Kids Make Great Business Owners – How to Start a Business

When my teenage daughter started her first business, I noticed a substantial change in her. The ownership she felt taught her to be more responsible and accountable. She took more risks and as her business grew, she realized that the money she made represented a new level of freedom for her. The more she understood the benefits of business ownership, the more strategies she was willing to try in order to reap the rewards.

When kids take the risk of starting a business, their perception of the negative consequences is different than their adult counterparts. They don’t have a family to support, a monthly mortgage payment that needs to be paid, or a utility bill that has come due. They can do whatever they want with the money they make. Taking a risk by starting a business is much less intimidating because the consequences of failing don’t exist. For adults with financial responsibilities, taking risks comes with more costly consequences.

Risk taking is a catalyst to business success and because kids see risk taking differently than adults, learning how to start a business during these youthful years is critical.

When negative consequences due to risk taking are eliminated, kids have the ability to think outside the box simply because they are unaware a box exists. The vital skill sets they learn stay with them all throughout their lives, allowing them to seek and take advantage of opportunities.

How kids can start and run their own business:

  1. Come up with an idea that revolves around your interests. Entrepreneurs are problem solvers. How does your idea solve a problem? People buy things because the products solve problems and make their lives better.
  2. Develop your product or service for the marketplace.
  3. Plan and organize you business. Businesses fail largely because they lack organization and planning. Determine short and long-term strategies.
  4. Know who your customers are and where they are located.
  5. Plan your marketing and advertising campaign and write your messages so that they appeal to your customer’s needs and wants.

Running a business takes work, but the intrinsic and financial rewards run deep. When kids learn how to start and manage a business when they are young it allows them to gain skills and knowledge that will last a lifetime.

How Using Tweeter Can Lead To More Business And Financial Wealth

There are a few ways on how using Tweeter can lead to more business. By posting information on the social networking site, Twitter, you can provide people all over the world with information about you company. This micro-blogging tool can help you not only promote your business, but interact with your customers and clients.

The free social network known as Twitter has been around for five years. Since that time, people and businesses have been using it to keep others informed about anything that might be related to them. Posting this information on this site is known as tweeting. People and companies that are successful tweet information and provide things like customer service and support to help maintain a healthy relationship with the public. For instance, mobile food vendors will tweet their location for customers who are wanting to buy their food. The customers will then know where to go and purchase food from these vendors.

One company that has had success by tweeting is Starbucks. The corporation has a forum for discussion so customers can talk about products and give feedback. Starbucks can then learn from these discussions on how to better improve their products and make more people happy.

H&R Block provides customer service for people wanting assistance with tax filing and their finances. By tweeting with clients, H&R Block is better able to meet the need of their clients and thus propel the company forward.

A company that succeeds by tweeting is The Home Depot. This company provides a service that allows customers to tweet from home to ask questions and receive support. If a problem arises during a renovation, the problem might easily be solved tweeting with a representative from The Home Depot.

JetBlue also tweets with its customers. People are able to interact with a customer service representative and check flight status updates. These things are very important to people traveling as traveling can become stressful. Bags get lost, flights get delayed and canceled and airline companies need to keep their customers happy. JetBlue provides a service that other airlines might not.

Tweeting will help benefit a company in more ways than one. Mobile devices are extremely common in present time and people want to be able to do almost anything from anywhere in the world. The person who commutes to work on the bus can engage in many activities on the internet with a mobile device. This person can provide companies like Starbucks with feedback while sitting on the bus. He no longer has to call a company to complain or give positive feedback.

Tweeting is a great way for companies to advertise at a low-cost, provide customer service and support and receive feedback. Companies can easily see how using tweeter can lead to more business by reaching more of its clientele through simple and short information on the internet that people can see and connect with on their mobile devices. Tweeting gives companies greater access to a larger audience around the world.

Business Plan Financial Projections: Stop Worrying About Being Right…

Business plan financial projections seem daunting because
they are so uncertain. This very uncertainty, however, is
what makes preparing them easy because you can’t possibly be
right. You can’t predict the future. None of us can. All you
can be is competent in the way you prepare your business plan
projections.

Before you finalize your business plan this year, consider
these six caveats to preparing your business plan financial
projections:

1. Don’t offer pull-out-of-the-air, “conservative”
guesstimates about getting some percentage of the overall
market demand or year-over-year growth.

