!

For most people, anything involving money involves some level of fear. It’s important to acknowledge to yourself and to others that you are taking a risk, and you’ve decided it’s a risk you want to take. So consider the fear natural, and find ways to manage it.

Getting support from people who believe in you and in what you’re embarking on is #1 in fear-management tactics. Don’t assume that you’ll get it from the people closest to you, or that if you don’t have it you shouldn’t proceed. They’re probably the ones most impacted by your decision and so may be least ready to offer support. Their consent – a willingness to go along with your plan – is helpful, but support may have to come later.

It’s also helpful to set a goal (and a date for completion) that’s key to your new venture – arrange financing by a particular date, or sign a lease – and announce it to at least one person. You’ll find that making that commitment, saying it out loud, and following through will in turn generate more confidence and more forward momentum.

To all of you who are tired of marching to someone else’s drum and are eager to go solo, these strategies should help you take prudent but positive steps toward realizing your goal.

Good luck!

Nina Ham, certified coach and licensed psychotherapist, is principal of Success from the Inside Out, providing individual coaching and teleseminars to build the skills, attitudes and habits for sustainable success in your career or business. 


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How to Land Your First Client

How to Land Your First Client |A&C Accounting And Tax Services

It’s not surprising that consulting is attractive to many people who want to launch a business. After all, if you have a saleable skill, it’s an easy business to enter. But just how do you break into the consulting field and get those all-important first clients?

Consulting is a big–and growing–business.

The market for consulting services is estimated to be between $130B and $150B annually, and professional consultants are among the highest paid workers, earning more than many doctors, lawyers and other professionals.

It’s not surprising that consulting is attractive to many people who want to launch a business. After all, if you have a saleable skill, it’s an easy business to enter. No one will stop you from calling yourself a consultant and startup can cost as little as printing business cards and getting a business license.

On the flip side of the coin, consulting is fiercely competitive. Just ten firms own almost 40% of the consulting market share in North America alone, and they fight for every opportunity to grow.

Today, clients have instant access to legions of experts at the click of a mouse, and they have found low-cost, offshore alternatives for many consulting projects.

The beauty of this market, though, is that many of the large, lumbering consulting firms focus on thin slices of the market. That creates an opportunity for smaller firms and individual consultants who know how to use guerrilla methods to snag their share of profitable business.

So how do you break into consulting?

Think about Your Fourth Client First

As a new consultant, you should be able to generate a project–or maybe several–through your networks of friends, past employers, and colleagues. After all, research shows that clients use their networks to select consultants more than any other method, and they, no doubt, know someone who knows you.

Unfortunately, your address book alone won’t sustain your consulting business long term. If your goal is to build a sustainable consulting practice, the real question isn’t how to get your first client, but how to create a business that will attract the second, third, and fourth clients to your practice.

Before you ask your contacts–or anyone else–to hire you as a consultant for that first project, ensure your success by taking a longer view of your business. Work hard to land that first client, but also put the marketing and consulting fundamentals in place that will secure your future as a consultant.

Start with these four simple tips:

Have Something to Say…

Prospective clients rarely look for consultants until they have a pressing need. In other words, “we just can’t do it ourselves; let’s get outside help fast.” A recent client admitted that his team had been spinning its wheels trying to resolve a complex transportation problem for three years before they hired consultants and gave them four weeks to come up with a solution. They did.

The point is that, when most clients are in the market for help, they want it yesterday. And they want the best consultants they can find, at an affordable price. So, take the time to define what makes you the best consultant a client can find.

Many consultants mistakenly believe that by defining their expertise broadly, they’ll appeal to a wider audience and land more clients. The less specific you are, the less likely it is clients will think of you when they need help.

Why would clients turn to you for their most important projects? Be prepared to answer these questions during your first conversation with them:

If you can’t articulate the answers in a minute or less, keep working. You may only have that one minute to make a first impression on a client, so make it count.

And Someone to Say It to

The market has no shortage of prospective clients, but truly profitable projects can be few and far between. If you want to work for the most profitable clients, you’ll have to compete for and grab their attention. And for that you must have a plan. A real one.

Many veteran consultants haven’t looked at their marketing plans since they were first created. As a result, they drift from project to project, getting by on meager profit margins. Guerrilla consultants, however, leave the low-profit projects for others and focus on attracting and keeping the clients that give them the opportunity for financial and professional growth.

Guerrillas begin that process by creating a one-page marketing plan that lays out how to get and hold onto profitable clients.

Forget the reams of fancy charts, detailed analyses and bullet-proof competitive intelligence. You can draft your first marketing plan in seven sentences:

As you create your marketing plan, remember this: you are building a platform from which to consistently communicate your ideas to prospective clients. That’s the fastest way to launch a new practice because prospective clients equate the success of a firm with consistent visibility.

