Hello world!

May 15, 2009 - One Response

Here we go. Welcome to my blog. I’m hoping to be providing useful small business-related topics here. Information and opinions relating to Business Start-ups, Home-Based Businesses and Small Business Ownership is my passion based on my education, corporate world experience and small business ownership. Thanks for visiting.

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Start A Profitable Laser Engraving Business From Home

May 17, 2009 - One Response

Are you looking for a small business opportunity that will provide unending satisfaction while providing a great return almost immediately with unlimited potential? If so, you might want to seriously consider starting a home-based laser engraving business. I know what you may be thinking, “I don’t know anything about lasers or laser engraving or how to engrave stuff”.

Well, the first thing you need to know is using a laser is easy. With a little guidance, you can produce a saleable product in your first hour of training. The learning curve is not to steep or difficult and it is quite easy to enter a laser engraving business working from home.

Another thing you need to know is that there can be big money in a laser engraving business. The resources available and the variety of products that can be produced using a laser is astounding. Grossing $100,000 or more in your first year of operation is quite possible.

So, right about now you’re thinking that a well-earning business opportunity like laser engraving with a relatively short learning curve must require a hefty investment. Actually, you could be up and running with your laser engraving business for about $7,500, most of which can be financed if needed.

As previously mentioned, the variety of uses for a laser engraving system is considerable. Everything from recognition awards, plaques, trophy plates, wedding items, wine glasses, writing pens, pen cases, ipods, laptops, iphones, cell-phones, flashlights, wooden boxes, pet urns, signs, name badges, electrical panel tags, business card cases, desk name plates, medal backings, wooden rulers, promotional products and much more can be handled quite easily with a laser.

Just using recognition awards as an example, these products take many forms whether it be brass plated or acrylic plaques, free-standing acrylic awards, wood items or etch glass or crystal awards. As the description implies, these are awards that are given to “recognize” an individual or entity. These are the products that are sought by business and non-profit organizations, churches, schools, chambers of commerce, public agencies, fire departments, police and law enforcement departments, the military and many other seemingly limitless groups.

And guess what? Recognition awards are where the real money is made with a laser engraving business. It’s not unusual for the all-inclusive cost of an recognition award product to be marked up 400-500%.

“But I don’t know anything about a laser engraving business”, you say. This may be true…now. But, incredibly, almost anyone can be proficiently up and running within 30 days. Maybe even sooner.

Obviously, there is going to be a fair amount of research and investigation that will need to be done to start a laser engraving business. But, as is the case with any destination, there is the long route or the short cut.

For the “short cut”, you might be interested in getting more information that I have gathered. Please post a comment here.  Just click on the link at the top of this article, next to the date. Thank you.

Dye Sublimation- The Perfect Home-Based Business For Under $3,000

May 15, 2009 - Leave a Response

ea_featured_3Are you looking for a home-based small business opportunity that will allow you to produce products in full color, including the color of money? Are you looking for a home-based business that has a relatively easy learning curve with a initial investment of $3,000 or less? If so, you might want to seriously consider the wonderful world of dye-sublimation.

Right about now, you might be asking “What the heck is dye-sublimation?”

Well, the word “dye” is just what it implies. Special inks or dye used to reproduce an image. And “sublimation” is when a substance transitions between the solid and gas states without going through a liquid stage; the action of dry ice exposed to room temperature is a common example. As relates to your new home-based business, you will take advantage of this process to produce a whole range of in-demand full color products.

To get started in business from home, all you need is a dye-sublimation printer, special dye-sublimation inks, special transfer paper, blank products specially coated for dye-sublimation and one or more uniquely different heat presses. The typical dye-sublimation business will have a flat or clam-shell style press, as well as a mug press. And the beauty is, that if you do a little research and shop prudently, ALL of what you will need to start a home-based dye-sublimation business can be had for $3,000 or less.

The range of products that you will have to offer is quite remarkable. Mugs, steins, name badges, picture frames, sports commemoratives, t-shirts, ceramic tiles, tile murals, jewelry, key tags, mouse pads, magnets, stickers, luggage tags, cutting boards, pillow cases, plaques & awards and clock faces are just some of them.

