When was the last time you went to a new restaurant without looking it up online beforehand? Or bought a product that didn’t have at least a few 5-star reviews? It seems like more and more our world is run on reviews. And you can make money online by writing them. Get started by creating accounts on sites like Vindale research, Software Judge, FameBit, CrowdTap, Influence Central, and Modern Mom. However, before you run off and start writing, be sure to check the small print on each of these sites. Writing reviews isn’t a huge source of guaranteed income and you want to make sure that it’s worth your time before you get going.
A corporate business plan for a large organization can be hundreds of pages long. However, for a small business, it's best to keep the plan short and concise, especially if you intend to submit it to bankers or investors. Capping your plan at 30 pages should be sufficient unless you need to include photos of products, equipment, logos, business premises or site plans, etc. Potential money lenders and investors want solid research and analysis, not long, wordy descriptions.
The second (and cheaper) path assumes that you have the design and dev chops yourself to build your dream software. Naturally, it’ll take more time to get your product off the ground, but being able to bootstrap the development of your software lets you retain more ownership in your business and be more in control of your path, making this a lower-cost, but higher time investment to make money selling apps.
My current company, Outbox Systems, began this way. We wanted to connect two software applications, but we didn’t have the capital to build the integration. Knowing we needed to generate money to fund our product development, I approached the partner channel at AtTask and asked if I could build a software integration for them. Fortuitously, an enterprise AtTask customer needed to integrate AtTask and Salesforce and was willing to pay us $125 per hour to build the integration. Then we turned around and resold the product to others. A typical tech entrepreneur thinks, “Raise money, build software.” But we turned the model on its head and essentially got the company to help us develop intellectual property for our business.
Item #8 should be changed from interior designer to interior decorator because indeed interior designers are required to have a degree and in many states are required to be licensed. Interior designers need to know building and safety codes among other things. Selecting paint colors and toss pillows is a very small part of the job. Many commercial ID’s do very little “decorating”. See IIDA or NCIDQ for more information.
If you’re one of those people who can’t help but flip through bridal magazines and think about various wedding arrangements in your daydreams, wedding planning might be the perfect thing for you. A great way to get started is to develop a website or blog on the topic, get to know people online, and promote your services at local wedding venues and throughout the community.
There are several loan programs aimed at helping first-time entrepreneurs set up their business. The Small Business Administration (SBA) operates the loan programs offered by the U.S. government. To qualify for the loan, your business must meet some criteria such as your business must operate in the United States, your business must qualify as a small business according to SBA guidelines, you must operate for profit and you should have a good credit score.
SmartBiz offers the easiest way for businesses to apply and get qualified for an SBA loan up to $350,000. Instead of the typical 90 days usually required to get funding, SmartBiz offers a total funding time that takes up to 30 days. You can qualify for the lowest rates we evaluated, from 7.5% to 11%, and repayment terms as long as 10 years after completing its simple online application.
Describe how you intend to price your product or service. Pricing has to be competitive to attract customers but high enough to cover costs and generate a profit. Pricing can be based on markup from cost, value to the buyer, or in comparison with similar products/services in the marketplace. Breakeven analysis can help determine sales and pricing for profitability. You'll also want to take a look at Pricing Strategies to Increase Profitability.
To canvass for ideas, we teamed up with Adams Business (a unit of F+W Media), publisher of The Start Your Own Business Bible, released this month. The book contains 501 "new ventures you can launch today," each with its own breakdown---including the startup funding required (as little as $500 in some cases), an overview of the product or service, the typical fee structure, initial equipment needed, hidden costs, operational tips and more---to give budding entrepreneurs an idea of what they're getting into. (Author Richard Walsh was unavailable for comment.)
Cafe Press: This website allows you to create digital designs that can then be sold on the platform. You'll earn a commission for everything that sells and you'll never have to deal with logistics like printing, warehousing and customer service. If you have some graphic design skills, then this is a great potential source for your web-based income.
Learn then selling guidelines. Each marketplace has guidelines that define what you can and cannot sell. State and federal laws also impact what items are prohibited. In general, you cannot sell alcohol, weapons, service contracts, animals or event tickets. Also, while not always prohibited, you may find restrictions on how you can sell items in some categories, such as art, gift cards and coupons. eBay, Craigslist and Amazon publish these guidelines on their websites.
Research other listings in your city on AirBnB and see what the going rate is for a place like yours. You could also just rent out a private room as well or even a bed in a shared room. In fact, that's how AirBnB got its start. However, you might find it hard in the beginning without reviews, but as long as you take really good care of your guests and provide a lot of value, the reviews will eventually come rolling in.