Ask Entrepreneur - Franchises

Franchises

Any advice for a group of friends who want to start investing in a group or entity?

I have a small group of friends with a wide range of expertise interested in forming some sort of investment group or entity. This group includes friends that want to keep their day job as an investment broker, ER doctor, accountant, fundraiser, political consultant, IT consultant, land developer, multi-family housing builder, restaurant owner, and a dentist. We're not sure what kind of business opportunity would be most beneficial for our situation--venture capital, consulting, investment banking or maybe something else.

What advice do you have for our group?
Tim Berry
Starting a Business

How do I help my 15 year-old son start a business?

Hello there, I am producing a instructional DVD for music instruction and I would like my son to manage the sales so he can start learning about business. How would I go about this? He lives in Kissimmee, FL and I live in New York City. He is an ace of a son and is doing phenomenal in school. I wish to help him out with my talent and have him earn the profits of my labor for his future college tuition. The DVD sales are estimated to bring in at least $70,000 in the first year and they will be done through the internet.
Tim Berry
Growth Strategies

Our business's service is becoming obsolete--where do we go from here?

We are a bookbindery that's been in business for over 30 years, but more and more of our customers are putting in their own machinery so they don't have to out source the work. So we're trying to think of any other type of service we can provide to either our present customers or new customers. What is the best way to begin this process?
Brad Sugars
Starting a Business

How do the benefits and disadavantages of a sole proprietorship compare to that of incorporation?

I have been operating my small business as a sole proprietorship for the past two and a half years. I've had losses the past two years but now that my business is really prospering, I'm wondering if it would be in my best interest to incorporate and what the benefits would be to do so? I hear that S-Corps are the best option for small businesses--is that true?
Brad Sugars
Growth Strategies

Should you compare one employee to another?

My boss told me I should dress like another employee in my office. Was that right?
Elinor Robin
Marketing

What's the most effective way to advertise next to a highway?

I have a floral business next to a busy US highway and want to know how to put more pizazz into my marquee. What basic things attract highway drivers' eyes to advertising?
Kim T. Gordon
Marketing

How do I sell my product to K-12 schools?

I've started up a business that's focused on free and open source software installation and support for the K-12 schools. Most of my activity has been focused on marketing over the last four months and based on data from my newsletter campaign and the interest is very high. Readership is around 20 percent and click-thru's are about 5 percent. However, I'm having problems finding and identifying the key decision makers and moving from interest to a sale.
Kim T. Gordon
Marketing

How do I know whether I should change locations?

I don't want to give up on my location's cheap rent, but I need more walk-ins. Business at my hair salon is very slow--I only get two walk-ina a month. Is it worth it to pay 2 to 3 times more on rent in a better location?
Kim T. Gordon
Starting a Business

Are my personal assets protected under a business set up as a DBA?

My main asset is my house and that's what I'm worried about. Is it protected from my business? Do I have to get incorporated to protect this?
Nina Kaufman
Starting a Business

How do I prepare myself to take over my parents' business?

I'm 17 years old and my parents own a successful restaurant. I feel I need to be well-educated to take over the business, but I didn't get the best grades in high school. Would a 2-year school prepare me better since I'm not looking to get a job after college?
Tim Berry
Growth Strategies

What kind of strategy should I lay out to continue growing?

I am currently running a 1 year-old construction business that's renovating the St. Louis area. The business generated approximately $100,000 in 2007 (gross) and I am looking for ways or available funding opportunities that will enable me to expand. My goal is to hire at least 2-3 full time employees (currently using subcontractors) and I would also like to offer a benefits package to them over the next 12 months. The business is coming in, but I am reluctant to take on too much if I cannot hire the help I will need in order to complete the tasks. What kinds of loans or programs are available for women in this field who have already started a business, but are growing and looking to expand?
Tim Berry
Franchises

How much of the capital invested in a franchise is deducted?

I have been doing research on the tax deductions that associate with the capital necessary to start and run a franchise. I am familiar with the Schedule C, but, am not sure how much I can depreciate each year on my taxes.
Jeff Elgin
Growth Strategies

After looking at the end-of-year sales figures, how should I determine bonuses for my staff?

How should a wise business person work out the bonuses for the staff? What other costs should a business set aside before bonuses are worked out (i.e operating cost for the new financial year)?
Penny Morey