Pro’s and Con’s of Business Opportunities

The concept of a business opportunity might not be completely understood, simply because it can apply to so many different situations. For the purpose of our discussion here, we will not be talking about franchise opportunities. Otherwise, almost anything goes–from distributorships to vending machine routes, from network marketing to dealerships. Business opportunities can be online or be located in the real world. In general, a business opportunity is the sale or lease of a product, service or equipment that enables you to start a business.

Business opportunities usually involve a product and they may have a location, although the online world is quickly changing that. The assumption with a business opportunity is that there is a market for the product or service and there is the potential for profit. Initial fees for taking advantage of a business opportunity vary and there may be a buy-back or guarantee provision. Business opportunities usually come with some sort of marketing program as well.

A “business opportunity” doesn’t normally refer to the one-off sale of an independent business. Business opportunities normally consist of a system or set of procedures that can be sold to more than one buyer in more than one location. With the sale of an independent business, they are usually no continuing obligations between the seller and the buyer. The buyer can do anything they want with the business they’ve bought, and there’s no requirement for a continuing relationship with the seller.

There are many advantages and benefits connected with business opportunities. They normally have a lower initial fee and lower startup costs than a franchise. Business opportunities are normally based on a proven system or product, so you can profit from the experience of others. There may be a training program connected with the business opportunity and longer-term business counseling may be available as well. You benefit from the buying power of a larger company and you can often take advantage of cooperative promotional activities and advertising.

But the world of business opportunities is not always perfect. The company offering the opportunity may not always have your best interests in mind. There may be a lack of support at some times. Exclusivity clauses (meaning you can sell their product and no others) may hinder your ability to compete in the marketplace. It’s not unheard of for parent companies to go broke or declare bankruptcy. The bottom line? Anytime you consider taking advantage of a new business opportunity, it’s your responsibility (not someone else’s) to diligently evaluate both the company and yourself.

First of all, are you truly ready to take on a business opportunity? In addition to having the financial freedom to take a chance, do you really have the passion and excitement to put into a new business opportunity? And what about time? Do you have enough time freely available to devote to the success of this business opportunity?

Successfully starting up a new business requires complete knowledge of your product or service. If the company is not willing to immediately and cheerfully provide that knowledge, then you should quickly back away from this particular opportunity. Do some market research of your own. Don’t take the company’s word for it that a rabid demand exists for their particular product.

Investigate the company’s record of past success and try to interview someone who’s currently involved with the business opportunity. Has the company lived up to its promises and fulfilled its obligations?

What sort of income claims are connected with this business opportunity? You should look for assurances of reasonable income, but at the same time there should be no limit on future income. Promises of fast and easy riches should be a warning for you to stay away. How many years has the company offering the opportunity been in business? What sort of reputation do they have? Are their ethics and standards compatible with yours?

There’s no shortage of business opportunities available. It’s a fairly simple matter to find something that appeals to your interests and fits within your startup budget. But don’t allow yourself to be rushed into any arrangement. True business opportunities based on proven models will have no trouble waiting for your careful consideration.

Top 7 Things to Include in Your Business Plan

If you’re really serious about making money with your new business, you must take the time to write a good business plan. A business plan is a roadmap that covers all the aspects of your business, and is vital if you’re planning on applying for a small business loan.

A business plan is also something which intimidates many new business owners who have no clue as to what to put in their business plan. Depending on the nature of your business, your business plan can be an elaborate write-up and analysis topping 100 pages, or it can be a narrative of 10 – 20 pages. What are 7 “must-haves” for your business plan?

1. Mission Statement

A mission statement is where you state your purpose for starting this business. Perhaps you’re starting a dog-treat bakery to sell home-made dog treats because you feel there are too many harmful additives put in pet food. Or, perhaps you’re starting a hypnotherapy practice because you strongly believe in the power of the mind to heal, change bad habits or increase motivation. Your mission statement doesn’t have to be long, but it does have to reflect your reasons for starting your business. If all you can think of is “I need to make money somehow,” then you might want to consider a different business.

2. Describe Your Business

This is where you describe in detail all the aspects of your business. Are you a service-oriented business (therapist, hair-stylist, consultant, etc.)? Do you sell products? Give a description of your products. Do you use a wholesaler or dropshipper? Do you manufacture the products yourself? What makes your business unique?

