Tag Archive | "startup"

How to Start a Karaoke Business

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If you have a friendly, outgoing personality, a decent singing voice, and don’t mind staying up late, learning how to start a karaoke business might be a good way to satisfy your entrepreneurial spirit.  You can earn a good living in the karaoke business, and it can be a lot of fun too.

There might be more to starting a karaoke business than you would expect, but nothing about it is too difficult.  In fact, anyone with good common sense, some basic business skills, and a passion for the karaoke business can do quite well.

What You’ll Need to Succeed

When deciding how to start a karaoke business, one of your first decisions will be about the kind of equipment you want to use.  The latest karaoke machines are all digital, which has many advantages, but costs more.  Then there are CD based systems that are less costly but not as easy to operate and transport.  With a CD system, you will need to carry a lot of CDs wherever you set up your karaoke machine, and with a digital system, all the music is contained in the machine digitally – which takes up a lot less room and weighs nothing.

Determining the best route to take when starting a karaoke business might have a lot to do with your budget.  If you must purchase a CD based karaoke machine, remember, you can always trade it in and upgrade to digital when your karaoke business takes off.

In addition to your karaoke machine, you will need some microphones, microphone stands, speaker stands and speakers, mixers, monitors, and amps.  Some systems come complete with everything you need, and others are sold piecemeal.

You will provide customers with song books to look through and pick out the songs they want to sing.  These books can usually be printed from the software in your karaoke machine if you have a digital system, but if you have a CD system, you will need to create your karaoke song books.

In many areas there is a lot of competition, and this is something to keep in mind when learning how to start a karaoke business.  Research the competition and make sure it is a wise decision to start a karaoke business, or if you can somehow differentiate your company from the other karaoke businesses in the market.

Something else to consider, when thinking about how to start a karaoke business, is your ability to manage a crowd.  You will usually be setting up in a bar or lounge environment, and there is a set of potential problems that comes along with people drinking alcohol.  Many of the bars will have bouncers and security, so you don’t have to be tough to start a karaoke business, but you do have to be able to deal well with people who have been drinking.

To find clients for your karaoke business, you will want to get to know the bar and club owners in your area.  You might consider offering them a lower rate as your karaoke business gets started.  Then, once you are more established and have shown you are worth more, it will be ok to charge more.  At that point, you will know that learning how to start a karaoke business was a great decision.

How to Start a Wedding Invitation Business

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When you learn how to start a wedding invitation business, you will be entering a world of fun, creativity, and profit.  Every year, millions of people get married, and almost all send out wedding invitations.  So the potential for a wedding invitation business is very good.

Learning how to start a wedding invitation business is for you, if you love to work with people, love weddings, and have a flair for design and creativity.  Your artistic abilities will come into play, as will your ability to deliver your product on time, as promised.

What You’ll Need to Succeed

In most cases, you will be able to run your wedding invitation business from home.  Another option is to partner with another business that caters to people getting married, such as a florist or wedding planner.

In either case, you will need to purchase some quality design software that will allow you to create any design you and your clients can imagine.  Also, develop a relationship with a local printer who can print very high quality invitations and who has a reputation for on time delivery.

As you get started in your wedding invitation business, be sure to keep a sample of each wedding invitation you create. You can use these samples to build a portfolio of your work, which will become an important sales tool.

Something else you will need as you learn how to start a wedding invitation business is a thick skin.  Tastes and preferences differ, and you might create a design that you love, only to have it rejected by your client.  It is important not to take these situations personally and view them as an opportunity to provide what your client considers to be the perfect wedding invitation.

Marketing A Wedding Invitation Business

Part of learning how to start a wedding invitation business is learning how to market it.  You’ll want to let anyone getting married in your area know that you are the best choice for their wedding invitations.  This is where partnerships and relationships with others in the wedding field come in very handy.  While those getting married are you clients, it is a good idea to target your marketing to florists, wedding planners, caterers, formal wear shops, and others that cater to people planning a wedding.

Creating a high quality website, with examples of your best work, is also a great idea.  Using the internet as a sales tool, you do not need to limit your market to your local area.  You can sell your creations to the world!

As your wedding invitation business takes off, don’t be surprised when people ask you to create invitations for other events too.  This is a great expansion opportunity.  Birthdays, graduations, retirements, and charity events are just a few of the occasions where people need invitations.  Once you are supplying invitations to a steady stream of satisfied customers, you will be very glad you took the time to learn how to start a wedding invitation business.

