Success for Less: 100 Low-Cost Businesses You Can Start Today


Many people dream of owning their own businesses but are discouraged by the lack of money. Success For Less shatters that myth that you need a big bankroll to be your own boss. In this enjoyable, easy-to-read guide, small business experts Rob and Terry Adams reveal 100 proven, in-demand businesses anyone can start, with little or no money.
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Many people dream of owning their own businesses but are discouraged by the lack of money. Success For Less shatters that myth that you need a big bankroll to be your own boss. In this enjoyable, easy-to-read guide, small business experts Rob and Terry Adams reveal 100 proven, in-demand businesses anyone can start, with little or no money.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781891984068
  • Publisher: Entrepreneur Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 442
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 8.95 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Read an Excerpt


Congratulations! You've taken the first step toward owning your own business. You've picked up this book. Perhaps you're skimming through it in the bookstore and deciding whether to buy it. Or maybe you've already purchased it and you're sitting on your living room sofa or at your kitchen table-probably with a cup of coffee close at hand-and you're hoping this book holds the key to your dreams of self-employment success.

This is the perfect time to start your own business. Not so many years ago, entrepreneurs were generally considered to be unemployable crackpots who were working for themselves because nobody else would have them. Today, being an entrepreneur is a hallmark of success, a badge of honor that tells the world you've made it-and to paraphrase the old Frank Sinatra song, you've made it your way.

Start Me Up

The entrepreneurial spirit may have gotten a swift kick-start from the baby boomers who first dropped out of the capitalistic rat race and then decided to drop back in-on their own terms. Thousands of boomers have rethought success, put a twist on the traditional ways of doing business and established themselves as entrepreneurial achievers. But boomers are not the only ones starting and running their own businesses. Generation Xers make fabulously creative and savvy entrepreneurs, and Golden Agers, those with the time and wisdom to devote to new enterprises, are also terrific self-employers.

Today, 23 million small businesses swell the ranks of American enterprise, with about one million start-ups each year. We wrote this book to give you the tools to join them. Being an entrepreneur is fun, exciting and rewarding. And, as our book title says, it can be inexpensive: Most of the businesses we present can be started for well under $5,000.

The majority of these businesses can easily be homebased. (In fact, we recommend you start out that way. It's less expensive and more rewarding-so much so that a SOHO, a small office/home office, is one of the hottest trends in small business today.) Many of these businesses can be started part time and, with the proper nurturing, grown into full-time operations. Within the parameters of the business you choose, you can set your own hours, your own rules and your own earnings. You can build a better world by sharing your happiness and success with your family and your community. (Grumpy, unfulfilled people don't make good neighbors.)

It's All You

Which brings us back to you, thumbing through this book and hoping it holds the key to your success.

It does. But not by itself-because the real key to success is you. Being an entrepreneur means mega-doses of creativity, persistence, drive and plain old hard work. It also means having a heck of a lot of fun, being your own person and being your own boss. It's one of the most exhilarating things you can do for yourself and your family.

It's also one of the scariest. Suddenly there's no kind employer taking care of you with benefits like health insurance and paid vacations. There's not even unemployment compensation. You can't call in sick (especially when you're the only employee), you can't let somebody else worry about making enough to cover payroll and expenses, and you can't defer that cranky client or intimidating IRS letter to a higher authority. You're it.

So how do you know if you've got the right stuff? Through brainstorming, soul searching, and discussions with family and friends.

First, think about why you want to start your own business. Decide which one of these is your primary motivation:

* Financial security

* A less stressful lifestyle with fewer rush-hour miles

* The possibility of making a living at something you enjoy, like a craft or hobby

* The need to earn an income while staying home with the kids or an elderly parent

* You see a need in your community and a way to fill it.

* You're just not the work-for-somebody-else type.

All of these are valid reasons for starting your own business, and they're all situations where you can have your cake and eat it, too-achieve both your financial and your lifestyle goals, and smile indulgently at your friends still in the rat race.

Get The Facts

Next, consider exactly what starting your own business entails. Unless you develop a way to spin straw into gold, you're not going to get rich overnight. There will be times when you'll burn the 3 a.m. oil and times when you'll wish you could clone yourself. If you're going into business for yourself as a get-rich-quick scheme, make a U-turn. It's not going to work. And if you don't like responsibility, take that same U-turn. But if you view starting your own business as a series of goals to be met, challenges to overcome, and fun to be had, then you're on your way to success.