So right about now you’re thinking “can I really make money with dye-sublimation”? Well, lets take a coffee mug as an example. You will imprint a single image in full color on one side of the mug. The mug wholesale cost to you as a dealer is about $1.65. The incremental cost of the special transfer paper is about .05 cents. The incremental cost of the dye-sublimation ink for a single mug is, at most, $.50 cents. So, your materials cost totals $2.20. Your labor involved in computer set-up and printing of the image on one side of the mug is about 5 minutes. Add another 6 minutes for pressing the mug. That’s a total of about 11 minutes at whatever rate your time is worth. In the end, you will sell that mug for about $14.95. If you do a batch of 10 mugs, all with the same image , your labor will essentially be the same as for one mug except for the time that each mug is in the press. Considering that you can press 10 mugs in an hour, that’s $149.50 with a materials cost of $22.00. That is a profit of $127.50 for a little more than 1 hour of your time.

To think that this can be accomplished while running your business from home is worth serious consideration.

If this exciting money-making home-based business opportunity is of interest to you, please post a comment here. Just click on the link at the top of this article, next to the date. Thank you.

HOME-BASED or STOREFRONT?

May 15, 2009 - Leave a Response

When considering the idea of starting a business, there is an important decision to be made. Should my business be home-based or should I go out and lease a storefront? There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Probably the most advantageous aspect of a home-based business is that it is at home.
Interestingly, this is also a disadvantage. Having your business at home is very convenient. But working from home requires a great amount of self-discipline. There are just too many distractions and temptations that can cause you to lose your day-to-day business focus. But if you can keep your business face while working from home, it can be very satisfying.

With any business, there are some equipment requirements and you will need space to efficiently operate the equipment. And this is in addition to space needed for storing inventory and office space for administering your business. Maybe that means conversion of a spare bedroom or dining room, or both. Or, if it’s available to you, maybe you have a garage or other free-standing outbuilding that can be converted to you new home-based World Headquarters. One warning…don’t be surprised if, as your home-based business gets going or, God forbid, it actually grows, that the business starts spreading into other areas of your home. Plan for it. It will happen. That’s when you start considering whether it makes sense to rent a storefront.

The biggest disadvantage of a home-based business has to do with the act of showing or displaying the products you may have depending on the type of business you decide on. Most homes, either by design, location or both, are not conducive to having customers stop by for a visit. And although there is no doubt that home-based businesses have come a long way over the last several years, it is still true that most prospective customers have a reluctance to go to someone’s home to do their shopping. So, assuming this is true (it is), this means that any solution will include that you show your products outside the home. This may include gathering up certain products and going to the client’s premises or location, or by utilizing catalogs and other visual media. Can you spell
A-D-D-E-D E-X-P-E-N-S-E ?

A storefront location outside the home solves the problem of how to display your products. But a storefront also represents the main reason that folks consider trying to have a business based out of the home. And that reason is monthly rent. To think that there is a rent payment to be made each and every month whether or not anything sells is a serious and rude awakening. Frankly, many owners of businesses that ultimately fail can point to the fact that they were paying too much in rent as one of the significant factors contributing to the failure. This may or may not be true. Every situation is different. But one thing is absolutely true. If you are going to be leasing your business space (premises), it is absolutely essential that you not overpay for the space and that you not lease more space than you need or will need in, say, 12-36 months, and that you not obligate yourself for more than one (1) year at a time.

Did you catch that last comment? Let me repeat it. When it comes to negotiating the lease, do not obligate yourself for more than one (1) year at a time. The ideal would be to only be obligated on a month-to-month basis. But in the world of business, a month-to-month rental agreement is not going to be realistic. Actually, from the landlord’s point-of-view, it is in his or her best interest to have a stabilized tenancy of multiple years, generally 3 years give or take.

The phrase “lease negotiation” is just that. A negotiation. If the owner or leasing agent wants a 3 year lease, and you want a month-to-month agreement, a 1 year lease with options to renew for years 2 and 3 is quite realistic. Of course, ultimately the desirability of the space, its location and the rental market will determine what the landlord is willing to negotiate.