How to Start a Janitorial Business

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You might have a lucrative, limitless business of your own when you learn how to start a janitorial business.  In this business, you will be providing cleaning and maintenance services to businesses of all kinds.  You’ll work hard, and you might have to sacrifice some sleep in the beginning, but the payoff can be outstanding!

Many people who start a janitorial business do so from their homes for very little initial capital outlay.  And on average, these businesses profit around $40,000 in their first year.

What You’ll Need to be Successful

Before considering how to start a janitorial business, make sure there is a need in your area.  You are likely to have competition, and that’s fine, but make sure the market is not saturated.  Talk with office managers and business owners about their janitorial needs, and see where the competition is lacking.

Once you’ve decided that starting a janitorial business is a good idea, you will need to get a good insurance policy, covering your business as well as indemnifying your customers.  Most janitorial services are also bonded, and in some states you will need a specific license, in addition to your standard business license.  Check with your state to find out the requirements there.

Most of your expense when figuring out how to start a janitorial service will be for your supplies and equipment.  Some of the items you will need are:

  • Mops and brooms
  • A commercial vacuum cleaner
  • Cleaning products, such as window cleaner and tile/floor cleaner
  • Trash bags
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Dusters
  • Gloves

You might also need to invest in a commercial floor buffer, if you plan on offering that service to clients with tile floors, like hospitals or department stores.

Many people who learn how to start a janitorial service decide to specialize in a particular type of business as their clients.  For example, if you get a hospital as a client, you can use that to your advantage by focusing your efforts on other hospitals in your area.  This will allow you to streamline your operation and could lead to some lucrative contracts.

It is also a good idea to try and group your cleaning jobs close together.  You’ll cut down on fuel expenses, and you will be able to take on more clients if they are all in the same general area.  Be careful though.  If you take on too many clients before you are ready, you could end up disappointing some of them, and you don’t want to get that reputation.

When you learn how to start a janitorial business, take it slow and steady, treat your customers well, and be very thorough in all your work.  If you do all that, word will get out that your janitorial business is the best, and then the sky’s the limit!

How to Start a Drive-In Theater

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Are you a fan of retro style and old movies? Consider learning how to start a drive-in theater. While not nearly as popular as in decades past, the drive-ins that remain really pack in the cars on a regular basis.

Starting a drive-in theater is not the easiest business to get off the ground, but if you have the drive and ambition it takes, it can be a very lucrative endeavor. Especially if you already have land in a decent location, the profit margins can be quite attractive.

What You’ll Need to Succeed

As you think about how to start a drive-in theater, decide if you’ll offer the standard snacks and soda that people buy at movie houses or if you will go a step further and provide a full service snack bar, with dinner food, like hamburgers, hotdogs, and pizza. While these kinds of foods could spell disaster for a traditional theater’s seats, you won’t have to worry about that, because the seats are in the movie goers’ cars.

If you do decide to offer a wide range of food, you might need a different kind of permit or health inspection, so be sure to check on this before finalizing your decision.

Location will be the most important and maybe the trickiest part of starting a drive-in theater. You don’t want your theater to be too far from where people live, but typically cannot be very close to a residential area and must be where there is not too much light once the sun goes down.

The best case scenario would be to find an abandoned drive-in theater and renovate it to bring it up to standards. This will avoid having to start from a bare piece of land and build a snack bar, ticket booths, and screen structures.

However you end up going, you will need to purchase projection and sound equipment. Unlike the old time drive-in theaters, today’s drive-ins offer a sound system that allows patrons to listen to the movie through their vehicle’s radio, which eliminates the need to supply sound equipment at every space.

Another decision to be made when learning how to start a drive-in is whether you will offer first-run movies or classic films. The difference in fees and difficulty to acquire films is substantial, with older movies being much easier and more affordable.

Marketing A Drive-In Theater

Unless you live in a big city, word will travel fast that a new drive-in theater has opened up in town. Still, you want to do all you can to keep the buzz going and keep patrons coming back. Promotions, like family movie night, contests, and special events are a few of the things you can do to keep people interested in your theater. You could also focus on one movie genre for a week or two, like westerns or gangster movies. Use your imagination and see what you can come up with.

