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How to Make Money With a Smile

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The dream, really, is to find a way to make money without lifting a finger. No more slogging through a regular 9-5 nightmare and no more overbearing, micro-managing boss breathing down your neck.

Imagine quitting your job tomorrow. How would that make you feel? Empowered? Excited? Positively over-the-moon thrilled?

Now imagine doing it for real.

Most people would be terrified by the prospect of leaving their job. It’s normal. Whether it’s a matter of security, being assured a steady paycheck or even the prestige attached to a particular company or job description – the thought of not going into work is scary. The question of how to make money without slaving away for corporate America, however, is always on the back of a worker bee’s mind.

How to Make Money: Become an Entrepreneur

As attractive as the image of basking in the sun, doing absolutely nothing and still earning money is – some people just aren’t built that way. If you’re one of those blessed few who actually enjoy working but simply hate being under a management microscope while doing it then maybe becoming an entrepreneur is the best option for making money when you’re out of a job or want to get out of a job.

How to make money as an entrepreneur is a question that has plagued many a would-be small business person. It’s not enough to have a creative, original idea – building a great team (or if you’re doing it alone, a great system) is paramount to your success as an entrepreneur.

As an entrepreneur, all success and failure for your venture rests on your shoulders. It’s a lot of responsibility – and probably the reason behind why your boss was such a cranky kill-joy ninety percent of the time. However, if you’ve got the moxie to face success and possible failure head-on, then entrepreneurship is a great way to get control of your life and career!

The exiting part of entreprenuerialism is freedom to choose a direction that fits your personality and skill set, rather than fitting into a one-size-fits-all position. Whether you lease an espresso stand and sell premimum coffee drinks, buy an embroidery machine and make custom shirts, or just turn your crafting hobby into an online business, the possibilities are as wide open as your imagination.

Becoming an entrepreneur also means that there is a huge chance that you’ll end up doing and being successful at something you love. What better incentive is there to make money with a smile on your face?

How to Make Money: Create a Source of Passive Income

Now comes the reality check – you hate your job but you really can’t imagine anything else that you would rather be doing that would actually make you money. If you choose to take a personal day tomorrow, how would you put food on the table? Or pay your bills?

Thankfully, there are other ways to make money without becoming an entrepreneur. How to make money without actually lifting a finger (figuratively speaking) is a reality in life that a lucky few actually get to live.

Passive income is your way to get out of the corporate death crawl without sacrificing creature comforts. Basically, passive income is all about making money that you don’t actually have to work (hard) for.

Of course, every silver lining has its catch – earning passive income means that you’ll need to have worked your tail off beforehand and amassed enough capital to actually make living free & easy a viable possibility.

So whether you’re in it to make money the regular way – with hard work and a lot of long nights before enjoying the pay-off or if you’re willing to slave away at a 9-5 and get by on PB&J until you get to a point where passive income becomes a reality… how to make money with a smile is something that is within your grasp today!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=James_A_Mickelson

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Four Steps to Achieving Profit Clarity

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This past summer when I was taking a business program with Marie Forleo – bestselling author and business coach – one of the first assignments she gave us addressed what she called “profit clarity.” For any entrepreneur who wants to succeed in business, knowing about profit clarity is vital.

As an artist, money coach, and financial consultant, it’s fairly easy for me to understand what profit clarity is, and how to practically crunch all the numbers towards profit instead of ruminating about all the different scenarios. However, to many creative entrepreneurs who aren’t necessarily financially savvy, I believe the topic of profit clarity can often be very confusing.

I love what Marie told us about it: profit clarity is vital knowledge if you want to make more money and stop wasting your time on an unprofitable income stream. This means that you need to design the right business model in order to reach your highest business potential.

Here are four steps I believe can help you achieve this:

Step 1: Vision

Confession: I’ve changed my business model a couple of times in last eight months. Yet, the more I work on profit clarity, the clearer my vision becomes for my business.

Essentially, to reap the most of profit out of your business, you need to develop your business model around your strengths and weaknesses. For instance I’m currently in the art and coaching businesses, and have more than 15 years experience in financial and accounting management. Hence, it seems to make perfect sense for me to teach creative entrepreneurs how to nurture their finances.

The fact is, without a clear vision of your business model, it will be difficult for you to achieve very much for your business. My suggestion is to sit down quietly and write out all of your strengths and skills, then develop your business model around these talents. I’ve discovered that one of the best ways to get a better view of your unique talents is to talk to your family and friends – those who know you well – about your ideas. And of course, you’ll also need to test these out – a lot.

Step 2: Creation

After you have a clearer vision of your business model, write it down! This is the fun part: now you have the opportunity to design the programs that you love to provide to your clients. Just remember that when you create them, you’re designing your business model around your strengths and skills in order to reach your highest profit potential.

Step 3: Crunch the numbers

I know that for some of you, this is the hard part. You might need some help, but I’m sure you can do it! I highly recommend using Microsoft Excel to record all the numbers.

You not only need to know how much you’re going to charge for each program, but also the cost of goods sold, and your overhead expenses.

