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Monthly Archives: February 2017

6 Business Ideas for Sports Lovers

Sports camp organizer

Organizing a sports camp is one great way to start a business revolving around any sport you love. A camp could focus on any level of competition and last just one day or as long as several weeks.

To boost your camp’s profile, be sure to bring in experts, like coaches and athletes, to offer attendees experienced insights into their respective games. Retaining a local athletic personality’s endorsement can also be a huge marketing benefit.

Sports photography/videographry

Parents of school-aged children on sports teams want lasting records of their kid scoring the winning goal or hitting a home run. Most times, the best they can get is a blurry action shot on their smartphone or digital camera. As a sports photographer, you can work with amateur teams to capture stunning photos of each player and sell them to proud parents. Knowledge of the game and a good single-lens reflex (SLR) camera are essential for this business. Photography retailer DigitalRevoffers tips for beginners.

In addition, game footage is a much sought after skill for coaches and media outlets alike. If you’re a skilled videographer, consider freelancing; teams require gameday film to prepare and local media often reports on high school sports.

Sports bar

If you’ve ever had an interest in the restaurant business, a sports bar is the perfect idea for you. Provide a place for your fellow sports lovers to enjoy the game while you serve them a cold beer and their favorite game-day appetizers. This will take a considerable amount of startup capital, so it might be a good idea to go in on this venture with a business partner.

Sports memorabilia seller

Make a living collecting autographed jerseys, equipment and photos of major league athletes and selling them via online marketplaces like eBay. You’ll have to do a bit of traveling to track down the players people want, but once you have the autographs, mega-fans will pay thousands of dollars to own a piece of pro sports history.

PR for athletes

Professional and college-level players frequently make sports headlines with their athletic abilities, but they all have lives outside the game. Many athletes are also entrepreneurs and/or philanthropists, and it takes a greatpublic relations agent to make sure their personal brands are well-known, both on and off the field. If you’ve got an arsenal of media contacts and a go-getter personality, you can launch an independent sports PR firm.

Personal training

In addition to a good diet, athletes also need to follow a strict workout regimen to stay at the top of their game, especially in the off-season. If you want the chance to work with sports players, consider becoming a certified personal trainer. Build up a reputation with local clients, then start advertising to teams.

7 Part Time Business Ideas

Tutoring service

Whether you’re an academic or you have a special skill (like computer expertise or fluency in another language), it might be time to get into the tutoring business. First, figure out your target audience of students — for example, are you looking to help high school students with math, or teach computer skills to adults? Once you know whom you’re looking to reach, start advertising your services. If your students are happy with the results, ask them to refer friends or other organizations that can use your help, and build up a clientele from there.

Hair Stylist/Makeup Artist

Beauty school isn’t a prerequisite for launching a successful hair or makeup business. For those who can create masterpieces with a teasing comb and some hairspray, you only need a good reputation and client trust. Since beauty professionals often build their business through client referrals, Businessweek recommends working on friends and family for free or at a discounted rate at first. Once you have a solid customer base, you can offer competitive rates for updos and makeup for weddings, proms and other special events.

Pet Care

Are you good with animals? Spread the word to friends and neighbors that you’re available to watch their pets while the owners go on vacation or a weekend trip. Pet owners often feel more comfortable leaving their furry friends in the care of an individual rather than placing pets in a boarding facility, so getting referrals shouldn’t be too difficult. If you can’t commit to lodging animals in your home, consider starting a dog-walking, waste-cleanup or pet-grooming business.

Disc Jockey

While the term “disc jockey” might be a little outdated in the age of streaming music, there’s no question that event entertainment is still in high demand. With your music collection, mixing software and your laptop, you can get people out on the dance floor at weddings and birthday parties, or simply provide background music at more casual events. DJ equipment is a big investment, but plenty of companies offer daily rentals of speakers, subwoofers and other accessories that you can use until you can save up enough to buy your own.

Caricaturist

No festival or county fair would be complete without a caricature artist to draw fun, unique souvenirs for visitors to take home. With online tutorials like Learn-To-Draw.com, you can learn caricature techniques and begin building a portfolio to display for potential customers. Then, check your town or county’s website for local events that have booths available to rent. Charge by the portrait at these types of events. (Depending on how quickly you can draw, the earning potential is huge.) And once you earn a reputation, you can offer a flat rate to be hired at school functions, weddings or children’s birthday parties.