Also remember you have a large piece of land that will only be used for movies at night. To make the most of the space and maximize your income, you can have a flea market during the day, or rent out the space for festivals and shows. Learning how to start a drive-in theater is only the beginning!

How to Start a Senior Portraits Business

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If you have photography skills and a winning personality, you might want to consider learning how to start a senior portraits business.  In the senior portraits business, you will be creating memories for teenage girls and boys who are about to enter their senior year of high school.  Helping them look their best and producing high quality work will be paramount to your success.

The students who use your services will want to have pictures in several poses and then choose the one that they like best for their yearbook and to hand out to family and friends.

What You’ll Need to Succeed

In addition to professional photography equipment, such as cameras, filters, lenses, lighting, and props, you will also need a good computer to keep track of clients, the ability to print final pictures once proofs are created and reviewed, and some marketing abilities will be important as well.

As you are learning how to start a senior portraits business, think about the location you will want to find for your studio.  You want it to be easily accessible, with plenty of room for several photography settings, and an outside area that is suitable for photographs would be nice too. You don’t have to locate in a high end retail area, but you do want your shop to have good visibility and be in a good area of town.

Some people who start a senior portraits business operate out of their homes.  This is a great way to reduce your startup costs, as long as your home is suitable for your senior portraits business.

Find out the school colors of each of your local high schools, and make sure you have backgrounds and props to match each of them.  You might even want to consider having backdrops created with the various school mascots on them.

Other items you will need to invest in when starting a senior portraits business include: software to track clients, their appointments, and their work, an accounting and payment system of some kind, and professional photo editing software.  Of course at least one photo printer and quality paper are also necessities.

You don’t have to have any specialized training to start a senior portraits business, but you will obviously need to be a good photographer to realize success.  Also important will be your ability to create a comfortable, fun environment for the teens you are photographing.  In some cases, you might even want to consider using a nice local park as a spot for outdoor portraits.

Marketing a Senior Portraits Business

Think about the amount of competition in your area when considering how to start a senior portraits business.  You will need to differentiate yourself from your competition if you hope to be successful.

One way you can do this is to form relationships with the high schools in your area.  Consider sponsoring their teams and supporting them in other ways.  If they will allow it, leave some high quality pamphlets at the office of the various schools – or even in the lunchroom.  It is also sometimes possible to purchase advertising in the school yearbooks.  This is a must whenever possible.

As your business grows, consider expanding into other areas of photography.  If you are good at what you do, don’t be surprised when your customers (or their parents) start asking you to do other photography work for them.  That’s when you’ll know that learning how to start a senior portraits business was a wise choice!

How to Start a Courier Business

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When you learn how to start a courier business, you are filling a very real need in the business community.  Although the Internet and email have replaced a lot of the need for quick courier services, there are still many documents and items that need to get from one office to another the same day, and couriers are often the only option available.

Not only are couriers less expensive than having their own employees deliver items to other offices, but using a courier avoids taking an employee away from his or her regular work.  Also, the larger delivery companies don’t offer the same level of same day service most couriers provide.

Before getting too far into the process of how to start a courier business, make sure there is a need in your city for this service.  Chances are, there will be competition, but don’t let that scare you.  If you can provide a higher level of service, you’ll be able to compete just fine.

One of the best ways to determine whether or not there is a need for a courier service where you live is to network with business owners and managers.  Attend networking events sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce or other business organizations, and get to know the office managers and business owners.  Architects, lawyers, and doctors are prime candidates for your service.  When you talk to these managers, ask if they use a courier service, what they like most about the service and (most importantly) what they would change about it if anything.  This information will be invaluable to you once you start a courier business.

You’ll also need to determine some other specifics before you start a courier business.  These include: your delivery area, the types of packages you will deliver, and your company’s pricing.  Also consider whether or not you will hire a staff to help you.  At first, it might make sense to start on your own, but your business might grow quickly, and you don’t want to turn away work, so have a hiring solution in place before this happens.

How to Market Your Courier Business

Part of the process of figuring out how to start a courier service is finding ways to market your service.  Getting clients might not be easy at first, but if you follow the networking model above, you’re bound to start with a few who will give you a try.

