Ask Entrepreneur - Marketing

Marketing

How do I market to a low-income demographic?

I run a daycare. What strategies can I use to effectively advertise to a market of single women that lead households with an income at or below poverty level? Any suggestions on how I should draft my ads and where to get a response?
Paige Arnof-Fenn
Finance

Should I have more than one bank account set up to handle vendor payments and one for payroll?

I am starting a small deli business. I will have 3 employees to start, not including myself.
Pam Newman
Marketing

I do a great job running my business, but not marketing it--what should I do?

I have 20 years experience in high quality collision repair. My auto body shop is more like a home cooked meal than the normal fast food auto body shops that just look at their customers like a number and a paycheck. I offer interest free financing on customers deductibles and can sometimes wave them altogether. I work well with all insurance companies but not for them. I have a small shop so the overhead is lower, and that enables me to afford the best materials. I am personally responsible for all repairs and customer service. My customers actually get to talk to the guy who is repairing their car. I have also built and painted many award winning custom cars and bikes where quality is judged by the best. I am proficient in all facets of auto body repair and if I can't fix something I have a network of craftsmen I can contact to fix what I can't. My weakest point is selling myself as I am not knowledgeable in marketing and I have little capital to put towards marketing.
Pattie Simone
Finance

Our floorplan, architect, and blueprint costs seem high--how can I get them lower?

I am opening a coffee shop in our city. In order to get approval from the zoning and building dept, we need bludprints of all of our plans. The space is 1000 square feet and the plans are not extravagant. The fee proposal sent to us from the firm we are dealing with (currently) quotes $1200-1500, with other hourly costs added later. This seems like a lot, especially since our budget to get the shop off the ground is 22-25k. Is there another route we can take or is this a necessary cost that we will have to work our budget around? Any insight would be helpful.
Brad Sugars
Starting a Business

How do I find a job working for an entrepreneur?

I recently graduated from University of Colorado with a marketing major. I currently work in small business healthcare sales processing group that is boring and beaurocratic. I want to start my own business but I'm not sure what that should be yet. I would like to work for an entrepreneur to get an experience of what is involved in establishing a startup. How do I find such a job?
Brad Sugars
Starting a Business

Should I outsource or do it myself?

I am considering running a concessions stand outside of my business versus renting out space to existing restaurants. I'm wondering if it is more profitable for me to do it myself or have someone else do it for me so I could just collect rent or get revenue sharing.
Brad Sugars
Starting a Business

Are there any special licenses for doing business online in other countries?

I am looking into starting a company that provides services online to our customers. Our customers are billed monthly for the services. I haven't registered the company legally or anything for fear of doing it wrong. Is an L.L.C. the best way to operate? Do you have to have an EIN? Federal Tax Number?
Nina Kaufman
Franchises

What kind of franchise is the easiest for me to get started at?

I am a 23 year-old female wanting to open up my own business. As a first timer, do you think opening a smoothie and coffee franchise is the best way to go? I'd like a steady income as I learn about business and hopefully open my own franchise in the future. I have $50,000 in savings and my uncle will loan me the rest to start up my business, but everyone is telling me that I am too young. But I've been ready since I turned 18. I am currently working on my Bachelors in Business Administration and Management.
Jeff Elgin
Starting a Business

What's the best way to research which states are better to run a business in?

I live in New York. My business partner lives in Massachusetts. We're trying to decide whether to incorporate our next online venture in New York or Massachusetts. Are there any sources or people who can help us make an informed decision about the financial and legal pros and cons of launching a company in New York vs. Massachusetts?
Nina Kaufman
Growth Strategies

How do I start hiring my first employees?

I currently own and operate a cleaning company. I have been in this business for 10 years and now have so much work I need to hire employees to work for me and I don't know where to get started. I currently turn down work because I can't do it all myself. Where should I start?
Penny Morey
Starting a Business

I'd like to start a local Craigslist-type website--where should I start?

I'm just getting started on this, so I have many questions! I have had an idea for a local website for my city. This would include events, jobs, dating, ads (a Craigslist, just on a much smaller scale). This goal of mine wakes me up every morning at 4AM!!! I must do this!! Thanks for anything you can share with me.
Lena West
Marketing

How can I help my store get more foot traffic nearby?

My store is located in a corner of a busy street and cars just drive by. How do I get more foot traffic by my store?
Paige Arnof-Fenn
Franchises

What are the pros and cons of using a FranFund consultant?

The franchisor I've been working with has referred me to FranFund. I've reviewed their website. It appears obvious that there are fees involved. What should I look for to get the best value out of this service? Or, should I attempt to go it alone to get capital?
Jeff Elgin
Starting a Business

How should I ask friends and family to invest in my startup without making things awkward?

I need about $15,000 to start my business. I'd like to raise some money by asking my friends and family, but I don't want them to feel obligated or uncomfortable. Any suggestions on how to ask? Do I send letters, make phone calls, or meet people in person?
Elinor Robin
Starting a Business

What are the usual terms for severance packages and non-compete clauses for general managers hired to run startup companies?

We are hiring a general manager who has the experience and knowledge that we are lacking to develop the business and make it work. She is asking for a 6 month severance package from day one, then a one year severance package after that. The non-compete she is asking for is a 1 year. We would prefer no severance in the initial 90 day probationary period, then a one month severance for her working 3-6 months, then a 3 month from 6-12 months, then 6 months after year one. We would prefer a 2 year non-compete clause. What do startup companies usually do in this situation?
Nina Kaufman