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If you were going to start a business...

...what would it be?

My bank account tells me I'm in need of extra income to make my retirement years more comfortable. I'm looking for something to do. My strengths are good social skills, writing, salesmanship and determination. My weaknesses are - quite varied, but I'm not a very good bookkeeper.

I don't want a franchise. Was thinking more along the lines of a storefront retail operation.

Have any of you started businesses? Share your stories here.

by Anonymousreply 2206/27/2013

80%+ of new businesses fail, in an average economy. Likely higher right now.

I can't count the number of clients I have who have approached retirement and decided to start a business. Most back out before they lose much money, but others lost a considerable chunk of their nestegg. It costs a lot of money to be IN business, and, unless you have that money to LOSE, you should not consider it.

You seem to be strong on sales skills. There is always a big demand for capable salespeople. Find an area of sales that interests you, and check out local employers. Most would love having a more mature presence on their sales staff.

Good luck!

by Anonymousreply 106/26/2013

Coffee and smoothies seem like a sure thing these days. No matter where they pop up, they seem to stay.

by Anonymousreply 206/26/2013

Interesting, Tax Troll. Could you give me an idea of some of the businesses your clients started that survived and maybe even thrived?

by Anonymousreply 306/26/2013

Pet Psychologist.

by Anonymousreply 406/26/2013

[quote] A New York City immigration judge immediately stopped the deportation proceedings of a gay Colombian man who is legally married to an American citizen soon after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) for being unconstitutional . . .

Well, there you go. Just don't go talking about it on DL.

You are a citizen right, OP?

by Anonymousreply 506/26/2013

[quote] Could you give me an idea of some of the businesses your clients started that survived and maybe even thrived?

Those that survived (and thrived) didn't just jump into starting a business, but did their research on exactly what they would do, how they would do it, what people were likely to buy it, how much it fixed and variable costs would be, and how much they would make while remaining competitive. You have to provide merchandise or services people WANT, in a manner that is convenient for them to get it, at a price that is (initially) less than similar businesses, and be able to put in the hours and effort to make it all work.

Someone mentioned coffee and smoothies. I had clients (a couple) who opened a business like that. They had experience in a similar business in another state which did well. But they went for a location that had minimal visibility from the street, was in a lower income part of town, and had a Starbucks only one block away. They put in kids games, hoping they would have mothers coming in with their kids, but the noise from the kids playing kept other customers away. They closed in two months, losing a ridiculous amount of money. Again, you've got to do the research needed to see if your business is likely to work.

Consider the amount of time you have to devote to the business (The coffee shop was 6am to 10pm seven days, which added stress to their other problems.) One client started a second-hand store, which actually made a small profit in the first year; but, when you consider the hours she worked, she would have made twice as much working at McDonalds. If you have a hobby you enjoy, be aware it rarely can be converted to a successful business. You need to take a step back and ask yourself "Would *I* patronize this business?"

That said, I have had clients successfully start a cleaning service, "gal Friday" (personal assistant/go-fer) service, daycare, pet sitting, lawn/landscape business. Most were small, most services done by owner, operated with minimal overhead. They were the lucky ones.

by Anonymousreply 606/26/2013

Tax Troll, do you have a blog or do you recommend any blogs to read about taxes/savings/maxing 401(ks), etc?

by Anonymousreply 706/26/2013

If I had the money and any sort of business expertise, I'd buy an In-N-Out burger franchise. Every one I see is crowded, and they're the sort of business that can flourish in hard times, as their meals are so damn cheap.

Good thing I don't have the money or expertise, so I don't have to deal with the guilt it would involve.

by Anonymousreply 806/26/2013

R7, I have an online message board that is available only to my clients. That covers tax only, as the other things you mention would be something you'd ask a financial advisor, which I am not.

Kiplinger has a tax newsletter (both online and in print) that is good, but it costs money. For free, you can't beat the IRS website (below) and its publications (which you can print or view online.) Pub 17 is an overview of the income tax system, and is revised every year with changes.

by Anonymousreply 906/26/2013

Buy stock in stem cell companies like ACTC, ATHX, NBS, OSIR, PSTI, and the like.

ACTC already cured blindness. Once the public realizes what they have their $0.08 pps should go to much more. Just take a basket of these stocks.

by Anonymousreply 1006/26/2013

Alsoif you do gamble in the market, do it in a Roth IRA, as the profits are not taxed.

by Anonymousreply 1106/26/2013

[quote] If I had the money and any sort of business expertise, I'd buy an In-N-Out burger franchise.

In-N-Out doesn't franchise. All restaurants are company (family) owned.

by Anonymousreply 1206/26/2013

yogurt biz. heard the margin is 500%. good luck OP!

by Anonymousreply 1306/26/2013

I'm just gonna sell all of this extra shit in my house online.

by Anonymousreply 1406/26/2013

pierced ears

by Anonymousreply 1506/26/2013

Why not a franchise, OP? It's much safer. I've been a franchisee for 6+ years. I now own several units and my net profit will be over $250k this year. Here are my rules:

1. Research and pick a proven winner. Interview several owners.

2. Follow the system and don't try to reinvent the wheel--your franchise has been successful in 5000 other locations worldwide for a reason.

3. Fight for good commercial locations--minimal competition, great visibility, good demos.

4. Hire strong managers and treat them well. Pay slightly more than the competition.

5. Hire others to do what you hate doing and/or are not good at (my bookkeeper is a Godsend).

6. Invest-- don't be cheap. You have to spend a lot of money on marketing and payroll up front.

7. Be patient--you won't be profitable in 6 months.

8. Don't be an absentee owner--you must be active and involved in all aspects of your business.

by Anonymousreply 1606/26/2013

[quote]Was thinking more along the lines of a storefront retail operation.

OP, with brick and mortar retail, you're still losing to e-stores that don't have to charge a sales tax. They have a 7% leeway from the beginning. You're also dealing with cash as well as merchant banks for credit cards.

If you sell retail, sell online. It's heavily subsidized. Look into using established formats (yeah, eBay and Amazon) to start selling. They pull a chunk of your sales, but they have the infrastructure you need.

Your fees cover web development and payment processing on a per-item-sold basis. If you did it on your own, it would be a low 5 figure all at once. If you hit pay dirt, you can use your profits to build your own site and negotiate a payment processing agreement with card carriers.

by Anonymousreply 1706/26/2013


It depends on what franchise -- and how much money to get barely started.

One thing not advised, OP, is a restaurant -- because of their failure rate.

by Anonymousreply 1806/26/2013

I agree restaurants are very risky, but what about fast food restaurants.

For example, I know McDonald's made a profit during the bad economy.

by Anonymousreply 1906/27/2013

I hope you have a lot of money R19. Purchasing a single unit McD's (from an existing owner) can be over $1 million.

To open a new McDonalds you need to have $250k in liquid assets (per unit) before they will even talk to you.....and in most open markets you have to commit to opening several stores.

BTW--the open markets are not going to be in your back yard. They are in Asia.

Oh, and you have to have a lot of prior experience running a retail business. You will be denied if you can't demonstrate that you've had a successful retail management career (preferably in the food business).

by Anonymousreply 2006/27/2013

I want to open a small hotel or Inn. I would probably need at least $1M to open it, maybe less depending on location. I would probably live there to start too.

by Anonymousreply 2106/27/2013

r21, were you thinking of a small hotel with a wishing well?

by Anonymousreply 2206/27/2013
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