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Re: Want to take your business to the next level? Ask a Business Coach!

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Message 1 of 36

Hey @LeaF205791 

 

Thanks for your question and for being out there working hard to create new jobs.  

 

Your situation is NOT uncommon and I wish I had a really easy answer to make everything better.   Once you have completed the 'start up' phase and feel that you have your operations in a good spot, it ALWAYS comes down to getting that one more customer.  There is no ONE right answer, but finding what works in your community is the key.   

 

In your industry, you need people to actually come in your store.  Typical internet marketing, social media, and ad campaigns are most likely NOT the best approach.   You should consider specific marketing ideas in your specific community.   Partnering with the local High School could be a great idea.   Partnering with local fitness outlets such as 24 Hour Fitness, CycleBar, Yoga fitness shops, etc. can be a great opportunity.   Try and do the math that works for initial discounts for specific outlets.   Again, the options that seem to work best are those that provide convenience so those that are closest to you will tend to be the best. 

 

Specific marketing options targeting those specific people could provide a bump in your repeat customers.   

 

Those are just a few ideas, and without sitting down with you it would be difficult to prepare a formal plan....but the key is keep trying things until you find that ones that work.  It has to be more than just opening the door and providing a great product, but also less than a major wide broadcast campaign.  Be specific and targeted.   Download a map of all businesses within say a 5 min drive of your spot.   Then list each one and try and identify what THEIR clientele look like and when they come and go to those locations.  Try and prioritize which of those customers would be your best customers and that should result in your To-Do list of who to contact and in what order. 

 

I hope this helps even if it is less than magic.  Keep trying....Don't give up....But also, DON'T just wait behind the counter for people to show up.  Keep me posted on your success, of which I have no doubt!!!

 

Keith 

@LeaF205791 wrote:

 Thank you for taking my questions.  I opened a juice, smoothie and create your own salad bar in December 2018. I exhausted my pension in the start up kid the business. Now, I find that I can't keep up with the expenses eventhough the business is doing well. 

My question is Howe do I begin to grow my business when I can't get caught up?


 

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Message 2 of 36

 Thank you for taking my questions.  I opened a juice, smoothie and create your own salad bar in December 2018. I exhausted my pension in the start up kid the business. Now, I find that I can't keep up with the expenses eventhough the business is doing well. 

My question is Howe do I begin to grow my business when I can't get caught up?

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Message 3 of 36

Hey @RogerL547490 

 

Sorry for the delay in my response, but somehow I just didn't hit "Post"   Maybe that is why I am not a business technology coach, hahaha!!!

 

The good news is that there are lots of options for startup funds even if many of the options may not be that easily obtained.  The first key point is how much do you need for your advertising goals since the level of funding will get more and more difficult the more that you need.   

 

My first recommendation is to apply for as many grant programs as you can find.   There are many organizations that have grant programs for small startups.  Most require a business plan, financial projections, etc. along with their own applications.   The grant option is the first choice since it is the least expensive source of funding in that your cost is only measured in your time. 

 

Second, you should consider on line crowd funding options.   This is becoming much more popular for the smallest of funding needs and seems to be getting more streamlined as more potential investors commit to the concept.   As with the grant option, make sure you have your "pitch" ready.   Make sure your '60 second' story is detailed yet concise.   Make sure your business plan or "pitch deck" is ready.   Be specific!  This option is the second choice because it may be more expensive than most, but only if you are successful.  If you are willing to take on an equity investor or investors it will be less expensive now, but in the long term could be even more costly.   

 

Third option would be to consider applying for a loan to fund the costs that you are considering.  The SBA has several secured lending options that can be helpful that are basically administered by local banks.   Find your local banker that works with an SBA preferred lender which means that can make the small business loans with the SBA guarantee.   This option may be the best option is you are unwilling to allocate an equity piece to secure the funding.  This will certainly be more expensive than the grant approach, but may be less expensive in the long term than finding an equity partner.  

 

A fourth option that is considered by many new small business owners is to invite friends and family to "invest" in your new venture.   In many cases this is the easiest approach and may require the least effort and the least paperwork.  At you might guess this is NOT my favorite approach.  If this is an option that you will consider, make sure that you put everything down in writing.   Get everyone to sign everything and make sure the idea and the assumptions are clear to all parties.   The best time to get everything out on the table is at the very beginning.  Regardless of your level of success or failure, most parties will remember things differently in the future....so make sure the deal is clear, in writing, and that everyone is on the same page.  

