The First Steps to Starting a New Business

There are several things you should consider before starting a business. Is your business idea feasible? Will it generate income? Is there a market for it? How about competition?

In analyzing your potential income or revenue, you need to take a close look at your target market and do some demographics. If you’re creating information products for your business, you’ll want to make sure that they don’t become outdated too quickly. This will ensure future sales of the same content. However, you can update it over time if you need to.
For online marketing chose a niche that people will be interested in for a long time.

To find out if there’s a market for your idea you’ll want to do some research. Do some keyword searches as well as some internet site searches to check out the competition. Be sure to check if the competition is offering similar products of the ones you intend to offer.

For feasibility measures there’s several things you’ll want to investigate; questions to ask.
How much competition is there?
Can I do things better or differently?
What are the start-up costs?
Am I passionate enough about my idea?
Am I willing to put in the time to make this work?
Have I defined my goals well enough?
Have I created my business plan and mission statement?
Am I willing to take risks?

Another thing that many business experts fail to mention is your work habits and your personality traits. Are you willing to dedicate time to work on yourself and your habits if you need to? You’re not just building a business, you’re also building your own character and building a brand. You want people to know, like and trust you. This requires being the best you can be in your field.

Other things to consider are:
Will you work a regular job while you build your business?
If not, have you thought about how you will meet your business and living expenses?

If it’s possible, it’s best to start your new business while you still have steady income. It will take more work in the beginning, since it’ll be part-time work, but many people have done it.

Starting your own business is an excellent idea, but it does need to be well thought out and planned. There are many resources online to help guide you. Never jump into a business without doing your research and creating a plan for starting a business.

3D Printers – An Exciting New Technology

3D printers are a new-ish technology that has received a lot of interest. This blog post is here to explain a few things about 3D printers and what sort of economic impact they might have, as well as what sorts of economic impacts they will not have.

To start, we must first discuss the idea of a production function. A production function shows amount produced as a function of certain inputs. The usual inputs in most situations are capital and labor. Labor represents the work of individuals, while capital represents ownership of equipment and other things essential to production.

In a very rough sense, capital represents sunk labor costs. That is, most things that are considered capital had to be produced by the input of labor and capital, and that capital had to be produced by the input of labor and capital. Eventually, you move back to things that were produced solely by labor, although that would take an incredible number of steps backward in most cases.

Moving from this rough idea, we encounter 3D printers. With a 3D printer, you can take the appropriate raw materials and schema for some item and the printer will produce the item for you with little to no labor costs. This essentially means that the production function for use of a 3D printer almost entirely disregards labor, and is focused entirely on capital.

For a 3D printer, capital comes in two major forms – the printer itself and the schema. Without some unforeseen new technology, you will also require raw materials to input into the printer, usually of a specific type.

We then examine the cost function of a 3D printer. It contains only three variable costs – the raw materials that go into the item you are producing, possible repairs to the printer from use, and your time in operating the printer. Everything else required – the schema and the printer – is fixed.

So what we have with a 3D printer is a method of production with little variable cost, high fixed cost, and an intensive focus on capital over labor. This sort of production is almost always characterized by economies of scale – that is, it is more efficient to produce many units than to produce few units.

From this, I can then say that, barring a gross misunderstanding or some new development, 3D printers will probably never become something that is used in every household. This, of course, depends on the price of the printer, but in any case where the price of the printer remains even slightly high, the low usage rate by a single household will make it impractically expensive.

There are, of course, exceptions. People looking to do things such as fix the family car or keep up with the latest technology would probably purchase them. They could even be of use to IT support companies who could, theoretically print spare parts in the office. Beyond simply do-it-yourself-ers, there might also be a slew of potential uses for miniature, specialized 3D printers for doing things such as creating pencil lead or erasers for mechanical pencils.

In addition, I can say fairly safely that the 3D printer will not take over the mass production of large, expensive items, such as cars. While 3D printers may be used to create the pieces for the production of cars, the facilities for putting those pieces together without the use of labor already exist, and will not be replaced, even if they could be, without some large number of benefits, which I do not see a 3D printer providing.

