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Strange and Unusual Foodie Businesses

When you think about food businesses, your first thought is likely restaurants and retail stores, but some companies have taken the foodie trend to a whole new level. From the weird (bacon-flavored envelopes) to the inspiring (a food truck that gives back to the community), here are nine unique food and beverage businesses you probably didn’t even know existed.

If regular ice cream just isn’t unique enough for you, Mix ‘n’ Match Creamery will likely hit the spot. Mix ‘n’ Match Creamery is an Oregon-based ice cream parlor that serves liquid nitrogen ice cream, and every order is custom, so you can have any flavor you want.

According to the company’s website, the liquid nitrogen “freezes everything so fast that ice crystals don’t form,” making its ice cream extra smooth and creamy. Customers choose a base — premium milk, nonfat sugar-free milk, or vegan coconut milk — then from more than 30 different flavors like caramel, cheesecake, coffee, gingerbread, and mint. From there, customers can choose from dozens of different mix-ins like almonds, bacon, gummy bears, pineapple, sprinkles, cereal and chocolate chips. Mix ‘n’ Match makes the ice cream right there in front of you, with a blast of liquid nitrogen.

Opaque, a restaurant in California, promises to put a whole new spin on your dinner plans. How? By letting you dine in the dark. And yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like—you eat your meal in a pitch black dining room. But don’t worry, you do get to look at the menu first.

When you arrive at Opaque, you’ll get to look through the menu in a lighted lounge and order your food. The restaurant’s staff will then check your coats and bags and lead you to your seat in the dark. According to the restaurant’s website, Opaque’s wait staff is made up of blind and visually impaired individuals who have been specially trained to serve food in the dark.

Dining in the dark may seem like a strange concept, but according to Opaque’s website, it’s all about having a more in depth sensory experience with your food. And, the dining trend is all the rage in European cities like Berlin, Paris and Vienna. Opaque has multiple locations in California, with restaurants in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.

The food truck trend is nothing new at this point — it’s not uncommon in major cities to see long lines of eager customers waiting outside on their lunch breaks at the nearest taco truck, for example. But Drive Change, a hybrid profit/nonprofit organization, is taking food trucks to the next level by using them to give back to the community.

According to the organization’s website, Drive Change is “a social enterprise [that is] building a fleet of trucks that serve delicious, inspired menus with a side of social justice.” The organization hires, trains and mentors formerly incarcerated young adults, and the food trucks serve as a form of transitional employment with the ultimate goal of preparing these young people to go back to school or start full-time employment.

The organization currently operates only one food truck, located in New York and called Snowday. It serves Canadian-inspired, maple-syrup-themed foods using ingredients from local New York City and upstate New York farms. Drive Change plans to open more food trucks in the future, and each truck “employs and empowers 24 young people per year.” All food truck sales go back into the organization’s re-entry program to help more former inmates get on the right track.

Who doesn’t love a good slice of pizza? Whether it’s Chicago style or New York style, white or red, plain or covered in every topping imaginable, pizza is the one food that just about everyone can agree on.

Pizza Brain, located in Philadelphia, isn’t just an artisan pizza restaurant with a delicious menu — though it is that: Their “Forbes Waggensense” pie, a red pie with fresh crushed tomato sauce, fresh basil, smoked pepperoni and mozzarella, fontina and grana padano cheeses, was recently named one of the 15 best pizzas in America by NYLON magazine. What makes the business unique is that it’s also the world’s first pizza museum and holds the Guinness World Record for the largest pizza-memorabilia collection. Basically, it’s a must-visit for pizza fanatics everywhere.

And a bonus for those pizza lovers with dietary restrictions: Pizza Brain is vegan-friendly, too.

Back to the Roots has quite a unique backstory. It was started by two college students who were inspired by something they learned in a class: You can grow mushrooms using recycled coffee grounds. Co-founders Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez wrote of their experience, “After watching hours of how-to videos and turning our fraternity kitchen into a big science experiment, we eventually decided to give up our corporate job offers to instead become full-time mushroom farmers.”

In an effort to get people more connected with their food, Back to the Roots created an easy, 10-day grow-your-own organic-mushroom kit. Their organic mushroom farm comes in a small box (the mushrooms grow right out of the box) and simply requires watering twice a day.

The company also sells a “garden in a can” product that makes growing organic herbs at home even easier, a self-sufficient water-garden aquarium (the fish feed the plants and the plants keep the water clean), and ready-to-eat organic cereals.

Do you love cheese? Bet you don’t like it as much as Sarah “The Cheese Lady” Kaufmann, who makes her living as a traveling cheese sculptor.

She creates cheddar-cheese carvings for grocery stores, sporting events, festivals, photo shoots, and any other business or event that needs a giant hunk of cheese. Kaufmann has carved everything from a scene of the first moon landing to the Chicago skyline.

Though she makes most of her money carving cheese, Kaufmann also hosts seminars, where she informs audiences about the art and traditions of cheese making.

Want a little wine to go with that cheese sculpture? If you still haven’t found your favorite go-to bottle, Tasting Room can help.

Tasting Room is a wine club subscription, but unlike similar services that send you whichever bottles they want, this service allows you to taste various wines to find the ones you like before you buy, so that you only get shipments of wine you know you’ll enjoy.

How does it work? When you sign up, you’ll receive a tasting kit complete with six different wines in special mini bottles. Simply log in to your Tasting Room account and follow the instructions; the site will generate a “wine profile” for you that tells you more about the types of wine you like, such as where they come from and what foods pair well with them. After that, you’ll receive shipments of wines you like (and if you get one you hate, just tell them and they’ll replace it or give you a refund).

J&D’s Foods makes a huge variety of edible products — mayonnaise, popcorn, croutons — and all of these products have one thing in common: They taste like bacon.

Founded in 2007, J&D’s was started by two friends whose mutual love of bacon led them to the logical conclusion that everything in life should taste like this savory meat product.

They started by creating a bacon-flavored salt that could be added to nearly any food to lend it that distinct, cured-meat flavor. Since then, J&D’s has expanded its offerings to include much weirder products, such as bacon-flavored lip balm and sunscreen and, of course, its highly popular Mmmvelopes (that’s right: bacon-flavored envelopes) though they are currently out of production.

What do you give to those who have recently lost a loved one? You’re probably thinking flowers. But although flowers are pretty, they’re ultimately useless to mourners. This is why David Storke, a former funeral director from Virginia, founded MealGifts (formerly known as Sympathy Food).

Storke’s company delivers family-style meals to grievers all over the United States. So, if you want to send a little comfort food to someone far away, there’s no need to cook and ship your famous lasagna. Whether it’s a full pot roast or some vegetable stir-fry, MealGifts delivers all the goodness of a home-cooked meal without requiring any of the home cooking.

