how to start a catering business | small business start up guide

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Every business needs help with their Internet marketing. And now I see even the smallest businesses hiring specialists for individual aspects of digital marketing. For example, they may hire one expert for pay-for-click search engine advertising, another for Facebook marketing and still another for SEO for their website. So, you could focus on one aspect of digital marketing, or you could be a generalist.
If you’ve developed valuable skill sets or certifications within your industry over the years, consider putting your skills to use in your free time by offering your consulting services to local business owners as a potentially lucrative side business idea. Whether you’re an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there’s likely a local business owner who’s willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company—if you can craft an effective cold email that convinces them to hire you. Start with this 18-step checklist to becoming a local business consultant as a side business idea, from Karyn Greenstreet. When you’re ready to get serious about becoming a consultant, check out all of my picks for the best online business courses to keep building your skills and learning how to land your first consulting clients. Personally, I think this is one of the best business ideas you can get started with today.
#50 – Snuggle Buddies – You can become a professional cuddle and make anywhere from $40-$80 per hour. All you have to do is cuddle someone or hold someone’s hands. Yes, that’s right, a professional cuddler.
Working Solutions hires work from home travel agents to take inbound calls to schedule air, hotel, and car reservations using Sabre Red. Experience preferred, but for the right individual, they’ll provide reservation training at no cost.
Your marketing plan. What’s your marketing budget? Where will you focus your efforts? Social media, email campaigns, online ads? If you’ve done enough research on your target market, you’ll know where to find them. Just like your milestones, your marketing efforts are bound to evolve — but you still need to establish an initial strategy.

Yes, you can make a lot of money with a simple ice cream shop! Perfect your ice cream before you start, find a good busy location without a crazy rent and consider starting with a smaller footprint to minimize your overhead. I’ll have an ice cream sundae please—with everything on it!
This is one of the most popular small businesses because everyone wants a house cleaner. The work is repetitive. But if you can show up on time and do a good job consistently (I find many the work of many cleaners deteriorates after the first few weeks), you will build a healthy clientele. And if you can charge enough so that you can delegate, you can grow this into a large business.
As long as you know multiple languages, you can build a business by offering translator services to individuals or businesses in need of assistance converting conversations or documents from one language to another.
As with any business, marketing is what unlocks your success. It’s not enough to know that there’s demand for your products—you need to figure out ways to reach the people that are most likely to buy them. You need to get the right visitors to discover your products.
Before you do any estimating, it’s important to understand how start-up costs are categorized. All start-up costs (meaning costs in the period before you start generating income) include two kinds of spending: expenses and capital expenditures.
Digital products like music, courses, and templates are unique on this list of ideas. Unlike the others, they’re not tangible products. There aren’t recurring manufacturing or shipping costs to worry about so your margins can remain high.
If you’re proficient in a highly specialized software, you can get paid to pass your knowledge on to amateurs and professionals looking to expand their skill sets. Technical manuals are available for programs like QuickBooks and Final Cut Pro, but these are often expensive and difficult for the average user to get through. Schedule small group workshops or private sessions, and charge by the hour for a full tutorial of the program. The best thing about this gig is that it can be done part time.
Reserve your business name. In some states, you can register your business name when filing your articles of incorporation. However, in other states, you must separately register your name before forming your LLC.
Come up with an executive summary. The first part of a business plan is the executive summary. Once you’ve developed the other parts, describe the overall business concept, how it will be monetized, how much funding you will need, where it stands currently, including its legal standing, people involved and a brief history, and anything else that makes your business look like a winning proposition.
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Depending on the type of business you’re in, your business structure, whether you’re hiring local Illinoisans, and where you set up shop, syncing with the tax code can happen as easily as hockey melded with Chicago.
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Please Note: These business opportunities require a small investment up front, but give you all the tools and support that you’ll need to start your very own home-based business in the direct sales industry.
Local: California issues general business licenses by city, so you’ll need to check in with your local Chamber of Commerce to find out the application process. They’ll also be able to let you know about any other local requirements you may be missing!
Arise connects small call center companies, run by people like you, to prestigious Fortune 500 clients through a virtual platform. Arise provides the clients, your company provides the service. YOU have the power to choose your clients, and schedule from t…
Get a post office box for your business. This is especially important if you have business cards or will be regularly corresponding through the mail. The simple fact of the matter is that PO boxes look more professional than using your home address.[8]
Below is a list of almost every non-phone work at home job I’ve reviewed here, with two links for each listing. One link will take you to the review of that company, and the other will take you directly to the page you need to sign up.
You can put a big sign on top of your truck or pull it around on a trailer. This is particularly powerful for local businesses because you can offer pinpoint marketing—driving around the same business block for example. You could also offer a service to hire people to agree to have a commercial sign mounted on their cars as they drive around town doing their usual thing. For example, a Boston radio station arranged to have hundreds of small VWs to be painted with their logos, paying each car owner a monthly stipend. How big can this business go? Well CNN/Turner Broadcasting founder Ted Turner made his initial money in the billboard business!
While this is a long list of business ideas—I have carefully pruned it for you. I started out with an initial list that was more than twice as long…and ruthlessly chopped off the weaker business ideas that I didn’t want you to consider starting.
