Word about RadCru. Bloggers are eager to cover the innovative company, which just launched last July, and Playter and his team are using the free coverage to their advantage. Differentiate yourself. You have to find something that stands above the crowd. Read up on the law. New laws allowing online wine sales may have entrepreneurs giddy with excitement, but before you get carried away, Playter advises you to hire a good law-yer who knows about wine, and do extensive research to see how the new laws are affecting things.
You have these new markets, but it might not be worth it for some of these wineries to actually start selling in this market. Know your stuff. Launching a wine business requires a solid knowledge of wines, so you better brush up on your vintages before attempting to become a key player in the marketplace. When Jane Silber decided to get help for her 9-year-old daughter's weight problem, she found that lots of gyms didn't allow children to come in and work out--and the ones that did welcome children didn't have the right size equipment for them.
Mindful of Centers for Disease Control findings that the percentage of overweight children has tripled since , Silber, 41, recognized a hot business opportunity. In August, she opened Generation Now Fitness for tweens and teens in Chatsworth, California, equipping it with kid-size, fun-to-operate exercise equipment, a smoothie bar, a study room and other amenities. The kid gym concept is a hot one right now--in Entrepreneur's "Biz " column, we've been covering the exciting buildup to Karen Jashinsky's Los Angeles-based O2 MAX Fitness club for teens, featuring workouts as well as an internet cafe and tutoring--but other niche gyms are sizzling, too.
If you're thinking about starting a niche gym, get ready to break a sweat--and incorporate these startup tips into your routine. Know your niche. Patrick Ferrell, 50, who started Overtime Fitness for teens in Mountain View, California, is the father of three teenagers, so he already knows their issues well. But if you're thinking of starting a gym for kids and don't have any of your own-- you want some extra insight--you might volunteer as a sports coach, as Ferrell does.
Do your research. Offer amenities. In addition to fitness equipment, many niche gyms offer a number of amenities and ancillary services specially targeted to their dem-ographic. For instance, Overtime Fitness offers its teens classes on stress management, job interviewing, test taking and SAT prep, and it even has a hot sound and video system to make teens' favorite tunes reverberate from rock wall to rock wall. Fnd the right location. Silber hopes to expand her gym for tweens and teens to more locations and recommends doing lots of dem-ographic research for your location.
For instance, she's focusing on areas that have a high concentration of kids as well as high levels of childhood obesity. Tink of special promotions and partnerships geared toward your niche. Silber offers a Saturday "date night" to parents, encouraging them to drop off their kids for a few hours and go out to dinner, and has partnered with area restaurants to offer discounts to parents.
Children's Cooking With little feet coming in, the kitchen is getting crowded. Americans' interest in cooking has finally trickled down to the nation's kids. From cooking classes and kits to full-fledged cooking parties for youngsters, this still-hot category is even seeing kids' cookbooks as part of the recipe for success. Jordan, president and founder of Spoons Across America, a New York City nonprofit organization that provides food and cooking education programs to schools and community organizations across the country.
The interest has been so strong, in fact, that Beery, 52, started franchising her concept last year. According to Beery, "[Cooking] is a life skill, and if we didn't present it in a fun format, kids wouldn't want to keep coming back. Whether a kids' cooking business takes a recrea-tional or a more serious bent, like teaching children about health and food preparation, the key to success, say experts, is keeping it fun and age-appropriate.
Even kids as young as 2 can participate with simple foods, and as they get older, you can introduce more extensive fare. Tweens are a great entry point into the market, as is starting with simple cooking parties. Jordan suggests looking to regional food trends for what's hot among the kids in your area. Before you whip up your own kids' cooking business, consider the following ingredients for success. Play it safe. Be 1, percent sure of your safety procedures. Ensure all cooking classes cater to the students' ages--for instance, keep 5-year-olds away from flames and knives.
And as children get older, you should incorporate kitchen safety training, says Beery. Also, make sure your kitchen is compliant with all local and state sanitation requirements before you get started. Insurance is another consideration: Beery met with her insurance agent to discuss her needs as well as the kinds of cooking tasks the kids would be involved in at every age.