It is a mistake to assume that business investors will
appreciate your being conservative with your business plan
financial projections in the early years of your business.
Don’t think for a Wall Street minute that presenting
“conservative” business plan financial projections indicates
“realism” to prospective business investors. Business investors
invest for one reason: to earn a return on their money. How
long the money is invested influences the amount of the return
earned. Let’s say a business investor wants to triple an
investment. Well, if that investment triples in 3 years, the
return is 44%. If it triples in five years, the return is
25%. Adding just two years to the investment period nearly
halves the return! Now do you see why time is so important
to a business investor? Here are a few other examples: let’s
say a business investor wants to:

Make 5 times an investment in 3 years = 71% return

Make 5 times an investment in 5 years = 38% return

Make 7 times an investment in 3 years = 91% return

Make 7 times an investment in 5 years = 48% return

Make 10 times an investment in 3 years = 115% return

Make 10 times an investment in 5 years = 59% return

So, while you may find it attractive to figure out how to
make “just a living” until the business venture proves
itself, you now understand why business investors want sales
and earnings to grow absolutely as fast as possible, without
being deceived, in your business plan financial projections.
On the whole, business investors are risk averse only to the
extent that they don’t want to lose their money or tie it up
in a low return investment. Typically when you make the claim
that your business plan financial projections are “conservative”,
it usually just means that you have no idea how and why you’ll
achieve a certain level of sales within a certain time frame.
Interesting, these kinds of estimates, provided that you’ve
done some good thinking about market segments and overall
demand, often turn out to be too low. Remember, it’s just as
bad to underestimate your sales, as it is to overestimate
them.

2. Avoid calculating costs as a straight percentage of
revenues.

Sure it’s easier to do things this way, especially with
Excel and other business plan financial projection software.
Costs are real, however. You need to know what they are very
specifically. If you’ve done your homework in developing
your business plan, then you should already have this information,
or at least the basis of it. Just estimate and calculate your
costs on a product-by-product basis.

With these warnings in mind, use the following steps to
develop your business plan financial projections:

Think about what percentage of the overall market share your
competitors already own. Assume that they will continue
their present trends in growth. (Note: some competitors may
already be trending down and losing market share.) Temper
your market share estimates with some discussion of how your
entry into the market will affect these trends. Then,
estimate the percent of total, potential demand that remains
available to you.

Now, based on the limitations of your operations plans,
calculate how much of this remaining available demand you
can achieve. This is a very simple calculation. Start with
your overall productive unit capacity and factor it by the
expected yield of sellable product, then multiply these unit
sales by their respective selling prices and voila, you have
the revenue numbers for your business plan financial projections.

Let’s take an example.

Your research indicates that 2 out of every 10 females age
23 to 55 will under go some type of non-invasive cosmetic
treatment in your area. Your research also shows that this
number is expected to grow 20% each year over the next 5
years. There are 40,000 females in your target market. You
identified four competitors in your target market. These
four competitors currently handle on average 6 procedures a
day. You plan to start a non-invasive cosmetic treatment
center that uses the most advanced technology and is thus
capable of performing an average of 7 procedures a day.
Using this data you calculate the following statistics
about your market and market potential:

Total market 40,000 females x 20% = 8,000 procedures per
year

4 competitors x 6 procedures x 250 days = 6,000 procedures
per year

Available procedures: 8,000 less 6,000 = 2,000 per year

Your productive capacity: 7 procedures a day x 250 days =
1,750 or 21.875% of the total market. The average selling
price for a procedure is $400. Thus, the revenue for the first
year in your business plan financial projection would be 1,750
procedures times $400 or $700,000.

Now, let’s say you’re were projecting 2,200 procedures per
year. This would mean that you would have to alter your
operating plan to be able to perform 2,200 procedures. You
would also have to demonstrate how you would capture an
additional 200 procedures from your competitors.
Granted this is an over simplified example, but it should
give you a feel for how this process works.

Regarding price, in most cases you should have a clear idea
of how to price your product or service. There are usually
other, similar products or services out on the market.
Unless your competitive advantage is a cost reduction and/or
unless price is a critical basis of competition, just
estimate the value of your improvement and add it on to the
average price currently offered in the marketplace. In order
to make this estimate, you’ll have to be talking to
potential users. Find out what they pay now. Find out how
they feel about the current price. Ask them if they’d be
willing to pay more and how much more. If you ask enough
people, you’ll get a general idea.