Craft/Jewelry Vendor

Do you have a knack for knitting, jewelry making or creating other small crafts? If you can produce a large quantity of items in a short amount of time, consider selling your goods to the public. Online storefronts like Etsy are a safe place to start, since you can display photos of sample products and fill orders for them as they come in. However, if you have a large amount of inventory stored up, consider selling your work at a local craft fair or other community event.

Personal Trainer

Turn your passion for fitness into a lucrative, part-time job by becoming a personal trainer. Most clients schedule their gym time around work, so it’s the perfect gig to have in addition to your day job. You’ll have to put in time and money to get certified, but organizations like the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America offer online certification programs that you can complete at your own pace. Once you’re a certified trainer, you can look for openings at local gyms or work one-on-one with clients at their homes.

7 Ways to Identify a Great Business Ideas

Does it solve a problem?

Entrepreneur and co-founder of the Web design school The Starter League Mike McGee thinks the best business ideas are those that solve a problem in some way.

“If there is a problem that affects you, your friends, family, co-workers, etc., then the chances are high that it affects people you don’t know as well,” McGee said.

Will people will pay for it?

It’s paying customers who validate an idea and determine which ones have the greatest chance for success, said Wil Schroter, co-founder and CEO of Fundable.

“An idea is just an idea until you have a paying customer attached to it,” Schroter said. “Anyone can discredit a simple idea, but no one can discredit paying customers.”

What’s your price point?

Charlie Harary, founder and partner of investment firm H3 & Co., said that while there are many ways to solve problems, great business ideas do it in a way that is less expensive than what the market will endure.

“Once you have determined that you are solving a legitimate problem in a scalable way, you need to determine not only the value that it delivers to the world, but what people would pay for that value,” Harary said. “Once you determine the price, then you can assess if your solution is businessworthy or not.”

Are you passionate enough about it?

Your business will likely take up all of your time, so make sure you’re passionate enough about it to make it successful.

“Since starting a business requires an inordinate amount of time, energy and patience, ideally, the idea will be one that you are passionate about, as well as one that you have skills or experience [in],” said Melissa Bradley, executive-in-residence and director of entrepreneurship and innovation at theKogod School of Business at American University.

Have you tested your idea?

You won’t know if your business is viable until you test it on strangers.

“Test it — not just with friends who will be too polite to tell the truth, but with honest people who would make up your ideal target audience, and then listen to the feedback,” said Lisa McCartney, chief “PLYTer” at educational math board game company PLYT. “

“If your target sample is saying [your idea] is fantastic and [asking] where can they get it, you know that you’re onto something, but if they are less than enthusiastic, it’s probably not as good an idea as you thought.”

How will you market your business?

Many entrepreneurs think about the problems their business will solve but not about how they intend to market their business to their target customers. Jesse Lipson, corporate vice president and general manager at cloud company Citrix Cloud Services, said that your marketing strategy can determine if your business idea is a good one.

“If you have a solid go-to market strategy and a decent product, you’ll probably be successful,” Lipson said. “But if you have a great product without any idea how to reach your potential customers, then it’s going to be really tough to make it successful. Thinking through that as early as possible is really key.”

Are you being realistic about your goals?

As excited as you may be about a new business idea, it’s important to stay grounded and be realistic about it. Thomas J. Gravina — chairman, co-founder and CEO of cloud services companyEvolve IP — said you shouldn’t have a “Field of Dreams” mentality when starting your business.

“Just because you have a vision and decide to build it does not mean the rest will follow,” Gravina said. “While you may have an idea that is original, revolutionary or ahead of its time, there should be a real, solid market opportunity to ensure it is successful. Any new business case or new endeavor has to have a viable market that you believe you can sell now — not theoretically or on the premise that there is a future for this market.”

7 Ways You’ll Know Your Business Idea Stinks

So you think you have a great idea for a business? You might want to think again. While entrepreneurs are best known for the businesses that make them money, they often go through a series of bad ideas before settling on one that works.

But how can you tell if the business you’ve been building in your mind will be a total flop? While there’s no set criteria for judging business ideas, there are several indicators that your scheme might be a waste of time and money.

Here are 7 ways you’ll know your business idea stinks.

Someone tells you it stinks

The most sure-fire way to know that your business idea stinks is if someone tells you your business idea stinks. Of course, not everyone you talk to will be qualified to give you that kind of critical feedback.

