Often when we think of businesses, we forget all of the people who are self-employed that pass us every day. Perhaps one of the most overlooked possible careers for the self-starter who wants to own a business is working in the trucking industry. There are so many different types of trucking jobs to choose from. Of course there is the behind the wheel position as a driver and the support position of a back-up driver, but what other opportunities are there? You could work, loading or unloading trucks. You could find work dispatching or even giving directions to truckers. I have a friend who is an insurance agent that is a retired trucker and only works with trucker and the special insurance needs they have.
One of the perhaps more interest trucking jobs is logistics services. If you are not familiar with logistics these are the people who, simply put, hire truck drivers to take things from point A to point B. if you have a huge company then you either have your own trucks, but what smaller companies do is hire independent truck drivers to pick up their items and then deliver them where they need to go. In this case a logistics person, or company, arranges the when the items will be picked up, where they are going, when they will arrive, and how much it will cost. Of course if you only have one or two boxes then you use Fed Ex or UPS but when you have a whole bunch of things that need to go somewhere the logistics person becomes your greatest friend. The nice part about using a service like this is it really doesn’t matter where you are in the country. Because truckers are always looking for their next load, they contact a deliver solutions company to find something for them to haul. The more a truck can be moving the more money it makes.
A great example of a company that handles logistics is Stevens Transport. You can find a ton of information out about how logistics works as well as how you can use a company like this to help you: run a truck and keep it busy, get your shipment where you need it, or even how you can become a logistic services coordinator yourself.
If you are thinking about going into business by yourself you might be surprised how many opportunities you can find in trucking.
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I think at one point in our life all of us have an idea for a business. Some of those ideas are not possible, not something you could ever do, or are based in something that is closer to science fiction then a business. However, some of our idea are brilliant!
So why doesnt everyone have a business of their own?
The biggest reason is a failure to plan. There is an old saying, ” If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Let’s face it though most of us dont have time to do a full scale investor, investor and banker driven business plan. But we still need a plan. This is where the One Page Business Plan (http://www.onepagebusinessplan.com/) comes in so handy. This allows you to look at what the business is about, what you need to make it work, and most importantly what are you goals and expectations for the business.
Taking the time to go through the process allow us all to think through the elements that make up a business. We can quickly determine viability, as well practicality of our idea. But there is one more even more important element.
The difference between being a business owner and just being a dreamer is that successful business owners DO, while employees are still busy WISHING! It is wonderful to dream and every idea we have wont be ” THE ONE” but if we commit to the process of being people of action we will find that the outcome of action is always RESULTS!
At lunch the other day I was talking with a group of people and I realized how many people either dont know they are business owners, want to start a business but dont know how, or dont really know what being a business owner means. Here a couple of examples of people who during the course of the discuss discovered that not only were they business owners but that they had been missing out on the benefits of business ownership such as tax deductions and credits.
- Do you own rental property? As a rental property owner you ARE a business. Depending on the city you live in they may even want you to get a business license for your rental company. But did you know that all of the expenses of your rental house are business deductions? Need to replace a water heater, a roof, or a garage door? Dont forget to claim the cost of it on your taxes as well as the cost of property tax and so much more.
- Do you do odd job such as lawn mowing? If you are a teenage earning money to go to the movies this weekend then you dont need to think of pushing the lawnmower as a business; BUT if even the older lady across the street pays your husband to mow the lawn that is a business. This means that not only is the gas in the mower a business expense, but so is: the wear on the mower, the cost of gas in the car to go get gas for the mower, even the trash bags you put lawn clipping in could be a business expense.
What kind of things could you be doing as a business?
- Sell Avon
- Repair cars
- Fix fences
- Replace broken mail boxes
There are a lot of small needs out there. You dont have to quit your day job to be a business person all you need to do is look around for a need and then fill it.
What business would you like to start?
For your viewing pleasure today, watch this video on conducting Market Research, and share your thoughts below. Social Networking is a great market research tool, and that’s what is addressed in this video.
Any new business needs marketing. Before I get started on telling you how to market your business and giving you some ideas as to what you can do, I want to refer you to this article at entrepreneur.com, that tells you what marketing is not. Please make sure your pop-up blockers are disabled so that you can open a new window, read that, and come back to this in just a few minutes…
Now, the rest of this blog will assume that you have followed instructions and read that article. If you haven’t, do it. If you are not going to, then forget it. I’ll be addressing what marketing is not in a few weeks, anyway.