The number of children in the classes was also a factor in the type and amount of insurance needed. Says Beery, "Typically, our type of business needs [the kind of] insurance which is used for private, academic and vocational schools. Add peripherals. Selling related products can add to your bottom line. Beery, for example, writes children's cookbooks and sells take-home cooking kits.
12 Hot Business Ideas
Check out the competition. The children's cooking market is definitely a hot one, so see what your local competitors are offering. Determine how you can differentiate your company's services. Offer more than just cooking. Many parents love a full-service party for their kids--where the vendor provides not only the cooking materi-als, but also the location and cleanup services. Market themed cooking parties with all the trimmings to stressed-out parents who, like Beery's clients, are relieved to hand over those duties and willing to pay a premium for peace of mind.
Test the recipe. Check out local community organizations, suggests Jordan; they might give you an opportunity to organize a trial class. It seems that even with today's high gas and energy prices, Americans always have a buck for a burger. In fact, so much attention is on this American staple that it's one of the smartest startup ideas around. The secret is making yours a burger joint with a clever twist. Husband-and-wife team Tim and Liza Goodell, 41 and 36, respectively, just added 25 Degrees, a Hollywood burger and wine bar, to their impressive list of restaurants.
Offering deluxe toppings such as caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes and a variety of high-end cheeses, this isn't your typical burger joint. And neither is the sophisticated setting of crystal chandeliers, leather booths and velvet wallpaper. Ivan Brown, brand manager of ground beef at Cargill Meat Solutions, a Wichita, Kansas-based ground beef producer, couldn't agree more. According to Brown, 8. Appealing to all age groups and income levels, entrepreneurs can beef things up with upgrades, customization and flavor. Give consumers high-end toppings, the freedom to create, and spicy, ethnic and untraditional flavor options, and this is one item certain to keep the grill red-hot.
Immerse yourself in the industry. Opening a hamburger restaurant may sound simple, but get some sound experience at a restaurant before jumping in headfirst.
Says Tim, "[You've] got to know the numbers and the percentages well in order to succeed. Set yourself up for success. The restaurant industry is a competitive marketplace, says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research at the National Restaurant Association in Washington, DC. Know who you're serving. Study your target market, and take the time to get to know what they want and expect. According to Brown, customers today are willing to show you the money as long as they get plenty of options, flavor and quality in their burgers: "They're willing to pay a little bit more, but they want their money's worth.
Keep an eye on the economy. Overall, the restaurant industry is exploding. In fact, according to Riehle, However, as fast as the industry is speeding forward, be aware of factors that might affect different industry segments. For example, recent studies have indicated that the high energy and gas prices have hurt the casual dining segment while leaving fast food and high-end restaurants practically untouched.
Tracking the economy will help you determine what your customers are willing to spend their disposable money on. Let your imagination run wild. Differentiate yourself from the competition by using your creative thinking. Says Riehle, "[Hamburgers] will always remain an American favorite, but there are a lot of enhancements and tweaking of the basic menu item that can [be done] and are being done. Nonmedical Home Care The boomers are aging, and this market is booming. Tomorrow's forecast? According to the Census Bureau, 13 percent of the popu-lation will be over the age of 65 by By , the figure will jump to Many older people want to remain in their family homes as long as they can, so savvy entrepreneurs are rushing in to provide a range of nonmedical home care services that help them age in place.
However, the biggest obstacles to breaking into nonmedical home care are often the seniors themselves, who are reluctant to acknowledge their needs. Start strong. Be sure you make the proper investments in your staff and infrastructure before you take on any clients. Make connections. According to Cohen, most of your clients will be referred by health-care providers such as assisted living facilities and hospital systems.
Choose the right location.
You should balance two important factors when deciding on a location for your corporate offices, Cohen says. You want to be in an affluent enough area so that there will be a large number of people who can pay for your services out-of-pocket, but the offices also need to be accessible to the home health-care workers who will be your field staff.
Look for a location that is well-served by public transportation. Focus your marketing on adult children. Most seniors are unwilling or unable to acknowledge their need for nonmedical home care, so don't focus your marketing efforts on them. Instead, develop thoughtful marketing strategies aimed at adult children that educate them and help them navigate the maze of long-term care considerations.