It’s important for you to have this “clarity of profit” written down so that you can see, for instance, if you’re charging enough for your services and products, which programs and products you should sell more of to reach your highest profit, and if you need to cut any unnecessary marketing expenses. You can then use this profit clarity to strategically work on your marketing plan.

Step 4: Reality, and fine-tuning

After you’ve completed your business model and marketing plan, you’ll now need to test your plans. The reality of your profits will quickly tell you if your business model is working or not. If not, go back to Step 1 and fine-tune your business model again.

As creative entrepreneurs, we all want to do what we love. Yet, in order to help more people and achieve our dreams, it’s essential that we keep our finances healthy!

Yu-Fen Chang-Pett is a business financial coach and money coach at Money Wisdom Empowerment to help creative entrepreneurs reach their highest business potential. Visit her website at http://www.moneywisdomempowerment.com for her coaching programs.

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An Entrepreneur’s Take on ‘Operations’

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‘Operations’ has never been seen as a profession like accountancy or the law, yet every business relies on it to deliver the goods. The Wikipedia definition is long-winded and anyhow dodges the issue by defining an ‘Operations Manager’ rather than operations themselves

So What is Operations?

Well we can start by saying what operations are about. They are about:

  1. Making good things happen
  2. Preventing bad things from happening
  3. Keeping everything to time and
  4. Ensuring the best use of assets, including time.

The definition we are working towards must have different meanings at different levels in an organisation. For you as the entrepreneur central to the creation of a new business it has four main aspects:

  1. Securing and storing your products or services
  2. Selling those products and services
  3. Delivering those products and services
  4. Administering the whole process, including all the necessary book-keeping, infrastructure management and resource allocation.

For people lower down in the pecking order the definitions will be narrower but for you at the top everything that happens from this point on is ‘operations’.

It has been said that all industrial and commercial processes can be defines as logistics, moving ‘stuff’, stock, resources, money, information, knowledge, documents, from one place to another So we could define ‘operations’ as being the same as ‘logistics’ but not necessarily involving materials.

Everything that will ever happen in your new organisation, is an operation.


Years ago I managed construction sites. We were highly dependent on young men straight out of college to run our everyday operations, and one day I asked one of our young men how he was to get a bulldozer on site. He said he would ‘manage’ it. On further questioning that answer was that they – the superintendents – would load the bulldozer onto a landing craft and then go off to lunch. When they got back the crew of the landing craft and the bulldozer driver would have ‘managed’ to get the bulldozer into position.

Well they were young men just out of college.

You must go through every process in your business, line by line, and decide

  1. who is going to do it,
  2. how and when they are going to do it,
  3. who can authorise,
  4. how will it be recorded?

That’s the easy bit: now you have to start with contingencies. What if deliveries fail, what if staff go sick, what if my computers go down.

There are no off the peg answers, but there are techniques that will help you find your own answers.

Roger Webb is a retired CEO from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). This article comes from his wiki site http://computer-virgin.net together with 150+ other pages of useful advice for entrepreneurs launching their first business

For those going further and entering into eCommerce, our sister site http://MyWebTrade.net provides a huge range of tips and information.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Roger_J_Webb

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Eleven Tips for a Successful Recruiting Conversation

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1. Be prepared to discuss the opportunity, a lot, with everyone. Don’t make assumptions about who will be interested. You never know who needs this: whose life will be turned around by this, just the way yours has been.

2. List the benefits you’ve received from joining your company. Reflect on this, write them down and keep that list with you always.

3. Next, learn the benefits other women have received. Add those to your list.

Initially, it’s easiest for you to relate to people like you — the need that you came with, the circumstances you came from — those will jump out at you. That’s great. You will connect very easily with this group, as you know their stories, you’ve felt their needs, and you’ve overcome the same obstacles or concerns they’re facing and feeling.

Next, get more familiar with the people who are feeling very different needs and circumstances. These people are right at your fingertips — they’re on your team, around you and above. Start asking women on your team, around you, and in your upline about their experience.

What were they feeling before they joined your company — what was missing in their lives? Why did they want a change? What spoke to them about your company?

4. Know the most common needs that new consultants have, based on the conversations you have with other women. Learn how to elicit those needs and what kinds of phrases people use to describe them.

5. Know the stories that lie behind the needs. Be prepared to tell those stories. Humans are wired to remember stories. People are almost always more interested in stories than in facts.

6. Find the recruit’s need. During your conversation with a potential recruit, your aim should be to learn about their needs and desires. If they don’t have a need, they don’t care. When you find the need, that can be the key that unlocks the door.

7. Know how your offer meets their needs. Keep focusing the conversation on them: their needs, the benefits that meet their needs, and the stories illustrating how women with similar needs have found satisfaction with your company.

Your list of needs and benefits is like a giant menu from which you are choosing only those items that your potential recruit cares about.

8. Check your heart set. What place are you coming from? Are you mostly considering the benefits to you? Do you want to persuade or sway someone? People can feel that, and it will turn them off. Most importantly, it will lead you to a place where you don’t want to be, both practically: you can find some new people but they don’t stick with it and emotionally: you won’t be truly serving people and their best interests, to the best of your ability.