The place I see for 3D printers is in small businesses that require production of simple parts, either for internal use or for creation of products that require some assembly. For instance, a cheap furniture store might simply turn into a 3D printer with a selection menu, that would then print both the directions and the parts for the furniture directly for the consumer. Or a diesel generator repair shop might print the part it needed to fix a specific car, rather than worrying about shipping the part from elsewhere.

This possible new paradigm will result in a high value being placed on the schematics for producing certain things via the use of a 3D printer. I would suspect them to be either held secret by businesses or fall under a new sort of copyright protection, as otherwise anyone would be able to print an important part if they were able to obtain the necessary raw materials. Similarly to how movies and music are treated today, I would expect them to be legally protected but pirated on a regular basis, using many of the same means.

And that, then, is my take on 3D printers. They’re not magical, they won’t be able to fix all the world’s problems by printing people whatever they want wherever they wish it. They probably won’t even be highly adopted outside of highly developed nations, as the cheap cost of labor elsewhere in the world, i.e. China, makes labor-intensive production methods much more attractive. They have uses, but they won’t be radically altering the fundamentals of how the world works anytime soon.

Anyways. Hope that was an interesting read. I’ll start looking into more technology-related economics topics for later posts.

 

So Yo Want to Set Up Your Own Logistics Company?

In the industry, they call them 3PL – 3rd party logistics businesses that stay in business to help take logistics and operation- related headaches off the hands of all kinds of companies. Come to think of it, you could say that Shore Porters was a well-thought out 3rd party logistics company. But there are other kinds too.

Some of them completely take warehousing and other such business-related handling problems off their clients’ hands. What exactly does it take to set up a third-party logistics business of your own?

You can’t just go and set up a generic logistics operation without thinking about the exact niche you’ll cater to at first, of course.You will need to think through the kind of service exactly that you Will provide, the kind of industry that you’ve will serve, the side of business you be willing to take on, and so on. A lot of that comes down to how much experience you have. How much capital and you’re willing to bring to the table is the other thing.

A good way to go about it at first would be to start small and cut one’s teeth on a small client whose business won’t crash and burn should you screw up. Study how the large third-party logistics businesses operate for success, and you find that their clients often switch from one provider to another quite regularly. There’s always something. Logistics can be a very complicated kind of business. Failure is frequent. When it happens, your clients fire you. Basically, you need to make sure that your business stays away from letting the client down as far as possible.

What you need is a clear vision of how your logistics operation will do this. You need to plan this out ahead.

Your first step would be to write out operating procedures for every single task and process that all keep your company running. You need to mentally go over how every person at his desk doing his job will look at what’s before him. You’ll need to anticipate everything he’ll need and write it into your plan. Anything that doesn’t him seem clear, you need to completely sort it out. Even if it seems like a small problem on paper, you can be assured that it’ll be a really huge deal when things are actually tried out in the real world.

You’ll need to study every single business whose logistics you plan to take care of, talk to professionals engaged in the industry to see how they view third-party logistics providers, and so on. You’ll have to write down the kind of standards you expect your services to match and find out how you’ll actually get there. And finally, you have to learn how to do this to a price.

Basically, if you want to get into third-party logistics, you’ll have to make like Abraham Lincoln said he would – given five hours to chop down atree, he said he would spend the first four-and-a-half hours sharpening his axe.

Innovative Ways To Develop And Maintain A Money-making Campervan Conversion Business

Every so often you come across a business idea thats so cool you just have to say – “I wish I’d thought of that”. One of the coolest, and certainly one of the most fun businesses we have been dealing with recently is Vanguard Conversions based in Fort William, Scotland. They specialise in producing high quality camper van conversions for customers al over the UK and Europe. Whats the secret of their success? Well, lets take a closer look courtesy of Dave McEwing, business development consultant for the firm.

Dave:

After you know exactly what it is that you want to accomplish, you’ll have a clear idea of how you want to run your camper conversion business. There are many hurdles you need to jump over if you plan on meeting all of your goals so lets take a look at how we have succeeded in a niche market and how we have grown to become one of the largest and most respected conversion companies in the UK

Campervan conversion business owners (when yo speak to them) tend to agree that, most of the time, hands-on experience is preferable to classroom learning when it comes to developing critical management skills. Experts say that it’s best to learn by doing when attempting to figure out how to operate a van conversion business and we have found this to be the case. You can make use of the knowledge and skills you acquire on the job in your own future business but you can only really fine-tune your skills and develop your business by getting practical experience on the job.

