Personal/Public Services Small Business Ideas : Costume Making and Rental

Whether it's singing in a choir at church, acting in a school play or performing in a band, we all have had to wear a costume at least once in our lifetime. If you live in the US, you would understand how some people will go to extreme lengths to get THE perfect costume especially around Halloween. The problem of course is that "THE" perfect costume often requires creative and intricate sewing skills - more than what the average person may have. That's where you come in. If you're someone artistic and creative with the ability to sew, then you have the basic skills to start a Costume Making and Rental business. Lots of stay-at-home Moms and Grandmas are actually part-time Costume Makers - making costumes for their kids (and friends). If they were to take the effort to go into it a little bit more seriously and maybe invest a little money, they could turn their skills into a full blown Costume Making and Rental business! Costume Making and Rental doesn't have to be a seasonal thing. If you make a name for yourself, you could be up to your eyeballs in costumes all year round. The trick is in working smart, but more about that later. Other than the skills I mentioned earlier, you DO need to have a sewing machine for starters, a good eye for detail and lots of patience. Before you go scaring yourself silly thinking about how you're not a business woman and how you can't compete with fashion stores, tailors etc, don't. Starting out is easy. You DON'T need lots of fancy gadgets and gizmos and hi-tech skills to make costumes. More often than not, you will receive requests for simple costumes for school plays and recitals. If someone comes to you with a job that you can't handle, you can always turn them down politely, but ALWAYS keep their request in mind and LEARN how to create what they wanted so you'll be ready the next time someone comes around asking for a pink frilly fairy costume with glow-in-the-dark wings that can flutter! Your first step in marketing yourself is to let people know that you can make costumes. Make friends with parents who have small children. Get in touch with kindergartens and schools in your neighbourhood. Make contact with event organizing companies. Let them know that you're handy with a sewing machine and that if they ever need a Honey Bee costume for their daughter or a Pink Dinosaur costume for their son or a choir uniform, to give you a call. As your business expands, you will notice that there are seasonal demands for specific types of costumes. If you want to tap into the Costume Rental business, you will need to create and have these popular costumes in stock and if possible, in different sizes. If you add one costume design - including accessories - every month, in one year, you will have twelve designs in stock. You'll need to keep in touch with the Costume Rental industry - making sure you expand carefully, and in tandem with market demands. Get quotes on your costume materials and figure out how much material you will need to produce the quantity of costumes you need. Check out your competitors and see what they have to offer. Mark your calendar for seasonal trends, making sure you have designs ready well before popular holidays. Starting our small in the Costume Making and Rental business is easy and doesn't cost much, but like all potentially lucrative businesses, as you expand you will need to consider lots of issues - insurance liability, staffing needs, opening a store and adding equipment. Tackle these issues one at a time. Having a website definitely helps build your market presence. It also gives you an opportunity to sell more than just your Costume Making and Rental business. This is a really good niche for creative folk who love making people happy and making money at the same time!