Come to a recruiting conversation from a desire to help and a longing to empower other women, as you’ve been empowered.

9. Remain unattached to the outcome! You may be asking “How can I be unattached to the outcome, because I need that income!”

Focus instead on the process. Focus on having great conversations, with as many people as possible, in which you learn about them, tell them about your opportunity ONLY if they are interested or you find a need, and together, the two of you decide whether there’s a fit. If there is a fit, you both move forward. If not, you’ve connected with someone who may be source of referrals or sales for you in the future.

10. Learn from the best. Interview the top recruiters in your company. Ask them who they approach and how they handle the recruiting conversation.

11. As you continue recruiting, develop a written profile (or several profiles) of your ideal recruit. The most important part is her need: what motivates her to join direct sales, as well as what connects her to your company and its products. In addition, write down her demographic information: What’s her age, marital status, family, job situation, income? Where does she live? What are her hobbies?

The more you learn about recruits, the better prepared you’ll be to tailor your conversations with a potential recruit and make a powerful emotional connection with her.

Marcy Stahl’s passion is helping women direct sellers and solopreneurs achieve the successful lifestyle they want. She knows that the top entrepreneurs have the top mindsets. Her mission is to help every entrepreneur develop a profitable and abundant mindset. If you’d like to expand your business, visit http://www.marcystahl.com

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Answer These 5 Quick Questions to Move Forward in Your Business

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When I just started my business and struggled to find clients and earn enough money, I thought that one day I would have figured everything out and I could relax in a business that would practically run itself. I learned a thing or two about being an entrepreneur over the past years, including that this day will NEVER come. On the one hand I’m very glad about this, because I’d be bored to death if nothing ever changed.

But sometimes I secretly wish that things would stand still for just a short period of time. This wishful thinking phase never lasts long, and I usually get my act together pretty soon.

Two things help me snap out of it and get moving again:

#1 sparring with a coach

You absolutely cannot grow your business without a good mentor or coach. You may not believe this yet, but trust me, you need help if you want to be successful. (And the people who tell you that you can do it alone are probably not successful or happy themselves – so be careful whose advice you listen to!)

“Success always takes help. Failure you can do alone.”

Simon Sinek

#2 answering these 5 questions that help me focus, let go and move forward

Question 1: what do you want to accomplish this year?

How many clients do you want to serve? How much money do you want to make? What other things do you want to learn or create?

(Write a book / develop a new program /… )

Are you on track of accomplishing these goals? If not, what needs to change?

Question 2: what is the highest vision you have for yourself?

Are you the best version of YOU? Are you sharing your gifts and talents in a way that suits YOU?

Or are you playing small, holding back, or otherwise hiding your light under a bushel?

And if you are: are you happy and satisfied with this?

Question 3: what is the highest vision you have for your business?

Why did you start your business in the first place? What is the difference you want to make?

What is your soul purpose, and does your business represent this fully?

What is your Big Mission, and are you fulfilling it yet?

Question 4: what does your inner wisdom tell you?

Deep down, you already know or sense what you need to do next to move forward in your business:

Something or someone you need to let go of / hire a coach / delegate tasks to a VA / sign up for a program / manage your time differently…

Question 5: what’s stopping you?

And without knowing you, I can predict your answer already: your doubts and fears…

The ONLY thing that ever stops anyoneis fear (and/or doubts).

Every entrepreneur who wants to fulfill her Big Mission and grow her business encounters this on a regular basis.

But it doesn’t have to stop you.

You can feel uncomfortable and act anyway, as I remind myself on a regular basis as well…

Being aware that it really is fear that is holding you back is the first step you need to take to be able to feel this fear and act anyway.

It’s when you think you’re not scared that you are really, REALLY stuck…

This week’s transformational action

Take a good look at your business and yourself.

Are you truly happy and fulfilled with your current situation?

Do you feel that something needs to change but you’re not sure what?

Take the time to think about it, and, even more importantly, feel what’s going on in your business and if this is what you really want and need to do.

Beneath the doubts, turmoil, fears and thoughts is a quiet voice that is calling you…

Listen to this voice, and decide to act upon it.

After you say YES, the HOW will present itself to you.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Brigitte_Van_Tuijl

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You Might Ask ‘What’s in a Name?’

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What’s in a Name

Today we are surrounded by brand names, Adidas, Shell, Vodaphone etc. To improve on the memorability of these names the owners specify the type face, the colour, and carefully control where, and by whom these can be shown. Over the years you will be building a brand of your own so it is essential that you make a carefully considered choice at the onset.

A new business cannot hope for the same level of memorability that the long-standing big boys achieve and maintain at massive cost to themselves but must somehow standout from the crowd with their target audiences. A business name has to be acceptable

  1. by the relevant authorities – in the UK that is Companies House for Limited Companies; and must not lead to confusion with other businesses;
  2. and must not involve ‘controlled words’ like ‘international, ‘Royal’, or ‘Bank’ without approval from the controlling bodies;
  3. and if you are intending to trade on the internet a closely related domain name has to be available in some form or another. |It is easy to check availability through any of the Internet Hosting Providers.

