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Cash In At Home With A Small Business

[ 0 ] Dec. 3, 2012 | SBO Editor

75 businesses you can start for under $500! Make a mint and be your own boss!

To launch your own home-based moneymaking business, you can purchase a “business opportunity” package or start from scratch. What is best for you?

When you purchase a “business opportunity” package, it is not like a franchise where you must follow strict guidelines. With a Biz Opp package you are purchasing instructions or some materials to conduct this business, but you are not purchasing a set of rules and regulations that you must follow to the letter. Often, business opportunity packages are called “turnkey operations.” The theory is that all you have to do to launch the business opportunity is buy the package, read the material, study the manual or video, “turn the key” and open your business.

Some of these start-up business opportunity packages cost $100 or less. Others cost thousands of dollars. But there is one common denominator: the opportunity should be investigated. Remember, let the buyer beware.

Call telephone information for the city in which the company is based and ask for the number of the local Better Business Bureau (BBB). Call the BBB and ask if they have a “reliability report” filed on the company. This report provides information on the company and will include whether or not complaints have been filed on the company. It will also let you know how the company handled those complaints. In addition, try calling the National Fraud Information Center at 800-876-7060 and the Call for Action Hotline at 301-652-HELP.

Call the Chamber of Commerce in the town where the company is based. Just because the company might not be a member doesn’t mean they aren’t reputable. But ask the Chamber of Commerce if they know of any reason someone shouldn’t do business with them.

Call the Attorney General’s office in your state; it’s often located in the State Capitol’s office. Also check with the Secretary of State’s office to see if there are any complaints filed on the company or if there are investigations pending.

Where did you hear about the business opportunity? At a local trade show? Through an ad? If it’s in an ad, call the magazine who carried the ad and ask to speak to the advertising department. Do they have information on the company? How long have they been in business? Do they pay their bills on time? Has the magazine or trade sponsor received any complaints about the company?

Use your judgment. As you study the ad, ask yourself, “Can I figure out what the business opportunity is from this ad?” If not, then run in
the other direction. They are trying to be evasive. If you can’t contact the company and get more information on what it is you are sending money to receive, then don’t send a dime. Remember the old line, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Ask the company offering the business opportunity package if you can get a list of folks who invested in the package during the last two years. If they are legit, and if they are proud of what they are offering, they will be happy to put you in touch with their satisfied customers. If they won’t do this, there very likely is something shady going on with that particular business opportunity program.

Companies that have a legitimate business opportunity package for you to look over—and we feature many of them in this magazine—should not be scared or dismayed if you want to receive some free additional information about the company before you invest in the program. This is a perfectly acceptable request.

The Federal Trade Commission offers a free package of information about the FTC Franchise and Business Opportunity Rule. Write to: Public Reference Branch, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580 or call the FTC at 202-326-2222.

Use your instincts. If the opportunity doesn’t sound or seem just right to you, stay away. Do some more research before you get involved with the company and follow tips one through eight to conduct your due diligence investigation about the business and the specific opportunity.

Don’t send money unless you completely understand what you are buying, and even then, check it out before you send any money. And now, on to 75 suggestions for your home-based business!

1. SPECIAL EVENTS VIDEO CLIPS & DVDS: Do you enjoy making videos of special gatherings for your family and friends? Why not get paid for it? Take your video camera and start a business recording special events around town for your neighbors and business associates. Your jobs could range from a corporate retirement dinner, a school picnic, a wedding, a special town club event, a marathon, a local bands’ gig, you name it.

2. VINTAGE CLOTHING STORE: You can set up a vintage clothing store in your backyard or attic. Check with the local zoning board and make sure this is all right in your neighborhood. Some towns require that you get a permit to do this occasionally. Hang the goods—they can be yours, you could have bought them, or they could belong to friends and neighbors—on a few garment racks. Host nostalgic weekends such as “Return to the Seventies” and display all your polyester pants, tightly knitted sweaters, platform shoes and 8-track tapes.