Businesses You Can Start with Your Kids

It may be easy to underestimate someone who’s not old enough to drive a car or vote, but many kids today have a strong work ethic and are willing to be creative to achieve success. The knowledge, passion and skills they’ve acquired, both in school and through their daily interaction with technology, make them perfect candidates for entrepreneurship.

Starting a business has a host of benefits for a young mind. A child or teen can learn the importance of financial responsibility, how to build professional relationships and how to be independent. But depending on their age, they likely won’t be able to get a business off the ground by themselves.

If you’ve always wanted to start a business yourself, why not take the opportunity to encourage your young entrepreneur and launch a company together? Here are a few ideas for businesses you can start with your children.

If your teen excels in a specific subject or has exceptional grades, encourage him or her to assist those in need of help through tutoring services. Your child can get paid for his or her knowledge and time spent helping others learn a skill or subject matter. This type of business is scalable, and live videoconferencing and electronic payments can bring your child’s skills online as well.

Kids are absorbing tons of social media knowledge at a young age. They’re becoming YouTube and Instagram stars with millions of followers for just being themselves. This could be invaluable knowledge for small businesses in your area. Encourage your child to apply his or her understanding of social platforms to consult for local shops and restaurants.

As long as houses come with lawns and outdoor maintenance, there will be a need for landscapers.The simplicity of the job, from mowing the lawn to trimming trees, means it can open doors to college degrees in the field, which can lead to jobs with theme parks or college campuses.

Technology has brought traditional job choices for teens into the modern age. Sites like SitterCity, Care.com and Rover.com have made it easy for people to hire and pay child or pet sitters. Encourage your child to gain some experience by babysitting for family members or neighbors. After they’ve gotten some experience, they can set up an online account to allow them to truly grow their business in an accessible way.

Sites like Etsy have transformed the way crafters bring their talent to the world. They no longer have to rely on fairs and events to show off their creations; instead, they can sell their products online to customers around the world. If your child has a knack for crafting and creativity, Etsy may offer a great business opportunity. Etsy has a comprehensive guide on fees and owning your own business, along with guidelines for minors.

Bringing your child’s passion for cooking or baking to the world can prove to be fruitful. There are competition shows on Food Network dedicated to the skills of young teens, as well as Shark Tank entrepreneurs who have used their baking skills to satiate the palates of people (and dogs!). Depending on your home state’s regulations, it could be fairly simple for you and your child to start a home catering or bakery business.

Your child’s business doesn’t necessarily need to check off the for-profit box. If you and your child are passionate about a social cause, starting a nonprofit charity may be a great start. There are hundreds of ways to raise money to profit those in need. Sit down and have a conversation about how to raise money for the cause. It is also a great opportunity to teach your child about the 501(c)(3)tax exemption and how it works.

Public interest in upcycling and recycling clothing and other items has led to the success of stores such as ReStore and vintage clothing shops. Collect unwanted items from neighbors, friends and family members, restore items to better quality, and sell them for fair prices. It’s a great way to be green and make some money from previously unwanted items.

Whatever new opportunity you and your child choose, this is a great time to teach the importance of work-life balance, responsibility and the importance of taxes. Encourage young entrepreneurs to try their best and seek success with their new business. Even if it doesn’t turn out as planned, you can show them that adversity is a part of life, and that failure is an opportunity to retool an idea or open a door to a new opportunity.

Online Business Ideas

online-business-classes_114Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you’re pigeonholed to open a brick and mortar store to spotlight your skills and make money. The internet offers you a wealth of opportunities to start your own businesses, often with little to no cost. By focusing on your strengths, you’ll be able to build a client roster and get your online business started.

These businesses allow you to be a full-time or part-time entrepreneur:

Do you know the ins and outs of search engines and have skills in platforms like Google Analytics? The owners of a lot of smaller companies don’t realize how much of an impact search engine optimization (SEO) can have on their business. Educate those business owners on the power of SEO to help transform their websites into a more SEO-friendly property. Use your skills to show business owners how to read and use their analytics data the right way, and how to properly use keywords and structure content to get more traffic.

If you possess a great deal of business experience and knowledge, why not create a business that helps aspiring entrepreneurs find success? You can use your skills to help new business owners get off to a good start and help experienced entrepreneurs keep up with demand. To show off your knowledge and skills and bring in clients, you can also write articles about business on platforms like LinkedIn.

Specialized stores are already a niche profession. When that’s the case, it’s best to set up an online store to reach those customers who are seeking your specific products. There’s an audience for everything, whether it’s making dollhouse furniture or creating organic dog food. Through a web-hosting service with an integrated shopping cart feature or with e-commerce software, your business will be operational in no time. Many vendors will even ship products to customers on your behalf, which means you don’t need to own a lot of inventory.

Larger companies can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their Facebook and Twitter accounts, but small businesses often have to handle their own social media marketing. With so many responsibilities, business owners are often too busy, overwhelmed or undereducated about the importance of social media to spend time developing and implementing a great social media strategy. As a consultant, you can help them determine the best tactics, posting schedules and content for their target audience. As their follower count grows, so will your business.

There’s nothing more off-putting than a poorly designed website, and often, it kills credibility. If you know some HTML and have a good eye for design, you can launch a service to create attractive, easy-to-use websites for small businesses. Put your skills to good use for business owners who want to take their online presence to the next level. Build a comprehensive portfolio, and then create your own website to show it off and attract a steady stream of clients.

It’s a tough truth to swallow, but a standout resume and cover letter can make all the difference when you’re applying for a job. While listing career accomplishments might seem like an easy task, the fine art of “humble bragging” eludes some of us. Find work by helping others to get hired with the aid of stellar resumes. Capitalize on the increasingly important social media branding bandwagon and offer to fix LinkedIn profiles as well.

Do you have impeccable organizational skills? What about cleaning skills? Can you quickly and efficiently carry out these tasks? Maybe it’s time to put those skills to good use by becoming an online personal assistant or task manager. Companies like TaskRabbit or Zirtual allow you to sign up for tasks you want to complete — including data research, virtual assistant or running errands — and begin building clientele.

You might not think of freelancing as a business, but with more and more companies turning to part-time contract workers to fill their skill gaps, it’s not hard to imagine making a living providing businesses with a variety of freelance services. Depending on your skill sets, you could work for multiple companies in a variety of fields that offer you flexibility and a refreshing change of pace. According to the freelance job listing website Freelancer.com, tech services, content creation and web design are popular fields for contract work.

If you’re a person who loves leaving customer reviews on sites like Amazon, stop doing it for free. Word-of-mouth advertising is still a huge lead generator for many companies, and a lot of businesses are willing to share a portion of their profits with persuasive individuals who will promote their products to the public. If you have a personal website with a large following, this might be easier to accomplish (PR reps are always seeking out brand advocates they can send free samples to Smart Passive Income breaks down three types of affiliate marketing and explains which one is most profitable.)

