Perfect article for those without a plan.
I know some members here read ETR, if you don't, it is an incredible resource to anyone who isn't on the low info diet. There was an article in today's email that really hit home, and echoed many of the points I make here on these forums. The first part could have been written by 70% of the people who post here, and the following advice is invaluable. Here it is:
ETR Reader's Opportunity of a Lifetime By Michael Masterson Karen, an ETR reader from Santa Monica, wrote to ask what I thought about "the chance of a lifetime" she'd just been offered.
"My next-door-neighbor, who is a very successful businesswoman, has offered to advise me in setting up a consulting business in an area in which I have a lot of experience and knowledge - going green," writes Karen. "Her advice is consistent with what you say in ETR, such as to focus on finding clients before you do anything else."
She continues, "I don't rub shoulders with the type of people who would hire me at the rates my neighbor is suggesting I charge. She has a few people she will talk to for me, but what should I be doing right now to ensure the best chance of success? I am working on writing articles for a blog or e-mail newsletter, designing a business card, and putting together a loose structure for the business. My neighbor has even offered to loan me money to place an ad in the paper, which is a risk that makes me uneasy but that I'm willing to take.
"Can you give me some idea as to what I should focus on first, second, and third? And do you have any suggestions as to the best low-budget way to find customers?
"I am so grateful for any advice you can give me. If it wasn't for ETR, I don't think I would have even recognized what a great opportunity this is, so thank you for the newsletter as well!"
It's funny how many letters I get that ask questions I've already answered, in detail, in one of the business books I've published.
Maybe it's not funny. Maybe it's sad. Why don't ETR readers read those books before asking their questions?
It can't be the money. You can buy my books for about 20 bucks apiece online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Twenty dollars. What a deal! When I work as a consultant, my minimum fee is a million bucks. Hmm.
In any case, I'm going to answer Karen's question briefly. The steps I'm going to recommend can work for almost anyone who wants to start a business. But I will politely suggest that if you're in Karen's situation, you can get a longer and more detailed answer by reading Ready, Fire, Aim and checking the ETR Archives for past articles on how to start a business.
Step 1. Figure out what you are going to sell.
Step 2. Figure out how you are going to sell it.
Step 3. Set up a series of small marketing efforts to test your idea about how you are going to sell your product.
Don't make any big commitments - either financial or time-wise. Do as many tests as you can in the shortest amount of time possible spending only what you need to spend. Again, you can get lots of good information about test marketing from my book and past ETR articles.
When you find a test that works, roll it out aggressively. You can find out how that is done in my book and past ETR articles.
As far as your neighbor is concerned, you are right to be cautious. Why is she doing this? Is she a nice woman? Or does she have some ulterior motive? If she's a nice person, does she know how to market? It may be tough for you to say because you are not a marketing expert yourself.
Tell her that you really appreciate her offer and want to take her up on it, but you would like to do everything properly. Tell her that if she helps you, she must be compensated. Ask her exactly how she wants to be compensated. Obviously, you can't afford to pay her cash. But if she is really trying to help you, she'll take a percentage of your profits. That's more than fair.
Suggest a three- to six-month contract that is renewable at your sole discretion. Don't agree to give your neighbor ownership in anything until after that contract has expired and you have enough experience to decide if you want her to be your partner. If she does come through, she will be worth her weight in gold. When I work on a percentage basis, my consulting fee is four percent of gross revenues. If she's the great person we are hoping she is, she should be happy with that.
This is, I realize, a very general outline. You will have to read my book and some past ETR articles to fill in the blanks. If you do that and things start moving along, then I suggest you invest in one of ETR's Internet or direct-mail marketing programs when you get to the point where you need to start marketing. Your neighbor's offer to help fund you might come into play then. Be sure, when you write up your short-term contract with her, that you are not required to pay her back if the business doesn't move forward for any reason.
That's a start. Let us know how you do.
This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, the Internetís most popular health, wealth, and success e-zine. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.earlytorise.com.
I am on about muse #10 at the moment. For some reason, every time I attained a goal that I though was the end of the line, it pretty much turned out to be only the door stop to much better things.
Back in 1999 it was any job in Japan
In 2000 it was working for an internet start up in Bit Valley
In 2001 I hung up a shingle and opened my first 'Chris' Pizza Americana' in Nagasaki
In 2004 I had my first 2 franchisees
2005 my first Porsche (that lasted 6 months before getting totaled)
2007 Closed my chain and took a year off
2008 Back to one restaurant that opened last weekend (I got a sweet short term lease deal on a 4,000 sq ft property that the developer spent 1.5mil on)
Here is a slide show I made for the Pizza Today Forums
This new shop is great, and I have taken a ton form the 4HWW lifestyle. I gave up opening for lunch. Why fight for a $6 ticket? The profits are $1, and you lose money if you pay staff to come in, let alone the 16 hour days. Now I only open from 5 to 11, and close at 9:30 if the place is empty. I sent out 70 press releases and already the fish are biting.
One of the coolest things I did this time was to hire 3 tutors. That idea is directly from Tim. I have always wanted to learn to play the guitar, speak Chinese, and write better Japanese. My Chinese employee comes in an hour early twice a week and gives me Chinese lessons. (China has the fastest growing pizza sector in the world). I hired a local college kid in one of the more popular bands and picked up a PA for the new shop, and now I get guitar lessons for 700 yen an hour.
Last edited by kamakiri; 06-16-2008 at 03:11 PM. Reason: content