3. AQUARIUM MAINTENANCE: When people buy tropical fish and put the fish in that gleaming fish tank with the special lighting and that cute little plastic skin diver, it really does look great. But, who wants to maintain the beauty of the tank on a regular basis. This is where tropical fish maintenance entrepreneurs come in handy. There are fish that can be selected for a tank that require little care and tenderness. You can learn these breeds and select them for your clients. Of course, we don’t advocate this business unless you are really concerned about the little fish. You’ll need to drop by once or twice a week, clean out the tank and feed the fish. If you maintain the tanks in, say, doctor’s offices, you’ll have steady customers.

4. PARTY DJ: Do you love music, and parties and people? Try starting your own disc jockey service. You’ll need a good sound system and perhaps some lights to get the ball rolling. Look into a karoke system so the partygoers can get up and sing. Try and tie in with a local catering company so that they can turn you on to jobs. Don’t forget local parties and local events, too.

5. PARTIES FOR KIDS: You can start a business planning parties for children. You can buy all the party fair and drop it off, or you can also provide the cake, the entertainment and even be on hand to supervise these events. You’ll need good resources for the cake, entertainment and party goods.

6. STEPPING STONES: If you can make concrete stepping stones from a simple mold, you can start a lucrative business making garden paths for your clients. You can dye the concrete to have a wide variety of color offerings, too. Mix in some decorative stones or pebbles and you are really on to something.

7. FURNITURE REFINISHING: Even if you’ve never done this before, there are scores of books out now on the topic and dozens of magazines that teach one how to refinish furniture. You can offer this as a service and do it at your place, or theirs.

8. DECK BUILDING: If you are handy with carpentry, then starting a deck building specialty business could be the right one for you. Specialize in just a few styles and build some for your friends. (Let them supply the materials.) Use these “models” for your photo brochure or deck album.

9. INSTALLATION SERVICE: If you are handy at putting together items or if you have a knack for setting up equipment such as flat screen TVs, then this could be a lucrative, fun and easy business for you. Advertise in local newspapers, put up a flier.

10. WEDDING PLANNER: Planning a wedding is tough for the harried bride who already has enough on her mind. A wedding planner sits down with the bride and the groom and plans a wedding that they want. The wedding planner must work within a budget and should have good resources in the community to find a location, a caterer, band or DJ, flowers, invitations, etc.

11. GIFT BASKET BIZ: The gift basket business is still booming as Americans have discovered a tried-and-true solution to the “what should I give” blues. Gift baskets aren’t just for those get-well times, either. They come in all shapes and sizes. They can be customized for a wide variety of recipients from the golfer who finally hit par to the single mom who just got a great promotion. It’s key to develop a good list of resources from where you can purchase the items at wholesale rates.

12. JUNK REMOVAL: Many landfills are closing, and giving way to recycling centers. It’s a great thing, but it has made it more difficult to get rid of a lot of junk. You can start a business removing items from people’s homes and yards that they can’t get rid of themselves.

13. DIRECT SELLING: We don’t usually feature multi-marketing businesses in this magazine because our readers don’t consider it having a business of their own, but it is something you might want to consider. There’s a direct selling venture for just about any type of product you would want to sell.

14. KEEPSAKE ALBUMS: You meet with your clients to review their photos, letters, keepsakes, mementoes. You organize them into photo albums, scrapbooks or a digital file. If you are organized and have a bit of a flair for putting things together, this could be the perfect business for you.

15. PASTRY PROFITS: You can turn a recipe you’ve refined into a hot money-maker. We know of one elementary school teacher who perfected a dessert. He offered the dessert to catering companies. They loved it and were soon ordering them by the dozen for the weddings and other events they catered. He soon had to move out of his own kitchen and rented a bakery at night to produce his tasty treats. You can do the same. Make a batch of your favorite bread, cookie, cake or tart and offer it to the appropriate business. For example, offer your homemade bread to local restaurants, etc. Check out requirements for a food handler’s license in your state. It varies state to state.

16. CLOSET RENOVATION: You’ll have to brush up on some of the new organizer systems that are available, and if you have a knack for installing things, you’ll be good at fixing up closets and giving people more of that everyone wants: more closet space.

17. CART VENDING: If you live in a busy area—near a bunch of outlets, for example—build a small cart and start selling. Sell lemonade, fruit salad, cookies, sunglasses, suntan lotion, but start selling. If you live en route to a busy beach sell your goods to drivers sitting in traffic. Sell vegetables from the roadside. Sell ski wax. This is a four-season business.