Who says you need technology in order to start? Some people even enter paralysis from just not starting just because there is not enough technology or the technology they currently have is not as updated.
Companies are increasingly turning to freelance and contract workers to fill the skill gaps in their staff. It’s not hard to imagine that you could build a whole company around providing freelance services of one sort or another. Some freelance gigs pay by the project and others pay hourly, and the rates can vary greatly. But as you gain more experience, your earning potential will soar.
Photography can be very competitive and having a specialty, such as boudoir, can help attract customers and justify higher fees. The market for this tends to be brides and young wives buying pictures as a gift for their husband.
Choosing the path of entrepreneurship, and working on your side business idea, is without a doubt riskier than being content with holding a 9-5 job. It requires way more sacrifice. However, once you’re reaping the lifestyle benefits of being your own boss and hustling your way into making significantly more money with your business idea than you ever could at your day job, the hard work will have all been worth it. So, let’s talk business ideas.
Werewolves, step-brothers, and tentacles—the demand is high. As odd as it may sound, if you’ve got the imagination (and a clever pseudonym), you can make upwards of $5,000 a month writing erotic fiction in your free time as a side business idea.
Nicole received her Bachelor’s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the managing editor. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.
I loved to collect stamps and coins when I was a kid. In Boston, the dealers’ stores were all side by side on Bromfield street. Today some coin and stamp dealers still have retail locations but many others work primarily online. This is a great business to start part-time and then consider going full-time later on. Or is it just a hobby with the potential for making a lot of money? American President Franklin D Roosevelt would spend many enjoyable hours alone with his stamp collection.
Companies that provide employees with uniforms often also arrange for them to be cleaned and pressed every single day. You can specialize in certain types of uniforms and/or certain types of services. For example, you could rent uniforms to companies and handle all of their cleaning and pressing needs. You could lease or sell uniforms to companies and then either provide cleaning and pressing services or not.
Mechanical Turk operates much like TaskRabbit and GigWalk: it’s a corner online where Amazon gathers tasks to be done, people willing to do them, and people willing to pay for them. On Mechanical Turk, you get to do the oddest jobs you can imagine as an online business idea, made possible by a parallel online universe that runs on hits, visits, surveys, reviews, pins, likes, CPCs, reads, and other metrics. But don’t get too ambitious. The small sums being paid out to human Mechanical Turk users rarely add up to anything seriously substantial, even if you invest most of your spare time into it. It’s a better opportunity for internationally-based people with internet access and lower costs of living than in the US. Here’s one person’s account of his former life as a Mechanical Turk talking through how he got started with  this business idea and what the experience was really like.
Do you think too many aspiring entrepreneurs are trying to create the next big mobile/web app these days? Seems like there are tons of proven/simpler businesses that may be more suited for beginner entrepreneurs like the ones you’ve mentioned in this post!
Spending a leisurely afternoon in a swimming pool can be a lot of fun. But cleaning it can be a pain in the neck. Hence, most pool owners hire people to do the cleaning for them. If you need extra cash and don’t mind getting physical, then pool cleaning is a viable side business idea for you.
There are many ways to gain a competitive edge over other businesses in your industry: you could have a better product, a more efficient manufacturing or distribution process, a more convenient location, better customer service, or a better understanding of the changing marketplace.
Earning money on GigWalk is similar to working on Task Rabbit—not a bad side business idea if you’ve got the free time. You get to choose from an amusingly diverse range of jobs from taking snapshots of restaurant menus to counting the items arrayed on supermarket racks. It won’t make you rich though, with payouts tending to congregate in the lower half of their $3-to-$100 range. But, if you’re looking for a steady little side business idea, it can’t hurt doing a strange but fun errand and getting a tip at the end. When you’re bored or a little short on cash, you can access GigWalk anytime, anywhere via their mobile app. Meanwhile, all the jobs specifically vetted for you will be within reach (ideally, just a brisk walk away).
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Do you have investments or savings? If so, consider using a portion to fund your business. You should never invest all your savings into a business due to the risk of failure. In addition, you should never invest money put aside for emergency savings (experts recommend having three to six months of income put aside for this purpose), or money you will need over the next few years for various obligations.
A few years ago, I overheard a conversation in a gym about a fellow who was planning on starting an Irish pub, of which there are close to million (well almost a million) in Boston, but then changed his mind and opened a pub focusing on craft beers. It was wildly successful! In addition to being a unique idea at the time, he also chose an excellent location and developed a solid food menu. Unless your overhead is extremely low, you are probably going to need to serve food to make a go of this business, so yes you can be extremely successful–but it is no small undertaking.
Many small businesses in your community could use a very basic web presence to tell others about their business. Quite often, these businesses don’t have a large budget for such things. That’s where you come in – get a bunch of clients from the local community by beating the pavement, create sites for them, and maintain them for a small fee. Get enough businesses and you have a nice side business of your own that doesn’t require a ton of maintenance time.
Even in the Internet age, there is something about physically going to a weight loss center that helps bring commitment and seriousness to the weight loss process. The business models vary from a mixture of fees to just making money from selling prepackaged food. You want to make sure your customers not just lose some weight but also feel great about themselves, because then they will also feel great about you and your business, and become raving fans.