Posted by on

Wholesale/Retail Small Business Ideas : Beekeeping

Beekeeping (also know as apiculture) is a great way to generate honey for the family, but once you're into it, you will find that it can also be a lucrative money maker. With health issues becoming more important to people these days, honey is often used as a substitute for sugar-based foods. The by-products of beekeeping - wax and other bee products - are also such useful items, that they're easily saleable, turning your beekeeping hobby into a full-time business. Having some land or open space for you to carry out your beekeeping business is great but it is not a critical requirement to being a successful (and profitable) beekeeper. Hives can be kept in a small garden or on a townhouse roof, but before you do anything though, you will want to consider getting in touch with your local business development authorities and enquire about the licensing and permits required. Some local authorities forbid the practice, while others positively encourage bees for their enormous benefits to the community. Neighbours are also an issue. Take all necessary precautions to avoid any untoward incidences or reaction from your neighbours. Bees need to be kept in areas with plenty of nectar-producing plants, like clover and other meadow flowers. The best place is close to where oilseed rape is grown. This is a particular favourite of bees who will travel up to four miles to collect the nectar. Rape nectar produces high yields of honey and one can produce 300 pounds of honey in a single season. Without rape, 30 - 40 pounds is more realistic. It's important to learn the basics of beekeeping first. You can do this by learning from experienced beekeepers and from books. There are also video tutorials that give you a basic run-down of what you need to do to get started. If you are anywhere near a beekeeper society, they're really wonderful to join, learn and get tips from experienced beekeepers. A minimum of equipment is needed for operating one or two hives. You'll need bees, of course, as well as a hive, a hive tool for opening and inspecting the hive, some form of protective clothing for you, and a smoke box. Smoke has a calming effect on bees and a light puff of smoke at the entrance hole calms the bees and makes inspecting easier. Most equipment can be purchased inexpensively, even second-hand, through specialist suppliers listed later and via most local beekeeping associations. Beekeeping means managing the hive in a way that maximises honey production. It also involves knowing and understanding your little buzzy friends, what they need, and what intervention (if any) that they will and will not tolerate from you. Like keeping any other animal, beekeeping requires regular care, maintenace, skill, time and knowledge coupled with patience gained from experience. Beekeeping isn't a business that you can rush. It's good to remember that bees are wild creatures, not domesticated animals. Bees may work for man and may even work with man, but they don't need humans. They will only remain in a hive while it suits them. A beekeeper's role is to make sure that the hive suits them! As such, you will need to inspect the hive regularly to make sure all is well. "Well" means that the queen is laying, the worker bees are busy collecting nectar and pollen and that there are not signs of distress among the bees. Honey can be sold direct to consumers or through shops, supermarkets, markets, even at craft and country fairs. You could even set up a website to sell your honey, shipping them out to your customers as soon as they make payment online. You can promote your honey by participating in food events, cooking demonstrations and even donating your honey for charitable events. Money can also be made from other bee products like propolis, pollen, royal jelly and beeswax. There are a wide range of books that can teach you how. Even the wax and damaged combs shouldn't be discarded. These can be melted down and reused in your own hive or sold to people who use wax to manufacture foundation cream, polishes, cosmetics, candles and ornamental plaques. So as you can see, beekeeping is an activity that not only helps the environment, but also keeps you buzzing with money!

Posted by on

Financial Small Business Ideas : Retirement Financial Consultant

Like it or not, the day will come when you need to retire. For some it will come as a welcome end to the daily grind of work. For others, it may be an inconvenient truth that time is catching up. Reports say that more and more people are finding out too late that they don't have enough money saved to live on comfortably for more than 10 to 15 years after retirement. Unfortunately most people neglect planning for their retirement until late in their careers. Retirement planning can be an overwhelming task. It requires a frank assessment of your present and projected earnings and your retirement needs. It also involves being brutally honest with your lifestyle choices in the present and future. It can be stressful and scary when people realize that they don't have they skills and knowledge of forecasting their finances given the many economic factors that can affect the future. Som, fortunately (for you) there is a trend that shows most people need the help of a Retirement Financial Consultant to help them face the scary task of meticulously planning to help ensure that their intended post-retirement lifestyle can be sustained by their finances. This trend will continue to develop as more businesses focus on the retirement market. Being a Retirement Financial Consultant means that you will help people plan how much to save or invest for them to be able to enjoy the lifestyle that they envision after retirement. Having experience in finacial consulting or finance industry would be helpful because you will need to have a head for figures, although there are financial forecasting and retirement planning software available now that will perform a myriad of calculations. You need to be able to take a ton of information, analyze your clients' needs and then present to them a clear, concise retirement plan. Some of the more crucial information you will need to ask your clients are : What age would they like to retire? How many years from now is that? How much money do they currently have? What percentage of current income will be needed for retirement? A good Retirement Financial Consultant also needs to be able to emphatize with people. You are not merely dealing with numbers - you are dealing with HOW these number will affect people's quality of life in thei future. You may need to deal with a whole range of idiosyncracies, fears and likes and dislikes that are unique to your clients, so patience is a key quality a Retirement Financial Consultant needs to have. Change - even for good reasons - can be stressful and scary. A Retirement Financial Consultant worth his salt will anticipate how these changes will affect his clients and help them through it. In addition to regular advertisements in you local Yellow Pages and classifieds, you can market yourself as a Retirement Financial Consultant by giving seminars or lectures, publishing a newsletter, writing articles. Networking with bankers and accountants will be a good idea, because they will be in constant contact with lots of people who have MONEY! You could also conduct a series of classes in your local college or community centre on how to make money, money management or similar topics. This helps to give you exposure and build your credibility, plus you never know when you might meet someone with lots of business acquaitances that can be prospects. With a firm grasp of financial planning coupled with the ability to understand your clients problems and find solutions to them will help see you become a successful Retirement Planning Consulting. Remember that trust and confidence builds over time and your clients will eventually seek your help in their twilight years to deal with senior living issues like healthcare and housing that involve finances. Remember that every client is potentially with you for life. With an ever-growing number of potential clients, you can thrive as a Retirement Financial Consultant until your own retirement - and beyond.