Both owners and workers should have a positive outlook at all times whenever they’re interacting with the public. Every customer who enters your van conversion business must feel comfortable and appreciated. Coaching workers on how to interact with the public is one of the most valuable aspects of employee training. If your business is good your clients will tell others about it.

One of the best methods to improve your reputation among your customers is to ask for feedback after each transaction. Once you determine that most of your buyers are pleased with their experience when shopping with you, you should leverage this information to encourage the growth of your van conversion business. You will forge a strong bond with buyers when you ask for their opinion, and this bond encourages repeat business. By providing shoppers who provide feedback with a perk including a discount on a future purchase or an exclusive promotion, you make them more likely to share their opinions.

All businesses need one essential element to survive – a loyal customer base. Successful businesses care immensely about the service they provide, and make their customers seem like family. We spend a lot of time listening to our customers needs and we always try and go the extra mile to make their designs and dreams a reality. You always need to be mindful that jJust one negative remark on a review could drastically change a companies reputation so consider using an on-line reputation management tool to mitigate the effects of a poor review.

A commercial website must present a thoroughly professional appearance to serve the camper conversion well. If the thought of coding and designing one yourself has you crossing your eyes, look for a professional website designer to create a spectacular website for you. We did, and by using local design company Lamont Design, we managed to get a showcase for our products that really reflects the quality and individuality of our business. It has paid off many times. Using appropriate imagery and attractive templates can make your website more appealing and thus more successful. Your van conversion business should be active and have a good web presence to ensure that you’re successful; you cannot ignore the necessity to have a good online presence.

Power Engineering Systems – The Beginners Guide

If, one day you switch on a light and and it fails to turn on then you will need to learn, pretty quickly, that the likely problem is failure of a power system. Power, as any high school student will tell you, is usually derived from sources like burning natural gas or coal not to mention solar energy or even hydro electric power. These disparate sources mean that, of course, there are different kinds of power systems and in addition to the normal ones that we use on a daily basis; there are also alternative electrical power systems that you should be aware of.

One such electrical power system are wind turbines which are used to harness wind energy for use in our homes and businesses. Another very accessible and easy to install form of electrical power system are solar panels which are used to harness energy from the sun. The energy derived from the sun can be used for powering home appliances and is also one of them most environment friendly kinds of energy source you can get.

Prior to installing any of the electrical power systems in our homes there are a number of factors that need to be considered when determining the steps we need to take to implement them. I should know, I work for a high voltage engineering company and I am responsible for hooking up large wind farms into the grid as well as helping people change their domestic systems over to renewable forms of energy. In most cases the first step is to conduct a thorough energy audit. Basically, an energy audit involves determining the amount of power that you consume and the items that are consuming the power.

The main things to determine in an energy survey are the kilowatts or watt hours that you use in a day. Power bills can be very helpful in working this figure out but if you want real data you should get a good energy monitor. The next step is to rationalize your usage of power and this could involve taking a look at how efficient your appliances are.

The next step when you want to install electrical power systems is to eliminate the heating effects associated with burning electricity. These include heating hot water and heating the home. You should therefore consider the different forms of cooking and heating. The major alternatives are the ones that are fuelled using bottled gas, wood and natural gas.

The decision on how you are going to come up with the power should be the next thing that you should think about. Will the power be stored in batteries? And if this is the way to go then how will you charge your batteries? Some good alternatives to these will be solar power which is ever green and the windmill power. Other sources that could be helpful to you include hydro power and steam generation of power.

The last stage should be designing the system and this will involve looking at the details of the different components belonging to your power system. The components can be grouped into sources of power charge, power users and power storage. Once all these steps are taken, you can now start using your electrical power systems comfortably.