As I promised above, I am going to show you some things you can do to market your small business. What I didn’t tell you is that these are going to be low cost marketing ideas, sure to fit nearly any small business marketing budget.
What’s a podcast? It’s a recording of information that can be downloaded to MP3 players, so that people like you can take information like this, with them on the go. It also helps with people who do not want to read, but like to listen.
How do you make a podcast? Easy! Grab a mic, and a simple program that will record and edit your sounds, (something like Audacity) and talk away! Then, you upload the file to your website. Viewers can easily download the podcast and listen at their convenience.
Not much needs to be said here. You are reading a blog! Blogs are a great way to give information, and to keep your site updated with current information for the search engine spiders. You can add a blog to your existing web site, or you can create a blog on its own domain, like this one.
This can be done with post cards to addresses that fit your target consumer demographic, or through presentations set up at your business. There are several different avenues you can take with this one, too.
This is a no brainer. There are several different online avenues you can take to advertise your business. This website/blog, for instance has advertising spots open for a nominal fee! If you are interested, let us know.
Of course these are not the only things you can do to market your business. As the blog progresses, I will touch on different business marketing techniques you can use both online and off line in the real world to help your business grow. Do me a favor, and subscribe to this blog, to help the Blog Island Network business!
Share your thoughts on these and other marketing techniques below. Also, let me know if you have subscribed to my RSS feed. I’ll be sure to visit your site and do the same! Networking (which will be discussed later on, as well) is what is all about!
So you need a name for your business, but you do not have a clue where to start. Well, first, you should read Good Business Naming Practices. When you get finished, come back here so you can get some ideas for names.
Think about the service you are going to offer. What words come to mind? Keep a running list of these words. For example, a computer business offering computer repair may come up with words like: computer repair, computer technicians, computers, computer doctor, etc.
Think about words you would use to describe your business. Keep a running list of these words. If your computer repair business was cheaper than competitors, try words like discount, low cost, etc.
Think about existing businesses, and how to make your business name different from those, so as to avoid confusion.
Combine different words from your lists to come up with a business name you like, and is available.
Check out these resources for help naming your business.
Before you do anything else concerning your business, it is a good idea to write a business plan. So, what the heck is a business plan, and how do you write one? That’s what I am going to talk about with you today, and by the time you reach the end of this blog, you will know how to write your business plan, and should get started with it right away. If you do not want to read this post, click here for the podcast.
A Business Plan should include:
Executive Summary: This includes information like the mission statement, the date business began, who the founders are and what functions they serve, etc.
Market Analysis: In this section, you include information on the business industry you are in, and what you know about it.
Company Description: You don’t need too much detail here, but you should talk about what your business is, and what about that you believe will make it a success.
Organization and Management:This is where you will include your business structure, and profile the most important members of the company.
Marketing & Sales Management: This is where you outline your marketing and sales strategies, and how you expect them to benefit the company.
Service or Product Line: Detail the services or products your business is to offer.
Funding Request: This is the section where you detail and essentially ask for the funds you need in order to start or expand your business.
Financials: This section is used to detail the current financial information along with the financial outlook of your business.
Appendix: This should be provided on as needed basis, and should include information like photographs of your products, resumes of key management professionals, business and personal credit information, etc.
For sample business plans, please see: BPlans.com
Why do you think Business Plans are good? Did you use one when you started your business? Why or why not? What can you offer to help those who are just starting out?
As promised yesterday, today we are going to talk about forming your business and the legal structures you can use. We will be talking about each one of these structures in more detail within the coming weeks, so that you can learn which one is best for you and your business.
- Individual/Sole Proprietorship: This is the simplest way to start a business. It means however, that you personally are responsible for your business. If your business owes taxes, your personal assets, such as your home can be taken from you. Many times, small businesses are easily started like this, and personal assets are not affected. More on this Business Structure on August 17, 2008.
- Partnership: This is the same as an Individual/Sole Proprietorship, except one more person is added as a business owner. The details of a partnership are hammered out with the paperwork, such as who owns what, and who is responsible for what. More on this Business Structure on August 18, 2008.
