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Monthly Archives: October 2016

7 Handmade Business Ideas

3D printed figures and art

With the advent of cheap, quality 3D printers, so to has a class of 3D artisans arisen. Whether it’s cartoon or video game characters or decorative works of art, 3D printers represent a new medium that allow artists to try new things and that shoppers will love.

Custom clothing

Got a sewing machine, or even just a needle and thread? You can create custom clothing items for customers who want shirts, skirts, dresses or even baby items. Places like JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores sell everything you need to get started, from the fabrics themselves to sewing equipment and patterns. You can also track down free patterns online for some basic items.

Knitting and crocheting

Handmade scarves, hats and blankets are big sellers in the online marketplace. Wholesale yarn is relatively inexpensive, and depending on how quickly you can knit, you’ll be able to build up your inventory and spend more time marketing your store. Once you’ve mastered the basics of this art, you can move on to designing your own unique, colorful patterns. Don’t know how to knit or crochet? Sites like KnittingHelp.com are readily available to teach you.

Baked goods

If you frequently find yourself whipping up a batch of cookies to stave off boredom, why not get paid for it by opening a bakery? Find desserts that you can replicate perfectly every time, and accept orders online to deliver or ship to local areas. This is a great business to run in your spare time, as you can fill orders during evenings and weekends. The best part about being in the baked goods business? You’ll never find any shortage of volunteers to help you eat your mistakes.

Bags

Handmade bags can be made out of a variety of materials. Using recycled fabrics and other materials from around your home, create bags and purses in different sizes, styles and colors to appeal to a wide customer base.

Jams and preserves

There are few foods that are easier to hand-make and package in large quantities than jam. With access to a steady supply of high-quality fruits and mason jars, you can go into the jam-making business in no time. First, build a repertoire of tried-and-true jam recipes. Then create branded labels and sell your goods online or at local fairs, farmers markets and events.

Bath and cleaning products

Hair products, lotions, soaps and cleansers can all be made using natural ingredients you already have in your pantry. Sure, anyone can find a recipe for a sugar scrub or vinegar-based cleaning solution and do it themselves, but if you package and sell them in sets, your customers can have those all-natural products at their fingertips without having to use their own time and resources.

Guide and Tips to Start a Food Truck Business

Most food truck businesses start out with a dream and an idea, but that will get you only so far. Your biggest initial expense will be the actual food truck. You may be able to find a used truck suitable for your business for around $25,000, but most experts say you should expect to spend about $80,000 on a truck. You can, of course, easily spend much more. Expenses for truck retrofitting and altering need to be considered in your budget. Food cart or trailer options are less. If you choose a franchise option, you can likely get around this part of the investment at first. You may also find leasing options available.

Other startup costs to consider include:

  • Permits, licensing and insurance (business and vehicle): $500 – $1,000
  • Inventory (food and supplies): $1,000+
  • Payment processing: hardware, processing agreement, mobile data plan: $400+
  • Commissary fees (professional kitchen rental for prep work): varies ($400+ per month)
  • Truck appearance: paint, wraps, lighting and such (varies)
  • Propane and or generator costs: fuel (varies)

Unless you already have startup funds, acquiring funding may be your biggest challenge. Your first goal should be to put together a bulletproof business plan. Youꞌll also have more success if you have good personal and business credit. Most truck financing options will require good credit, a down payment and possibly even collateral. If you already own a restaurant with a successful history, you should be able to acquire funding and decent rates.

If traditional financing is not an option for you, youꞌll have to get creative to cover startup costs. But you may have to start out small. Here are some ways to start your business with minimal funding:

  1. Talk with someone who already owns a food truck and negotiate a lease or a rental agreement.
  2. Start with a low-cost, used cart or trailer.
  3. Start selling at a farmers market, art fair booth or pop-up.
  4. Talk to a successful restaurant owner about running a food truck for the ownerꞌs business.
  5. If your truck idea includes providing a public service or a benefit to your community, you may be able to obtain sponsors.
  6. If you are already contracted with a payment processor, you may qualify for a processing advance loan. This type of loan is paid back by fees added to your regular processing fees.

These are the things that actual food truck owners say are their biggest challenges.

Time ─ Some think food truck workers just work a few hours a day. That is far from the truth. You have to consider shopping time, prep work, marketing, event booking, cleaning, truck maintenance, accounting and tax obligations, and more. Most say it has to be a labor of love, with an emphasis on labor. You may have to work holidays and weekends ─ and you may need to work every day.

Competition and Market ─ Some may say food truck owners help each other out; others say it is cut-throat competitive. Some report that events may have long waiting lists. A city can support only so many taco trucks or coffee carts. You’ll want to carefully research your market to increase your chance of success.

Ordinances and Zoning ─ Many find, after they get into business, that they are limited by where they can park and for how long they can park. And every area is different. So, if you travel, you’ll need to know what the rules are in the areas you intend to sell in. Some events, parks and recreation centers may have their own rules and charge you for parking and selling in their space.

While researching this topic, we found quite a few helpful tips and ideas. Here are a few.