So create a marketing plan that maximizes your visibility in the market. Over time, keep your business networks healthy with constant attention; establish a credible Web presence; speak for industry and trade groups; participate in studies and surveys; publish articles; and make contributions to your targeted industry association and local business community.

And, most importantly, once you begin your marketing program, never stop. You’ll reap the benefits for the long haul if you stick to your marketing guns.

When a Client Asks What Time It Is, Don’t Take His Watch

Perhaps the most serious challenge facing consultants is client skepticism. In a study by business analysis firm Ross McManus, only 35% of clients are satisfied with their consultants.

Part of the problem is that many consultants are deep subject-matter experts, but less familiar with the consulting process. Before you get too far into the business, get a firm grasp of the fundamentals of consulting, including how to:

Do those five things well and you’ll have more client work than you can handle.

If you’re new to the business, interview consultants on how they handle these aspects of the business; read books, articles and reports by leading thinkers in the field; and consider joining one of the many professional associations for consultants. You can save years of learning things the hard way.

The End is the Beginning

Your clearest path to a new client is your network of former employers and others who can make introductions to get that first project kicked off. Keep in mind, though, that consulting begins and ends with results.

To succeed, you must offer and deliver undisputed value to your clients and everyone else in your network. Value is also the foundation on which you must build your marketing. Your network of colleagues won’t support you, or your business, if your value is questioned anywhere along the way.

So, before you launch your practice, give these ideas some thought. They’ll help put you on the road to long-term success.

Michael W. McLaughlin is the coauthor, with Jay Conrad Levinson, of Guerrilla Marketing for Consultants. Michael is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, and the publisher of Management Consulting News and The Guerrilla Consultant


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How to Use Amazon as Your Consignment Shop

How to Use Amazon as Your Consignment Shop |A&C Accounting And Tax Services

Everyone knows about eBay, but don’t overlook Amazon. Amazon has several programs for sellers, including one where Amazon handles the entire transaction from purchase all the way to shipping. Here’s what you need to know about selling on Amazon.

Amazon has come a long way since its pioneering inception as an online bookstore. Over the years it has grown into a full-fledged department store, selling everything from electronics to grocery items. And they’ll even sell your stuff too.

More than just books even.

Of course, if you sell books, you can sell them on Amazon in a number of ways:


But there’s so much more you can do through Amazon as a seller of products, those you acquire through normal business means and those you make yourself. Amazon will serve as your consignment shop.

What Is Amazon Fulfillment?

Amazon has a service called Fulfillment by Amazon. As the name implies, Amazon will sell, package, and ship your items to your customers for you, essentially serving as your business’s warehouse. It works like this:

This is a great opportunity for small businesses that might have small staffs but high quality products to sell. Amazon will handle all of the customer service for your items. You set the prices for your items and Amazon keeps track of the sales and revenue data for you.

RELATED: Amazon and Nexus

What Can You Sell on Amazon?

Amazon has few restrictions about what you can and cannot sell through their website. The few rules they do have are reasonable.

For instance, you can’t sell hazardous materials.  

You also can’t sell prescription drugs, items that are deemed illegal under state or federal law, alcohol (unless you are a pre-approved wine seller), tobacco products, guns and ammunition, and other products that may be dangerous or harmful. Amazon has a complete list of prohibited items on its website.  

There are other items you can sell on consignment with Amazon that may require prior approval. These include:

You can see a full list of products requiring prior approval on Amazon’s website, as well. Otherwise, Amazon is pretty open about what you can sell:

If in doubt, check Amazon’s seller guidelines or contact Amazon to get your specific questions answered.

How Much Does It Cost To Sell on Amazon?

Amazon charges depend on the item you are selling. In general, Amazon charges a storage fee, an order handling fee, packaging, weight handling, and special handling for large items. These prices vary according to the type of item you are listing, the list price of the item, time of year, and whether or not you’re using Amazon as your sole fulfillment channel or you are engaged in multi-channel fulfillment. Many of those charges, however, can be passed on to your customer, so you have to think through the sales process carefully.

One cool feature of Amazon’s Filfillment service is the revenue calculator. You can determine your expected revenue by entering your price and shipping charges into the calculator and having Amazon estimate your costs for the item while determining your total profit based on those numbers.

The 5 Keys to Successful Selling on Amazon

Using Amazon as your consignment shop requires some organization skills and a solid business plan. You can’t just wing it. Here are the 5 keys to successful consignments using Amazon as your storefront:

Think of Amazon as the worldwide version of your local consignment shop. It’s the Internet’s megastore. Don’t just list your products and forget about them. Actively market and promote them and you will sell more.

© 2014 Attard Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed without written permission from Attard Communications, Inc


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How to Find Good Freelance Jobs

How to Find Good Freelance Jobs |A&C Accounting And Tax Services

Looking for freelance work? Whatever your expertise, there is probably a freelance market for it. Here are 8 tips to help you find freelance jobs.