Posted by on

Art/Design Small Business Ideas : Temporary Body Art Tattoos

Temporary Body Art Tattoos are the rage these days. They're on backs, forearms, legs, necks, shoulders. They're mono-colored, multi-colored and in every shape and size! You get to decorate your body with any shape you desire and best of all since they're not permanent, you get to change what you wear according to your mood for the day! There are many ways to produce Temporary Body Art Tattoos. Unlike permanent tattoos, Temporary Body Art Tattoos are applied using inks, transfers and materials that can either be washed off or will naturally fade away in a few days. There are a number of ways to make money with Temporary Body Art Tattoos. You can create Tattoo Transfer Papers. You can buy tattoo transfer papers at your local crafts store. Any design can be printed onto these transfer sheets using a computer printer. These are the sorts of tattoos you find are free gifts in toy gift packs, snack foods etc. They easily applied onto the skin and can be washed off easily. Kids love them. You can sell them on eBay or online via your own website. This will probably work as a part-time business or to supplement your income. Airbrush and Body Art Paint. Temporary Body Art Tattoos can also be applied using an airbrush and body paint, although this technique requires investment in airbrush equipment and that you be familiar with airbrushing techniques. The good news is that airbrushing is a skill that can be self-taught although you could learn the finer points by enrolling in your local art college for a short course. Henna Paste. Another way to create Temporary Body Art Tattoos is to use Henna paste. This is a paste made from henna leaves. You can buy them from your local craft stores - usually in small tubes. When henna is applied onto skin, it release a dye that penetrates the outer surface of your skin, thereby producing what is technically a "stain". However, if you control the "staining", you would technically be producing Temporary Body Art Tattoos. There are 2 disadvantages to this Temporary Body Art Tattoo technique : the first being that it takes up to an hour for the applied henna design to stain the skin in which time your customer cannot smudge the design, and the second, the henna stain is semi-permanent. It fades off in its own time which can be anywhere from one to two weeks. Temporary Body Art Tattoos are a great hit at public events, fairs and flea markets - anywhere there are lots of people. You can set up shop with just a table and a couple of chairs. Display your sample designs for your customers to choose. You can either charge a flat rate or based on the complexity of your designs. If you're going to provide Airbrush tattooing or henna staining, you might want to consider supplementing your income with Tattoo Transfers. If you don't want to rent a stall, you could approach event management companies and tell them that you are available to provide this service for a daily fee. Your daily fee should take into account your cost of materials, time and staffing based on the estimated number of people expected at the event. Hooking up with event management companies means you don't have to source for events yourself and you know exactly how much you will earn right off the bat. A more conventional way would of course be to set up a small shop. This obviously means you will incur rental and administration costs. Depending on your location, it's entirely possible to make money. Of course, you could also provide a combination of all the methods above to optimize your income - provide your services at events as a means of extending your reach and promoting your shop. At the same time, supply clothing and knick-knack stores with your self-designed Tattoo Transfers and sell them online. This is a great money maker for the artistic tattoo loving connoiseur.