Beyond networking, place ads in your local business journals and newspapers.  Target the publications office managers and business owners are likely to read.  Also get some business cards made and visit as many offices as you can in your area.  Once a few clients agree to give your service a try, you can use this when talking with other potential clients.  It will be difficult to balance your marketing efforts with the work you must perform as a courier, so it is a good goal to hire help as soon as it makes sense.

However you market your service, the real key to your success will be in how you treat your customers and follow through on your promises.  Get a reputation for on time, friendly delivery, and you’ll be successful.  Then just think of how glad you will be that you learned how to start a courier business!

How to Start a Drug Testing Business

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Looking for a potentially lucrative business opportunity?  Think about learning how to start a drug testing business.  With more and more employers touting a drug free work environment, this is a growing sector with a lot of potential.

In addition to employers, a lot of parents are having their teens drug tested these days, and the courts often require drug and alcohol screening of those convicted of crimes.  These are more opportunities for anyone considering how to start a drug testing business.

What You’ll Need to Succeed

As you learn how to start a drug testing business, you might just be surprised at how simple the operation can be.  When someone (whether a court, employer, etc.) requires someone to take a drug test, they provide them with a form that will tell you who is paying for the test, and what substances they would like you to test for.

You or your staff will then escort the person being tested to a private area, where a urine, blood and/or hair sample will be taken.  Any sample that is taken will need to be properly labeled with the name of the person being tested, as well as who sent them.

Once samples are taken, they will either be tested onsite, or you will send them off to a lab for testing.  While you will have to share your profits with a laboratory, this is the easiest and least expensive way to get started when you start a drug testing business.

In either case, you will record the results of each drug test and send them to whoever requested the test.

Something to think about as you learn how to start a drug testing business is where you will locate your office.  You will want to find a location that is easy to get to, has plenty of parking, and is laid out similarly to a doctor’s office.  While clients are waiting to be tested, they should have a comfortable place to sit, and you will need a reception desk as well.

Your office will need to have a separate room for each person receiving a drug test, and you will need to have a bathroom for collecting urine samples.  Containers and labels for samples taken will also be required.

Depending on your state, you might have to meet any of a number of certification requirements in order to operate a drug testing business.  If you check with your local licensing department and the department of health, they should be able to tell you exactly what is needed.

The requirements for a drug testing business that services government agencies will be more strict, and both state and federal laws will need to be adhered to.  If you do offer this service, be prepared to testify in court about the conditions under which a test was administered at your facility.

A good way to generate business once you have learned how to start a drug testing company is to get on the list of preferred providers of drug testing services for various insurance companies, as well as government agencies.  You can also go after the trucking market, as many drivers must be regularly tested, and this can be a significant part of your business.  You will need to be approved by the Department of Transportation to perform these tests.

Expansion opportunities in this business include opening new locations within your city or elsewhere, or even franchising your operation and expanding nationally.  Once you learn how to start a drug testing business, you will be able to show others how to do the same, and there is real value in that!

How to Start an Office Furniture Rental Business

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With the number of entrepreneurs [intlink id=”10″ type=”category”]starting a business [/intlink]now, it is a great time to learn how to start an office furniture rental business. Many companies would prefer to rent furniture (especially in the beginning stages of their business) than purchase it. This can prove to be a very lucrative industry for anyone willing to do what it takes.

In addition to office furniture rental, there is also an income opportunity in selling used office furniture once you are not able to rent it out anymore. Sometimes a piece has minor damage, so you don’t want to send it to a client’s office, but someone will be more than willing to purchase it for themselves.

Some common items you will rent when you start an office furniture rental business include:

  • Desks of several sizes
  • Chairs – Executive and secretary
  • File cabinets of various sizes
  • Bookcases of various sizes
  • Waiting room chairs and tables
  • Conference tables
  • Sofas and loveseats

Some people who enter the very [intlink id=”24″ type=”category”]profitable business[/intlink] of office furniture rental also rent desktop and laptop computers, printers, and other accessories and electronics. Additionally, you can add another stream of income to your business by selling office products, like paper, pens, ink cartridges, and the like.

What You’ll Need to Succeed

Some experience with inventory management will serve you well in the office furniture rental business. Your inventory management skills define your business, because running out of a popular item or having too many of any one item can cost you money. One of the biggest challenges when learning how to start an office furniture rental business is determining the correct level of furniture to carry in the beginning.