  • If you plan to have your truck parked in one specific spot on a regular basis, see if you can negotiate with local businesses to use their power, either by paying them directly or by trade. Some, for example, offer a certain number of free meals in exchange for using their power. This can greatly save you in propane and generator use.
  • Post your social media information on your truck and regularly post to your social media pages, especially if your truck moves around. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are good platforms to start with and they are all free.
  • You may save money at first by hiring a crew to work in your truck. It makes mathematical sense to pay someone $10 an hour to work in your truck rather than giving up your $30-an-hour job. Especially if you are choosing a franchise option.
  • Work on a food truck for a few days or weeks. By doing this you can learn the pace and process. And it may help you decide if it is the right type of business for you or not.
  • Though not as fun as creating your own product, you may be able to save money by purchasing prepared food items to avoid commissary costs. For example, by buying in bulk from your local Costco or Samꞌs Club.
  • Some have found success by operating a mobile-catering business rather than a traditional food truck business. You can better plan your hours, you know how many youꞌll be serving and you know how much youꞌll be paid. You can also charge a deposit, and you should.
  • Negotiate with a local restaurant about using their facilities instead of a costly commissary.
  • You may benefit from selling during nonstandard meal times, such as late at night near entertainment venues.
  • Find a good mentor. Consult with someone who has been successful in your industry and learn as much as you can from them.

7 Business Ideas Poised for Success

 Women’s health platform

Aspiring women entrepreneurs looking to make a difference are now in a better position than ever to launch businesses that help other women. An online store that focuses on women’s health needs, or another platform that connects women with important resources and products, could be a great framework for a successful and meaningful business.

Box subscription services

Box subscription services are popping up everywhere in the food, beauty and even pet product sectors, ready to deliver goods right to your door each month. One of the consumer perks is the idea that these subscription boxes are carefully curated just for them based on their likes and interests, and each month, the boxes’ contents are a surprise.

Health clubs for millennials

Health and fitness services are being rebranded to become trendier and more sociable. Opening a health club or gym targeted specifically to millennials could be a great way to capitalize on the fitness trend, especially if you focus on creating a strong, fun and engaging social media presence to really connect with young members and potential customers.

Software training

If you’re proficient in a highly specialized software, you can get paid to pass your knowledge on to amateurs and professionals looking to expand their skill sets. Technical manuals are available for programs like QuickBooks and Final Cut Pro, but these are often expensive and difficult for the average user to get through. Schedule small group workshops or private sessions, and charge by the hour for a full tutorial of the program. The best part about this gig is that it can be done part time.

Food truck

Want to start a food business? A truck is a much less expensive investment than a brick-and-mortar restaurant, and according to Mobi Munchfounder Josh Tang, the failure rate for food trucks is just 10 to 20 percent (as opposed to 60 to 90 percent for restaurants). With the right equipment and some great recipes, you can have your mobile eatery up and running in no time.

Freelancing

Companies are increasingly turning to freelance and contract workers to fill the skill gaps in their staff. It’s not hard to imagine that you could build a whole company around providing freelance services of one sort or another. Some freelance gigs pay by the project and others pay hourly, and the rates can vary greatly. But as you gain more experience, your earning potential will soar.

Translation services

There’s no denying the global marketplace is growing. All that cross-cultural communication is creating an increasing need for translators. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the hiring of interpreters and translators is projected to grow by 46 percent by 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. This means it’s a big business opportunity for entrepreneurs who can bring foreign-language speakers together with businesses in need.

How to build an alliance against

 Public-company managers are quick to bemoan the pressures they face to emphasize short-term financial performance at the expense of long-term value creation. Depending on the day, they point the finger at a range of culprits, including market pressure, economic uncertainty, and investors. But it’s time managers took a harder look at themselves and the tools they have to build alliances against the corrosive effects of corporate short-termism.

It is true that short-term investors and their proxies, sell-side analysts, are the most visible participants on quarterly earnings calls and in contacting companies for the insights upon which they trade. The pace and volume of those trades may often dominate a company’s daily trading activity. But it’s worth recalling that short-term investors are usually a minority of a company’s shareholders. Overall, they own only around 25 percent of shares held by US companies (Exhibit 1). In fact, seven in ten shares of US companies are owned by longer-term investors: individuals, index funds, and more sophisticated long-term investors.

As prior McKinsey analysis has shown, this last group, also known asintrinsic investors, has an outsize influence on a company’s share price over time. With their deep understanding of a company’s intrinsic value and their willingness to make large investments, they often see even bad news, in the short term, as an opportunity to increase their holdings of a company whose strategy and management they support. That gives companies more room than many managers realize to make decisions that create long-term value—even at the risk of short-term volatility. This also benefits all long-term shareholders by keeping share prices in line with a company’s intrinsic value and preventing prices from falling too far out of line, relative to the company’s peers.

Executives need to understand intrinsic investors better. To begin an ongoing dialogue, McKinsey and the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program1convened a group of public-company CFOs and intrinsic investors in late 2014 to discuss their mutual interests. The following year, as discussions continued, we also surveyed and interviewed intrinsic investors, with an average holding period of six years. Our interpretation of these discussions and survey results does not necessarily reflect the views of every participant. But the consensus of the group was that all public-company CEOs, CFOs, and corporate boards should be doing what they can to attract and retain a critical mass of intrinsic investors in order to blunt the effects of short-termism and best support a strategy of long-term value creation.

Our research indicates that four initiatives seem to resonate with intrinsic investors and could prove useful for managers eager to achieve this goal. They include pursuing long-term value creation even at the expense of short-term earnings, proactively structuring investor communications, resisting artificial efforts to meet earnings targets, and rethinking management’s approach to quarterly earnings calls.