How to Open a Food Truck in 5 Steps

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article |Open a food truck|How to Open a Food Truck in 6 StepsHave you ever dreamed of serving up street food right out of your very own food truck?

If you’ve been following trends in the food industry, you probably already know that the initial outlay of opening a food truck is much, much lower than opening a restaurant.

And there’s even more good news: people love the concept. In fact, the food truck trend is sweeping across the globe… and it’s not going away any time soon.

If you’re giving this business model some serious consideration, there are six steps you’ll need to follow to make your dream a success.

Step 1: Conduct Market Research

Before you do anything, you’ll need to conduct some market research. If there is a demand for food trucks in your area, you’ll need to do some research by looking at your competitors, what they are offering, and see how you can differentiate yourself with your concept.

Look into how you can incorporate your theme and concept into your packaging, too – you’ll need to customize it with your logo. To save on costs, you should buy disposable containers and cups wholesale.

You’ll also need to determine what demographic you’ll be serving, where you’ll be able to park to sell your food, and when the busiest times for business will be.

Step 2: Decide on a Concept

To be successful in the food industry, you’ll need to find the perfect balance between cooking within a concept you are passionate about and catering to the tastes of your demographic.

Once you’ve come up with a concept for your food truck, choose a name and logo for your company – and make sure they are unique, memorable, and reflect your brand accurately.

An exciting concept paired with an attention-grabbing logo and name can make all the difference when it comes to attracting customers, so give these a lot of thought.

Step 3: Create a Business Plan

When you have decided on a concept, you’ll need to create a business plan. Writing a business plan is an essential step and will help you plan and iron out any wrinkles in your business model.

In your business plan, you should go into as much detail as you can because it is also an important document for attracting investors.

If you’re not sure how to write a business plan, there are many online resources and templates available to help you out.

Step 4: Get Licenses and Permits

Before you go ahead and launch your business, you’ll need to check your state laws to find out what permits and licenses you’ll need to operate. These laws vary from state to state, so be sure to check with your local jurisdiction.

You’ll also need to check zoning and parking permits for your food truck, and don’t forget to register your truck with your local DMV.

Step 5: Purchase a Food Truck

Now that you’ve dealt with most of the logistics, it’s time for the most exciting part: buying or renting your food truck.
Your food truck is where most of your startup capital will go, and you have two options – you can purchase a new or used truck, or you can lease one. Just be sure to choose a reputable truck dealer.

Most food trucks will come fully equipped, but you’ll still need to purchase supplies and containers so that you can serve your customers.

You’ll also need to customize your food truck with your branding and buy insurance to protect yourself from liability, damages, or loss.

Top Tips For Starting A Construction Business

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article | Top Tips For Starting A Construction BusinessStarting a construction company can be a smart move. There is always a need for skilled construction companies and it can be work that is incredibly rewarding and enjoyable, plus you will find that every project is different so it can be varied too. While there are many perks to starting a construction company, you will also find that it does pose a few challenges and it is quite different to starting a typical office-based business. With this in mind, read on for a few tips that will hopefully help you to hit the ground running and find success.

Secure Enough Funding

One of the biggest challenges for starting a construction company is securing enough funding. There are many startup and ongoing costs to cover, such as vehicles, equipment, staff, materials, marketing and insurance. You need to have a high-quality business plan in place, calculate your startup costs and then find ways to secure this funding. A few options for securing funding include:

  • Investors
  • Bank loans
  • Crowdfunding
  • Grants
  • Savings

Recruit The Right People

One of the biggest challenges when starting a construction company is recruiting the right people. Obviously, you want to find people that have the required skills and knowledge to take on different kinds of projects, but this is not the only consideration. You also need to make sure that you are recruiting people that will be a good fit, have a strong work ethic, good communication skills and the right personality for your business. Keep in mind that you can use training to bring people up to speed, so it is smart to focus on finding those that will be a good fit.

Rent Heavy-Duty Equipment

When you take on construction projects, you are likely to require heavy-duty equipment like cranes for lifting. You will find it best to rent this equipment from specialists, such as Birmingham crane hire companies that can provide you with industry-leading equipment for affordable prices. They will be able to make the best recommendations based on your needs and ensure that your projects go smoothly.

Create A Strong Online Presence

As with any industry, you need to have a strong presence online in order to win over potential clients and compete with other companies. You should invest in professional web design and digital marketing to create a strong presence for your brand and then use social media to promote your business, showcase your work and engage with potential customers. It is hard when getting started, but you need to build an online portfolio of your work that will help you to show your experience and what you are capable of.

Encourage Word-Of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing remains hugely important when it comes to construction, so you need to encourage this within your network in order to find new opportunities. You will also find it helpful to network at every opportunity to build brand awareness and to form important connections that could lead to more work down the line.

Hopefully, these tips will come in useful and help you to find early success with your construction business.

Don’t Overlook These Valuable Details Before Launching Your Business

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article |Launching your Business|Don’t Overlook These Valuable Details Before Launching Your BusinessThere is no getting away from the fact that starting an entrepreneurial journey is exceptionally challenging. Provided the modern-day cutthroat competition, you are likely to keep up with several trials and turbulences along the way. Nonetheless, it could also prove to be a lucrative path. Setting up a business venture has proven to be life-changing for many entrepreneurs and not only in terms of monetary gains.