Achieving authorship is easier than ever. With e-readers now a staple in most households, self-publication has become a reality for many writers who might never get picked up by publishing companies. With the right marketing tools, you can successfully publish your own books on anything from cooking and weight loss to real estate. Hectorpreneur’s advice from successful e-Book authors offers tips for writing content that sells.

Many small businesses don’t have room in their budget for a full-time IT employee, so when their systems go on the fritz, they’ll usually call a computer-savvy friend or family member. If you have experience working on computers and networks, you can eliminate their need to call in a favor and offer immediate remote technical assistance.

Bargain hunters and thrift store enthusiasts can turn a nice profit reselling their vintage clothing finds. Brand yourself by setting up an independent website as your virtual storefront, but use a managed service like Google Checkout to handle transactions. High-resolution images and catchy copy for your products will make you stand out in the sea of internet users trying to sell their used items.

Online sites like Etsy and ArtFire are platforms that make it extremely easy for crafters who can produce a steady supply of quality handmade items, like crocheted blankets or unique painted glassware. Startup costs are extremely low if you purchase your materials in bulk from a craft supplier, and if you can turn around orders quickly, you’ll be making a profit in no time at all. It’s even possible to turn your store into a full-time gig.

Mobile applications are more popular than ever, and people are willing to pay good money for ways to manage their lives from their smartphones. If you have a great idea and happen to know coding, you can run with it and create your app yourself. If you just have an idea and don’t know the ins and outs of how to turn it into a reality, there are plenty of software developers looking to collaborate with people on app creation.

Summer Themed Business Ideas

pantai-kuta-lombok-1Nothing fuels that burning desire to become your own boss like a warm summer day spent inside a dark cubicle. But there’s still time to break out of the 9-to-5 routine before the season is over.

Here are nine ideas for businesses — inspired by summer — that you can have up and running in no time.

Summers mean ice cream, especially if you live near the shore. But even if you don’t, hungry children and adults alike will be clamoring for a sweet, frozen treat on sweltering summer days.

If you’re looking for a short-term seasonal gig, consider renting an ice cream truck and hitting the road for three months of ice cream cash. A rental truck usually costs a few hundred dollars a day plus the cost of ice cream, which is easily recouped in high-traffic, tourist areas; and the beauty of renting a truck is that you can go to wherever customers gather.

If the ice cream truck business is taking off and you think it’s something you could make more permanent, there are some used trucks available to buy within the $7,000 to $15,000, though many are even as expensive as $35,000.

Summer barbecues are an American tradition, but no party host wants to spend hours slaving over a hot grill. A barbecue catering service is just the thing to solve that problem.

Starting your own barbecue catering service will require, first and foremost, a dedication to the art of grilling. Whether you’re a Cajun-chicken aficionado or an authority on ribs, having a few tried-and-true recipes up your sleeve will help you cement yourself as a fixture on the summer barbecue circuit. But apart from being handy with a set of tongs, you’ll also have to drum up a bit of startup capital to get your business off the ground. Grills large enough to feed the hungry hordes at a company picnic or family reunion can go for more than $3,000.

If you want to be just another guy or gal with a pole and a skimmer, go ahead and start a “pool-cleaning” business. But if you really want to stand out in the competitive world of pool maintenance, brand yourself as a “pool technician.”

Take a page from the customer service manual of Willan Johnson, the CEO of pool management company Vivo Pools, and position yourself as a customer-focused, trend-savvy and technically knowledgeable authority in your field.

As Johnson told CNBC, “Most pool guys are like housecleaners. They should be part house cleaner, part mechanic.”

In summer tourist hotspots, many people own investment properties that see a high level of rapid turnover as tourists shuffle in and out during the season. Naturally, with all of those short-term tenants, the homeowners are going to need a reliable cleaning service to make sure everything is ready for the next visitors.

That’s where you come in. A cleaning service is easy to start with little overhead. It takes transportation, cleaning supplies, and manpower. Once you have those three things, you’re ready to start gathering clients. You can set a schedule of several clients a day and, hopefully, fill up the week with a few different stops. Certain days might be more busy than others depending on popular turnover days, but start out small and you’ll quickly learn the ebbs and flows of your area. Set your schedule accordingly and travel from house to house, tidying them up and making sure they’re each ready to give the next visitors a warm reception.

In recent years, beaches everywhere — from the coast of Connecticut to the shores of the Great Lakes — have been inundated by a new breed of summertime tourist: the water-sport day tripper. For beach-town locals, these rookie athletes are typically viewed as a summertime nuisance, but for aspiring entrepreneurs, these paddle-brandishing out-of-towners represent a business opportunity.

If you’re a surfer, kayaker, paddle-boarder, parasailer or other water-sport enthusiast, you have all the expertise you need to start making money as an aquatic athletic instructor. Of course, if you also happen to have a lifeguard certification, this summer side gig might have even more potential.

Before hitting the beach in search of clueless-looking clients, consider what people are looking for in a water-sport instructor. You’ll need to be personable as well as knowledgeable about the sport at hand, systematic in your teaching methods and, perhaps most importantly, extremely patient. Most importantly, look into any necessary certifications you may need to become an instructor.

Summertime is high season for family vacations, and as such, many houses need to be looked after during the summer months. While many vacationers think leaving friends and family members in charge of their home when they head out on holiday is good enough, there’s something to be said for having a professional do the job instead.

When approaching prospective clients about your vacation-liaison service, make it clear that you’re more than just a housesitter. In addition to keeping burglars at bay, your services should include all the things homeowners want done in their absence but feel bad asking others to do for them.

These tasks include taking care of pets (even the gross stuff, like cleaning out the litter box); tending the lawn and flowerbeds; cleaning out the fridge when it starts to stink; checking the mailbox; and everything in between.

Sometimes, parents on summer vacation just need a break. Beachside babysitting, adventure-time child care, foreign language immersion nanny — these are all viable options for making your services stand out from the rest. Whether you plan to market your caregiving business to working parents whose kids are out of school for the summer or to stay-at-home parents looking for a little downtime in the heat of the day, you’ll need to prove two things before you score any clients.

First, parents will want to know that you have what it takes to care for kids. CPR certification, lifeguard certification or teaching and tutoring experience will all look good on your resume. Second, parents want to know that their little ones aren’t just sitting around the house all day, so use a creative marketing strategy to set their minds at ease.

Much like summertime babysitting, the summer months are a competitive time for tutors. Parents worried that their children’s brains will turn to mush without routine instruction are eager to sign kids up to do the one thing they don’t want to do over the summer — learn something.