We've designed this book to help you make the most of your business start-up. We start off with "Business Basics," which tells you everything you need to know to get up and running, from penning a winning business plan to romancing the bank for financing to blowing your own public relations horn.

Talent Show

Don't know what kind of business to start? Don't worry. We'll also explore 100 terrific businesses you can start for less than $25,000. We've arranged them in "Interest Categories" so that if you know the kinds of things you like doing, you can go right to that section. With 20 different categories, there's plenty to choose from. If you're a kid at heart and you love working with children, for instance, check out "Kids' Stuff." If your garden is the envy of everybody in the neighborhood, look into "Green Thumb." If you're a die-hard briefcase person who loves the thrill of corporate life but doesn't want to live it 9-to-5, check out "How To Succeed In Business." And if you've always wanted to be a private eye, delve into "Super Sleuths."

But don't confine yourself to the categories that jump out at you. Read, or at least skim, through them all. Some businesses can cross boundaries-for instance, we've got "Collection Agency" in "Paying The Piper" because it deals with bill-paying. But it could also fit in with "Super Sleuths" because a collection agent has to be something of a Sherlock Holmes, performing skip traces to track down errant debtors. And you never know when reading about one business can spark an idea for a totally new company.

The Inside Scoop

For each business, we give you everything you'll need to know to decide whether it's the one for you. You'll get:

* The Inside Scoop: What this business is all about, how it works, its advantages and disadvantages, and industry facts and figures at your fingertips

* Essentials: Any skills, special knowledge or background you'll need to make this business a success

* Tools of the Trade: The equipment, licenses or permits you'll need to get the business on track

* Money Talk: Start-up costs, potential earnings, and how much you can charge

* Pounding the Pavement: Who your customers will be and how and where to find them

* What's Next: Beginning steps toward starting this business, including organizations, books and other places to go for assistance, plus franchises and business opportunities

Weekend Warriors

But that's not all! To help you get the most from this book, and to show you that it really is possible to get out there and be successful, we're giving you more. We've added 25 "Weekend Warrior" boxes that will give you ideas for inexpensive businesses you can start and run on a part-time basis, on weekends, in the evenings, or whenever you've got a few free hours to have fun and earn extra income. You can start most of them for under $500. And we've included another 25 boxes called "A Star Is Born"-success stories of entrepreneurs who have trod the same path you're setting out on and flourished.

Still standing in the bookstore? Take this book to the register and get it home. If you're already home, take a sip of that coffee and get reading. Next up: "Business Basics"!

