The fitness industry continues to be a lucrative market opportunity for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Despite a crippling recession, the *IHRSA (the fitness industry's global association) forecasts that U.S. health club memberships will reach 50 million by 2010 - a staggering 25% growth rate over today's numbers. Many factors play a part in fueling the success of this largely recession-proof industry - not the least of which is the growing trend among the 80 million plus baby boomers who are willing to part with their money to...
Selling imported goods within the U.S. can be a lucrative business opportunity. High demand imported products such as artisan crafts, furniture and even food and beverage products such as olive oils, wine, etc. represent a significant market opportunity for savvy business owners. Margins of up to 700% can be lucrative indeed. If you are interested in importing and selling overseas goods into the U.S. market - whether you are actually based in the U.S. or not - you will need to do your research regarding both the country of export and the...
Back in October 2009, *Duct Tape Marketing, a small business marketing site, published a survey that suggests that more and more small businesses are starting to adopt social media as a means to promote their business. Despite apparent initial skepticism, 45% of the 2,000 surveyed small businesses reported that they are now using some form of social media. The statistic may seem surprising. While many business owners already live in an online world, and find adoption of social media an inviting and essential challenge, for others simply...
Whether you've reached the end of the road as a business owner and are looking to move on, or have reached the point where you can 'cash-out' and reap significant rewards from a business sale, the process of selling a business can be almost as tricky to navigate as starting your dream business was in the first place. In addition to knowing when to sell, there are many decisions to be made and obligations to be met - from structuring your sale, to finding a buyer, managing regulatory ties and commitments, inventorying assets, transferring...
Being your own boss and earning a living as a freelancer has an appealing ring to it - so much so that approximately 25 million people in the U.S. are doing it! But freelancers are also business owners who must self-motivate, self-manage and self-promote. They must also take care of business administration, business operations, business development and business risk. Quite a lot for one person to manage! And while the savvy freelancer will be wise to factor in the cost of doing business as part of their hourly or project rate - what happens...
Changing the direction of your business - including altering your product or service offering, selling to a new market, or opting for new distribution channels - is no mean feat and requires significant planning and organizational buy in. As I look around my local small business community, it's very hard to find one example of a business that has changed direction radically and achieved success in the process. Many tweak their business models or add new services to stay competitive and profitable. But few undergo a complete re-brand and...
Back in January 2009, "open government" was the hot topic in Washington, D.C. In fact, President Obama's first memorandum on entering the White House proclaimed a new era of openness in government centered around the core mandates of transparency (making government data and operations more open), participation (driving greater and more diverse expertise into government decision making) and collaboration (fostering cooperation across agencies and with the public). This week, the spotlight is firmly back on "open government...
In the past few years "business turnaround" and "entrepreneurial" reality TV shows have become compelling viewing - opening our eyes to the successes and challenges inherent in being an entrepreneur or small business owner. From UK imports, such as Shark Tank, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and BBC America's excellent business transformation shows - Hotel Inspector and Mary Queen of Shops - to homegrown productions such as NBC's "The Restaurant" - reality-business TV offers a fascinating, albeit...
Whatever your product or service, and whatever the market – whether it be federal, state or local government – winning a share of government business can be a complex and time-consuming process. And no matter how lucrative government contracting can be, for many small business owners the prospect of contracting directly (called 'prime contracting') with a government agency is simply not within their capacity or scope. This is where government subcontracting comes into play. As a small business, your best bet for winning a...
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry is one of the natio;s largest industries, employing 1.8 million self-employed and unpaid family workers in 2008. And i-s not all-heavy constructio' -- 64 percent of these jobs fall in the specialty trade contractors sector, including plumbing, heating and air conditioning, electrical, and masonry! Despite the recession, the construction industry (in all its forms) still offers more entrepreneurial opportunities than many other industries. Of course, it takes much...
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