To execute this summer gig successfully, you’ll need to master two skills. First, you’ll have to actually know something about a particular subject area. Good at math? Use that. Closet poet? Now is the time to share your way with words with today’s youth. Once you’ve established what subjects you’ll be promoting, it’s time to focus on what’s arguably the more important aspect of this job: being cool.

Plan fun activities for your prospective clients. Don’t just meet them at the public library. Are you a Spanish tutor? Why not take your students to the local taco joint and spend some time translating the menu? If you’re a science tutor, you’ve got it made: Hold your lessons in the great outdoors. Just remember: Summer school is cooler when it doesn’t look or feel like regular school.

Selling old clothes and records at your local flea market might earn you a few bucks this summer, but actually organizing your own flea market is the better bet for those looking to make real cash. Flea-market organizing is an oft-overlooked profession, but it really exists, and with a little research, you could make it your own in no time.

Flea-market organizers are the people who rent the space needed to hold a flea market. They obtain the necessary permits for selling goods and food products, solicit vendors, and plan the details for these events.

While opening a flea-market business requires a bit of startup capital — some sites estimate that total costs can be as high as $10,000 — it’s the kind of summer business that has a good chance of surviving past Labor Day, if you play your cards right.

Starting a Food Truck Business

Television shows like “The Great Food Truck Race” and movies like “Chef” have motivated many cooks and dreamers to start up a food truck business. Despite the incredible competition, the industry is growing. According to Mobile Cuisine, mobile food truck revenue has increased by 12.4 percent over the past five years, with the average truck grossing nearly $300,000 per year. However, while you can supply the inspiration and hard work, youꞌll want to balance that with proper planning and business acumen.

If you’ve been considering starting your own mobile food business, there is a lot to learn. Your business will benefit greatly if you research your market and create a solid business plan.

We’ve researched the industry extensively and put together this guide to help you start your new business. This is a good starting point, but youꞌll also want to conduct your own research, especially into your market and local ordinances.

Most food truck businesses start out with a dream and an idea, but that will get you only so far. Your biggest initial expense will be the actual food truck. You may be able to find a used truck suitable for your business for around $25,000, but most experts say you should expect to spend about $80,000 on a truck. You can, of course, easily spend much more. Expenses for truck retrofitting and altering need to be considered in your budget. Food cart or trailer options are less. If you choose a franchise option, you can likely get around this part of the investment at first. You may also find leasing options available.

Other startup costs to consider include:

  • Permits, licensing and insurance (business and vehicle): $500 – $1,000
  • Inventory (food and supplies): $1,000+
  • Payment processing: hardware, processing agreement, mobile data plan: $400+
  • Commissary fees (professional kitchen rental for prep work): varies ($400+ per month)
  • Truck appearance: paint, wraps, lighting and such (varies)
  • Propane and or generator costs: fuel (varies)

Unless you already have startup funds, acquiring funding may be your biggest challenge. Your first goal should be to put together a bulletproof business plan. Youꞌll also have more success if you have good personal and business credit. Most truck financing options will require good credit, a down payment and possibly even collateral. If you already own a restaurant with a successful history, you should be able to acquire funding and decent rates.

If traditional financing is not an option for you, youꞌll have to get creative to cover startup costs. But you may have to start out small. Here are some ways to start your business with minimal funding:

  1. Talk with someone who already owns a food truck and negotiate a lease or a rental agreement.
  2. Start with a low-cost, used cart or trailer.
  3. Start selling at a farmers market, art fair booth or pop-up.
  4. Talk to a successful restaurant owner about running a food truck for the ownerꞌs business.
  5. If your truck idea includes providing a public service or a benefit to your community, you may be able to obtain sponsors.
  6. If you are already contracted with a payment processor, you may qualify for a processing advance loan. This type of loan is paid back by fees added to your regular processing fees.

Once you have secured funding, you’ll want to start looking for a suitable truck. There are many purchase options for food trucks, including new customized options, used, leasing and franchise opportunities. A quick internet search will reveal numerous options nationwide. Since it is such a large purchase, it is worth your time to shop outside of your area to find the truck that fits your needs at the right price.

There is a lot to know about food trucks. Take your time when considering the type of truck you want and what you need in your truck. Plan out your food processes entirely to better understand the components you will need, from prep space to refrigerator space. You may also have local health and fire codes you’ll need to satisfy to make sure your truck will pass inspection if required. It is prudent to reach out to professionals and those experienced in the mobile food industry to help you design your truck.

Once you are ready to shop, you have a few options:

Local Online Classifieds: This is a good option since used trucks are cheaper and you can easily inspect it. Even if you cannot buy the truck outright, you may be able to negotiate a lease option if the truck is not currently being used. Used food trucks usually cost $25,000 to $70,000, before modifications. Obtaining traditional financing may be difficult.

National Online Classifieds: Widening your search will give you more options. Make sure to have frank and lengthy conversations with the current owner. You may need to travel to pick up the truck, but it could be worth it.

New Custom Trucks: This is the most expensive option. Some may be well over $100,000; but generally around $80,000 before customization. The advantages are that you can purchase a truck built to your exact specifications and the equipment will have active warranties. Financing options may be available, but costly, and may require a large down payment for a new business.

Leasing: You may be able to find a local truck to lease or via a national truck leasing company. Even though you are not financing the truck, you’ll still need decent credit, and down payments are often required. Lease-to-own agreements may be available.

Franchising: Many established companies offer franchising opportunities. But it is not a low-cost investment, you may need collateral, at the minimum. You’ll have no control over the product, marketing or menu. However, this investment can pay off if you are smart about it.

As with any large purchase, especially of a used truck, you’ll want to do your due diligence and inspect the truck’s equipment yourself. Test everything. Additionally, you’ll want to have a trusted mechanic inspect the vehicle as well. If you have special local emissions and safety requirements, you’ll want to ensure that you can meet those requirements. Some cities have size restrictions, so youꞌll want to know what those are before your purchase. Contacting your insurance about coverage ahead of time concerning special insurance requirements is a good idea.

Although financing may seem attractive, you’ll be better off in the long run if you figure out a lower-priced option. According to Prestige Food Trucks, about one-third of trucks and trailers financed to new businesses are repossessed. On the bright side, that means more used trucks on the market for you to choose from.

While food truck customers are accustomed to paying cash to food vendors, increasingly consumers are preferring to use cards over cash, even for small transactions. It is difficult to determine how much in sales you could potentially lose by not offering a mobile credit card paying option, but it could be as much as 30 percent.

Starting out with just a cash box is common and a good way to get going if you are low in funding. Here are a few options for processing sales, listed from the lowest-priced option to the most advanced.

Cash box and cash-only sales
Advantages: Low priced. You can purchase a lockable box for under $20.

Disadvantages: Doesnꞌt track sales or food inventory. Cannot process card payments.