CRM Software Solutions and other Great Tools for the One-Man Business

Anyone who runs a small business that is a one-man operation knows the feeling well. Customers call you to see if they can do business with you, discover that you are the proprietor, the secretary, the accountant, the receptionist and the stockist all rolled into one, and begin to wonder if you could possibly have the kind of expertise that they are looking for. It’s just the way people think – a large business is equated with success and ability. Success breeds success. So what is a small one-man business to do to inspire that kind of confidence in customers who come calling? How do you make your business as if it has a bottomless bank account, offices all over the place and hordes of employees? There are certain tools that are now available that give one-man businesses and other small enterprises the ability to appear to have the capabilities and the powers of a large business. They are called CRM software solutions and they are an essential aspect of effective business process management for small , medium and large businesses.

Consider a small specialty video service. They take your home videos, polish them up, do a bit of spiffy editing, set everything to a bit of great music, and give you a professional MTV video-like home video to put onYouTube. There are many of these around the country, and most of them were founded, bankrolled and are run by one person. Any time one of these businesses manages to be noticed at a local fair or something where lots of people come by, they can typically get hundreds of leads from people who leave their names other contact information. How is one person to keep track of all this? One uses CRM software solutions designed for small business, such as the one offered by BatchBook. All you need to do is get your CRM to play with some web-based e-mail marketing service like Constant Contact, enter all the leads that you can get into the system and watch as it deals with sending out automatic follow-up e-mail, and keeping track of all the replies it gets. Typically, you get a response rate this way that is far superior to what you would with a general e-mail marketing campaign. With a very simple system such as this in place that is able to handle hundreds of e-mails all day with little input from the busy business owner, it can be easy for anyone to pretend like they have the resources of a much larger enterprise.

CRM software solutions aren’t the only thing that a small businessman can take advantage of. How about the ShoeBoxed service? The typical small businessman receives receipts, business cards and other slips of paper through the day. It can take quite a bit of time to organize these, categorize them and save them. Sign up for the ShoeBoxed service, and they give you a bunch of prepaid envelopes. Any time that you have a certain amount of paper stuff that’s collected in your drawer, all you need to do is to stuff everything into one of those envelopes and send it over to the company. They will extract all the content in them, all the expenses in the receipts and set up a proper management system for you.

There are others too. A service like FreshBooks helps a tiny businessman (it’s the business that is tiny and not the man) make the best use of the time they spend commuting or otherwise traveling. With their iPhone app installed, anyone can use their time commuting to dictate an invoice into their iPhone or to dictate anything else. They get professional-looking invoices sent to them right away. These might be little touches; but they go a long way in helping businesses appear professional and capable.

How to Give an Effective Presentation

The workplace has definitely changed. Performance is still important, as is networking and efficiency, but perhaps the greatest skill you need these days is the ability to give an effective presentation. An effective presentation is useful in a variety of situations, regardless of your position or job title. Here are a couple ways that an effective presentation is useful as well as how to give an effective presentation.

Obviously, when dealing with clients, vendors or prospective customers or, perhaps when attending a local business networking group, an effective presentation is crucial. Odds are that the people you are meeting with are meeting with dozens of other people like you, that are offering essentially the same product or service. It is an effective presentation that will stand out and help you secure the contract, the sale or the business transaction. More and more, being successful at your job means being able to successfully defend and present your ability to do your job well. Whether it is evaluations or job performance interviews, having an effective presentation is crucial to explaining how you do your job and how well you do your job. So what are the keys to an effective presentation? Well, first of all, you must absolutely know what you are talking about.

There are a very select few that can know absolutely nothing about what they are talking about and still sell that idea. You are probably not one of these people. So the only way to compete is to become an expert. However, the flip side to that as it pertains to effective presentation is that you need to know exactly what the listener needs to know. What is it they are looking for in the product you are selling? Is it new features? Is it quality craftsmanship? Know what the person wants and communicate exactly how they will get it. This is another key to effective presentation: say exactly what needs to be said, and no more or less. If you say less, you will confuse your listener as they will feel like something is missing, even if they don’t know what it is. Saying too much overwhelms your costumer and often leads to confusion and mistrust.

An effective presentation has never been more important than it is today. Whether you are in sales or not, eventually you will have to present your ideas, your product, or your expertise. If you can do this effectively, you can reap many rewards.