18. HORSE BOARDING: Some areas across the United States are known as “horse country.” If you live in or near a region that qualifies, you might consider building a stable on your property and renting it out to people who own horses but who don’t have anywhere to keep them. Once again, call your insurance company and inquire about the possibility of beefing up your liability coverage.

19. TOOL RENTAL: Do you have a basement full of tools that you are not suing all the time? If you do, why not start a business renting them to people who need them for a limited time and limited use? Do you really need that sander hanging around all day next to your dusty wet saw? How about that dry/wet vacuum? Or that giant wheel barrow.

20. PET PHOTOGRAPHER: If you like animals and enjoy taking pictures, consider starting a business in which you photograph people’s pets. Ask local pet shops if you can display a flier offering your service. If you own a pet, drop by your vet’s office and ask if you can hang a flier there, too.

21. GARAGE CLEANING: Just about every garage in the United States could use a cleaning. Some need a complete overhaul. You can offer this service to homeowners in your community.

22. RESIDENTIAL CLEANING SERVICE: It is not uncommon to hear that people start this business and make $60,000 in six months. They then start farming out the cleaning jobs to employees and sit back and just book the jobs. You can do it, too. Pick up a batch of cleaning supplies, place an ad and get ready to make money. You can charge $50 to clean a one-bedroom apartment and up to $150 for a house. What will your market bear?

23. ASSEMBLY SERVICE: You assemble items such as bookshelves, armoires, dressers and just about anything else that people buy from stores that needs to be put together. Most people are too frustrated to read directions. This is where you come in and offer your services. If you have the patience, you can do it.

24. TEACH YOUR CRAFT: Do you engage in a hobby or craft that people have told you they would love to learn? Then why don’t you start offering classes or lessons in this hobby craft? Do you make quilts, do stained glass or build small sailboats? There is probably a market to teach this service in your community. If you don’t want to teach at home, call your local high school. You might be able to teach this class at an adult education class, too.

25. HOWDY NEIGHBOR SERVICE: Is your area booming with new homeowners? Consider a welcoming service. You make your money from all of the local merchants who pay you to include them in your “get to know the neighborhood” package. You drop in or make appointments with new neighbors and tell them the location of the local video rental store, whether or not the local deli delivers, the best pizza place, and how late the bank stays open on a Friday evening.

26. EBAY SELLER: Do you love old things and love collecting? Old toys, Barbie dolls, Mickey Mouse watches, snowglobes, lunch boxes are all valued collectible items. Collectors looking for the one or two they don’t have will pay a fortune to complete their set. Not all collectibles, therefore, are old.

27. SOCIAL MEDIA & NEWSLETTERS: A lot of businesses want to get into social media, but don’t know where to start. You help set up twitter and facebook accounts and develop an easy-to-execute newsletter on your computer that you can update.

28. KNIFE SHARPENING: Just about everyone has knives at home that really need to be sharpened, but they don’t seem to get around to it. If a knife sharpening entrepreneur drove around in a van and offered to sharpen knives on site, they would likely get a lot of takers. Visit you local home center to investigate the options in knife sharpening equipment.

29. HERB GARDEN: You plant an herb garden for your clients. It can be indoors or outside. You supply the equipment, soil, herbs and give them a plan to keep the herbs going, or they can hire you to come back once a week to maintain the garden.

30. DRIED FLOWER WREATHS: You can gather dried flowers from your own garden and make your own wreaths from dried flowers, herbs, and ornamental grasses, hollies and pines. These could be sold at crafts fairs, flea markets or via mail order.

31. BIRDHOUSE BUILDING: If you can build birdhouses, start turning them out and sell them at local fairs and flea markets. Make sure you investigate what types of birds like what types of houses.

32. FLEA MARKET ENTREPRENEUR: Do you have goods to sell? Then you can become a flea market entrepreneur. You’ll need to research locations in your region where you can set up shop and sell your wares. Some flea market entrepreneurs empty their homes and attics or get their products from neighbors and friends.

33. LAWN SERVICE: Cutting lawns is something that every homeowner must do. You can start a business offering this service. If there is lot of competition in your region, offer a discounted price for new customers.