The freelance economy is booming and the reasons why aren’t too hard to figure out. If a company can hire a contractor to do the work of what once was an employee, the company could save a lot of money.

Each employee costs a company a lot more than just their salary. Social security, Medicare and other expenses may add a significant amount to the company’s cost.

When a company hires a freelancer, it only has to pay the cost of the work.

For these reasons, and many more, if you’re thinking of entering the freelance market, don’t let people downplay your idea. A lot of people are making a great living as freelancers, but just like any business, what you get out of it is related to what you invest. Here’s how to find jobs in the freelance business.

1. First Look Inward- If you’re not currently in the freelance market, you’re likely working for somebody or were in the not-so-distant past. If that business is one that could benefit from freelancing, pitch your current or past employer assuming you left on good terms.

Those who hire freelancers are constantly concerned with hiring the wrong person. Since you current or past employer already knows you, the anxiety surrounding freelancers is diminished.

RELATED: 7 Tips to Succeed as a Freelancer

2. Stick with areas you know- There are freelance jobs for just about everything. That doesn’t mean you should apply for everything. A common mistake made by new freelancers is to go after jobs they should not pursue. If you’re a programmer with extensive experience building websites, confine yourself to those jobs.

A job for a database administrator or graphic designer for a website might look appealing because of your experience, but you’ll probably put too much time into the job relative to what it pays and your product won’t be as strong as those who are already experts.

Remember, your reputation is everything.

3. Be Prepared to Work for Cheap- at least at the beginning. If you were to take a job at a new company, you would expect to “pay your dues” for a period of time. That could mean less money, less hours, and some grunt work. Freelancing is similar. You won’t get paid what you’re worth at the beginning, but as you do a good job, your rates will quickly increase.

4. But don’t work for slave wages- In your quest to break into the freelance business, you might be tempted to work for far less than you should. Yes, you’ll have to pay your dues, but that doesn’t mean working for next to free.

If you’re an expert in your field, you know the going rates. Working for 25 percent less has its advantages as you’re staring out, but don’t work for a fraction of what you should. If you set yourself up as somebody willing to work for ultra cheap, it will be difficult to break that reputation going forward.

RELATED: Six Strategies to Get Paid What You’re Worth

5. Use the freelance sites- Sites like Upwork can help match you with people looking to hire a freelancer. Much like looking for a traditional job, finding quality freelancing jobs takes a considerable amount of time.

Freelancers from around the world use Upwork to look for work. That will make it difficult to find jobs at appropriate prices.

Instead of looking at the most well-known sites, look for those off the beaten path. People know Craigslist as a place to buy and sell your old trinkets and gadgets, but it’s also one of the best places to find freelance jobs.

Use one of the Craigslist search engines to search job posting nationwide instead of just in your area.

6. You Need a Website- When somebody is interested in you, they first ask you to show them your work. Often, freelancers work for clients all over the world. The best way to show them your work is by directing them to your website.

It’s not so important that you use your website to advertise; freelancers often make the bulk of their money by word of mouth. Your website should be simple, clean, professional, and easy to navigate. A couple of pages are enough.

With even the most basic of knowledge you can put together a portfolio of your work without hiring a website designer.

7. Go Old School- If you wait for business to come to you, you’re not going to make it as a freelancer. Like anything, it will take money to make money. You’ll need some money to attend conferences, take people out to lunch, travel, and hob-nob.

The phrase, “pound the pavement” is certainly true in the freelance world. Those who are successful understand old school marketing. An email isn’t enough. Meeting people and forming relationships is essential.

And yes, you’ll likely have to make some cold calls.

8. Save Your Money- Some people enter the freelance market as a result of a layoff but others have dreams of quitting their job to work on their own. If you’re the latter, make sure you have three to six months of living expenses saved.

Many freelancers will tell stories of being flooded with work for a while and then going through a period of slow business. Freelancers know that always saving a portion of their earnings is essential to survival.

Bottom Line

Are you a natural-born salesperson? Do you enjoy working hard and not having traditional work hours? If that’s you, freelancing would fit you well, but the hardest part of the business is finding the work. Plan to spend the bulk of your time prospecting, especially at the beginning.

© 2014 Attard Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed without written permission from Attard Communications, Inc.


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300 Business Ideas to Start Your Own Business

300 Business Ideas to Start Your Own Business |A&C Accounting And Tax Services

Looking for businesss ideas? Wondering what kind of business you could start? You’re not alone!
According to US Census and SBA statistics, hundreds of thousands of businesses are launched each year. What the statistics don’t indicate are all the men and women – just like you – who want to start their own part-time or full-time business, but just don’t know what kind of business to start. That’s why I put together the list of business startup ideas below along with a few tips to help you focus on what would be the best type of business to start for you, personally.