 

I hope this gives you some places to start.  Let me know if you need more detail or if you would just like to discuss further. 

 

All the best,

Keith

@RogerL547490 wrote:

Yes! Looking for best options to secure start up costs for mostly advertising. Thank you.


 

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Message 4 of 36

Yes! Looking for best options to secure start up costs for mostly advertising. Thank you.

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Message 5 of 36

Hey @PamL728782 :

 

Thanks for your question and for creating new jobs and new industries.   

 

I agree with you in that, no doubt you are part of building a new industry.   The great news about being part of a new industry is being first....which usually means good things ounce you have everything figured out.   It is the old saying about being in on the ground floor.   So well done!!!  

 

The down side of the ground floor and being among the first to build something new, is that you have to clear all of the pot holes and hurdles that future owners will take for granted.   This new industry is certainly intriguing and it is difficult to predict that it will be anything other than HUGE.   As you already know, the major issue right now, is the difference between State laws and Federal laws.   We have only been struggling with States versus Federal for about 250 years and it’s not likely to end any time soon.   So part of my advice to always be aware of both…you still have to meet both and satisfy both as you and your peers endeavor to figure this out. 

 

There are more ways to move and collect money now than at any time in history.  Entreprenueur.com has a great article reviewing the top 15 online payment methods will some significant detail.  Here is direct link to their article that is a great place to start.  

 

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/286006

 

You can also simply “Google” “Online Payment Systems” to other detail for multiple options.   Setting up multiple payment options for your customers can be a great marketing tool as well as a financial tool.   As you build this model, it would be a good idea to work with a number of these options to leverage your own future regarding which of these will indeed take the  lead in this new industry.  

 

I do not have a crystal ball nor do I pretend to understand the intricacies of this new industry, but I do believe that new laws and new processes will be addressed at both State and Federal levels.  For today, having as many options available will put you in a better position to react to whatever comes down the path from a political standpoint in the next few years. 

 

I hope this helps and let me know if you need more detail or if you would like to discuss further.

 

All the best,

 

Keith

 

@PamL728782 wrote:

We are in a cutting edge business.  We produce Hemp Cigarettes.  Since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, Hemp is legal but the credit card companies have been inconsistant about working with us.  Several time they have keep our funds.  Any advice on how we can have an online store and people pay us?

Both Smokes.jpgSmokes, original, menthol and now with Kratom


 

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Message 6 of 36

We are in a cutting edge business.  We produce Hemp Cigarettes.  Since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, Hemp is legal but the credit card companies have been inconsistant about working with us.  Several time they have keep our funds.  Any advice on how we can have an online store and people pay us?

Both Smokes.jpgSmokes, original, menthol and now with Kratom

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Message 7 of 36

Hey @MischelleM338817 

 

Thanks for your post and I am so sorry to hear about your struggles.  I wish I had an easy answer on how to turn things around for you guys.

 

I believe the first key point here is to try and figure out the reason or reasons for the change in your business.   Sit down with your husband and go through all of the details.  Try and find a place away from the norm...get away from your daily routine even is just taking a picnic to a park....but get away from everything else and just focus on the changes that have occurred over the last few years. 

 

You mentioned that part of the issue could have been personal (an illness) but most likely there are other circumstances as well.   Do your best to identify the critical things that have changed.   You mentioned that you don't understand the slumps, but we have to sit down and figure those out.  Once you have done that, then we can evaluate whether or not those factors are permanent or if they can be fixed.

 

If the issues you guys can identify are fixable, then we can build a plan to reinstate the model that is based on rebuilding the business that you have been so proud of.  If those factors are not fixable such as personal issues that are not likely to get better or market conditions that have fundamentally changed your industry, then we may have some more difficult choices.   

 

I hate adding tired old adages to these conversations, but it is difficult to expect different results when you keep doing the same things....So let's start today, doing things differently.  Start with that offsite meeting to have a heart to heart with your husband about the business and about the things that have changed within your business.   From there we can re-focus on your goals and your short term and long term plans.  

 

I wish my answer was better and I wish I had some great magic to share but as you already knew this process is not an easy one.  Try and stay focused on the specific business issues you are facing and try and separate the personal ones.   Then let's get back together and see where we are.  