34. SERVICES FOR SENIORS: There are plenty of senior citizens outs there who could use some help in getting chores done, answering mail, helping out with seasonal duties around the house and much, much more. You can start a senior service business where you help them do all of these things. Post notices around town and ask the local newspaper if they would consider putting your flier in every paper.

35. PERENNIAL GARDENS: If you have a flair for gardening and if you are good at design, start a perennial garden business. You visit the home of your clients and design a perennial border for them. You purchase the plants—or transplant them from your own divided perennial garden—and actually dig and plant the garden.

36. HOME DELIVERY SERVICE: Home delivery is predicted to be one of the hottest business opportunities of the decade and beyond. People are lazy and pressed for time. The population is getting older and more consumers want stuff delivered right to their doorstep. We’re referring to prescriptions, grocery goods, hardware, lumberyard , etc. You’ll need to tie in with stores and shops in your region that don’t deliver.

37. KIDPROOF HOMES: You can set up a business in which you go into homes and conduct a troubleshooting session for parents who have young kids and babies. Are the outlets exposed? Is there bleach under the sink or other harmful chemicals within reach of the children? Could a child fall down a staircase or from a deck? These are the types of situations you’ll be looking to uncover as you help parents childproof their home from potential diaster.

38. PERSONAL SHOPPER: Do you like to go shopping? Can you imagine how much fun it would be to get paid to do this?! You can, as a personal shopper. Lots of busy people and harried single parents don’t have the time to shop for themselves or for others. Your service comes to the rescue. You select and choose and maybe even wrap the gifts for your clients.

39. HOME INVENTORY BIZ: The horrible storms and tornadoes have taught homeowners the importance of keeping a good inventory log of all possessions. This audit is necessary in case of fire, storm, mudslides, robbery, etc. Insurance companies want to see documentation before they start writing their checks to help homeowners recover from tragic losses. You can do this by hand, or with the help of a laptop computer.

40. FAMILY TREES: do you enjoy history? Do you like to do research? Then you can start a business tracing family histories? Advertise your service in a local newspaper or even in a regional magazine. There are software programs on the market that can help you trace family histories by plugging in a few items. You interview your client, get the answers to the right questions and tap out a fortune with your home computer.

41. GARAGE SALE: It is possible to host a garage sale every weekend. You don’t have to come up with all of the merchandise, you can sell things on consignment or buy up the contents of homes for sale and then re-sell them at a profit. You’ll need to advertise your mega garage sale to generate a steady flow of customers. Try to come up with unique items to display such as a horse from a carousel. These crowd-grabbers will help attract people to your garage sale.

42. HOMETOWN GUIDE: If your hometown features some unique historical monument or water mill or windmill, or if your town is steeped in history that others would find fascinating, then why don’t you put together a tour and offer it as an option whenever tourists come to town. You can dress up like a character from that period to make the tour more accessible, amusing and fun for your clients. Contact the local chamber of commerce and ask them if you could give them the tour. It could be a great way to get them to mention your tour whenever they speak to out-of-towners getting ready to plan a visit to your area.

43. SPORTS EQUIPMENT REFURBISH-ING: You can start a business sprucing up golf clubs in the spring time and waxing skis in the fall, and fixing dings in surfboards, for example. Examine what your area has to offer in the way of sports and figure out how you can get paid to keep this gear in top-notch condition.

44. WEED REMOVAL: That’s it. Just weeds, okay, and maybe some vines, too. You advertise in local papers, offer prices that are lower than landscapers and you take on clients. You don’t need much equipment at all, just some weed digging tools and a pruner. You’ll need barrels to cart away the weeds and vines and you must have a destination for this compostable material.

45. BALLOON DELIVERY SERVICE: Everyone loves balloons and they are gaining on flowers in terms of items to be delivered to home or to office. Balloons are festive and fun and you don’t need to be an artist to learn how to arrange them. Blow them up or purchase a helium tank. Take out an ad in your local paper and start buying balloons.

46. FOOD DELIVERY: You purchase sandwiches at a local deli and resell them at the roadside or at a busy intersection or in a corporate or industrial park. Some meal delivery businesses started out on a shoestring and have grown into franchised ventures with vans and uniforms, and the works. You can also make arrangements with several local restaurants and deliver their dinners or lunches to corporations or to individuals who are too busy to cook at night. You charge a 15% service charge on all items to make your profit. You might be able to get the food at a discount from your restaurant and deli suppliers who are eager to expand.