3. Never determine price on the basis of a margin you think
is attractive.

The market will pay you only for the value you deliver,
which is determined by the consumer paying the final price.
It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that a 20%, 40% or
even a 60% margin is great. Never considering that if the
product or service you’re offering provides a real
advantage. If you do this, you may be grossly
underestimating the price you can get in the marketplace and
underestimating your business plan financial projections.
Consumers don’t think in terms of margins. They could care
less about what you ought, “reasonably”, to get for your
product. That’s why you must find out the most that they’ll
pay. This is the value of your product or service. Come up
with some reasonable basis for determining this real value.
Keep in mind the obvious: If the consumer’s value on the
final product or service is less than your cost plus a
reasonable profit to keep your business growing, you’re in
trouble. Your business model will not be sustainable and your
business plan financial projections useless.

Now calculate the costs of manufacturing and distributing
your product. These costs flow directly from your revenues
estimates and operations plan. How much will it cost to
purchase what equipment and materials, hire what personnel,
engage in what selling efforts, pay what accountants and
lawyers, rent what kind of space and so forth, to achieve
the revenues you’re showing in your business plan financial
projections. You must be very specific. Project your costs
over time. Keep them tied to the units you need to sell to
achieve the revenues in your business plan financial
projections.

Obviously, costs and revenues work hand in hand.

4. Keep your fixed cost low.

Keep in mind that none of these revenues and the cost
estimates are going to be perfectly accurate, which means
the amount of profit or cash available to pay “fixed” cost
isn’t going to be accurate either. As a result, you can lose
your shirt trying to pay for equipment, a receptionist, or
other activities that don’t contribute to the sole objective
of making sales. Wherever possible, rent space, rent time on
equipment, answer your own phones, etc. To the extent that
you keep costs variable in your business plan financial
projections, you can cut back when sales are slower than
expected. It’s the worst situation to have a big,
well-furnished office with an expensive secretary who
needs the job, when the money isn’t coming in. High fixed
costs in your business plan financial projections also send
the wrong message to investors that you know more about the
“form” of doing business than about actually making money.

Now pull all your numbers together to prepare the financial
statements that summarize your business plan financial
projections. You need three basic statements: cash flow
analysis, income statements, and balance sheets. All of
these come directly from the above calculations. Your cash
flow analysis indicates when and what amounts of capital
infusion you’ll need to start and sustain your business plan.
Make your income and balance sheet projections on the
assumption that you’ll get the capital. For the first year
or two of your business plan financial projections, present
each of these statements on at least a quarterly basis.
Monthly is best. I suggest doing a 24- or 36-month projection
depending on your growth plans and changes in the industry that
you foresee. Follow these monthly or quarterly projections with
annual projections till you cover a span of 5 years.

Finally, run through some “what-if” scenarios or sensitivity
analysis. Though you business plan financial projections should
be based on your best, and best-supported estimates of costs
and revenues, you know you can’t be 100% right. That’s why it’s
important to identify those elements or assumptions of your
business plan financial projections that you feel are most
uncertain. Write out the nature of the uncertainty and the range
you think the estimates will fluctuate up or down. Then change
the estimates accordingly and re-run all your statements.
Pay close attention to how your business plan financial
projections, especially cash flows, change when you change
each assumption. This will help you determine how much
“cushion” you have available and, if business isn’t going
according to plan, at what point cash will become an issue.

5. Do not simply assume that costs and revenues may be
“off”, up or down, by some percentage.

Again, I know that Excel makes it easy to do this. For all
the same reasoning as above, stay focused on the assumptions
and details that make up your business plan financial projections.
It’s the details you need to examine for their sensitivity and
their impact on the bottom line. You only need to alter those
specific items that you’re most uncertain about. If it’s revenues
that you’re worried about, is it the price, the volume, or
both that concerns you most? How big a swing in the estimate
are you worried about, in what direction and why? If it’s
your cost projections that are keeping you awake at night,
which cost elements and why? Things like rents and labor
costs can be determined fairly accurately. But maybe you’re
unsure about materials or labor availability or how
efficiently you can produce your products or provide your
services. Maybe you’ll have to pay extra to ensure their
availability. This kind of thinking forms the basis for running
“what-if” or sensitivity analysis on your business plan financial
projections.

6.Do not include every possible business
plan financial projection scenario in your business plan.

Both you and your investors need to know what aspects of the
business plan financial projections are most uncertain,
represent the most risk, in what direction, why, and how
they affect the bottom line. Having hundreds of alternative
scenarios to sort through is like a man with two watches
showing two different times… he never knows what time it is.
Lots of alternative business plan financial projections also
indicate that you’re not too sure about anything. This is an
impossible way to communicate with business investors, manage
your business, or make important decisions. It’s much more
effective to identify the risky areas of your plan, tell why
and how they impact the bottom line and what actions you
plan to take if they occur. This helps you and your business
investors stay focused on the high impact areas and to think
clearly about whether other factors should be considered as
well. It also lends more credibility to your talents and
increases the likelihood of your plan’s success.

