We are the first men`s personal training gym in the Raleigh, NC area. I am also the Area Developer for the Athletic Nation Franchise Corporation and love entrepreneurs and small business in general.
Food, drugstores, medical care (especially for the elderly), car and home repair and maintenance - it doesn`t matter what the economy does, people always need this stuff. Find a way to get it to them smarter, quicker, with less fuss and they will use it.
I agree with Craig and Dale. The upside far outstrips the few who will try to game you. I can`t emphasize enough that your stuff has to be "worth it" or you will get disgruntled returns and your name can turn to trash very quickly.
Great advise. One caution though. I`d hate to think of this as "free". True, it may cost the business owner no money, but the best way to get papers or other media to pay attention to your business is to develop a relationship with them first. Email the business writers for your local paper or news station; comment on an article or story they did; provide useful information they may not have thought of or, even better, because of your expertise, you know a bit more about than they do. Create a relationship such that you are now a potential source for them. With these types of relationships built, stories or PR about you, your employees or your company will come much more readily and you`ll be quoted or used as a reference much more than with a single shot story about your business.
So, doing it this way doesn`t cost money necessarily, but it does take some effort.
Thanks for the tips, Dale!
Go at it one side at a time. Figure out what you`re going to sell, then determine (guess) what your sales will be. Be conservative. Go at the expense side then. Think of every possible expense - website, shipping, payroll (if any), accountant and other professional advise, corporate filings, overhead - every possible thing. Then match them up to see if its feasible. Then you can worry about the cash flow and formal financials of a business plan program. Make sure it has the potential to work before you spend a ton of time on the plan (that should be done when the business is being planned, not when you`re deciding whether to do it)