Business Opportunities

There are specific categories that denote different kinds of business operations offering opportunities for employment. The same categories apply to initiating an independent business that takes expertise in a particular domain.  It requires entrepreneurial skills, product knowledge and experience, market research to identify a niche market, and financial resources for initial stock and leasing of premises etc.  Depending on the business, it may also require professional certification such as an academic degree or a Food Handlers card.  There will need to be funds for a business license and advertising; extras are helpful such as a dedicated website and toll free telephone number.  Finally, it is imperative to find the right opportunity.

This can be a daunting task, so most people choose to begin with a franchise since start-up advice, suggested marketing strategies, existing client and/or referral lists, and an initial subsidy via a loan or grant funding may all be available. In the U.S. the most reliable place to look for guidance is the Small Business Administration (SBA). It offers sound business advice, provides guidance on funding, and suggests possibilities for grant funding.

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Small Business Administration: Starting a Business

An additional good idea before initiating your own franchise business is to research successful international companies to gain insight into their sound methods.  You may even benefit by gaining experience working with one of these companies that you can use later in your own business endeavor.  These top 20 global companies in 2014 based on financial rankings derived from market capitalization according to the IPO Centre did things right to initiate, popularize, and then consolidate their businesses.

Technology and Internet Providers: Apple is the top ranked international company with Google and Microsoft close behind.

Consumer Goods: Nestle, Procter and Gamble, Wal-Mart Stores, and Samsung Electronics.

Industrials:  General Electric

Healthcare: Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, Novartis, and Roche Holding AG.

Oil and Gas: Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, and Petro China.

Financials: Wells Fargo, HSBC Holdings PLC, JP Morgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway.

Based on employee surveys and management questionnaires, the Great Place to Work website’s “The World’s Best Multinational Workplaces,” lists four of these companies—Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Johnson and Johnson–in 2013 as among the best places to work. It adds several others including Cisco, Coca-Cola Company, McDonald’s, FedEx Express, Telefonica, American Express, Monsanto, and Marriott. You may choose to look at the reports and find out what the employees of Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Johnson and Johnson reported via the Great Places to Work surveys and questionnaires that gained these four companies outstanding reviews as employers.  You could apply that information when hiring and retaining employees for your own business.

To simplify the operating plan, a business opportunity “involves sale or lease of any product, service, equipment etc. that will enable the purchaser-licensee to operate a business,” according to Wikipedia.  The Entrepreneur website offers advice about buying a business.  It lists several franchises including ATMs, Fitness Centers, Batteries plus Bulbs, BlueGrace Logistics, Chem-Dry Cleaning, and a host of others.Moreover, there are four interdependent elements to initiating a business: a need, a means to fulfill that need, a method to apply the means to fulfill that need, and a method to benefit.

As the website Inc.com for Inc. Magazine states:

Why work around the clock to build a company in a declining industry when you could have a much easier ride in one that’s booming? Or, to paraphrase the great investor Warren Buffett, if you put a brilliant manager with a business with lousy

economics, it’s the business that tends to keep its reputation. That’s why many savvy entrepreneurs make sure the wind is at their backs before taking the plunge.

Heeding this advice, the best online resource seems to be Franchise.com that lists franchises by category, notes the top 25 franchises, and suggests “Big Opportunities.”  The information is direct and indicates that start-up money is required for each franchise; cash amounts vary from $4,016 for Coverall Health- Based Cleaning System or $9,500 for Concrete Technology or $9,995 for Cruise Planners Travel Rep for American Express to $250,000 for Ace Hardware or $500,000 for Pincho Factory.

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Nonetheless, there are opportunities for one-person enterprises with fewer limitations other than professional credentials or certification and/or state license and/or written recommendations, sometimes a credit check, and little cash expenditure such as dog-walking, renting a station in a beauty salon, or licensing a home business that requires no health inspections or employees, such as offering academic workshops by arrangement at public sites.

Regardless, advertising is essential and this takes sound promotional materials and online blogging.  One effective example is provided by a lesser known technology company competing with the “big guys.” Puppet Labs is an international software engineering firm headquartered in Portland, Oregon with clients in the U.K., U.S., Australia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Canada, and Australia. Puppet Labs make “IT automation software for systems administrators.”  According to their website they power several high tech companies—Twitter, Yelp, Disney, Google, Citrix, EBay, NYSE, Cisco Web Ex, PayPal, Salesforce, and Bank of America.

Another online resource is BizBuySell: The Internet’s Largest Business for Sale Marketplace website.

In conclusion, it is wise to beware of scams.  As the Federal Trade Commission advises at its website in its section “Consumer Information,” there are several ways to protect you from losing money when investing in a business or franchise.

Honor Vallor
Honor emigrated from England to the United States in the nineteen sixties. She has visited and lived in several countries including the British Isles, Spain, and Morocco. She has an M.A. in English from Portland State University and is a career educator as well as contracted writer. She serves on several academic committees including the Professional Ethics Committee for the Marylhurst University Chapter of the Association of American University Professors. In addition, she offers workshops for non-profit centers and public libraries.

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