 

Best of luck and I will be here to help in any way that I can.

 

Keith

@MischelleM338817 wrote:

Hello! Keith Hall,

 

My Husband, Has a failing business again.

We did have 3 brick and mortar locations. I had gotten sick and now of course it is my fault. But we are losing everything. We are down to 1 location and sales are falling off greatly. Which I can not understand because we have a lot of warranty service for a multitude of companies. There does not seem to be a reason for the slumps. Please! Send help!



 

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Message 8 of 36

Hello! Keith Hall,

 

My Husband, Has a failing business again.

We did have 3 brick and mortar locations. I had gotten sick and now of course it is my fault. But we are losing everything. We are down to 1 location and sales are falling off greatly. Which I can not understand because we have a lot of warranty service for a multitude of companies. There does not seem to be a reason for the slumps. Please! Send help!

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Message 9 of 36

Hey agian Annette  @HICAREBROKER

 

The first key point to remember here is that converting from a regular for profit corporation to a formal NON profit corporation is a complete change in direction and even completely different forms with your State's, Secretary of State, different bylaws, different everything.   My first recommendation would not be to "convert" but to start completely fresh with a brand new entity.   Also remember that forming the non-profit organization with your State is also a completely different process than applying for tax exemption under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).   So two totally different processes!!!

 

The main difference between your existing corporation and the non-profit corporation is where the money goes at the end of the day.  Under the non-profit corporation there are no shareholders or owners who benefit from the net income of the non-profit.   The true equity or ownership rests with “members” or the general group that is benefiting from the purposes of the organization.   So at the end, no profit or money goes to those owners.   That doesn’t mean that the founders or workers cannot be paid for services, but there is no “ownership”.   If the proceeds are going straight to the missions and churches that you want to help, it may end up being much easier to just donate the funds directly.  

 

From a tax standpoint, there general rule would still be the same.  Remembering that the entity is intended to tax exempt, so there is no longer a concern of what is deductible or not since there is no tax.   However, the concept of WHAT can be paid by the new entity will still be the same.  That is the expense must be ordinary and necessary for the business and must also be reasonable.   The expense of the “poker tournaments” would have the same guidelines.   Providing cash prizes may be in violation of state laws which is something you should look into first.   Providing prizes for drawings or winning would most likely be different for your state as well.  Again, that will be specific to your charter and to your state. 

 

Providing benefits to employees would certainly be a reasonable expense.  The plan would need to be non-discriminatory.  If you are thinking of providing benefits to NON-employees (agents) that would be trickier and most likely something you should avoid.   Providing benefits to non-employees, at some point could cross a line and the workers could be deemed employees in retrospect which would be a disaster.   So be very careful in providing employee type benefits to NON employees. 

 

I know that is a lot of detail so let stop and give you a chance to breathe.   Let me know if any of that makes any sense.


Keith
@HICAREBROKER wrote:

Hi Keith,

Thanks for your response!

1. If I wanted to amend my articles of incorporation to converting to a 501 (c) (3), what are the advantages, disadvantages?  (My intent is to help fund ministries, specifically churches and YWAM-Kingdom Builders).  I'm trying to figure out if it's better to file as a 501 (3) (c), or simply donate.

2. What do I do with the stock shares?

3. If becoming a charitable corporation, would there be allowable expenses as a non 501 (c) (3)?

4. If we wanted to host a poker tournament once or twice a year and winnings were under $5K, would cash or trips be a better prize in terms of a write off or would it be the same?

5. If medical, dental and vision benefits were offered to the agents, is that a write off? 100%

 

Thanks again,

Annette

 


 

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Message 10 of 36

Hi Keith,

Thanks for your response!

1. If I wanted to amend my articles of incorporation to converting to a 501 (c) (3), what are the advantages, disadvantages?  (My intent is to help fund ministries, specifically churches and YWAM-Kingdom Builders).  I'm trying to figure out if it's better to file as a 501 (3) (c), or simply donate.

2. What do I do with the stock shares?

3. If becoming a charitable corporation, would there be allowable expenses as a non 501 (c) (3)?

4. If we wanted to host a poker tournament once or twice a year and winnings were under $5K, would cash or trips be a better prize in terms of a write off or would it be the same?

5. If medical, dental and vision benefits were offered to the agents, is that a write off? 100%

 

Thanks again,

Annette

 

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