3. Short-term and Long-Term Goals

This is where you state your long- and short-term goals. For the short term you would list your goals for the next few months to a year. You might have as your goals finding a business name, applying for a business license, taking some SBA classes to learn more about running a business, securing office space, or whatever you might need to begin your business. You might also include the income you expect to earn in your first year of business. For your long-term goals you might want to pick a three-year to five-year goal. Your goals could include future product lines and any future marketing plans. It might include opening new stores, offices, or starting new websites.

4. Potential Customers

This is where you list who your customers will be. Who will buy your product? Who needs your services? What are they looking for? Why do they need your product? This helps you focus on the type of marketing you need for your customers.

5. Competition Analysis

This is where you analyze your competition. How can you know your chances for success if you don’t know what you’re facing in the way of competition? In the example of the hypnotherapy practice you would want to identify all the hypnotherapists in your area. You would also want to include psychotherapists or alternative-health professionals who may also appeal to your potential clients, as well as hypnosis CDs offered on the internet. This can help you spot the areas where the competition is less. For example, if you’re a hypnotherapist and find the competition is stiff for weight-loss or smoking cessation programs, try to find a niche which is less competitive.

6. Financial Analysis

It’s important you take a realistic look at your finances. You need to write down all the money you pay out each month for personal and expected business expenses, versus how much you realistically expect to bring in each month. Remember to list everything: ISP charges, computer upgrades, office rent, electricity, products to sell, housing, medical expenses, charge cards, etc. Make sure you will be able to afford the business and your current lifestyle. You may find that you will need a small business loan to cover your expenses until your business is able to pay all your expenses. Or, if your business is one you can start on a part-time basis, you may find it’s smart to take on a part-time job while building up your business, with the hopes of making your business full time in the future.

7. Marketing

This is where you list all the places where you’ll be able to advertise or market your new business. This could include a blog, website, articles in newspapers, articles in online article sites, press releases, appearance on cable-access television, offering free presentations at local groups and organizations. Don’t overlook anything. You’d be amazed how much business you can get by giving a free presentation at a local homeowner’s association meeting or local chamber of commerce. Take advantage of local Toastmaster’s group for gaining experience in public speaking.

Be sure to refer to your business plan from time to time to make sure your business stays on track. It’s okay to make changes along the way as you find what works and what doesn’t work. If you are using your business plan for a business loan, you may want to hire a professional business plan writer who can review your plan before submitting to funding sources.

Business Credit Card Offers

A business platinum credit card is not one of the regular business credit cards with a unique feature where not only you but your business also benefits from it. The Blue Cash for Business Card is issued by American Express and is a nice option for business owners with average credit who want to take advantage of a great cash back reward program while making regular purchases for their business. If you are a new business and looking for a credit card, chances are you want a small business credit card.

When looking for a new small business credit card, you want to keep in mind that although you’re new and small, you don’t intend to stay that way. When looking for a business credit card, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re going to be considering different features than those you might look for in a personal card. The other things that you need to examine in a business credit card are similar to what you would look for in a personal credit card.

The other qualities that you need to inspect in a business credit card are similar to what you would look for in a personal credit card. If you are in need of a small business credit card, it certainly will pay to look around before you make your move to sign up with any particular company. If you decide to go with a business credit card over a corporate card, you’ll want to pay close attention to the interest rates of any cards you are considering.

With a business platinum credit card, you can also expect lower interest rates (or none at all when you pay off balances each month) than you would see with regular credit cards. Once you’ve opened up a new business credit card, use it to make purchases on a regular basis and pay off your balances each month. Choosing a credit card for business use is not a decision to take lightly, as the card will be a major factor in the amount of money you spend for your purchases, the ease in which you can track your business expenses, and the potential for earning free items or cash back.

A business platinum credit card allows you to vary your spending every month and gives you the flexibility of spending without present limit, which makes it easier for you to spend the amount that you need. If you end up having multiple accounts for your business platinum credit card, you can easily track the spending over the Internet or by the monthly paper statements. Through the use of a credit card, you can, with little to no effort, separate your business expenses from your personal expenses.

In order to find the right credit card for your business, you should take the time to shop around and compare some of the different cards that are offered for businesses. After you have found the business credit card that works best for you, it is time to start taking full advantage of it and get your business off the ground. No matter what business credit card you choose, there may or may not be catches to it, which is why it is up to you to decide which one works the best for you and your business.

No matter what you decide regarding a small business credit card, be sure that you find the proper credit card that suits your company with a pre-set limit for spending for your employees.