As I mentioned earlier, in addition to negotiating the term of the lease (how long the lease runs), it is essential that you not overpay for the space. The amount of monthly rent you will pay is generally based on what you will be paying per square foot. The market generally will dictate the amount of rent per square foot. Some property owners think that their space is deserving of rents higher than market. Others are more realistic and will negotiate based on how motivated they are to have an occupied space rather than a vacant one. In the end, do your homework. Check out what’s going on in the rental market. Consider whether you must have the very best location or if a second or even third best location with a more desirable lease and monthly rent might still be adequate for your needs.

By the way, there are alternatives to being home-based or having a storefront in the traditional meaning. One alternative has to do with having a booth at craft fairs, home shows and/or swap meets. Technically, this is probably just another form of being home-based, but it solves the problem of displaying your awards & trophy merchandise.

Another alternative is the Internet. The world wide web. To say that the Web is over-saturated in general might be an understatement. And I will warn you, there are a lot of businesses using the internet to generate sales. This means lots of competition. But if planned and executed properly, there is still money to be made selling on the Internet.

If any of this is of interest, and you would like more information or you have questions,  please post a comment here and I will respond. Just click on the link at the top of this article, next to the date. Thank you.

Starting Your Own Business Without Quitting Your Day Job

May 15, 2009 - Leave a Response

One of the businesses that I started was a home-based business. I started this business while I was still working in the corporate world and I’m glad that I did. Let me explain.

When starting any business, it’s hard to beat having a predictable income while in the start-up phase. It takes some of the pressure off. So, I always recommend keeping your day job while planning, launching and even during the early stages of growth of your small business. Of course, this assumes that you presently have a job.

Assuming that you do have a job, depending on your finances, this time at the beginning stages of planning your business might enable you to save some money to be used for certain expenses of your new venture, maybe even to finance equipment purchases.

Don’t think that staying employed is going to make starting a business easy, because I can assure that it is not. It is a two-edged sword. It will take off some of the financial pressure, but it will also require you to be organized and extremely focused. In essence, you will be working two full-time jobs. You will work your “day job” by day and your business at night and weekends. Working 9 or 10 hours during the day and then coming home and working 5-6 or more hours on your business is typical. At least for awhile.

Obviously, in order to work these kinds of hours will require you to give something up. One of the first things will probably be television. But, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Besides, there is nothing quite like the energy and enthusiasm that you will have while working on getting your own business up and running. Of course, television won’t be the only thing that will go on the backburner. Activities with friends and relatives, or even a Sunday drive in the country may have to be put off at least until your new business is under control.

This is a good place for a word of advice and caution. While it is totally appropriate and necessary to put in the hours in the early stages of launching your new business, it is easy to fall into the trap of leaving everything else in your life behind; particularly your family. This article is supposed to dispense my advice and experience as a help to you in this area of starting and owning a small business.  Please, please, please don’t allow the balance in your life to slip away to the point that you have a business, but you don’t have a life.

I mentioned earlier that you will have to be organized and focused. The time you put in at working your day job should be quality time devoted to your employer. After all, you are being paid so keep thoughts pertaining to your new business captive while at work. When I say “at work”, I mean while actually on the clock. Your break time and lunch time is new business time. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish in terms of advancing your new business by utilizing those extra moments during the day.

After hours is an entirely different matter. You need to be very organized and very focused so as to keep your new business venture on track.One of the ways to do this is to be definite in the time you are willing to allocate.

Whatever you decide, it is important to stick to the schedule and set goals or benchmarks of achievement of certain tasks or stages.

Another way of staying organized is to have a plan. Right now, you may have a plan in your head, but it needs to be in writing. Just make notes and turn the notes into some form of written outline. If you do this on the computer, you can just throw thoughts on paper (on the screen) for now, and later cut & paste to prioritize what you have written. As you think of more things to be done, throw those into your plan outline. Eventually, you can take this outline and develop it into a full-on Business Plan. But for now, just put your thoughts on paper in outline form as if it were a roadmap getting you from A to B and beyond.

I’ll be following up with more detail a bit later. I hope this is of some help in the meantime.

Good luck in your new venture!

Ed