47. SEWING ENTREPRENEUR: If you have a knack for taking up a hem or altering a jacket, it might not be a big deal for you. But for millions of Americans these tasks are a hassle and they would gladly pay whatever it costs to get these jobs done. You can get paid for these services. If you can make slipcovers and drapes, that’s a bonus business.

48. SPECIAL EFFECT DECORATING: You don’t need to be a master artist to learn the tricks of special effects decorating. Look at the wide variety of stencil kits available on the marketplace today. Practice your skills and photograph the results. Use this as a portfolio to get jobs. You can do the work on their premises or take it home to complete the work. Check online for information on these techniques and visit home centers.

49. BLIND CLEANING: Almost every American home has at least one blind hanging in the window and we’ll guarantee you that about 100% of all of those homeowners hate cleaning those blinds. You can establish a business in which you clean mini and micro blinds for your customers. You can take the blinds home or clean them on the premises. Charge by the blind or charge by the hour. You can also target this business to businesses in the area.

50. MAIL ORDER: To start a mail order business, you need to find a product or series of products to offer for sale. Then you place ads to advertise these goods or have them placed in someone’s catalog. Sit back and wait for the orders to roll in. There are a wide variety of sources for wholesale mail order products. You’ll need to get a “resale number” in order to purchase goods wholesale.

51. COMMERCIAL CLEANING: You can start a weekends-only business cleaning offices. Most offices are closed during the weekends, so you will be able to get in and do a good job. There are a wide variety of potential businesses that could hire you: legal offices, tax services, medical offices and nearly any other small business.

52. INTERIOR DESIGN FOR KIDS: You can establish an interior design business that specializes in creating great themed rooms for children and for babies. Nursery set-ups are a natural add on to this business. There are so many themes from which to choose, parents-to-be can get overwhelmed. Do the research of what’s available and create a brochure of several offerings.

53. GARDEN SHEDS: If you are handy with tools and can create a few basic shed designs, you can offer them to your clients. Master a few different types of sheds. Make sure you check out local zoning codes. Some towns don’t permit new sheds to be built; they only permit the “renovation” of sheds.

54. POWER WASHING: It’s not hard to use and master power washers, but everyone seems to need them and dread having to find a place to rent them and get to know how to use them. You can buy one and use it for a wide variety of services for your clients.

55. BOOKKEEPING FOR SMALL BIZ: If you are handy with numbers and can master some of the accounting software programs available, you can start a business offering bookkeeping and accounting services to small business owners who don’t have the time nor the inclination to set this type of system up for themselves.

56. BACKYARD PONDS/WATER GARDENS: These are increasingly in demand. Homeowners want to have this type of sanctuary in their yard. They love the sound of water splashing over rocks and would love the idea of having some fish in the backyard, too. These ponds are very easy to build today. There are kits that can help establish them very quickly. Pumps keep the water going and lights are available to keep them looking their best at night.

57. MAKE AND SELL A FOOD PRO-DUCT: Do you make sauce or salad dressing that people tell you, you should market? Then do it?! Investigate with local health officials if you can produce your recipe at home. You might need a food handler’s license.

58. PERSONAL ASSISTANT: If you are good, and we mean really good with details, and you are very much a perfectionist about the jobs you do, you can start a business hiring yourself out as a personal assistant to your clients. You will do everything from problem solving to writing letters to handling the caterer, the gardener and special events.

59. ERRAND SERVICE: Charge by the hour to perform a wide variety of errands for your clients. You can market your services to moms, single parents, grandparents, seniors, etc.

60. PLANT SERVICE: Do you have a green thumb? Are you lucky with plants? Then consider starting a plant service. This business is similar to a pet sitting business. You’ll care for plants when folks are away on business trips or on vacations. You can care for the plants in their home or yours.

61. PARTY PLANNER: If you enjoy people and parties, then this could be a great business for you to start. Do you have great organizational skills? Then you are one step closer to launching your own party planning service.

62. MARKET YOUR ARTS AND OR CRAFTS: If you make jewelry, art, photography, distress furniture, make baskets, etc., figure out how you can paid to do it. There are several books on the market available that can help you learn how to market your arts and crafts.