Your trading name has a role in defining the nature of your business. ‘Cheese Makers of Somerset’ has connotations. It implies that the owner is:

  • Proud to be local – in Somerset
  • Traditional
  • Rural (and therefore trustworthy)
  • Large Scale

‘Alan Smith Domestic Plumbing’ gives out quite different vibrations.

If you intend to trade in names other than your own, it must be clear in all outlets who owns the business and how they can be contacted.

From your own point of view, and as an ideal, your business name should:

  • be easy to remember,
  • says what you do and where you do it
  • not mislead or create confusion
  • be available on an appropriate domain suffix such as .com, .co.uk, .net etc.

to be effective.

And now that you’ve settled on a name you can set out the rest of your ‘branding’ scheme including:

  1. Your corporate colours
  2. The standard fonts to be used in all your materials, brochures, website, letterheads, business cards etc
  3. A corporate logo.

There are any number of websites that will help you with this – often as a free service – so you don’t have to splash out on an expensive ‘branding’ exercise, and if you feel you lack the skills to come up with an attractive scheme, then try the local art college. There are plenty of final year students eager to see their creations valued by a third party, and if a small fee is involved, well…

Roger Webb is a retired CEO from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).This article comes from his wiki site http://computer-virgin.net together with 100+ other pages of useful advice for entrepreneurs launching their first business

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Do You Make These Mistakes In Your Business Goal Setting?

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You are a busy entrepreneur doing the best you can to maintain your business.

Your business keeps you busy and focused. However, goal achievement is an illusion when you are focused on the wrong things at the wrong time and in the wrong market.

The 7 reasons listed below are why entrepreneurs do NOT achieve their goals:

  1. Spending your time (your most valuable asset) on the wrong things
  2. Seeking guidance when it is too late
  3. Not investing in your business
  4. Not investing in personal development, coaching plans, etc.
  5. Doing it all yourself
  6. Figuring it all out yourself which slows your learning and growth curves
  7. Not getting your hopes and dreams when business was launched

Now take these reasons above and flip them into positives to help you achieve your goals NOW faster and easier!

Are you ALL-IN?

The first step is recognition of these above mistakes, then wake up and rise to the occasion to get the help you need to achieve your vision and dreams.

It is key to ‘fail forward‘ in other words, learn from your mistakes and pick yourself up and move forward in two directions – onward/forward and upward.

Most importantly, once your plan is clearly in place, you can work with someone to implement it into action so you can speed to your results.

Follow these steps to achieve your goals now faster and easier then ever:

  1. Spending your time, which is your most valuable asset, on the RIGHT things (how do you know what is right? listen to your gut feeling deep down)
  2. Seek guidance NOW (if you think you can do it all yourself, think again!)
  3. Invest in your business – Go ALL-IN – Sell your talents and skills because I know you have whatever it takes, aim high and put high value on what you makes you excel
  4. Invest in your personal development (Seek out excellent coaches in your field who are successful at what they do)
  5. Ask for help (again this is so vital to your success)
  6. Speed up your learning and growth curves by gaining knowledge in your field and get experience (do whatever it takes to get in the playing field and learn your business from the inside out)
  7. Receive your hopes and dreams when business was launched (Live. Laugh. Love.)

All these concepts are so simple.

Learn to flip turn all negative thoughts into positives ideas because afterall, every negative thought has a piece that is positive. You may need to eliminate one word or flip a phrase around to make it positive. It is clear and simple with everything!

For these reasons, it is always best to have a clear vision and plan. It is necessary to ask for guidance – get the coaching and work with someone who has been there and done that!

And now I would personally like to cordially invite you to take advantage of my complimentary mini email course so you can get started to set clear goals in your business. You can find this mini email course and much more about goal setting inspirations at http://SunStarrMedia.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Christen_M_Branca

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Ideas to Start a Small Business Today

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Do you need some urgent ideas to start a small business and are you contemplating on how to make money fast, then you need not fret, there are a lot of easy ways nowadays to make some quick money. Particularly with the tremendous growth of technology there are some easy ways where you can earn some cash online. Below, are some of the popular ways which are time tested and more importantly legitimate.

eBay

Selling things on eBay is a popular idea for a home based business. eBay has been, for years, an attractive way to make money fast. Many people sell their stuff online and make some decent cash through eBay. If you want to locate products to sell then you should start by looking in Garage Sales, Big Box Stores and Craigslist. You can always go and get some stuff from Garage Sales and auction it on eBay and make a handsome profit.

Surveys, emails and reviews

Many professional survey companies today pay for the opinions given by general public and it is really a good opportunity to earn some hard cash. There are companies who also outsource the job of reading their official emails. They receive thousands of mails on a day to day basis and are willing to pay some cash for people who can read, send a reply and organise their emails. Also companies like to pay people to play games and write reviews about the games.