Posted by on

Pets Small Business Ideas : Home Made Dog Treats

[CDATA[ You'd be surprised that if you Google "home made dog biscuits" there will be hundreds (if not thousands) of entries. Home Made Doggy Treats are a much sought after item by pet owners these days. So why would people want to buy Home Made Dog Treats when they can get loads of them from their local supermarket? The same reason you'd prefer to bake your own cookies at home for your kids - store-bought Doggie Treats can be filled with lots of empty carbs and chemicals that might eventually cause your furry friend more harm than good. People who buy Home Made Dog Treats are likely to be serious pet owners looking for hygienic, healthy, nutritious titbits for their pets. The baking part is easy - just Google "Dog Biscuit Recipes" and you'll find more recipes than you can handle. There are all sorts of recipes for flavored treats and even ones for keeping your dog's breath fresh and clear. Remember what I said in the previous para - pet owners buy Home Made Dog Treats because they want quality, clean treats for their pets. Avoid going overboard with the grease and flavoring. When you first start out, orders will trickle in so you can bake to order - making batches in your own kitchen oven. But if business picks up, you might need to consider getting a separate heavy duty oven to handle bigger volumes. Although the rules and regulations governing food preparation for pets are not as strict as for human consumption, there may still be laws governing this business. If you intend to do this on a larger scale, check with your local business authorities and local councils to see what licenses or permits you may need. The good thing about starting this business on a small scale is that you can work out of your own home. To market and promote your Home Made Dog Treats, here are some suggestions : - Create a website and take orders online. This is a great way because you can bake to order and ship out your Home Made Dog Treats oven fresh. You would need to be able to accept payments online though, so you will want to consider setting up a payment processor - either credit card or PayPal. The good thing about websites is that they reach out to the whole world 24/7. - Bake samples and offer them to your local pet store or grocers to give to their clientele as free gifts. Make arrangements with them to place your Home Made Dog Treats on sale at their premise. Give them a commision for every sale. - Place ads online, in your local newspaper or local pet-owners magazines. A simple startup will not require much investment. You can use your existing oven. You will just need to buy your ingredients as and when you need to bake a batch of treats. Additional costs may include website setup costs, payment processor setup costs and advertisements. But even these can be kept low to suit your business goals. You can expand as and when your Home Made Dog Treats become more popular. Making Home Made Dog Treats is a great business to run from your home. You don't have to keep stock and you're helping pets stay happy and healthy while making extra money for yourself. ]]