Do you want to start your own business, but aren’t sure what kind of business to start? Maybe you’ve been laid off and haven’t been able to find a new job. Or you’re tired of working for a boss who makes every workday stressful. Perhaps you are convinced you can make more on your own than you can working for someone else — or you just want to bring in a little extra money to pay for a few luxuries in life. Or, perhaps your family really needs two incomes but you don’t want your kids to be latchkey kids.

Whatever your reason for wanting to start your own business, running the show can be personally and financially rewarding–if you come up with the right business idea.

What kind of business idea is the RIGHT idea? The answer is as individual as you are. But in general, to be a good fit, and have a chance to be profitable, the business you select should meet these criteria:

If you haven’t yet found your entrepreneurial niche, perhaps you’ll spot one or more ideas that sound promising (based on the criteria just mentioned) in the list below. Some can be started as home-based business, others really can’t. Some require you to be an expert in a particular task or industry. Others are in fields that can more easily be learned. 

Many can be turned into full-time businesses, but some are ideal primarily for moonlighting or as add-on income streams in an existing business. All are viable ways to make money, if you know the business and become good at marketing.

The list below is not all-inclusive. There are many, many other ways to start a business. (If you know of anything you think we should add to our list use our site feedback form to let us know.)

To help you find ideas that match your skills and interests, we’ve grouped the business ideas into a number of categories. Under some of the types of businesses (Artist, for instance) we’ve mentioned particular products or services that might be offered either as the main business or as one of the business’ offerings.

Here are  the main categories. Click on the links to go directly to that section of the list of business startup ideas.

Business and Consumer Services
Computer & Internet
Consulting Services
Editorial, Graphic Arts, Publishing
Planning and Organizing
Retail and Commercial


Paint and sell original works of art
Draw caricatures 
Draw original artwork for  presentations
Book illustrator
Paint wall murals
Hand painted furniture
Hand paint designs on furniture, and decorative items
Create animated videos for businesses
Sell hand-painted or handmade holiday ornaments
Art instructor
Art broker

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Automobile Detailing
Auto parts sales
Auto repair garage
Brake replacement & repair
Car wash
Junk car removal
Mobile car tune-up and repair service    
Muffler shop

Related articles:

Business and Consumer Services

Advertising specialty sales
Appliance repair
Audio tape duplication
Bed and Breakfast Inn
Bicycle repair
Business plan writer
Business plan writing
Cabinet maker
Car Detailing
Carpet and upholstery
Chemical testing
Child Care Service
Chimney sweep
Cleaning Service
Coin dealer
Collectibles dealer
Collections service
Concrete construction and repair
Crafts instructor
Currency auctions
Dance instructor
Daycare for adults
Dental claims processing
Directory publishing
Dog walking service
Dog obedience training
Dog / yard cleanup
Elderly companion
Employment agency
Environmental cleanup service
Errand service
Executive recruiter
Financial planner
Fishing boat rides
Flea market seller
Food delivery service
Formal wear rental service (male or female)
Framing service (picture frames)
Furniture reupholstering
Grant writer
Hair Salon
Handiman service
Home  or office organization services
Home attendant service
Home design service
Home staging service
Home healthcare service
Outsourced HR services
HVAC installation & service
Information broker

Inventory control service 
Janitorial service
Junk removal services
Laundry service
Lawn cutting
Lawnmower and motor repair
Limousine service
Loan consultant
Mailing service
Market research
Marketing agency
Medical Claims Billing Service
Medical transcription
Moving company
Novelty T-shirt sales
Nutritional supplement sales
Personal fitness trainer
Personal Concierge
Personal chef
Pet Sitting
Pet walking
Pet grooming
Pet waste cleanup
Pool cleaning service
Portrait and wedding Photographer
Print Broker
Private investigator
Public relations agency
Public speaker
Remodeling service
Reupholster furniture
Seminar producer
Screen printing
Shopping service
Shuttle service
Sightseeing tours
Small business consultant
Swimming pool installation
Swimming pool maintenance
Tax preparation
Telemarketing service
Telephone service reseller
Tool rental
Travel agency
Tree trimming and removal
TV installation
Water taxi service
Window cleaning
Yard cleanup

Computer & Internet

App developer
Computer consulting
Computer backup service
Computer repair
Computer disk back up services
Computer programming
Computer training
Data recovery service
Digital Forensics Specialist
Email/marketing & newsletter services
Game developer
Internet marketing agency
Internet software developer
IT services provider
Search engine optimization
Search engine marketing
Social media marketing & management
Warehouse automation systems
Web site development
Web site hosting
Website designer
Web database developer
Web content provider
Web content marketing service 