Freelance Writing

Freelance writing is an easy career to pursue from home. With a plethora of websites out there in the cyber space, demand for website content has increased largely. If you are able to write content with proper English, you can sell it either directly to a client or to one of the many article directories. Keyword research is the main part in article writing. Once you master this art and use the keyword appropriately with right density and more importantly if you could write without grammatical errors, then it would be a great choice for making money from home.

Etsy

Etsy is a place where people can sell their crafts. If you have a talent for handmade crafts, like knitting a sweater, painting, weaving a basket or any such crafts, you can sell those items at such websites and earn handsomely. Some of the crafts in display in this site are mind brilliant and are auctioned at very good prices. If you have such wonderful crafts at home either made by you or somebody you know, you can go list them in one of such websites and can earn a good reward.

Internet today is a tremendous marketplace and there is a lot of potential if you know how to use it. So one should be very choosy and take a wise decision which would both be rewarding and at the same time a safe career. As always I hope this information is helpful to your success in some small way.

James Harris

For more articles and many ways to start your own home business go to: ====> http://onlinesuccesswithbutch.com

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Have You Experienced Failure?

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Of course! We have all experienced failure! The important question to then ask is “How do you react to it?” Successful people learn from their mistakes or failures and think of a different way of approaching the particular situation. Whereas others get frustrated, upset and do not want to think of different possibilities, and could potentially lose out on an opportunity! Which category are you in?

My parents experienced ‘failure’ in their business when I was 12 years old, and from the time I can remember, they have always owned their own business, which at that time was mass production bakeries in Kenya. We lived in a town called Mombasa and they decided to expand the business into the capital city – Nairobi. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, including consistent robberies, the business in Nairobi did not do well and we started swimming in debt. I remember how we could not afford to eat meat and would opt for lentil soup, rice and vegetables. Before long, they decided to shut down the businesses in Nairobi and Mombasa so we could pay off all our family debt.

At this point my parents had come to a crossroads. My mother had a strong desire to start a bakery again in Mombasa with the little equipment she had, but my father was adamant that he did not want to get into the bakery business because he could not afford to fail again. I remember asking my mother why she wanted to open up a bakery again and her reply was: “We will do things differently this time and I know it will work.” At that age I did not think much about it, but she did start the bakery on her own and it flourished even better than the first one.

When we focus on our failures, we dwell on the past and the problems we experienced, which in turn drive the fear of failure even deeper. Successful people think of failure as feedback. Why? It has three purposes – first it stops the fear of failure in its tracks. Second, feedback allows you to analyze the lessons learned from your past experience and third, putting the learning to positive use leads to the creation of new possibilities and outcome.

Recently, I asked my mother about this particular experience and to explain the statement she made to me when I was younger. How did she know that she would do things differently this time and the business would work? She stated that she had thought of a couple of strategies to decrease expenses and increase cash flow. The first was to remove the use of trucks to deliver bread into various areas and replace those with carrier bicycles that could carry a safe load of bread. This would not only eliminate gas and repair expenses, but bicycles are cheaper and they can be replaced easily with low cost or bicycle parts. The second was to offer a commission to the bicycle vendor for every bread he sold because this would motivate him to sell more bread and take the bread into different communities around the area. The third was to open a bakery outside city limits and make bread readily available to the smaller communities so they do not have to travel into the city for basic necessities.

Notice, she did not think of the business that she had to shut down, as a failure, but she thought of it as ‘feedback’ because she took the learning from that experience and asked herself, “How can I make it work this time around?” She focused on the solutions rather than the problems! My parents did so well that their competitors took on their business model!

If you think you are faced with failure, find an opportunity of growth by asking:

1. What do I want?

2. What do I have?

3. What have I learned from this experience?

4. What can I do differently?

5. What will be the evidence of my success?

Zaheen Nanji
Motivational Speaker, Author and Success Coach
http://www.zaheennanji.com

Zaheen helps individuals and businesses breakthrough to success with her training and coaching programs found on her website.
Please click the link above to find out more.

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Playing the Game At the End of the Bubble

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A smart entrepreneur has to know when the game is getting too aggressive for their own good. I don’t mean the competition, or their marketing prowess, I mean that the industry is busy blowing up a bubble it has built and now it is ready to burst. For instance, recently there was just far too much money being thrown at the alternative energy sector, the money was going to businesses which were completely unviable with technology that wasn’t feasible, reliable, and therefore there was no profit in the future.

Sure, it makes sense that if the government is giving away money to get in line, but even those hedge funds and big players that are politically connected in a crony capitalism sort of way knew it was time to get out. The same thing happened in 2000 when the dot com bubble crashed, everyone who was in the know realized that the IPOs were delivering millions of dollars to companies that had never made a profit, and might never in the future. Things were getting too ridiculous, the money was coming too fast and feverishly to be reality-based. Obviously that can’t last in a free-market.

Perhaps the trick is to build up the business the best you can and sell it at the top of the market before everything crashes. Many people were buying and flipping houses as fast as they could before everything imploded if you’ll recall. Those that didn’t plan their strategy correct ended up with a bankrupt-able situation. Is it fair to play at the top of the bubble and then sell your company to some unsuspecting wannabe entrepreneur that has no brains, and too much money for their own good?