- Limited Liability Corporation: This type of business is a mixture between a Proprietorship and Corporation. This means that you can legally be held liable for your business on a certain level, while keeping it separate from you on another. More on this Business Structure August 19, 2008.
- Corporation: This is the most complicated type of business to start. You most definitely need legal support to do this. This entity is completely separate from your personal assets, and you as an individual. More on this Business Structure August 20, 2008.
Take a look at this video on different business structures, including the advantages and disadvantages of each form.
Please share with us your experiences with forming businesses. Which ones have you had experience with, and what can you offer for advice as which ones are better and why?
Starting a business means there are laws to follow, and several things to consider on the legal front. Now, I am by no means a lawyer, so by telling you that, you cannot sue me if you act on something you see here and it’s not the the correct course of action to take. Having said that, I am not going to intentionally steer you in the wrong direction, and you can trust that this information is well researched!
Now, the problem with this is that I cannot provide specific advice for each business type that may be starting, and I certainly cannot offer specific advice based on locality. So, what I am going to do is give you generalized advice on the legalities you need to follow, and point you in the direction of information for some of these specifics!
You are not required to file any doing business as or fictitious name paperwork if your name is part of the business name. For example, if you name your business, “(Insert your First or Last Name Here) (Insert Business Service Here)” you are safe. Something like Smith’s Website Design is safe, but Indigo Website Design, is not. For information on filing DBA or Fictitious Name paperwork, check out: Doing Business As Information @ About.com
Check with your county to find out what you need to do in order to be legal. Then, check with your city to find out what you need to do to be legal. Of course, check with your state, and then finally federal levels. Just because you are legal on the state level, does not mean you are legal in your county or even your city, because each government can have regulations that you need to follow. For instance, living within the city limits of my area, I have to have a permit to operate my business out of my home, which cost $50. I also had to file for a privilege license for tax purposes with the county. When I moved out of the city limits, I no longer have to have the permit for the home business, and the county license still holds. But, because I moved into a township, I now have to file for an additional privilege license for the local tax purposes. See how complex it can get? Google your county, city/town, and find out what you need.
Depending on your business structure, you may have more legalities to follow. Forming your business and business structures will be discussed in tomorrow’s blog. Further detail on those legalities will be discussed in two weeks when we talk about each business structure individually. (See the benefits of planning?)
Share your thoughts below. What legalities have you become aware of about starting a business? Offer what knowledge you can to help fellow aspiring entrepreneurs.
So you want to start a business, and you have a pretty good idea of what’s going on, but you do not have a name! Well, here are some things to consider before doing too much more work on your new business venture.
Make sure the domain name is available. Nothing secures a domain name until you buy it. You cannot legally claim a domain just because that is your business name. So since you are starting anew, you can base your business name around available domain names. Try to avoid hyphens on the basis that they will be hard for your customers to remember; but, if you have to, use them, because they do help the search engines. Consider buying more than just .com because it will ensure that your customers find you.
Keep it short and simple. It will enhance memorability for your customers, and make things easier on you in terms of business branding (to be discussed in future blogs, of course). This will be something you will appreciate as your business grows, and help to establish it.
Think about it. Be sure that you think about the future, and consider facets of expanding your bsuiness later. You want to make sure that you leave room for growth. Also, think about what the name conveys, and other aspects of the name in that respect.
Marketing and Advertising are what you make them! Do not let the name determine your marketing and advertising. You can make it what you want, though some concepts will be easier to work with than others. If your budget allows, you can always hire a firm for help with that. If not, you can force yourself to think outside the box and be a bit more creative.
Consider Copyright and Trademark issues. You want to make sure that you are not infringing on anyone’s rights with this new business venture. You will also want to consider aspects of trademarking now, because even though you may not be able to afford it right now, it may be something that needs to be done in the future as your business grows. If you reach that point and find that you cannot trademark your business, you may have trouble then. Avoid it with some research. We will also discuss this in future blogs.
Of course, these are not the only things you must consider, but this will get you covered for sure. Take plenty of time to consider your business name, because this is a major part of your business. People will recognize you by, and you will be stuck with it.
Next week, we will cover ways to help you come up with your business name.
Share your thoughts about naming your business below.