Consulting Services

Agricultural consultant
Air quality consultant
Business improvement consultant
Coach (personal or business) or mentor
Computer Consultant
Construction management consultant
Diversity consultant
Engineering consultant
Environmental consultant
Expert witness
Failure analysis / evaluation
Fitness consultant
Franchise consultant
Healthcare consultant
Human resources consultant
Image consultant
International consultant
Internet marketing consultant

Labor relations consultant
Social media consultant
IT consultant
Marketing consultant
Medical office consultant
Product development consultant
Proposal consultant (government contracts)
Proposal consultant (grants)
Retail consultant
Risk management consultant
Safety consultant
Sales consultant
Security consultant
Skincare consultant
Total quality management consultant
Training consultant
Utility auditing consultant
Wedding consultant

RELATED: Starting a Consulting Business


Arts and crafts instructor
Custom designed T-shirts
Custom designed jewelry
Custom-designed dried or silk flower arrangements
Decorative pillows
Design and sell craft patterns 
Design and sell handmade jewelry
Handmade dolls and childrens’ toys
Handmade candles
Handmade pottery
Handmade soaps
Handmade knitted goods
Leather belts
Crafts supply sales
Wood crafts

RELATED: How to Get Started Selling on Etsy

Editorial, Graphic Arts, Publishing

Advertising agency
Advertising copywriter
Audio editing
Audio transcription
Book cover designer
Commercial photographer
Computer animation
Ebook design & production
Ghost writer / ghost blogger
Graphic artist
Book indexer
Internet Publisher
Literary agent
Multimedia presentation creation
Newsletter production for clients
Nonfiction writer
Subscription newsletter
Video animator
Video editing
Write book jacket blurbs
Write Publicity Releases



Ballet studio
Band leader
Dance company
One-man band
Song writer


Environmental restoration
Fund raiser
Import/Export Business
Plant nursery

Related articles:

Office Services

Business Support Service
Commercial art
Legal transcription
Mailing list management
Medical transcription
Resume writing
Translation service
Virtual assistant

Planning and Organizing

Business plan writing
Business turnarounds
Professional organizer
Event Planning Service
Meeting planning
Party planning
Show promoting

Retail and Commercial

Antique dealer
Collectibles shop
Used book store or online seller
Bicycle sales
Bicycle repairs
Boutique owner
Chinese food take-out service
Clothing Store
Coffee shop owner
College food delivery service
eBay Business
Fishing supplies
Gift basket Service
Gift shop
Homemade foods
Janitorial supplies
Jewelry store
Pizza parlor


Business broker
Manufacturer’s sales representative
Network marketing business
Real estate sales & rentals
Telemarketing service
Sales coach or trainer
Direct selling
Printer toner recharging
Sales training

Copyright 2015 Janet Attard. All rights reserved.

About the author:
Janet Attard is the founder of the award-winning  Business Know-How small business web site and information resource. Janet is also the author of The Home Office And Small Business Answer Book and of Business Know-How: An Operational Guide For Home-Based and Micro-Sized Businesses with Limited Budgets.  Follow Janet on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/JanetAttard.


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12 Ways to Start a Business: Finding the Real Opportunities

12 Ways to Start a Business: Finding the Real Opportunities |A&C Accounting And Tax Services

Want to start a business? Don’t waste money on business opportunity scams! The best business ideas are right in front of you. Here are 12 time-tested ways to start your own business.

Business ideas are all around you.

They are lurking in your garage, in your basement, in your kitchen, and in your children’s room. You’ll find them in social media conversation you participate in, at your neighbor’s house and at work. They’re hiding in the annoyances you deal with daily and in the joyous celebrations in your life.

They are right there in the vegetables you brought in from the yard… in the stack of papers next to your laser printer…in the back of your truck… and at the back of your mind.

You don’t need to be a genius or an MBA to spot those ideas and turn them into profits, either. Identifying business opportunities is often as easy as identifying problems many people share and finding a way to solve them.

When Matthew Osborne, an entrepreneur from Columbus, OH, wanted a way to make money, he found one right at his feet: dog dirt.

Unlike most people who just gripe about stepping in it or having to clean it up, he started a business removing dog waste from homeowners’ yards.

The business was an immediate success, and after several years, he sold the business for a quarter of a million dollars. Even then, however, he continued to make money from his idea by writing a booklet about how to start a pet waste removal business and selling the booklet on the Internet.

Other business owners have turned their hobbies, interests and skills into satisfying and often lucrative businesses, simply by seeing a need in the world around them and finding a way to fill it. You can, too.

Do what you love to do
Businesses don’t just happen. They are made. Whether you plan to profit by twisting balloons into smile-generating shapes or orchestrating the growth of multimillion dollar, multinational companies, your success relies on what you bring to the business. If you love what you do, your passion for the business will drive you to be knowledgeable, creative and persistent. On the other hand, if your feeling for what you do is lukewarm, your success will be, too.