63. BED & BREAKFAST BIZ: Do you have an extra room or two that you could rent out? This is a great business you can start without too much hassle. You don’t necessarily have to provide a private bath, but it is a nice touch. You should call your insurance company and ask them to review your policy.

64. CAR DETAILING: Americans spend more and more on their cars, and they are willing to spend an extra $50 to $150 a month to have the car hand washed and waxed. You can start this service with very little money.

65. VENDING VENTURES: Look into the possibility of running your own vending machine empire. Candy, soda, fruit, juice, clothing, cosmetics, socks, you name it. You’ll have to find some good spots to place your vending machines. Most vending entrepreneurs must share a bit of their profits with the owner of the establishment in which you are placing the vending machine.

66. MOVE-IN SERVICE: How many times have you or someone you know moved into an apartment to find the refrigerator in need of cleaning, the stove quite unkempt, the bathroom grout full of mildew, the walls in need of a paint job, etc. Well, you can make some money by starting a move in service. You get everything ready for the folks before they move in.

67. HOLIDAY DECORATING: There are plenty of homeowners and business owners who just don’t have the time, the inclination or the design know-how to decorate their homes and businesses for the holiday season. This is especially true for the winter season, but you could expand this business into a year-round enterprise.

68. PARTY ENTERTAINING: If you are a natural entertainer, consider starting your own entertainment business. You will be hired to perform at parties—parties for kids, for civic groups, for corporate sponsors.

69. CAR BUYING SERVICE: You interview your clients to determine what their needs are and then begin searching for their perfect car. You can establish relationships with a couple of car dealers so that they will help you get good deals for your clients. They’ll know you’ll keep customers coming to them if they offer good rates for your client.

70. CRAFTS C0-OP: Do you have the space to invite 50 or 100 crafts people to set up tables and sell their wares? If you do, and your property is zoned to accept the amount of cars this type of sale can attract, you have the makings of an exciting crafts fair. You don’t sell anything but table or booth space. The crafts people are happy to pay for space and will fork over about $10 or $15 a day.

71. ART GALLERY: You can set up your very own art gallery right in your home. Hang the art of local artists on your walls and host a party once a month to show the work to potential buyers. Getting together a group of artists for a show will not be a problem. There are plenty of folks out there who are making art but who have no place show their work. You will make a percentage of whatever the paintings sell for the customer. For example, perhaps you’ll give the artist 60% of the sale price and you’ll keep 40%.

72. WINDOW WASHING: Window washing is a business that, while you don’t actually work at home, you do run the business from home (sending out fliers, making calls to place ads, calling customers to get business.) There is almost no one out there that doesn’t refer to the task of window washing as a disagreeable necessity.

73. HANDYMAN: Are you handy around the house? Wouldn’t it be nice to get paid for it?! There are probably plenty of folks right in your own town who would love to avail themselves of your handyman services.

74. PET SITTING: Do you love animals? This could be a business dream come true. There are plenty of people out there who don’t want to leave their precious pets alone during the day. Or maybe there is an individual who travels a great deal for the job he or she holds and would prefer to leave their pet in their own home or in yours, rather than in a kennel. You might call a local insurance company and ask them what it takes to become “bonded.”

75. AFFILIATE MARKETING: If you have a website, you place ads for companies and their products. When a visitor clicks on the ad and goes to their site, you get $$$ for the click and even more if they buy the product. Amazon.com and MusiciansFriend.com have affiliate programs. Do a Google search.


Charlene Zomaya makes lemonade from lemons. She is the founder of a clever website called MyWeddingGotCancelled.com that helps men and women all over the U.S. cope with their cancelled weddings–and sell their wedding wares.

“A couple of years ago my own wedding was cancelled. After not being able to find helpful resources online I decided to start an online network to help other who had a similar experience,” said the web-preneur.

The website and network provide:

• professional licensed marriage and family counselor

• personal page for each person to share their story

• each member with the option to create an online store to see their unused wedding materials.

Check it out at: www.myweddinggotcancelled.com

BROTHER changes printing landscape with launch of all-in-one printers

Brother International Corporation, a leader in small business technology, has introduced its new Business Smart™ Series color inkjet all-in-ones.