Posted by on

Home Improvement Small Business Ideas : Custom Storage Cabinets

One of the biggest problems in any household is keeping everything in order. To do that, you need proper storage space - cupboards, shelves and cabinets. The problem is that most storage systems like wood storage and kitchen cabinets are bulky and don't really come in the exact measurements for that space where you want it to go. In those situations, having storage cabinets made according to your specifications is the answer. If you're good with your hands and have a knack for woodworking, then you can use your craftsmanship to make money building custom corner cabinets, curio cabinets, garage cabinets and a whole lot of other storage cabinets. Doing everything yourself means that you are in control of every aspect from design to building. However, it also means that you will need to have your own workshop and tools. In addition to the tools, you will want to have a good supply of cabinet hardware. Have a good assortment of hardware (pulls, knobs, hinges, etc) because people tend to have very varied tastes! Although it helps a lot if you are good in woodworking yourself, you DON'T necessarily have to do the work yourself. One of the most important aspects to building Custom Storage Cabinets is the design process. You could work with other professionals to build your Custom Storage Cabinets, allowing you more time to concentrate on coming up with ingenius design that maximize storage space within the constraints of small areas. Working with woodworking professionals could save you a lot of time and you don't have to worry about the messy process of building your Custom Storage Cabinets but it also means that you don't have absolute control over the building process. Before you begin, you might want to check out your competitors. You'll find them in your local furniture or DIY stores and home improvement stores. Check out what these folks have to offer and the price range for their services and you'll have a better idea about your Custom Storage Cabinets business before you go into it. Try to learn what makes the most successful cabinet maker in your competitor list as successful as he is. Go to his store, check out his cabinets or better still, go "undercover" as a customer and pretend you're in the market for some cabinets. Then see for yourself what makes him tick and what makes him the best. Then take everything that you've learnt and apply it to your own Custom Storage Cabinets business. If you're planning to have your own store, then you will need to have an array of Custom Storage Cabinets that you've built yourself on display. If you're just running this as a part time or weekend business, then it might be a good thing to actually build Custom Storage Cabinets for your home. That way, you can take your customers on a tour of you home showing them how clever and practical your Custom Storage Cabinets are in a real home. Think about building Custom Storage Cabinets for those spaces under the stairs and those awkward niches in corridors, kitchens and bedrooms. To help promote your Custom Storage Cabinet business, you could participate in home improvement shows and fairs and property trade shows. Bring your best Custom Storage Cabinets, dressers, entertainment centers, book shelves and free standing vanities. The more you can show your prospects, the better. Participation in these sort of fairs will require you to pay a fee, but in the long run, it will be well worth the investment. You could also ask if your local DIY or hardware stores would be willing to help sell your Custom Storage Cabinets. Work out some sort of commision scheme with them. Make sure you take good photographs of your finished products and if your customers will allow, take photos of your Custom Storage Cabinets in their homes. This re-inforces the thought that your Custom Storage Cabinets are well worth what you will be charging them. There will always be a need for Custom Storage Cabinets, so if you're good with your hands or designing woodwork products, this is a great way to make money. This is also a great way for retired gentlemen to make money while keeping busy and staying active.

Posted by on

Food Small Business Ideas : Sandwich Bar

Everyone needs a snack (or two or three) every now and then, especially when they're on the go and don't have time for a proper sit-down meal. So what better way to fill that empty gas tank than with a quickie sandwich? They're wholesome, nutricious, delicious and they're cheap. Plus... you can munch on them while you're on the go. Another great thing about sandwiches is that there is just NO limit to the types of treats you can put in them! There are basically 3 ways you can go about this business. The first probably requires the most investment - setting up a small to medium sized store in a highly populated area, preferably with lots of office workers. Second - to set up mobile push cart of kiosk (sort of like hot-dog stand) where you can either sell your sandwiches ready-packed or you could set out your ingredients for your customers to choose. Push carts will limit your menu simply because of space constraints. The third way is to prepare your sandwiches at home and deliver them to your customers. To do it this way, you need to be located near an area densely populated with hungry folk. Whatever type of store you choose, your success will hinge on the tasty stuff - your sandwiches. Like I said in the beginning, sandwiches can come in any and every flavor and in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Finding the right menu items will probably be a matter of trial and error as you gauge what your local clientele prefer. Add local flavors to your standard items. Throw in a mix of vegetarian sandwiches if you can too. Another idea is to offer different types of bread to please your more finnicky customers. The biggest expense in setting up a Sandwich Bar, like any other food business is your kitchen. In many countries (for example in the US), you may be required to set up a commercial grade kitchen and have it inspected by the relevant authorities before you can open up for business. It's possible to get second hand commercial grade kitchen equipment but it's still a major cost that you have to factor into your startup expenses. You will need to find out from your local business bureau and health agencies on the laws governing food businesses in your country. In the food business, your reputation (or notoriety) can spread like wild fire through word of mouth. There are lots of ways to promote your Sandwich Bar - depending on your type of setup - from printing leaflets for local distribution to state-wide advertisements in the newspapers and magazines. One great thing about these types of businesses is that if they have great franchise potential. If you can organize your processes, secure adequate funding and think big, then there's no reason why your Sandwich Bar can't be the next great franchise, spreading all over the world and making you loads of money.

Posted by on