Turn old standbys into new products
Truly new concepts are few and far between. Most new products or new business ideas are simply spin-offs of old ones. Inline skates is one good example. Essentially, they are ice skates on wheels. Or, depending on your point of view, streamlined roller-skates. Other business ideas are nothing more than new ways of marketing mundane products. Take 1800flowers.com, for example. Florists were around as relatively small, local stores for years –but then Jim McCann, who started with a single retail shop in 1976,  acquired the phone number 1-800-Flowers and developed a network of florists. The company saw an opportunity to grow online, and started selling through the early commercial online services, and then the Internet.

You may not have the money, management ability, contacts or desire to launch a major new product like inline skates or the energy or desire to turn your single store location into a multimillion-dollar sales organization. But you don’t have to launch anything that large to start a business or introduce a new product.  You need to think about what people want to buy and how they would like to buy it.

Years ago when my kids were little, I made money selling beanbags. The twist? I designed them in the shape of frogs and I filled them with birdseed instead of beans to make them pliable and less lumpy to the touch. To attract attention at craft shows, I displayed them in various human poses (sitting up, laying on their side resting their head on their hand, or hugging each other, for instance). I could produce them quickly and kept my costs low by making the frogs from inexpensive fabric remnants. That allowed me to price the frogs low enough to make them great impulse buys for parents who wanted to buy a small, inexpensive gift for a child.

You can spin almost any skill or industry knowledge into marketable new products or services. 

A neighbor turned his skill at fixing cars into a repair and tune-up service. His angle? He was mobile. Customers didn’t have to drop their car off at the shop. Instead, the “shop” (a van outfitted with tools and auto parts) came to them. Another acquaintance built a business by purchasing large quantities of chemicals and repackaging them in smaller quantities. 

And then, there’s the grandmother who couldn’t find a product to organize her handbag. So, she went out and created one, and turned the product into a million-dollar business.

Look for mundane money-makers
You don’t need to create exciting new products or services to go into business, either. Millions of business owners profit by selling routine and sometimes unglamorous services such as window washing, car repair, sandwich making, building maintenance, house cleaning and plumbing. The key to making money with the mundane is to sell something your customers can’t do, don’t want to do, don’t have the time to do, or can’t get done well elsewhere.

Tip: one way to making really big money with mundane services is to develop a unique and reproducible method for marketing and delivering the service and then open up multiple offices, or franchise the concept. If you plan to franchise your idea or sell it as a business opportunity, retain an attorney early on who is familiar with franchise law and can help you steer clear of the pitfalls. 

Turn that hobby into cash
Do people ooh and ah at your handiwork? Whether you are a wiz at creating floral arrangements or at writing software, look for ways to turn your hobby into a business. You might want to manufacture your items in quantity, license them to other manufacturers, sell them by mail order, at flea markets or on consignment, or open your own retail outlet selling supplies to others with similar interests.

Ask the reference librarian at your public library to help you find trade magazines pertaining to your hobby, and read those to generate new business ideas.

Reach out and teach someone
Do you have a skill others want to acquire? Do you have a knack for explaining things so others can understand them? If so, don’t give your expertise away. Start charging for it!

For instance, if you are a karate expert, you might teach at a karate school or open your own karate school. If you’re a talented artist, you could teach art at home or in a school. 

Tip:: Make extra money selling books, supplies, or other items your students will need to buy to complete the course.

Sell training seminars to corporate America
Don’t limit yourself to training individuals or private groups of people. Look for ways to polish up your act and cash in on the $50 billion corporate training market.

What kind of training do corporations buy? Everything from sales, management and computer training courses to self-defense courses. 

To locate training opportunities, contact the human resources department and ask to speak to the person in charge of training programs. Introduce yourself to that person and make an appointment to discuss the company’s needs and your ability to fill them. If you get the assignment, be sure to have handouts for the class so they know how to reach you for more intensive training on their own. 

Mass produce your advice
Selling your product or service one-on-one limits the amount of money you can earn to the number of people you can personally see. To increase your profits without significantly increasing your work, consider turning your expertise into booklets, books, computer programs, MP3s and DVDs that you can market in quantity. 

You can use your computer to produce the printed matter and CDs, DVDs, and MP3s. You can outsource editing and production to professionals if you don’t have those skills yourself. When sales volume grows, you may also want to outsource production and fulfillment. 

If you need help producing audio or video, look for an independent contractor to do the work for you. Upwork.com, Freelancer.com, LinkedIn Profinder, and Craigslist.com are all good places to find freelance help.

Be an industry consultant
This is another great way to increase your bank account. If you can solve business problems (such as how to bring waste water into compliance with EPA regulations) or answer important business questions (what steps should be taken to increase market share in a target market or how to manage inventory more efficiently) you can earn substantial hourly fees selling your advice to corporations as a consultant. Downsized corporations can be a good source of consulting business since they may no longer have experts they need on staff.

