Small Business Trends, Not Fads

by Caleb Page on February 13, 2013

So you have this restless part of you that wants to be your own boss. In command. In control. Choosing your own hours. You’re so ready to tell your employer to “Take this job and shove it” as the song goes. Only you don’t have a clue about what business you would start. You need an idea.

I’m going to share with you how to uncover at least one great key industry where you will be able to create a business that will provide for you and your loved ones over the long-term. It can be summed up in one expression, “Trends, not fads.”

Why is this important? Have you ever seen a restaurant open only to watch it close a year or two later? Remember Cabbage Patch Dolls? Beanie babies? Compact Discs? Buggy Whips? Do you have any friends who were travel agents, printers, or mortgage brokers? You can only imagine the level of uncertainty and doubt in their worlds as they watch their industries in decline.

Trends, not fads.

How do you identify a trend? Let’s take a look. What’s happening in California at this moment? According to the State of California’s Department of Finance, Hispanics will become the ethnic majority within six months.  The report states the population will continue to grow to Hispanics being 41% of the state population to whites’ 37% in 2020. The shift in consumer trends, political impact, and social changes will be gradual and permanent.

Trends, not fads.

What about nationally? Have you ever heard of renter nation? It’s been documented in a number of news outlets including USA Today. Home ownership is at its’ lowest rate in 15 years at 65.4% as reported by the US Census Bureau. The median asking rent is at its’ highest ever at $724. This may be due to both lack of supply and inflation, but the trend is unmistakable. There is a shift from owning a home to renting. Take a look at hydraulic fracturing and how it is affecting our oil and gas industries. The International Energy Agency forecasts the US will produce more energy than Saudi Arabia by 2020 and will be energy independent 10 years later.

Trends, not fads.

Global challenges to discuss? The World Health Organization reports 3.4 million people die each year from water related diseases. The World Bank continues to sound the alarm about rising food prices – grain is up 12% against the same time last year and almost at the all-time high it reached in 2008. Urban drift is the norm – the United Nations predicts by 2050 that 64.1%  of the developing and 85.9%developed world will be urbanized.

Trends, not fads.

You’re itching to make a move from your current situation by can’t find an idea that’s good enough to take the risk. Here are three general steps you can follow:

  1. Make a list of the things you like.
  2. Out of that list, figure out which ones of those are part of long-term trends.
  3. Start researching the field by reading everything available and interviewing anyone who will speak to you.

Guaranteed you will find the industry where you’ll want to apply your skills and passion for your next chapter in life.

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What Franchise Should I Buy?

by Caleb Page on February 5, 2013

With many new choices every year on top of regular favorites, it’s difficult to answer the question, “Which franchise should I buy?”

It is as easy as going to a current issue of Entrepreneur magazine. They have lots of lists for nearly any category and budget. It is a good a place as any to start. For me, I quickly find all the information confusing. It’s an easy way to lose hours to the internet without being much smarter than before.

The real question lies in answering, “What do I want to do?” Does retail (and it’s hours) interest you? Does the service industry (and it’s employees) have a pull on you? Perhaps you prefer restaurants (both hours and employees!). Will you be happy with any of these choices?

One way to answer these questions is to take a look at what you have already done. Chances are you have a bunch of experiences – some of these you like, some you don’t. There’s a classic exercise of writing the stories behind several of the accomplishments of which you’re most proud. As you look through these stories, look for common threads of activities. They may come out as verbs such as lead, coordinate, or analyze. They may show up as nouns for different places you’ve been or organizations of which you’ve been a member.

There’s an exercise to highlight what you dislike as well. Make a list of things you’ve done that you haven’t enjoyed. Keep this at a work level unless the personal experience can relate to your job or profession. The key step in this exercise is to find the negative and then write down the opposite of that negative. This attribute is the positive quality you’d like to see in your next line of work. For example, if you had a manager who micro managed you, you may want more autonomy in what you choose to do next.

Think closely about the franchise that fits you best – while there are plenty of people looking to sell you what they have, only you can figure out what’s best for you.

 

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This is the 28th post of a 30-day series on how to start a business. Yesterday I covered training. Today I review sales objections. If you are going to open your own business, get used to people saying, “No.” Even the best closers have a close rate lower than 100%. There are many reasons – [...]

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