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Pop Quiz: Are you ready to be an entrepreneur?
The Entrepreneurial Personality
Taking The Plunge
Reality Check
Your Strengths And Weaknesses
What's Your EQ?
What's The Score?
Determining Your EQ
Chapter 3: What's The Big Idea? How to get an idea for your business
Get The Juices Flowing
They Delivered
Inspiring Moments
Made To Order
Just Do It!
Never Say Die!
Chapter 4: Time Is On Your Side...Or Is It? Should you launch your business part time or full time
Money Matters
Financial Plan
Family Affairs
Getting Personal
Chapter 5: Made From Scratch Or Store-Bought? Starting a business vs. buying one
Buying An Existing Business
The Right Choice
A Closer Look
Law And Order
The Art Of The Deal
Transition Time
Buying A Franchise
Is Franchising Right For You?
Do Your Homework
From The Horse's Mouth
Proven Purchase
Buying A Business Opportunity
Legal Matters
Checking It Out
Chapter 6: Who Is Your Customer, Anyway? Defining your market
Practicing Nichecraft
Keep It Fresh
On A Mission
The Write Words
Putting It All Together
Chapter 7: If I Build It, Will They Come? Conducting market research
What It Is; What It Does
Market Research Methods
Secondary Research
Government Guidance
Colleges And Universities
Community Organizations
Dun & Bradstreet
Going Online
Primary Research
20 Questions
Making A List...
Chapter 8: What's In A Name? Naming your business
Do It Yourself?
What's In Your Name?
Making It Up
Making A Name
Testing, Testing
Final Analysis
Say It Loud
Chapter 9: To Inc. Or Not To Inc. Choosing a business structure
Sole Proprietorship
S Corporation
Rules Of The Road
Putting Inc. To Paper
Limited Liability Company
Chapter 10: Get With The Plan: Creating a winning business plan
The Executive Summary
The Business Description
Market Strategies
Competitive Analysis
Design And Development Plan
Operations And Management Plan
Financial Factors
A Living Document
Chapter 11: Mother, May I? Don't forget business licenses and permits
Fictitious Name (DBA)
Business License
Health Department Permit
Liquor, Wine and Beer Licenses
Fire Department Permit
Air And Water Pollution Control Permit
Sign Permit
County Permits
State Licenses
Federal Licenses
Chapter 12: You Need Professional Help: Hiring a lawyer and an accountant
Hiring A Lawyer
Choosing An Attorney
Cost Cutters
Making The Most Of Your Lawyer
Hiring An Accountant
Choosing An Accountant
Good Relations
Chapter 13: Charity Begins At Home: Financing starts with yourself and friends and relatives
Do It Yourself
Friends And Family
The Right Source
Putting It On Paper
Taxing Matters
Keep 'Em Happy
Chapter 14: Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: How to find and attract investors
Equity Basics
How It Works
Venture Capital
Expecting Returns
Where The Money Is
What They Want
Earth Angels
Where Angels Fly
Make The Connection
Getting The Money
Chapter 15: Can You Bank On It? The ins and outs of debt financing
Types Of Loans
Sources Of Financing
Bank On It
Commercial Finance Companies
Give Yourself Credit
Applying For A Loan
The Loan Application
What Lenders Look For
A Loan At Last
Chapter 16: Ask Your Favorite Uncle: How to get government loans
The 7(a) Loan Guarantee Program
The LowDoc Loan Program
The FA$TRAK Loan Program
Women And Minority Prequalification Loan Programs
Microloan Program
The 504 Loan Program
Enterprise/Empowerment Zones
The 8(a) Program
Export Working Capital Program
Making The Most Of The SBA
GET SET. . .
Chapter 17: Location, Location, Location: Choosing a location for your business
Types Of Locations
Issues To Consider
Style Of Operation
Foot Traffic
Accessibility And Parking
Proximity To Other Businesses
The Building's Infrastructure
Utilities And Other Costs
Room For Growth
What Can You Expect To Pay?
Commercial Leases
Leasehold Improvements
Negotiating The Lease
It Still Comes Down To You
Chapter 18: First Impressions: Creating a professional image
Office Space
Everything In It's Place
Putting It All Together
Designing A Logo
Business Cards
Selecting Stationery
Designing Your Sign
Chapter 19: Taking Stock: The lowdown on inventory
Inventory Control
Maintaining Enough Inventory
Avoiding Excess Inventory
Inventory And Cash Flow
Tracking Inventory
Computerized Inventory Control
Inventory Turnover
Inventory Accounting
Buying Inventory
Dealing With Suppliers
Payment Plans
Chapter 20: To Your Credit: Offering your customers credit
Establishing A Credit Policy
Give 'Em Credit
Payment Due
Accepting Checks
Accepting Credit Cards
Getting Equipped
Accepting Debit Cards
Getting Online
Chapter 21: It's In The Mail: Setting up mailing and shipping accounts
Mailing Equipment
Postage Meters
Postal Scales
Letter-Folding Machines
Letter-Opening Machines