Sometimes, I question the ethical nature of such a strategy, but a good and smart entrepreneur knows when it’s time to get out, they can see the writing on the walls if they have a pulse on the finger of the industry, and every good entrepreneur should. Sure, some people just have dumb luck due to good timing, and it is true that timing is everything. Being in the right place at the right time as the bubble is building can deliver a beautiful bonanza if you get out before the bubble bursts.

So, when was the last time you really looked into your industry and the validity of its ongoing aggressive growth? If it’s not viable, or things have heated up too quickly, you might want to think about developing a decent exit strategy so you aren’t left holding the bag. That’s all I’m saying here. And I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on Entrepreneur Concepts. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank; http://www.worldthinktank.net

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lance_Winslow

http://EzineArticles.com/?Playing-the-Game-At-the-End-of-the-Bubble&id=7256942

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Starting a Hot Dog Cart Business, What Do I Do First? (Matt Gleason)

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Welcome to Roadfood Professionals!
We’re glad you’re here.  You have just discovered one of the best resources on the web for restaurant professionals and those looking to start a food service business.  You will find people of all levels of experience here on Roadfood.  All are willing to help.  There is enough information on this site to keep you busy reading for a month.  We are anxious for you to begin posting and contributing to the forum.  But first, we have prepared some basic information for those just entering the business, with the hope that it will help you get started.  It will also help prevent the same questions from being asked over and over, thereby keeping the forum fresh with new commentary and making it a place for all to learn, both experienced and inexperienced.  The purpose here is not to recreate every post on the forums, but to briefly address some of the most common questions.
 
I am interested in the hot dog vending business.  What should I do first?

The first thing that you must know is that the hot dog/concession business may be simple, but it isn’t easy.  Many of the Get-Rich-Quick books and television shows would have you believe that you can buy a hot dog cart or concession trailer, work 3 hours per day, and profit $100,000 per year or more.  The reality is that it’s not that easy, and very few people, if any, operating a hot dog cart for 3 hours per day are going to make that kind of money.  You should also plan on spending a couple of hours each day on prep time and cleanup.  Working in the concession business also requires physical labor such as carrying ice, coolers, generators, cases of food, soda, etc…  You should also evaluate your personality to determine if you have the “right one” for food vending.  Most vendors are “characters”.  They are at least outgoing types who love people and love working with the public.  If you are overly shy, grumpy, or just plain mean, you might want to consider another business.  Now that you are grounded in reality, let’s answer the question. 
The first thing you MUST do is determine the legal constraints related to your new venture.  This means that you should contact your local Health dept. or Dept. of Environmental Services and learn about the regulations concerning push cart or concession trailer operation in your municipality.  In many areas of the country, food vending from a push cart is strictly prohibited.  These requirements vary by city, county and state.  It is for this reason that members of the Roadfood community cannot answer specific questions about what is required to operate a cart or trailer in your specific community.
 
What specifically will the Health Dept. or Dept of Environmental Services specify or control?

Again, this will vary by city, county, and state.  But some of the most common items are:
 

  • Types of foods, including toppings that can be used and sold. It is very common for push carts to be limited to hot dogs.  They will also specify the manner in which food is handled, stored, thawed, cooked, and at what temperatures your food must be maintained.
  • Size, construction, materials used, and equipment used in the cart/trailer.
  • Commissary requirement-Most municipalities require that push cart/concession trailer operators operate from a commissary (licensed commercial kitchen).  More on commissaries later.
  • Number and type of hand washing/ware washing sinks to be installed on the cart/trailer.
  • Tobacco usage and other employee/operator hygiene policies.
  • Pre- approval inspection of the equipment.
  • Safe food handling course requirement for operators.
  • Fresh water and waste water holding capacity.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of health dept. requirements, but a short list of some of the more common requirements.  You can now see why it would be next to impossible for a forum member to answer specific questions regarding what is required to operate in your area, and why it is vital that you talk to your health dept. officials before investing any money in your proposed new business.  Make certain that you are 100% clear on what the requirements are in your area.  If you’re not clear about what is required, ask questions until you understand.  Demand clarification on vague ordinances.  DO NOT plan to cut corners or try to get away with anything illegal.  If you operate outside of the law, you will get caught, and it will be a costly mistake.  Roadfood members will not help you find ways around your regulations. 
 
My Health Dept. says I have to use a commissary.  What is a commissary, and how do I find one?

This is often the biggest barrier to entry for people who want to get into the push cart business.  As mentioned above, a commissary is a licensed and inspected commercial kitchen.  In other words, it’s not your house.  Most municipalities will not allow you to operate a food service business from a residential dwelling.  The general requirements are that you have to report to the commissary each day of operation to prepare any food that is to be served from the cart, and to wash your wares and your cart at the end of the day.  This means that if you are cutting onions, making chili, grating cheese, or whatever you are processing, that you must do it at the commissary. You will also be required to store your product in a specified manner at the commissary.  Examples of commissaries are restaurants, churches with kitchens, kitchen incubators, Moose/Elks lodges, bowling alleys, homeless shelters, and any other commercial kitchen that is inspected by the health dept.  They don’t have to be open to the public as a restaurant to qualify.  Since opening your own commissary is more than likely cost prohibitive, you CAN find a commissary partner if you are willing to do the legwork and pound the pavement.  The cost of the commissary can run from nothing to several hundred dollars per month depending on your arrangements.  There is no universal specified usage fee. 
Are there other regulatory bodies that I will have to deal with?