Turn a former employer into a valuable source of new business
Just because you leave a company doesn’t mean it doesn’t need your services. Companies often retain the services of former workers on a freelance or consulting basis. That way they get the benefit of trained personnel without having to pay payroll taxes and benefits. If you leave a company on good terms, ask about contract or freelance opportunities. Don’t stop with contacts who work with the former employer, either. Call your former employer’s suppliers and customers and tell them about your capabilities. Call their competitors, too. Stress your industry knowledge, contacts and skills. You may soon find that the income you earn exceeds what you made as an employee. 

Modify one of your existing products
Sometimes all it takes to create a “new” product is to make a slight change in an existing product

Harrison-Hoge Industries is a mail order company in Port Jefferson, NY, that sells fishing lures, inflatable boats and other outdoor gear. To expand their line, the company added a wide-brimmed, canvas hat called the Campesino to its catalog. The hat was a big success, but the owners of the company thought there might be more they could do with it. And there was.

They discovered they could adapt the hat to sell in specialized markets just by changing the hat band. As a result, they began to supply the Museum of Natural History and the Guggenheim Museum (both in New York City) with hats. Each museum’s hat has its own distinctive hat band.

Skip the start-up headaches: purchase an existing business
When you start a business from scratch you have to jump through hoops to find and train employees, build up a customer base and find suppliers. But when you buy an existing business much of this infrastructure will already be in place.

Don Pelham bough of MasterCare Cleaning Services, in Seattle, WA, from another businessman. He explains the advantage of purchasing a business this way: “In a start-up you have to pound the pavement while you wait for your ads to appear in the phone books and your website to show up in Google. But when you purchase a business, the phone rings from day one. Ads are in place and working. Schedules are already made. When I took over the cleaning service, there were about 12 jobs already scheduled, 3 or 4 a week, and the phone was ringing a new job every 2 or 3 days. “

Be sure to find out why the buyer is selling; don’t rely on what they tell you. Investigate the business yourself. Find out how much traffic it actually gets. Check newspapers and town records for information about any proposed highways, superstores or zoning changes. Check for liens against the business or other problems that could have an adverse effect on the business. Consult an accountant and an attorney before you sign on the dotted line and follow their advice. 

Buy a franchise 
If you want to start a business but don’t want to develop your own products, or methods of doing business, franchising could be your ticket to business ownership. That’s because when you buy a franchise, what you get is essentially a build-your-own-business kit. 

Depending on the amount of money you invest and the franchise opportunity you choose, you get rights to use the franchise name, distribute a branded product or service, and perhaps use the franchise’s methods of operations. Customer leads, help locating your business and other services may be part of your package, too. The benefit of this approach is that it simplifies start-up and may also help reduce the chance of failure. 

Buying a franchise won’t actually put you in business. You have to do that yourself. But if you choose your franchise carefully, the franchise’s products and methods can give you the leg up you need to succeed. 

Scott Wallace started his commercial cleaning business in Eden Prairie, MN, this way. 

“I had been fired from my job and decided I never wanted to go through that experience again,” he says, “so I chose to go into business for myself. I decided to go with a franchise because of my previous business experience–none!” 

After researching several types of franchises, Wallace concluded that the best one for him to buy would be a cleaning franchise because the investment was small (prices started under $5,000), no special knowledge was required, and the profit margins were good. He bought a Coverall franchise in 1994 because their Minnesota regional office seemed more interested in having him as a franchisee than other franchisors he contacted.

For his money, Wallace got a package of supplies, equipment, and customers. Then it was up to him to keep the customers and grow the business. A year after he had started he was not only making a profit, but was considering buying a second cleaning business.

Wallace is one of hundreds of thousands of individuals who have turned to franchising as a way to get into business. According to the US Census Bureau, franchise businesses now account for 10.5 percent of businesses with employees  in the 295 industries for which franchising data were collected in 2007. Additionally, franchise businesses accounted for nearly $1.3 trillion in sales in these industries.

Despite the large number of franchise outlets and the huge dollar volume of sales, franchising isn’t without its pitfalls. One New Jersey couple lost nearly $20,000 when the owners of a startup bread and roll franchise they had invested in went bankrupt. A West coast man sunk his retirement funds into a mailbox/office center franchise and discovered to his dismay that the income didn’t come near the claims the company’s sales staff had made. 

Other problems can arise, too. Franchise territories may not be large enough or competing franchises or private businesses may open, making inroads into your selling area. Licensing fees may be excessive compared to the services rendered, supplies may be too expensive, or you may find you personally don’t want to conform to the franchisor’s way of doing business.

To minimize the risk, learn as much about franchising as possible. (For more information on franchising, visit FranchiseKnowHow.com.)