To provide everything most users wanted – all in one unit – Brother started from scratch with a blank sheet of paper rather than manufacturing just another generation of all-in-ones. From this initiative, Brother developed its Landscape Printing Technology that reoriented the way color inkjet printing is done.  This involved changing how a page is stored and printed from portrait to landscape, thereby reducing the machine footprint.  Engineers also developed a new engine and increased the size of the print head to help increase print speeds. Ink cartridges were also redesigned to take up less space even with super high page yields.

Now in a sleek and attractively de-signed product they can have:

• Fastest in class print speeds

• Smallest in class footprint

• Low cost printing

• Easy-to-use TouchScreen/Touch
Panel display

These all-in-ones also feature wireless and mobile device printing capabilities, and automatic two-sided (duplex) printing. Additionally, these machines have the ability to print up to 11”x17” documents – which is about the same size of the unit’s footprint.

“In today’s business environment small business owners need technologies they can rely on coupled with a breadth of features to help their business run more smoothly and efficiently,” said Marie Le, Brother Director of Marketing for color inkjet products.  “What was missing for these consumers was a machine that also fit in to their limited workspaces and budgets.  Our solution, the Business Smart™ series offers a striking design and intuitive swipe TouchScreen display controls to compliment their other technologies such as laptops, tablets and smartphones.  This new inkjet series is a game-changer for the printing industry delivering the ultimate combination of form and function.”

The Brother MFC-J4510DW, has an estimated street price of $199.

For more information about the Brother™ Business Smart™ Series, please visit www.Brother.com.


Nakota Development Company Opens First Value Place Franchise In Burgeoning Bakken Region Of North Dakota

Nakota Development Company, a full-service real estate development and management company based in Jacksonville, Fla., recently announced that it has officially opened its first Value Place location here. Nakota Chairman/CEO Art Cahoon officiated a Grand Opening ceremony attended by Value Place corporate executives, staff of the new property and representatives of the Williston Chamber of Commerce. The new two-building property is the first of multiple economy extended-stay sites that Nakota, a Value Place franchisee, plans to open in North Dakota’s Bakken region.

Cahoon approached Value Place about developing the region after observing companies flocking to North Dakota to participate in oil exploration. He found Value Place’s affordable extended-stay concept, combined with its franchise program, to be the best model to answer growing demand for temporary housing and facilitate expansion in the market.

“Williston and the entire Bakken region represent fertile ground for development of affordable extended-stay lodging,” said Cahoon. “Many businesses associated with the energy industry are amassing here, bringing a growing number of temporary residents to set up local operations and transplants moving here to run them who haven’t yet found a permanent home. Value Place offers such individuals a simple, safe, affordable and flexible solution to their lodging needs and will let us establish ourselves as the preferred affordable provider of extended-stay lodging and services. We’re very encouraged by the early signs here and are already commencing with development of our next property.”



By Nissa Larsen

Bre Salerno launched her own shop on Etsy.com called Bre’s Boutique and says anyone can start their own business right at home if they have a passion for a product or service and can find a vehicle to help market or distribute it.

For Bre, Etsy’s global handmade marketplace was the perfect venue.

According to Etsy, “Our mission is to empower people to change the way the global economy works. We see a world in which very-very small businesses have much-much more sway in shaping the economy, local living economies are thriving everywhere, and people value authorship and provenance as much as price and convenience. We are bringing heart to commerce and making the world more fair, more sustainable, and more fun.”

Bre used Etsy to transform her talented hobby into a professional small business.

According to her website: “Bre’s Boutique is a fabulous place to shop for mom and baby! As a new mom, I am always looking for something different for my baby, and for myself.  I want to make my shop a place where you can find fabulous accessories for both moms and babies.  I love bright colors and patterns which you will find in my bags, burp cloths, and headbands.”

“Each item is one of a kind and very special! Prices vary for each item – especially if they include vintage buttons or special fabric.” “See something you like, but have a different color in mind? Send me a message. I’m always up for a challenge! I can do gift sets as well – just let me know what you are looking for!,” says the entrepreneur.

Her business advice for those wanting to start a business is “find something that you love to do! It motivates me, even when I’m tired from my day job and chasing my one year old. I get excited about new projects, working with clients on special orders, and seeing the reactions when they love the end result. Of course it would be a lot easier if this was my day job, but that gives me something to strive for.”