Your website should be succinct and easy to understand, using fonts and colors that are kind to the older eyes of both seniors and their middle-aged children. Have a solid sales team. Cohen says that many people going into this kind of business fail because they don't understand the value of a vigorous sales staff. She explains, "When the phone rings, there has to be someone there who is comfortable selling the service.
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Hire the right people. Kids' sports--from baseball and soccer to basketball and volleyball--are hot, and entrepreneurs jumping into the sports education field are scoring major points. With so many parents wanting to help their kids excel in their sport of choice, there's an ample market willing to shell out good money to train young superstars-to-be.
1. Update your marketing plan.
The comprehensive sports training company boasts two facilities with camps, clinics and everyday sports classes--it even provides parties for excited youngsters, offering everything from batting cages to pitching clinics. Though their core market is kids ages 5 to 17, their Soccer Tots program targets wee ones from about 18 months to 5 years old.
At The Sports House, kids get not only physical exercise, but also personalized training, which parents love. Getting into the market takes skill, notes Sally S. She's noticed an increase in sports interest across the board--especially in organized youth sports--and suggests that startup youth sports trainers first get training. NCYS offers administrative courses for youth sports professionals, while the American Sport Education Program offers specialized coaching training as well as many online tools for coaches.
Ready to jump into kids' sports education with your own business? Consider the following before getting started. Get the requisite training. If you want to start educating youngsters about sports, you have to be a master yourself. You should be well-versed in your sport of choice, and if you lack coaching experience, be ready to bring someone in who has some. Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC delivered to your inbox.
Innovative Online Business Ideas You Can Start Today - [Video Included]
Many states are investing in technology infrastructure with the hope of luring more entrepreneurs. Julie Albertson, founder of the Texas Pie Company, says the environment in Texas has buoyed the growth of her business. Andrew Legge, founder and managing partner of Havelock Wool. Your browser does not support iframes. Related Tags. Eric Rosenbaum. VIDEO Scott Cohn. Read More. News Tips Got a confidential news tip? We want to hear from you. Get In Touch. If you're in business, you simply need to embrace the reality that the market will ultimately dictate your success.
That means you have to make sure the numbers support your idea. Get information about the basics:. You're up against 10 competitors. Is that really worth it? Can you ever make a profit? Or is there a way you can create a new niche where you can be a number-one provider? Once you have a handle on the reality of the market, you can make better decisions about how to jump into it, or find a more creative way of serving it even if you come in as a supplier or vendor serving those companies.
Pick proven categories, then find your niche. Broad proven categories typically offer greater opportunities than hot new markets. As I have mentioned before, given the option of going into a sizzling new tech category or buying into the shoe market, I'd go with shoes every time. People all over the world need and have purchased shoes for a very long time. It's a proven commodity with built-in opportunities for repeat business and added-value options in terms of accessories "Would you like socks with that?
The tech opportunity? Tech markets tend to move quickly and customer tastes and preferences change rapidly so that the typical product life-cycle is as brief as that of a fruit fly. Start broad, general and proven -- then think about a specific niche. At this stage, you can't go too narrow. In fact, I'd advise you go as narrow as you can and see what the opportunities are in the smallest niches possible, then expand from there. You'd be surprised by the problems that need to be solved and the services that buyers seek.
With a narrow niche, you can rapidly grow and easily be the sole provider. You'll also be in the position of a "price maker" with profitable margins rather than a "price taker" with lower prices and thinner margins. Plus, you'll be a leader in a less competitive landscape. Focus on wallet share, not market share. Going after new customers or buying marketing share is the most expensive way to build your business. Going after repeat business and customer loyalty, on the other hand, allows you to change your objective from, "How can I get a new customer" to "How much can I sell to each of my customers, and how long can I keep them?
A relentless focus on repeat business is like an insurance policy for your marketing program as it is far less expensive to sell to a current customer than purchase a new one. Think about how you can retain your customers for repeat business so you can get an exponential return on your initial advertising or marketing investment. Once you build a loyal customer base, you'll greatly reduce your outside marketing costs by using good old-fashioned word-of-mouth advertising.
Put your ideas to the test.