For this reason, it is best to start small, and grow as your customer base grows and you get requests for certain items. As long as you have a supplier that can get you furniture in short order, you might not ever need to tell a client you don’t have what they need.

To save money when starting an office furniture rental business, also be on the lookout for good, used items. In many cases you can find like-new office furniture for a fraction of the cost of brand new stock.

When you learn how to start an office furniture rental business, you will be providing a much needed service to [intlink id=”10″ type=”category”]small business[/intlink] owners just starting out, and you’ll make a great living doing it. What could be better than that?

How to Start an Ice Sculpture Business

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Are you a sculptor who is playing the “starving artist” game? Consider learning how to start an ice sculpture business. People putting on parties, banquets, and community and business events often hire ice sculpture businesses to provide an extra touch of elegance to their gathering.

Some ice sculpture creations are purely decorative, while others serve a function. You can carve ice into the shape of a punchbowl or champagne fountain for instance. Higher end hotels and restaurants can also be great regular clients when you learn how to start an ice sculpture business.

What You’ll Need to Succeed

In addition to having carving and sculpting talent, someone learning how to start an ice sculpture business must also have people skills. You will be working one on one with clients to determine their needs and design preferences, so you will need to be able to talk with people with a customer focused approach. The better you treat your clients, the more likely they will be to use you again, and to recommend you to their friends, family, and colleagues.

You will want to have a good camera so that you can take pictures of every ice sculpture you create. These photos will make up your portfolio, which will be an important tool when trying to acquire new clients. High resolution photographs that showcase your work’s high quality will be most impactful, so make sure your camera is up for the task.

Also consider creating a website for your ice sculpture business. This can also serve as a portfolio of sorts, and it is a great idea, as many people conduct online research prior to hiring anyone these days. Also, it isn’t difficult to get listed high in the search engines for a specific geographical area when you are in an industry without a lot of competition.

If you are very good at what you do and want to add an additional stream of income to your ice sculpture business, consider offering ice sculpture classes. It might feel as though you are creating competition for yourself, but generally, people want the best, and they are much more apt to hire the person teaching the class over someone who has just learned the art.

Another smart way to get the word out about your skill in ice sculpting is to enter ice sculpting contests. In areas where it snows during the winter, these contests are very common, and they often get a lot of press coverage, both locally and nationally. Win a couple of contests, and everyone will soon know that you are the go-to person for ice sculptures in your area!

The bottom line: Learning how to start an ice sculpture business can be a great way to express your artistic side, showcase your abilities, and make a good living in the process.

How to Start an Employment Screening Service

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As unemployment rates continue to remain high, you might be thinking about how to start an employment screening service. In fact this is a great time to do just that. People are being laid off from their jobs in droves, and they need help finding work. On the other hand, companies that have job openings are inundated with applications whenever a job is posted.

By learning how to start an employment screening service, you are helping both groups by being the one to introduce them to one another. The employees will love you for finding them work, and companies will love you for sending them qualified applicants.

What You’ll Need to Succeed

If the idea of learning how to start an employment screening service sounds good to you, one of the first things you will want to do is find business networking events in your area. Networking with business leaders is critical to your success, as these are the people who will hire an employment screening service like yours.

Remember – networking, whether in person or online – is about building relationships. Get to know people before trying to sell them on your service. Find out their needs and present your offering as a solution, not just another sales pitch.

One of your considerations will be where to locate your employment screening service. You’ll need an office that is professional and comfortable. It will need to have a waiting area where applicants can sit and complete paperwork, several computer stations for testing applicants, and a conference room is a good idea as well. Of course you’ll need basic office supplies, desks, and chairs too.

In order to make sure you are referring the very best candidates to your clients, you will want to invest in some employee screening and testing software. Testing applicants for typing, computer, and general office skills will ensure they have what it takes to do a great job for your clients.

Some employers also require employees to pass a background check and/or a drug test prior to working for them. If you can offer these services, it will be an added convenience to your clients. Try to contract with a business that does pre-employment drug screening, and look into background checking software for your office.

Many employment screening services offer training to applicants on everything from typing and computer skills to interview coaching. Applicants won’t pay for these classes, but it will be worth your time and effort, as you will be sending better qualified people to your clients.

In many ways, this is the very best time to learn how to start an employment screening service. People who are out of work can really use your help, and you can be quite successful while providing a needed service.