Ongoing costs: None.

Where you can purchase: Online sites such as Amazon, office supply stores such as Office Max and Staples or retailers such as Walmart.

Cash box + mobile card processor
Advantages: Low priced. Mobile processors often simply charge for swipe fees. But youꞌll need Wi-Fi access and or a good data plan to connect your mobile phone or tablet to the processing service.

Disadvantages: Most mobile processors include only a simple inventory system and limited additional features.

Ongoing costs: Credit and debit card processing fees and mobile data fees.

Where you can purchase: Most credit card processors offer handheld or mobile app options. Popular services include Square, Spark Pay and PayPal.

Cash box + POS system + mobile processing
Advantages: Mobile credit and debit card processing plus sales and inventory tracking.

Disadvantages: An additional monthly service fee and hardware costs.

Ongoing costs: Monthly POS service fee, card processing, mobile data service and possible hardware fees.

Where you can purchase: Some POS services offer systems specifically for food trucks, including Hike POS, Touch Bistro, Revel Systems, Square and Shopify.

As mentioned, you can easily just start with a cash box and add other elements as you can. You can add mobile processing rather easily with a free card reader and a processing agreement that will cost you, depending on your credit, about +/- 2.75 percent per transaction. Adding a point-of-sale system often requires the purchase of an iPad and a processing agreement. Additional monthly service fees may also apply.

These are the things new business owners imagine as the advantages before they start their business. Most are looking for the freedom of running their own business.

Business ownership ─ While owning your own business is challenging, there are numerous tax advantages. We recommend that you hire a good accountant to help you set up your books and to consult with on what kind of data you need to track, such as mileage and fuel.

Freedom ─ You’ll be busy, so you wonꞌt have freedom in the sense of “free time.” But freedom to choose your menu items, the vendors you want to purchase from, your employees, and the events you want to vend at. Youꞌll have control of your marketing and social media. Plus, you can choose when you want to work.

Mobility ─ Food trucks are essentially moving kitchens. Many caterers even use them. Youꞌll need to comply with local ordinances, but beyond that, you can move your business to locations with the best opportunities for sales.

These are the things that actual food truck owners say are their biggest challenges.

Time ─ Some think food truck workers just work a few hours a day. That is far from the truth. You have to consider shopping time, prep work, marketing, event booking, cleaning, truck maintenance, accounting and tax obligations, and more. Most say it has to be a labor of love, with an emphasis on labor. You may have to work holidays and weekends ─ and you may need to work every day.

Competition and Market ─ Some may say food truck owners help each other out; others say it is cut-throat competitive. Some report that events may have long waiting lists. A city can support only so many taco trucks or coffee carts. You’ll want to carefully research your market to increase your chance of success.

Ordinances and Zoning ─ Many find, after they get into business, that they are limited by where they can park and for how long they can park. And every area is different. So, if you travel, you’ll need to know what the rules are in the areas you intend to sell in. Some events, parks and recreation centers may have their own rules and charge you for parking and selling in their space.

Franchising provides numerous advantages to those looking to get into the food truck industry. According to franchising business coach Terry Powell, founder of The Entrepreneur’s Source, a good franchise will have done a lot of the hard work for you. Menus have been created, training is available, the product is tested and marketed for you, and the trucks are designed specifically for that business. Often, the trucks have already been inspected by the local health department for compliance. Also, services that would normally cost you extra money or time and stress ─ such as food prep locations, food source agreements and supply contracts ─ are already in place. In many cases, the franchise already has locations selected, and knows what permits and licensing are required to sell in that area.

However, this type of business opportunity is not for those wanting to create and sell their own food products. Creative chefs, or those who want to share their original menu items, will not be satisfied running a franchise. Obtaining a franchise contract is also not suitable for those with bad credit or limited capital. Youꞌll still need to qualify, though qualifications among franchises may vary.

According to an article published by Food Truckr, one of the main things food truck owners wished they knew more about before they started their business is constrictive regulations. Contrary to what you might like to believe, you cannot just park your food truck anywhere and start selling food. Not only are there numerous permits and regulations to deal with, but these regulations vary by area and even by event. Additionally, rules and requirements may change and you have to be able to adapt. You’ll want to diligently research your area for requirements you need satisfy.

While every area is different, there are a few main things to research, including:

Food safety ─ Just like a brick-and-mortar restaurant, you’ll need to comply with local food safety requirements. Plan on a truck inspection as well. You may be required to prepare all of your food in a professional kitchen or commissary. If you already own a restaurant, you can use your own facilities. Otherwise, you many need to pay for the use of a commissary. Contact your local health department to find out more information

Zoning and parking ─ You may be restricted as to where you can park your truck and set up business. You may have to comply with commercial and noncommercial zoning requirements. You may also have parking limit restrictions, such as so many hours. In some areas you cannot park within a certain number of feet of physical restaurants. Check with your city and local motor vehicle department about what the restrictions might be.

Business permits and licenses ─ You’ll need all of the same business licenses as you would for any business. You’ll need a tax ID number and DBA. You’ll likely need a state sales tax permit. Most of these types of permits are low priced and simple to obtain. Check with your city about forming your business, and the IRS can supply your EIN. Legal Zoom, an online document preparation service, costs more than doing it yourself, but is an easy option for helping you form your business. They’ll even file for your tax ID number, or EIN.

Truck registration and insurance ─ Your department of motor vehicles should be able to help you learn what type of registration is required for your truck. Some areas may even require you to have a commercial driver’s license for larger trucks. Insurance can be complicated. You’ll need insurance on the vehicle and drivers, but also to cover your business. If you have employees, you may require additional insurances.

Many mobile food businesses start with a food trailer or a cart. They cost less, and you can often obtain traditional financing for the truck to pull it. Used trailers may cost only a few thousand. New trailers usually cost more than $20,000, but far less than a new food truck. In addition, pulled trailers have fewer compliance requirements than those of a moving vehicle, such as emissions requirements. Insurance may also be less. Many mobile businesses start with a trailer since it is more affordable.

New food carts cost a few thousand, but used carts are available. New carts can be customized, and include things such as sinks, refrigerators and cooking equipment. Food trikes are also available. Trikes are a fun option and provide mobility. Even though trikes are rather small, they can be equipped with cooking equipment, sinks and refrigerators. The price for a trike is low enough for you to start a profitable weekend business. As with any food business, youꞌll want to research your local regulations concerning food trailers, carts or trikes.

While researching this topic, we found quite a few helpful tips and ideas. Here are a few.