Evaluate your own motives, needs, interests and willingness to follow someone else’s methods of doing business. Research several types of franchises and compare their profitability and appeal. Consider their track record, and your ability to afford the franchise. Remember you’ll need money to live on as well as to get the business rolling. 

Once you narrow your choices, call and visit as many current and past owners as you can. Get copies of the franchise’s Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) and read it cover to cover.

Need more ideas for starting a business? Here are 300 business ideas to consider.

© 2017 Janet Attard. All rights reserved.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

About the author:
Janet Attard is the founder of the award-winning  Business Know-How small business web site and information resource. Janet is also the author of The Home Office And Small Business Answer Book and of Business Know-How: An Operational Guide For Home-Based and Micro-Sized Businesses with Limited Budgets.  Follow Janet on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/JanetAttard.


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6 Ways to Start a Business with Bad Credit

6 Ways to Start a Business with Bad Credit |A&C Accounting And Tax Services

It’s not easy to find money to start a business if your personal credit history isn’t pristine. But it can be done. Here are some ways you may be able to get the money you need to get the business off the ground.

credit historyTimes are tough – especially for those budding entrepreneurs looking to get their business off the ground. While the state of the economy should never be a deterrent in starting a small business (regardless if the economy is up or down – people and businesses still need to consume goods and services); down economies do have some effect on the business owners ability to find and obtain capital for their ventures.

But, all is not lost if your personal credit is a bit lacking.

Most business owners usually have some types of capital to put into their business – be it from personal savings, retirement accounts or loans from friends and family. But, they usually do not have all the funds necessary to launch their business and tend to struggle with allocating the money they do have to the numerous start-up expenses they will encounter.

Plus, bad credit (or even no credit) will make it very difficult for business owners to obtain unsecured working capital for items like marketing, payroll, or even office supplies.

I have always believed that whatever liquid capital (cash on hand) a business owners has walking into a new venture should be used for the overall development and growth of the business – it’s essentially like putting in your own venture capital. However, this method of allocation usually leaves little if not ‘no’ additional money for other items businesses need for their operations to include tools and machinery to provide their goods or services, inventory, rent, or even office equipment including computers, copiers or even vehicles – items used in the day to day life of all businesses.

But, there are other ways that business owners can get these items even if the entrepreneur has bad credit.

For unsecured working capital, business owners can use the numerous social lending sites that have proliferated the Internet over the last decade or so. Social Lending is essentially where member borrow and lend to each other. Gaining access to capital for these sources tends to be easier to obtain as you get to tell your story directly to funders. Further, rates of these types of loans are usually lower than traditional bank lending. While considered personal loans, the funds received here can be used for any purpose including starting and running your business.

There are also Micro-Credit organizations whose whole purpose is to help new and growing businesses obtain capital after they have been turned down by traditional lenders like banks. These organizations are typically non-profit groups, backed by the SBA, and understand the trials that business owners face when trying to get their business venture off the ground. Plus, they offer a plethora of guidance to help ensure your long-term success.

Many new small businesses need all types of equipment for their business – from standard office equipment like computers and copy machines to tools and machinery that allow them to make or provide their products and services. There are equipment lenders that only provide these types of loans. They work with new start-ups and are extremely flexible in developing programs that can meet these businesses specific needs and while these loans and leases are secured by collateral (the equipment) there is less emphasis put on personal credit histories.

Further, a start-up business is considered a business in operation under one year. During this time, many businesses generate financial assets – but still find themselves lacking working capital as they grow. However, these assets can be used to secure financing, either to speed up the flow of payments, to complete current jobs or orders, or to get the funding needed for payroll or additional marketing.

These capital resources include factoring a business’s receivables (why wait 30, 60 or 90 days to get paid by your customers- when you have bills that need to be paid now) or purchase order financing where your business can receive cash to complete jobs that are already in the works or funds to bid on jobs that would have otherwise eluded your business due to lack of working capital. And lastly, business cash advances for businesses that accept credit card payments from their customers allowing them to leverage future sales for growth capital today. The real bonus about there types of financing options is that they are not focused on the business owner’s personal credit history but more on the strength of the asset.

Moreover, given our government’s propensity to help people get back to work (most new jobs are created by small businesses) there has been an influx of new government and private grants to help people in need – including business owners.

Lastly, should a business owner still face difficulties due to credit issues – then the only step remaining is to eliminate those issues. While bankruptcy and credit counseling will continue to harm your credit after you complete these programs, there are other ways like debt consolidation that can reduce your unsecured debt (including credit card debt) into one, low, affordable payment. Allowing the business owner to free up current cash flow as well as improve their credit scores.

While most lenders tend to weed out potential borrowers through credit profiling – leaving many new business owners in limbo – the resources listed above are design to fill the lending gap that is crippling our nation and geared to help all business owners – regardless of past credit mistakes.


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