Lease Or Buy?
Sending Mail
Overnight Mail
Chapter 22: People Who Need People: Hiring your first employee
How To Hire
Job Analysis
Job Description
Writing The Ad
Recruiting Employees
Pre-screening Candidates
Interviewing Applicants
Checking References
After The Hire
Alternatives To Full-Time Employees
Leasing Employees
Temporary Employees
Part-Time Personnel
Outsourcing Options
Chapter 23: Treat Your "Children" Well: Developing an employee benefits plan
Benefit Basics
Legal Matters
Expensive Errors
Health Insurance
Cost Containment
Retirement Plans
Individual Retirement Plans
Savings Incentive Match Plan For Employees (SIMPLE)
Simplified Employee Pension Plans
Where To Go
Employee Policies
Exempt And Nonexempt Employees
Tip Credits
Overtime Requirements
Workplace Safety
OSHA Regulations
Compliance With OSHA
Put It In Writing
Discriminatory Treatment
Chapter 24: Cover Your Assets: Getting business insurance
Basic Insurance Needs
Workers' Compensation
General Liability
Auto Insurance
Property/Casualty Coverage
Umbrella Coverage
Business Interruption Coverage
Life Insurance
Disability Insurance
Choosing An Insurance Agent
Type Of Agent
Finding An Agent
Insurance Costs
Chapter 25: Stuff: Business equipment basics
Cost Cutters
Financing Plan
When Lease Is More
Wise Buys
Buying New Equipment
Buying Used Equipment
Chapter 26: Phoney Business: What kind of phone system do you need?
Phone Features
Making The Right Choice
Long-Distance Services
Toll-Free Numbers
Voice Mail
Subscribing To Voice Mail
Buying A Voice Mail System
What To Look For
Chapter 27: Air Time: Buying pagers and cellular phones
Pager Pointers
Calling All Cell Phones
Phone Features
Shop Around
Cost Considerations
Signing Up
Chapter 28: Hit The Road: Should you lease or buy a car?
The Leasing Option
Fleet Leasing
Fleet Factors
Know Your Options
Road Test
Chapter 29: Get Wired: Demystifying the world of computers
Know The Players On The Field
Low- Or High-End System
Common Pieces And Parts
The Operating System
Office Productivity Software
Word Processing
Contact Management
Virus Protection
File Backup
Peripheral Devices
Unsung Necessities
Where To Buy?
Upgrading Your Computer
Chapter 30: Surf's Up: Making the Internet work for you
Benefits Of Going Online
Understanding The Internet
Good Connections
Chapter 31: Wise Buys: Shopping for copiers and fax machines
Choosing A Copier
Feature Factors
Service First
Payment Plans
Fax Facts
Just The Fax
The Computer Connection
Multifunction Machines
Chapter 32: To Market, To Market: Advertising and marketing your business
Creating A Marketing Plan
Setting An Advertising Budget
Where To Advertise
Print Advertising
Headlines That Work
Ads That Stand Out
Ad Placement
Radio And TV Advertising
Getting Help
Direct Mail
Mailing Lists
Sales Letters
Classified Ads
Co-op Advertising
Measuring Advertising Effectiveness
Chapter 33: Spread The Word: How to promote your business
Getting Publicity
Talking To The Media
Special Events
Chapter 34: Net Works: Setting up your company Web site
Do You Need A Web Site?
Getting Online
Setting Up A Web Site
Selling Online
Setting Up The Site
Attracting Visitors To Your Site
Keeping Visitors At Your Site
Chapter 35: Show & Sell: Effective Selling Techniques
Building Customer Relationships
Customer Service
Interacting With Customers
Going Above And Beyond
Chapter 36: Keep 'Em Coming Back: Offering superior customer service
Understanding Your Unique Selling Proposition
Cold Calling
Following Up
Making Sales Presentations
Speaking Effectively
Chapter 37: Bean-Counting 101: The basics of bookkeeping
The Bookkeeping Advantage
Accounting System Components
Chart Of Accounts
General Ledger
Accounts Receivable
Fixed Assets
Accounts Payable
Cost Accounting
Financial Statements
Chapter 38: Making A Statement: How to create financial statements
Creating Financial Statements
Income Statement
Balance Sheet
Cash Flow Statement
Cash Flow Analysis
Chapter 39: Watch Your Pennies: Effectively managing your finances
Gross Profit Margin And Markup
Gross Profit Margin
Computing Markup
Break-even Analysis
Working Capital Analysis
Building A Financial Budget
What Do You Budget?
How Do You Budget?
Sensitivity Analysis
Chapter 40: The Tax Man Cometh: What you need to know about taxes
First Things First
Ins And Outs Of Payroll Taxes
Declaration Of Independents
Selecting Your Tax Year
Filing Your Tax Return
Sales Taxes
Tax-Deductible Business Expenses
Tax Planning
Chapter 41: If At First You Don't Succeed. . . Learning from your failures
Business Failure
Causes Of Failure
Failing To Succeed
Learning From Failure
Appendix A: Business Resources
Appendix B: Government Listings
Appendix C: Small-Business-Friendly Banks
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