  • If you plan to have your truck parked in one specific spot on a regular basis, see if you can negotiate with local businesses to use their power, either by paying them directly or by trade. Some, for example, offer a certain number of free meals in exchange for using their power. This can greatly save you in propane and generator use.
  • Post your social media information on your truck and regularly post to your social media pages, especially if your truck moves around. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are good platforms to start with and they are all free.
  • You may save money at first by hiring a crew to work in your truck. It makes mathematical sense to pay someone $10 an hour to work in your truck rather than giving up your $30-an-hour job. Especially if you are choosing a franchise option.
  • Work on a food truck for a few days or weeks. By doing this you can learn the pace and process. And it may help you decide if it is the right type of business for you or not.
  • Though not as fun as creating your own product, you may be able to save money by purchasing prepared food items to avoid commissary costs. For example, by buying in bulk from your local Costco or Samꞌs Club.
  • Some have found success by operating a mobile-catering business rather than a traditional food truck business. You can better plan your hours, you know how many youꞌll be serving and you know how much youꞌll be paid. You can also charge a deposit, and you should.
  • Negotiate with a local restaurant about using their facilities instead of a costly commissary.
  • You may benefit from selling during nonstandard meal times, such as late at night near entertainment venues.
  • Find a good mentor. Consult with someone who has been successful in your industry and learn as much as you can from them.

Youꞌll want to learn as much as possible before starting your business and youꞌll benefit from ongoing research as well. With a quick web search you can find information particular to your area. In addition, look for a booking or directory site, such as Roaming Hunger, for your area. Using these types of sites, customers can acquire about booking your truck or find where you are parked. Facebook also may have food truck pages specific to your area as well.

We found these websites to be particularly helpful:

National Food Truck Association ─ This website provides information to help vendors with local codes and ordinances. There are regional associations as well, such as the Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association and the San Antonio Food Truck Association.

The Food Truck Empire ─ This website posts volumes of information about the food truck industry. Resources include articles, a podcast and a blog. Consulting is also available.

Restaurant and Hospitality ─ This site covers a wide range of topics, including hiring, trends, news and recipes. While the articles mostly pertain to physical restaurants, many of the tips and discussions can be applied to the mobile food industry.

Mobile Cuisine ─ Mobile Cuisine covers mobile food topics specifically. Here youꞌll find information on starting up and growing your business, marketing tips, funding options and more. It also posts news-type articles on local regulations.

Food Truckr ─ Here youꞌll find articles related to the mobile food industry, including articles about starting up your business. Food Truckr also posts regularly to their blog and podcasts are available. It also offers marketing assistance and social media tips.

Every hour of research and preparation you can do before starting your mobile food business will reduce your stress later, while also increasing your chances for success. The mobile food industry is growing and worth investing in, if you have the energy, good businesses sense and inspiration needed to succeed.

Business Ideas That Don’t Require Employees

Are you ready to start your own business, but not ready to hire employees? There are plenty of options for people who would prefer to be “solopreneurs” and keep their business operations simple.

Here are six ideas to inspire you to start working on your solo business plan right away:

Are you educated in nutrition but are still looking to get your career to go in the right direction? Turn your healthy lifestyle choices and education into lucrative business decisions by becoming a virtual health coach. You’ll be aided in your efforts by the myriad new health-related apps and devices being developed to help clients keep track of fitness goals and weight loss.

Want to turn your love of beer into a viable occupation? Why not jump on the microbrewing bandwagon? With the popularity of craft beers on the rise in the U.S., the demand for innovative breweries is growing. Take a page from the successful owners of Brooklyn Brewery and start by focusing on branding and distribution of your beverages. With some thirsty investors and a few barrels of persistence, you could have your brewery up and running faster than you can say “cheers!” Learn more about starting your own craft brewery in this Business News Daily guide.

With employers and corporations looking to decrease health care costs and a greater awareness of diseases associated with obesity, America is looking to get fit. Freelance personal trainers make their own schedules and work for a diverse range of clients. If you’re a fitness guru with a head for business, this might just be the right idea for you.

Anyone with aging loved ones knows how hard it can be to care for them without extra help. Elderly people living in their own homes need help with lots of routine chores like cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping and yard work. Why not start a business that offers senior citizens and their families the help they need to maintain their households without breaking their budgets? With word-of-mouth endorsements and social media targeted at the overworked baby-boomer set, you could get this business off the ground in no time.

Whether it’s a bouquet of flowers in celebration of a wedding anniversary or an ice cream cake delivery for a child’s birthday, there’s a need for businesses that carry out long-distance requests on behalf of those whose loved ones live far away. With the right website and a PayPal account, you could start building your reputation as a “special delivery” courier today.

Are you business-savvy with years of experience, and willing to pass that knowledge on to others? With the right marketing tactics, a strong personal network and a great website, it’s simple to become a business coach on your own. Work with small business owners or startup-hopefuls to carefully craft business plans, and advise those who need that extra motivation. If you know you can be a good motivator and not just a “yes man,” their investment in you will have great returns.

Business Ideas for Fashion Fanatics

If fashion is your passion, then there are plenty of ways to turn it into a career. You don’t have to be a model or a well-established designer to make fashion pay; the possibility of turning your fashion sense into entrepreneurship is far more real than you might think.

Only a select few will ever make it to the runway, but plenty of fashionable startup opportunities await. They all take hard work and a great eye for fashion, but most have very small startup budgets. Here are five startup ideas for the entrepreneurial fashionista.

Putting on a fashion show is no easy feat. Fashion event producers works with designers and models to help put together a show, and may even help coach runway models.

“You would help the designer with runway show casting and have an understanding of how clothes should be portrayed on the body and how the models should carry themselves,” said Kerry Bannigan, founder of Nolcha, a New York-based fashion event production company.

While startup costs are minimal – you won’t need employees or even an office – you will need to do some heavy self-promotion. Relationships and referrals are key for this type of work, Bannigan said. Business cards and a user-friendly website showing an online portfolio are a mus,t as well as a printed portfolio. Networking through industry websites is also essential, she said.

Before you embark on this career, you should understand fashion shows, have the ability to work with the creative-minded people and be flexible enough to deal with diverse personalities, Bannigan said. Income potential is based on the number of clients you have and how big they are.

Photo stylists work with photographers to scout shoot locations, get clothing to shoots, buy furniture and accessories and generally make sure the photo shoot goes as planned. It requires a good sense of fashion, an understanding of fashion history, and the smarts to know where to source your products, according to Sara Petitt, coordinator of the fabric styling program at the Fashion Institute of Technology, in New York.

Successful photo stylists can come from any background. They usually make their mark by doing a good job and gaining business through word of mouth. Photo stylists can be paid hourly or by the project.

This business is ideal for someone with a corporate background who wants to make a move into fashion. A fashion business coach helps guide design firms in all aspects of running their business – from growth plans to everyday tasks such as invoice collection and bookkeeping . It also can involve coaching the creative designer on how to perform and interact in different business settings, Bannigan said.