If you’re looking for a negative opinion that you can trust, find an expert or two in the field you’re pursuing and ask them, point blank, what they think of your idea. That’s the approach taken by Dan Fendel, a serial entrepreneur whose latest project is a boating safety company, Float Plan One.

In an email to Business News Daily, Fendel said that— in exchange for a free lunch— the experts he contacts will typically offer candid opinions about his business ideas.

“People love to be respected as experts and, to be frank, they love to shoot down things because they know what you don’t,” Fendel said. “And when you encourage that — which means getting past their natural “not-wanting-to-offend-you-by-telling-you-your-baby-is-ugly” politeness — it is a good thing, because it saves you going down a dead-end street, spending lots of money and effort along the way.”

No one’s buying what you’re selling

Experts aren’t the only ones whose opinions you should solicit about your business idea. Friends, family members and even strangers can also provide valuable feedback that may help you fine-tune your idea or decide to scrap it altogether.

When telling people about your idea, you should ask them, first and foremost, whether they’d be willing to pay for the goods or services you plan on offering through your business. If the only one willing to buy what you’re selling is your mother, your idea for a business probably isn’t a good one.

“Every entrepreneur is enthusiastic about their idea, that’s the nature of entrepreneurship,” said Mike Poller, president of Poller & Jordan Advertising in Miami. “However, success is measured in dollars, investors and customers. Once your idea has convinced people to put their money where their mouth is, then you can know if it truly is a good idea.”

If you’re not excited by the idea…

While outside opinions about your latest business scheme can certainly help you decide whether or not to follow through on your idea, there’s only one person who can tell you with real certainty whether your idea is worth pursuing: you.

As the person responsible for seeing a business idea through to fruition, you are the best gauge of whether an idea is worthwhile, or not worth the trouble. One way to make that decision is to ask yourself a simple question: do you feel passionately about your idea?

“If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, then why should anyone else be?” said Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of the global marketing firm Mavens & Moguls, in an email. “There’s a lot of noise in every category, so if you don’t have a unique story to tell and a new approach or idea that excites you, then go no further.”

No one is willing to help you 

Few entrepreneurs launch businesses without asking for (and receiving) outside help. Whether that help comes from investors, industry experts or simply friends and family members, having some support is crucial for new businesses.

However, if you can’t seem to find the support you need to get your business off the ground, that might be a sign that your idea isn’t very good.

“If you ask one person for help— and it’s a good idea— you’ll get the name of someone who can help you. If you don’t have a good idea, you don’t get help,” said Billy Bauer, marketing director for Royce Leather, a New Jersey-based luxury leather goods company.

It’s too cool 

Hipster boutiques and organic, gluten-free juice bars might be all the rage right now, but if your idea for a business is tied to passing trends, it could be a total flop.

“Ask yourself if [your business idea] is a fad,” said Gary Tuch, co-founder of Professor Egghead Science Academy. “Fads are not good business ideas. Many people get hyped about the cool new thing and try to get in on it. Once something is cool, you are too late.”

It isn’t scalable

How big is the business you want to start? If the answer to that question is anything other than “small,” you might want to head back to the drawing board. While some businesses are bigger than others, the most successful businesses can start out relatively small and grow bigger over time.

“Launch small,” said Danny Halarewich, co-founder and CEO of LemonStand, an e-commerce platform for online retailers, who went on to say that businesses need to start small to account for the inevitable tweaks that will have to be made as the business evolves.

Brahm Kiran Singh, founder of CoachPal, a tutoring service for engineering students in India, also emphasized the importance of scalability in assessing business ideas.

“There should be a large number of target clients and it should be easy to scale to them,” Singh said in an email. “A restaurant business is not as scalable as a SAAS business.”

It’s nice, but not necessary

Sure, you may have invented a new product or come up with a different solution to an age-old problem, but that doesn’t mean you should start a business. Businesses with staying power can’t just offer something new, they must offer something people actually need.

“Innovation has to be useful,” said Conrad Bayer, CEO and co-founder of Tellwise, a cloud-based sales and communication platform. “It’s an area where entrepreneurs often make mistakes. They confuse novelty and utility. Just because it’s new doesn’t make it useful.”

Marc Meyer, a serial software entrepreneur and professor of entrepreneurship at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business, is of a similar opinion, saying in an email that a good business idea is one that offers a “must- have” type of solution, not just something “nice to have.”