Finish this discussion with a summary of the critical
aspects of your plan and related contingency plans. If
you’ve followed all these steps, then you can figure out
what you’ll do if your actual performance turns out to be
different than your business plan financial projections.
Remember, you’re purpose is to demonstrate to business investors
that you’re competent; worrying about protecting their investment
and running a business, not just flying by the seat of your pants.

Mixing Business and Pleasure in New York

Holding events or meetings in New York conference rooms is a symbol of success in modern day business dealings. In today’s global economy, it is not uncommon for companies to have not only trading partners, but also branches and staff, all over the world. Although phone, video conference and digital communications have greatly facilitated this way of doing business, there’s no replacement for building personal relationships and getting to know who you’re working with face to face. In this digital age, there’s still no replacement for team-building activities and the good old-fashioned handshake.

New York conference rooms are the perfect place for people from different parts of the country – even the world – to meet, get to know one another, and to hash out that all-important deal. And the best thing about New York conference rooms is, once all the wheeling-and-dealing are over, there’s a million fun things to do in this fabulous city! Aside from being a business and financial hub, the Big Apple is also a paradise for foodies, culture-lovers, and shoppers. Whether it’s your first time in the city that never sleeps, or you know it well enough to act as a guide, there’s no end of the experiences you can enjoy with your co-workers and new friends.

Exploring New York

If it’s your first time, and you only have a day to explore, don’t worry. Your tour of the city can start as soon as you walk out the door of your New York conference rooms. In the holiday season, especially, the streetlights and decorations in the city can be dazzling. Many buildings, particularly department stores, have amazing window displays that many consider to be works of art. And don’t forget to check out the ice-skaters and giant Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center! This particular scene has been immortalised in many TV shows and movies, but there’s nothing like seeing it in person. If you’re feeling particularly Christmassy and adventurous, you can also join in the fun! After skating, you can warm yourself with gourmet hot chocolate or coffee from one of the many street food carts that the city is famous for. Grab a soft pretzel or a hot-dog-with-everything-on-it and you’re good to go for more sightseeing or to check out the nightlife scene.

You can also check out day tours that are only few hours long if you just have a few days in the city – like many business travellers. Tours can cover the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, Fifth Avenue, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, and Strawberry Fields in less than six hours, either by bus or by ferry. Don’t forget to have your picture taken as a memento, especially at the Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, and Statue of Liberty. There will be plenty of shops along the route that sell souvenirs for the folks back at home.

If you have more than a day, be sure to take in as much as of the NY magic as you can. Check out a musical on Broadway, visit the MoMa or the Guggenheim, eat your fill of haute cuisine at one of the many five-star restaurants, and, most importantly, shop till you drop – be it at 5thAvenue or the Tribeca’s many trendy boutiques. Mixing business and pleasure in New York is easy – if you know how!

Great Businesses to Start in a Recession

Great businesses to start in a recession aren’t exactly of the plenty. During a recession, people cut back on their spending which in turn leads to businesses having to close their doors. When you are looking to start a business during a recession, you need to pick something that either feeds off the panic and desperation of the economy or something that people need regardless of their financial security.

First off, businesses you should probably avoid starting are those based on frivolous spending. In other words, businesses that rely solely on the sale of excessively priced items or services. People are cutting back and simplifying their lives reducing their splurging and buying more of the necessities. Depending on your skill set there are few solid options for you.

Financial Consultation

Since people are looking to save money and not waste so much, many may be looking for a financial consultant to help them lay out the best options for investments, savings, how and when to cut back and so on. One issue with this is if you don’t have a previous track record, most people won’t trust you to tell them how to manage their money. Also, it really isn’t a feasible option if you don’t have formal education in finance. But assuming you meet the requirements this could be a good business to start.

Food

Whether you serve food or sell groceries you will get customers. You just need to make sure that your location and marketing is adapted to the times. People want their hard earned dollars to stretch farther so they want to travel less and pay less. The great thing is, people will always need food. It is essential for survival!

Online Business

In my opinion this is by far your best option for great businesses to start in a recession. Your start up costs can be minimal, you can advertise cheaply, and you have the widest reach for customers. The internet is up and running 24/7/365 so you can be doing business while you sleep. This is definitely an obvious advantage over your typical bricks and mortar type business. You will need to come up with a fresh product or service that you plan to market perfectly to maximize your potential.

Great businesses to start in a recession are few and far between but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Many people are starting businesses because of lack of stability in the job market. You need to do your research and make the best educated decision that you can on what is going to be right for you.