Startup costs for a fashion coaching business are minimal, but earning potential is significant.

“Research consultancy services with established businesses can make six-figure salaries with constant clientele,” Bannigan said.

It might be hard to believe, but influential websites such as the Sartorialist and Racked debuted as small fashion blogs. They’ve since come into their own as industry thought leaders, and they sell lots of advertising.

Not too much investment is needed in a fashion blog – website development and hosting can be quite inexpensive – but it will require lots of legwork. Whether you’re stalking the city streets in search of fashionable photo ops or following the moves of leading designers, you’ll need to be tracking changing trends at every moment.

On the plus side, a fashion blog can be a complement to your existing job, said Angie Wojak, director of career services at the School of Visual Arts.

“You can start a blog on your own while looking for job, and it doesn’t take a big outlay of cash,” Wojak said.

Do you love to talk your favorite designer brands up to friends and family? Are you always searching for the latest fashion news and sample sales? If so, you might consider starting your own fashion public relations business. Fashion PR is a difficult field to break into, but with the right skill set and connections, you can help designers and other fashion businesses get noticed by the media and fashionistas.

In an article on PR Couture, entrepreneur Jonathan Leger writes that there are several key components to success as a fashion PR professional. You must first be able to create a strong brand for your clients to differentiate them from other designers. You must also know how to work with fashion editors to get magazine placements, and with models and celebrities to get your clients’ work in the public eye. You should also have a keen understanding of media trends and be able to prove the value of your work.

As with any PR job, Leger noted that fashion publicists have to be ready to put out fires and handle any crises that arise from unhappy clients, models or editors.

Business Ideas for Couples

It’s not easy to run a business with your spouse or significant other. But for couples who have built up a solid foundation and who know how to handle conflict with each other, small business ownership could be a step toward financial independence and even a stronger relationship.

If you and your partner have made the decision to start a business together, you can choose from plenty of startups that are well suited for a two-person team. As with any partnership, these business ideas work best when you each take on roles that best fit your skills and strengths. An entrepreneurial relationship, like all business ventures, is truly a labor of love.

Some couples constantly fight over who has to cook dinner, but for others, preparing and sharing a meal together is an enjoyable bonding activity. If you and your partner fall into the latter category — and, of course, you’re actually good cooks — you may want to consider starting your own catering business. Let the resident gourmand take care of most of the food prep, while the other serves as customer service rep and sous chef.

For those foodies who also love to travel together, consider opening up shop as a food truck vendor. Whether its music festivals, block parties, or private events, food trucks are a great way to make some extra money while traveling and meeting new, interesting people. For many food truck vendors, the freedom of the open road and the appeal of their favorite activities has led them to strike out on their own; doing exactly that with the person you love might just be the best way to see the world together.

Crafty couples who share a passion for DIY projects can launch a successful e-commerce business on platforms like Etsy or Zibbet. One of you can handle marketing; the other can handle customer service, and both of you can work together to fill your orders. Not only does e-commerce represent a money-making opportunity, it also offers you and your partner a chance to be creative together; what’s better than having fun while turning a profit?

If you’re the type of couple that goes running and hits the gym together, launching a fitness business could be right for you. Whether you’re interested in personal training or class instruction, you can become certified through organizations like the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, and begin taking on clients. If you both specialize in the same area, you can double the number of sessions or classes you book. Alternatively, if one of you is a personal trainer and the other teaches a class, you can expand your client base through your service variety.

For working parents with long hours, cleaning the house can quickly fall to the bottom of the to-do list. Offer your weekends and evenings to these families, for everything from light housework like vacuuming and dusting to heavy-duty chores like cleaning the kitchen and bathroom. With you and your partner working as a team, you’ll be able to get these tasks done twice as quickly.

Do you and your partner love animals? Spread the word to friends and neighbors that you’re available to watch their pets while the owners go on a vacation or weekend trip. Pet owners often feel more comfortable leaving their furry friends in the care of a trusted homeowner rather than placing pets in a boarding facility, so getting referrals shouldn’t be too difficult. Offering two caretakers also means more individualized attention for your clients’ pets, which can be a great selling point.

SAT prep and subject-help tutoring are just as in-demand as ever for students across the country. With strong teaching skills, a wealth of knowledge and great personalities, you and your partner can make extra money educating local students in your home. While self-employed tutors are usually solopreneurs, this business can be even more lucrative for a couple if both of you can tutor. Otherwise, one of you can do the actual tutoring, while the other focuses on marketing and spreading the word.

Are you and your partner master gardeners? Do you love spending time improving your yard and growing your own veggies? Take your talents on the road and help others do the same! If you have green-thumb, there are plenty of homeowners willing to pay for your advice on what crops to grow and where; help turn a hum-drum backyard garden into a real Eden. Beyond gardening, you can help homeowners create a more environmentally friendly backyard, by helping them install rain gardens, rain barrels, and compost piles. These types of services are becoming more and more popular as people increasingly become conscientious about their environmental footprint.

Business Ideas for Retirees

Looking for a new challenge now that you’ve retired from the corporate world? Why not start your own business?

Many retirees who’ve been employees all of their lives get excited at the thought of running the show, and building a business that reflects their interests and values. If you’re thinking of launching a business during your retirement, here are six ideas to get you started.

Many new business ideas well-suited for retirees harness the power of the internet, as long as you don’t let technology intimidate you.

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“Online businesses are truly some of the best types of businesses for people over 50, but they need to get over their fears,” said Diane Eschenbach, owner of startup consultancy firm DE Consultants and author of “How to Quickly Start a Business Online.”

One simple new business option involves researching and compiling information on websites.

“One of my favorite types of online businesses for the ‘post-50 group’ is curation sites,” said Eschenbach.

As people get older, the time invested in activities (such as a new business venture) becomes very important, said Eschenbach. She is a big fan of the idea of retirees learning to use technology because of the time saved by automated programs, but she stresses the importance of choosing a business you enjoy.

“The key to a great retirement is doing what you love and finding a way to monetize it quickly,” said Eschenbach.

Retirees considering starting businesses should start by thinking about two areas: skills from their previous jobs and life lessons. These experiences make retirees well-positioned to share their knowledge.

“Since they have a lot of life and career experience, a consulting and coaching business suits them well as a new endeavor,” said Dolly Garlo, business coach and president of Thrive!! Inc. By capitalizing on existing knowledge, retirees can spend their time learning the ropes of running a new business.

“Retirees should focus on jobs and business opportunities that leverage the individual’s years of work and life experience, such as consulting, teaching or tutoring,” said Jamie Hopkins, Esq., assistant professor of taxation in the Retirement Income Program at The American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and associate director of the New York Life Center for Retirement Income.