Bre’s Boutiique can be found at http://www.etsy.com/shop/BresBoutique



Modern customers and prospects don’t sit still long enough to catch many advertising messages. That’s why today’s most effective advertisers increasingly turn to mobile marketing campaigns to create advertising that reaches mobile device users wherever they go.

Spending on mobile advertising was expected to tally more than $1.2 billion last year, according to an estimate provided in an emarketer report entitled “Mobile Advertising and Marketing: Moving to the Mainstream.” That total represents a 65 percent gain vis-à-vis 2010 numbers. Peering ahead a few years, annual mobile advertising spending is projected to reach $6.5 billion in 2014.

As MediaBuyerPlanner reported, “Mobile is quickly becoming the primary access point to the Internet…The surge in tablet adoption rates and rise in mobile subscribers support the expectations that mobile will eventually outpace online.”

Understanding how users relate to brand advertising over their phones and tablets, even as they fine tune that relationship, is essential.

Mobile ad campaign successes are growing in number. Carling Black Label achieved a mobile success story with advertising inviting South African football fans to “manage” two of the best-known teams in a big upcoming game. Because the campaign included an easy-to-use mobile interface, some 10 million fans responded.

Another successful example of mobile advertising came when Vicks introduced a mobile campaign for its behind-the-ear thermometer, aimed at flu sufferers. With help from Google, Vicks was able to direct the ad to consumers in areas where flu was most prevalent.

Create a consistent experience.  Your mobile advertising should be the same no matter which of the platforms upon which it’s viewed. For more information, contact Walt Denny Inc. at 630-323-0555, email walt@waltdenny.com or visit www.waltdenny.com.



Crowdfunding & Kickstarter are new alternatives to loans.

If you can’t get a loan from your local bank, consider going online and launching a Kickstarter or Crowdfunding campaign to star your new business.

Crowd funding or crowdfunding (alternately crowd financing, equity crowdfunding or hyper funding) describes the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their resources, usually via the Internet. Crowdfunding can also refer to the funding of a company by selling small amounts of equity to many investors. This form of crowdfunding has recently received attention from policymakers in the United States with direct mention in the JOBS Act, legislation that allows for a wider pool of small investors with fewer restrictions. President Obama signed the Act into law on April 5, 2012.

Over the past three years, the Kickstarter funding platform has raised more than $323 million for over 10,000 projects. In most cases, the funding is a fairly low number—less than $10,000. And more projects fail then succeed to meet their funding goals.

But every now and then, a product or project will tap into some cultural zeitgeist and explode out of the gate. The site’s top 10 projects, in fact, have pocketed more than $32 million. Here are some recent funding efforts in Kickstarter’s small business history.

The Order of the Stick—This self-published Webcomic has been around in paper format since 2005, but artist Rich Burlew ran out of copies of the early books and found it too expensive to print up another batch himself. He took to Kickstarter, hoping his fans would be willing to front the cost. With the promise of bonuses like magnets featuring their favorite characters, they ended up blowing past all expectations. (Amount sought: $57,750. Amount raised: $1,254,120)

TikTok+LunaTik Multi-Touch Watch Kits—The company used the iPod Nano as a watch and created a well-designed product from there. While others had already put out cheap straps letting people create their own “iWatches,” this band was sleeker, used high-grade hardware and matched the look of the Nano. (Amount sought: $15,000. Amount raised: $942,578)

Sedation Wars: Battle for Alabaster—Video games have had their fair share of success on Kickstarter, but most board games haven’t been so lucky. This was the exception. A two-player survival horror game, Sedition Wars is the planned first installment in a series of titles from renowned game designer and miniature figurine designer Mike McVey. (Amount sought: $20,000. Amount raised: $951,254)

Pebble e-paper watch— Pebble topped its request more than 100 times over. The watch is designed to connect to smartphones via Bluetooth, alerting you to incoming calls and messages with a silent vibration. It will also download apps of its own, turning it into a bike computer (displaying speed, distance and pace) or as a remote control for the music on your smartphone. It’s due to ship in early 2013. (Amount sought: $100,000. Amount raised: $10,266,846)

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Category: Features, Magazine, Small Business Opportunities, Small Business Opportunities March 2013