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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I already have some money in the stock market and will continue adding, BUT I am contemplating trying to start a small business with a friend this summer.

Given the well-educated and diverse readership here at AAAC, I was wondering if you gentlemen(or women) have any good ideas for a small business venture?

By small business I mean very small, <$10,000 initial investment, hopefully <$5,000.

Thanks in advance,
Mark
 

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You could be a man-whore. :icon_smile_big: :devil:

Seriously, without knowing anything about your likes, dislikes and abilitites there really is no way to recommend anything. Do you want retail? Internet? Hi-tech? White collar or blue collar (job type not clothing preference ;))? Long or short hours? Customer forward or back room? Too many options to mention. Give us a hint.
 

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...By small business I mean very small, <$10,000 initial investment, hopefully <$5,000...
That is not much capital. With that budget, I would say the bar/beverage hospitality business is, at least in California, out of consideration.
 

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You mention that you want to wait until summer to start the business. Why? Are you in school and waiting for a break? Are you looking to start a summer/seasonal business?

Another thing to consider is starting a business based on what you currently do. Many consultants start by taking clients that are too small for their full-time employer to want. That is a good source but ask management first then you must be careful not to violate any non-compete agreements and to never mix the time you work for your employer and the time you work for yourself.

Most small businesses fail within the first year or so. You need to know what you want and have the passion to go after it. What are your goals for the business? Your life's work? Summer spending money? Keeping out of trouble? Meeting girls? ;) Quick build & sell?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
We are both juniors in college so summer is the time when we can commit the most. I am studying economics and management and he is studying electrical engineering. Quick build and sell would be nice! :icon_smile_big: I will write up a business plan and register a LLC once we get a solid idea down, we are still in the brainstorming phase.
 

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As mentioned above, you don't tell us of any specialized skills or knowledge that you might have.

At one time, if one had a source to buy goods wholesale, the mail order business was probably the easiest to start with limited funds. Location was not important; one's kitchen table was sometimes sufficient. The main start up costs where advertising and printing a catalog. Not much inventory was needed because if people received their order in a couple of weeks, they considered that good service.

That has all changed; people now expect to receive their orders in just a few days and I think they expect most any business to have a web presence. I think you would have to have a rather unique product, or at least have sufficient skills at copy writing that you can make a pedestrian product seem unique.

I don't know the cost of having a professional web site produced, but I would not be surprised if it were not around the total of the amount of funds that you have available.

I imagine that if you have some specialized knowledge and a source of goods to sell that eBay would be one avenue to explore, but you have a lot of competition there. Some folks are probably doing very well selling at eBay, but it is probably like so many business endeavors that 10% of the sellers are making 90% of the money.

I have seen one small business that seems to be growing and my guess is that he is doing well and will do even better in the future and that is Kent Wang www.kentwang.com , so I think it is possible, just not easy. Of course, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

If buying and selling is not feasible, personal services is another area that one can enter with a relatively small investment. Things like party planning, wedding planning, and image consulting come to mind. I expect that if you had the knowledge and contacts to provide this type of service that you would not be asking us for ideas.

I don't mean to discourage you but I think if someone here could see a good business that they could start for 5 or 10K that they might do it themselves - I probably would.

I don't know that any of the above has been helpful, but there is one piece of advice that I can give you that I strongly believe in, and that is to avoid partnerships. Often in fields like law and medicine the advantages of a partnership outweigh the disadvantages, but for the rest of us, they seldom work out.

Best of luck, Jim.
 

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Find a service/product nobody else offers and people don't realise they need.
DVM at my ranch was grumbling how time consuming it was to clean the sheaths on stallions and geldings. He said if somebody invested in a bottle of Ivory soft soap, a S/S bucket and roll of cotton they could easily charge $50.
I 'grabbed' the opportunity, he spread the word and I was in business with money coming in.
Then the horseygirls saw my feedstore fiers and the competition got hard and high. They offered SCENTED baby oil and undercut me by $10. One girl wore lowcut tank tops as advertising.
Within a week I was out of business.
Then one girl got kicked in the leg and spent summer in a cast. The tank top gal arrived at a darkened barn to find the 70 something owner waiting for HIS sheath to be cleaned and oiled. She quit. The sons put dad in a rest home.
By then I was in a job that paid into Social Security and promised unlimited growth. I stuck around long enough to realise it wouldn't last, invested in the licenses to take on a west coast distribution of romanian wines.
I made my minimum quota selling to that community and tried getting into Trader Joes.
That failed, I made a small profit selling Vlad Drucul red wine from Transylvania to Goths and at Halloween and shut down.
 

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I say you should pidgin hole that idea for now. You are tight on capital, you don't have a unique product and as an extension no understanding of what niche it would fill, and from the having to ask here, you don't even have a niche.
I hate to sound so negative but the idea of having a business is to make money and is far different from a hobby. To get your feet wet, try either being a rep for someone else or start very small, like Amway, and see if you can learn from that. Then in the unlikely event you actually succeed, at Amway that is, take the knowledge you have gained and apply it to some market void that you will be looking for along the way.
The odds are that a small business WILL FAIL. With that in mind some do succeed. I think the success starts with the planning, not with the desire to spend some cash.
 

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I had my own business from 1998-2001. I decided when I got my first really good computer that I was going to start a web site and sell something.

A visit to the Atlanta Merchandise Mart introduced me to a company that made plush toys. The toys were made in China, but the company was based in Marietta, just outside of Atlanta.

They offered me unlimited use of their promotional materials and pictures, and were very helpful in getting orders out promptly, in exchange for my being their web presence. They didn't have a site and they didn't have the staff to answer questions from customers, so I handled that.

It reached the point where I was selling about $1,000 a month, and I had to decide whether to quit my regular job and focus on this or drop the web site.

I dropped the web site. The toy company no longer needs my help - I don't know if they have customer service staff yet, but I saw their products at the most exclusive department store in Montreal. :)

Of course, now I'm a CPA and I'm looking to start up my own business, doing taxes. While keeping my day job, of course.
 

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"Working for AMWAY to learn about business is akin to joining scientology to stop the voices in your head."

Sorry, that was the first do nothing,minimal upfront cost business I thought of. A newspaper route would be a better choice but I no longer know anyone that has them delivered. BTW those voices can be your best friends. Listen to them, Kav, unless they are telling you to buy an AK47.
 
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