Depending on your area, you may also have to contact your city’s Zoning dept., Planning and Development dept., and Business License dept.  You will be required to apply for a business license to operate your cart/trailer.  And don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you obtain a business license that that alone gives you the right to operate a food cart in your area.  You will get an unpleasant surprise when the Health dept. pays you a visit.  If you plan on using signage on your cart, you will also want to check on your areas’ signage regulations.  Many municipalities limit the maximum amount of signage that you are allowed to use.  This is usually expressed in square feet.
 
I have decided that I can meet all of the regulatory requirements in my area.  What next?

The next recommendation would be to write a business plan.  Successful businesses begin with solid business plans.  Roadfood members can’t write your plan for you.  This is the document that helps YOU become acquainted with your proposed venture.  Put the necessary time into your business plan because it could be the difference between success and failure. Some of the topics that you will cover in your plan will be information about your company (legal structure, ownership, etc…), your product, your market, personnel plan, marketing plan, competitive analysis, cash flow analysis, and financial projections.  There are resources on the web to help you with a business plan.  Also, there are menu driven software programs available such as Business Plan Pro, to help make your job easier.  Where does this information for the plan come from you may ask?  It comes from your research and estimates.  It is not an exact science.  Obviously, you want to be as accurate as possible.  Your success depends on it.  Once your plan is complete, you may want to post some of the details on the forum and ask for opinions on content, accuracy, etc….
 
I’ve completed my business plan and want to take the next step.  What next?

At this point, if you haven’t already started scouting for locations, you should begin the location search.  Remember that the three biggest keys to success in this business are location, location, location.  You may also want to begin searching for your cart at this point as well.
 
What makes for a good location?

The short answer is the one with the most traffic.  You want to look for a location that has the greatest amount of foot traffic.  Generally speaking, foot traffic is better than drive-by traffic because it is easier for your customers to stop and buy from you if they are walking rather than driving.  Try to find a location that limits the number of ways that customers can get around you.  In other words, ideally your potential customers would have to walk right in front of your cart/trailer in order to get where they’re going.  Now obviously we are talking about a permanent location in this example.  But, you can apply similar logic if you are only working special events.  You want to work events with large crowds, and want a good placement within the event you are working.  Some possible locations are downtown business districts, Universities, parking lots, roadside locations, special events, outside bars, and industrial parks.  Whatever location you choose, be sure that you are there legally, and that you operate within all of the regulations.
 
Where can I buy a hot dog cart/concession trailer?

There are numerous manufacturers and suppliers of new equipment.  You can do an internet search using Google for “hot dog cart” or “concession trailer” and will come up with several options.  There is also quite a bit of used equipment sold on eBay, Craig’s List, and local classified across the country.  While Roadfood is not in a position to recommend any particular cart/trailer manufacturer, you can use the search function on Roadfood.com to search for particular threads pertaining to a specific cart in which you have an interest.  Be very careful when purchasing equipment.  You want to be certain that your Health dept. will approve your cart BEFORE you purchase it.  Don’t get stuck with a cart that you won’t be allowed to operate.
 
What items should I sell from my cart?

More than likely, your Health dept. is going to control what you can and cannot sell.  Regardless, keep your menu simple, at least in the beginning.  Fewer items are much easier to manage.  A simple menu is much easier and quicker to prepare, has less inventory to manage, and less waste of items that aren’t selling.  Many hot dog vendors simply offer hot dogs, chips, and a few drink choices.  Cookies can also be successful on a cart.  Many vendors also find success specializing in only one item, such as a Chicago style hot dog.
 
Where can I purchase hot dogs, buns, etc…?

Depending on your location, you may have several options.  Many times, local wholesale clubs like Sam’s Club, BJ’s Wholesale, or Costco are viable options.  You may also want to consider establishing a relationship with a wholesale food supplier like US Foodservice, Sysco, GFS, etc…  Generally speaking, the food brokers are going to be more expensive than the wholesale clubs.  However, be careful not to limit yourself to the items carried by your local Sam’s Club just because of a pricing issue.  Your goal is to be the best and to serve the best.  If the best isn’t available at Sam’s, you should look elsewhere.
 
What are the best hot dogs to buy?

Taste is very subjective.  What hot dogs taste good to you?  What is your family’s favorite brand?  When deciding on which brand of hot dog to carry, you should carefully consider regional favorites.  Conduct blind taste tests with friends, neighbors, relatives, etc…  See what everyone likes.  If you want to be known for quality (and you do), buy premium hot dogs.  Be the best.  Serve the best.  A few of the top selling brands are Vienna Beef, Sabrett’s, and Nathans Famous.  Using the search function, you can enter your chosen brand and more than likely find opinions on that brand.
 
