Welcome to our first installment of Startup Saturday! Each Saturday we will present a small business idea for you to consider launching in your own community. It will be up to you to determine if the business is right for you and if it can generate enough revenue in your region.
Today our featured Startup is SERVICES FOR SENIORS. This fast-growing segment of our population needs help in a variety of categories from running errands, shopping for groceries, quick fixes around the home, house cleaning, lawn mowing, picking up dry cleaning, laundry services and more. You name it — there are jobs waiting to be filled for the elder market.
You can start this business part-time or full-time and you can even run it as a weekends-only enterprise while you keep your current job. You might find that as the business grows you are more than ready to transition to being a full-time entrepreneur and will even need to hire help to maintain your booming client base.
By identifying yourself as a Services For Seniors enterprise—and not just a regular Home Services business– you will be carving a particular niche for yourself in your community. Dedication to the senior market will create positive feelings and trust that your company is a caring concern.
Once your determine that this business is viable in your area and that there is a market large enough to support your venture, come up with a name and book the domain name online. You don’t need a complicated website, just a landing page. In many instances, your clients are not going to use a computer to find you/contact you. The phone is fine, but you’ll need to secure the domain name as your business grows.
Print up a flyer that lists the types of services you will offer. Come up with an hourly or half-day or day rate that suits you. Remember what will be a real option in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is different than the rate you can charge in Chicago. Check other service businesses in your area and see how they charge. Come up with compatible rates.
Distribute your flyer to senior citizen centers, doctors’ offices that cater to senior patients, post on bulletin boards in supermarkets, diners and other venues around your town. Place an ad in the local newspaper, and send a press release announcement about your new service to the local cable television station. They might call you on a slow news day.
Go to your local senior citizen center or gathering place and offer to complete a mission at no charge. For example, plant a flower garden outside the center or come and set up the chairs and tables for a special dinner night. This will engender goodwill among your target market.
At some point you’ll need to go to your county clerk’s office and file a Doing Business As form, also known as a DBA or a Business Certificate. Costs vary from state to state but are about $25-$30. This form will enable you to go to the local bank and open a bank account in the name of your new business.
Start with a few clients and once goodwill is generated, positive word-of-mouth will spread and bring you more customers.
-The U.S. Small Business Administration has lots of startup info: sba.gov.
-Kinkos can help you print your flyer if you can’t develop it at home on your own printer: kinkos.com.
-call your local Chamber of Commerce and see how you can become a member. Membership can help you establish credibility for your business.
-Call your Secretary of State’s office in your state capital to get a free package of information on taxes and how to establish your financial records.
Have fun being your own boss! You can make more money this year and even get rich in the process!