Instead of sharing knowledge through a face-to-face business, retirees may prefer to teach or coach through a freelance writing business. “Writing and blogging can be a way for the retiree to stay engaged in an online or other community, generate some income and leverage their knowledge,” said Hopkins.

As you brainstorm new business ideas, Garlo suggests asking a few key questions. “How much time do you want to spend working? What kind of flexibility do you require? Do you want to work from a fixed location or be able to work virtually? What subject matter in particular excites you?”

Garlo says it’s also important to consider your potential business customers, and if they can afford to pay you. “This will determine whether what you provide becomes a hobby or charitable endeavor, or is an actual business,” she said.

Have you left a successful career after establishing a large network of valuable and experienced business contacts? If so, the main ingredients of your new business idea may be as close as your address book.

“[Retirees] have learned lessons that many business owners won’t learn for another 10 to 20 years,” said Tobe Brockner, author of “Mastermind Group Blueprint: How to Start, Run and Profit from Mastermind Groups” (Aloha Group Publishing, 2013). “This is why starting a mastermind group is a natural fit for retirees.”

Members of mastermind groups meet regularly to collaborate and solve the problems or issues of their members, tapping into the collected experience, skills and knowledge of the group.

“Many [retirees] already have a network that they can tap into to find excellent mastermind group members, and by being the group organizer and facilitator, they can make a nice supplemental income,” said Brockner.

Depending on the size of the area in which they live, Brockner said enterprising retirees can start and facilitate multiple mastermind groups, and charge a premium for the value of being a member.

“Mastermind group facilitators can generate between $1,500 to $3,000 per month per group for just a few hours [of] work,” he said.

Providing services has long been a popular idea for younger, active retirees who want to start their own businesses; however, familiar choices like handyman services, tutoring or pet sitting aren’t the only games in town.

“There are many options for service-based businesses, but one area particularly well-suited for retirees is to provide eldercare services,” said Nancy Collamer, career coach and author of “Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement” (Ten Speed Press, 2013).

“Many elderly living on their own need someone to help out with the tasks of daily living: housekeeping, shopping, errands and cooking,” said Collamer. “They also hire people to help out with special projects such as relocating, medical claims assistance and bill paying.”

As the total number of entrepreneurs increases, so does the number of entrepreneurs over the age of 50. Why not start a business catering to them? There is a tremendous opportunity for you to assist new entrepreneurs with building, managing and marketing their businesses, said Collamer. While older entrepreneurs have solid core skills from previous professions, they often fall short on the skills needed to capitalize on their expertise and turn their knowledge and talents into a profitable business.

“So think about how you can apply your skills in a small business environment,” suggested Collamer. “Are you a talented graphic designer? You might be able to design logos, brochures or menus for a new restaurant in town. Do you have strong financial skills? Perhaps you could work as a small business coach or a bookkeeper.”

Few business people have the time and know-how needed to handle all the tasks required to keep a business profitable, Collamer said. And filling this need suits aspiring business owners who are also retirees.

“Most small business people can’t afford full-time staff, so this can be a nice way to earn income on a flexible or part-time basis.”

There are many ways to take advantage of the spreading “active living” philosophy, which is especially popular among Boomers. Who better to help show them the way than a peer with the know-how to stay fit and age gracefully? One of the greatest things about starting a business focused on active living is how creative you can be about what exactly your business looks like.

“The spectrum of involvement is pretty wide,” Jonah Bliss, director of community for electric bicycle company EVELO, said. “[It could be] anything from opening up franchises for electric bike stores to being ambassadors for healthy living brands, or running tours and treks to outdoor locations.”

These types of businesses not only work well as a way to bring in some money after you retire from your career, but they also help others maintain their health as they age. Be creative and use what you know to find your niche in the growing active living marketplace.

Real Estate Investing Business Plan

Real estate is one of the booming sectors and everyone wants to make a mark here. There is a lot of competition and only those with vision, passion, and the ability to work hard can achieve this success. In this field, one of the most important things a businessman should be aware of is a business plan. It basically includes creating a written outline that evaluates the economic viability of your business venture based on real estate investment. It helps you define your objectives, i.e., what you want to achieve from this particular venture. It also helps you to focus on your goals, aims, and targets.

A carefully designed plan can also help you attract more lenders, investors, and banks. It makes you look neat, professional, and reliable, which is very important for the investors so that they can trust you and believe in your abilities. It also helps you to find out probable weaknesses and shortcomings in your plan that you can improve. Mentioned below is a template for it that would help you to create one on your own.

Main Elements

Executive Summary
In this section, you are supposed to write the long-term vision and mission of your venture. Here, you should provide the reader with a brief introduction to the entire business plan. As the name suggests, you should pen down the overall plan in a summarized manner. You must also mention your objectives and start-up details, along with some general information about your business.

Company Background
In this section, you should write about the entire history of the company, the people associated with it, and its journey so far. The kind of ownership of the company, something about its owners, achievements of the company, etc., should also be mentioned here. If it is a new company, then why and how it is/was established, who is it inspired by, etc., should be mentioned.

Market Research and Business Strategies
Here, you should write about your target industry, customers, and real estate financing status. You should give the detailed description of the real estate investing industry you wish to work with. Apart from this, you should also mention about your understanding about the industry and how you would like to work with a difference. You should also write about the business model you have already established or planning to design. Also, mention the strategies you have formulated for the same based on your market research analysis.

Marketing Plan
Here, you should mention everything about this aspect, including how you are going to market your new venture. Provide detailed information about promoting and marketing strategies, including which medium you will choose to advertise, how frequently you would engage in this activity, how much budget is allotted for advertising, etc. And to decide these things, you need to study the opponents, identify your USP, and plan accordingly. All these aspects have to be mentioned, so that readers come to know about the viability of your business plan.

Financial Plan
You must write how you are going to start this venture and from where the initial money is coming. You also need to mention the probable profit and loss you are expecting. You must describe the entire begetting plan with adequate details. Also, mention the sales projection and implementation strategies of all the projects. This helps the investors ensure that you are not involved in any illegal activity and that it is safe to be associated with you.

Assumptions
In this section, you would mention the assumptions related to your business venture and the industry. For example, you can make assumptions about the interest rates or growth rates, etc., based on the background research of the industry and your business plan. This helps the investors to understand your confidence level, as well as your risk calculation abilities. It also provides them a chance to know about your thinking process and your perception about the industry.

Management Summary
In this summary, you should appeal and motivate the people to work with you. This is quite similar to the closing statement, where you should mention that goals are realistic and you have the manpower and strategies to reach them. You have to write this last piece in such a way that your faith in this venture should be reflected clearly from your words. You should use promising and regressive language that would make the readers live your dream.

You can personalize the above template as per your needs and choice. Use a catchy and simple language that is easy to understand. A rightly and precisely designed and formulated business plan is sure to fetch great success to you.