What is the best way to cook hot dogs?

The best way to cook a hot dog is the way your customers like them.  Hot dogs are boiled, simmered, grilled, fried, and steamed.  Boiled hot dogs are very popular in the south.  Fried hot dogs are popular in parts of the northeast.  In Chicago, hot dogs are simmered.  Of course, these are generalizations and you can certainly find all of these methods in use all over the country.  You may want to take your regions preferences into account when choosing your cooking method. 
 
How should I serve the bun?

Most places served a steamed bun.  Steamed buns are nice and soft, and really compliment a hot dog.  You will find places that toast their buns as well.  Many carts do not have grills, so toasting buns can be a problem. Regional tastes come into play with the buns as well. Serve your customers what they want.  Whatever you do, don’t serve it right out of the bag.
 
What condiments and toppings should I offer?

Again, strong regional preferences come into play here.  Many people are passionate about what belongs on a hot dog, and sometimes more passionate about what doesn’t belong on a hot dog.  The more common toppings are mustard, ketchup (if they insist), relish, mayo, chili, sauerkraut, cheese, onion, and jalapenos.  If you are serving a Chicago style dog, don’t forget the neon green relish, sport peppers, tomato slices, pickle spear, and celery salt.  Oh yeah, and serve it on a steamed poppy seed bun! 
 
Should I use premade toppings or homemade?

This is entirely up to you.  If you can prepare homemade items that are good and you can do it economically and efficiently, it may be worthwhile.  If you have a chili recipe that has been handed down through generations of your family, and people rave about it, this could just be the thing that sets you apart from your competition.  You should always check with your Health dept. to be certain that what you are producing is within the regulations.  You will also want to prepare any of these “homemade” items in an approved commissary.
 

If I want to work fairs/festivals/special events, where do I start?

An entire book could be written on this subject alone.  In fact, there have been books written on this topic.  There are some important points to bear in mind as you pursue events.  Be sure that you are professional in your dealings and appearance, and that you offer a quality product.  Consider differentiating yourself in terms of the menu you offer.  You will have an easier time securing an event if your menu is different from other vendors at the same event, many of whom may be preferred vendors and have been participating in this same event for years.

You will need to locate events that you may have an interest in attending.  In many cases, your local Chamber of Commerce or Dept. of Tourism will have a listing of upcoming special events.  You can obtain this list and then begin searching for contact information on the web if it is not provided on the list.  There are membership based organizations that you can join that have already compiled all of this information for you.  Some of these are as follows:
http://www.festivalnet.com/
http://www.fairsandfestivals.net/
http://www.nicainc.org/

Roadfood does not endorse any of these organizations in particular.  They are provided here for reference purposes only.  Many vendors consider membership in these organizations to be invaluable.  Others search the internet themselves for the information.  There are plenty of events available.  The key is persistence, professionalism, quality, and differentiation.  When applying for an event, be sure to have a cover letter, menu, and photos of your setup available for the promoter.  If you are turned down for an event, offer to sell a different food item.  At the very least, let the event promoter know that you are available at a moment’s notice should their operator of choice back out or no show for whatever reason.
 
Is this a good place to get specific recipes for items that I can add to my menu?
 
As a new person to roadfood you may have a million questions and there are many seasoned professionals here that will be more than happy to help. But a word of caution if you’re going to ask about exact recipes sometimes you’ll find some reluctance on the part of professionals to share. I think that is completely understandable considering most restaurateurs’ or vendors work extremely hard and over a long period of time to perfect their recipes and their craft. Just as we have all heard about the recipe for a certain cookie, pie, chili, or dry rub, being sold for large amounts of money, some recipes are old family guarded secrets that just can’t be posted on the internet nor passed out to friends. With that thought in mind please don’t be offended if when asked some of our pros just reply sorry I’m unable to share that at this time.

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“Independent Street” blog is now archived

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“Independent Street” blog will no longer be updated.

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Friday Memos

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A weekly roundup of small-business and entrepreneurship news from across the Web

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Friday Memos

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A weekly roundup of small-business and entrepreneurship news from across the Web

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Friday Memos

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A weekly roundup of small-business and entrepreneurship news from across the Web

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SBA Loan Programs Getting Back on Track, Mills Says

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Some 1,200 lenders are back making SBA loans; others are new to the programs.

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Senators Propose Plan to Help Small Businesses Pay for Health Coverage

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The new plan offers a selection of tax credits as well as the option for small businesses to pool together across state lines.

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Will The Financial Crisis Change Entrepreneurs’ Relationship With Banks?

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New government stress test results won’t help spur confidence in major banks

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Texas to Lead Restaurant Sector in 2009, Survey Says

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Lone Star State’s House members try to help small businesses, including restaurants, with two-year exemption from the state’s new business tax

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Bank Lending to Small Business: Are They or Aren’t They?

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The latest data show encouraging – but mixed – signals from banks regarding small business loans.

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Tired of Working For Someone Else? A Look At Carving Your Own Road

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Authors of a new book shed light on the challenges and best practices of new entrepreneurs in quitting jobs to strike out on their own

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