To become a successful businessperson, you have to get many things straight even before launching the company. And this is precisely where a vast majority of people go wrong and bring doom upon themselves. If you want to avoid making the same blunder, ensure to pay attention to the following factors before commencing your business:

Define your marketing strategy

Marketing is the lifeblood of a business. In today’s competitive environment, companies cannot survive, let alone thrive without it. Therefore, we recommend you sketch out a comprehensive picture of how you will promote your business even before commencing operations. Here are some of the most remarkable marketing strategies that are worth the shot:

  • Email Marketing: Email marketing is undeniably the foundation of digital marketing. Even after the inception of various digital marketing platforms, email remains the most effective channel to attract leads and eventually convince them to buy your products and services. Nonetheless, don’t make the mistake of using an old or reserved email address. Instead, create a new email address that professionally represents your business.
  • Leverage social media: Social media allows you to effectively convey your messages to a massive chunk of the target audience. Likewise, it also enables you to build a loyal community around your brand. Social media is beneficial for generating feedback, developing unique user-generated content, and addressing customer service issues.
  • Webinars: A webinar, as the term explains, is an online seminar. Lately, webinars are being arranged to drive new subscribers to your email list. You can also exploit it to establish credibility with existing subscribers. Even though they are presented in the same manner, webinars are more engaging than videos. The reason being, viewers feel that they are getting more value from a webinar because of the live Q&A sessions.
  • SEO: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices increase website traffic by ensuring it ranks among the top search results on leading search engines. Talking about the standout features, SEO is budget-friendly and guarantees long-term marketing success.

Figure out start-up costs

A vast proportion of businesses wind up every year just because they run out of cash reserves. So, you must determine the costs to start and maintain your business right from the get-go. For example, depending on the nature of your business, you might want to invest in a manufacturing plant. Consider the costs of acquiring the land, purchasing the equipment, machinery, and so on. Likewise, suppose you are starting a retail store. In that case, you will need to consider the cost of the store and the required furniture to decorate it.

Whether initiating a small-scale company or a giant corporation, you must have clarity about the start-up costs. Once your business commences, it won’t start churning out money immediately. It will take some time until the organization gets some recognition and becomes profitable. During this phase, you will have to bear employee salaries, utility bills, marketing expenditures, miscellaneous expenses, etc. Mapping out the start-up costs beforehand will prove viable for the sustainability of your business model.

Spend some time researching your competition

Regardless of the industry, you will not survive long in the market if you do not know about your rivals. Analyzing the competition involves getting to know your competitors, identifying their position, and assessing their pricing and marketing strategies. Alongside this, you can also pull out some case studies about your competitors from the internet to determine their strengths and weaknesses. You can evaluate their critical success factors and gray areas to exploit the market to your advantage.

Once you gather and utilize this information, you can devise and communicate your Unique Selling Point (USP) with your target audience. This way, you will not only survive but also thrive over time.

Select the right business partners

Although having business partners can be beneficial, you must first ensure they fit your venture and business scope. Getting hooked up with the wrong partners could dent your business to a great degree, or worse, the company might come to a halt permanently. To be on the safe side, you must delve into legal documentation. It will safeguard your interest in case a dispute surfaces.

Similarly, mention all the critical points in the documents, such as: Who will play what role? Do not assume everyone who forms the company has the same goals and intentions. Before agreeing to a partnership, ensure that each potential partner has written out their visions and objectives.

Likewise, you may also address in the documents how the profits and losses will be distributed? Partners usually invest money and assets into a new venture. So, before you rush to form a partnership, everyone must agree on how profits will be divided.

Create a separate business account

Undoubtedly, it seems convenient to keep both personal and business money in the same account. But it’s viable to have a separate business account considering its numerous benefits. For instance, it can be easier to monitor the cash flow by separating your personal and business finances. As a result, you can better evaluate your business’s financial situation and forecast your cash flow in the future.

On the other hand, if you make business and personal transactions from the same account, you will not get a clear picture of your finances. In all likelihood, it could make you less efficient as far as decision-making is concerned.

Conclusion

Establishing a business in today’s unpredictable and merciless environment is no cakewalk. Many factors, controllable and uncontrollable, can make or break your entire business machinery. So, being vigilant about your efforts and thoroughly studying the market before entering it is highly critical. Likewise, you must determine your marketing strategy, analyze competitors, assess costs, and tackle all the legalities before launching your business.

How To Start A Coffee Shop Business

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article |Start a Coffee Shop|How To Start A Coffee Shop BusinessMany people try and fail to make a new cafe work. It takes time and patience and above all quality and location. It is a shame that so many fail. There are many reasons for this: a lack of technical and business knowledge, the jungle of authorities disregarded, the café does not generate enough profit quickly enough, and much more. So let’s take a deeper look into how you can potentially make this work as a business idea.

Tip 1: Have Support From Your Family and Partner

A successful start-up is not possible without family and friends. That doesn’t mean that everyone has to stand in the shop or bake cakes on Sundays. But moral support and protection are very important.

  • What is your partner saying? Is he/she behind your plan or not?
  • Does your family understand and support you?
  • Are your friends enthusiastic about your idea too?

It is important that your immediate environment supports your decision. Because in the first three years you will have little time for your loved ones. They have to endure a lot! Your worries, your stress and even your failure. However they also will revel in your success.

Tip 2: Get a Grip on the Jungle of Authorities

A specialty in the food sector is the care with which – despite all the passion – you absolutely have to proceed. There are many requirements, permits and regulations that you have to comply with. The time required for all of these prerequisites should not be underestimated.

Certain hygiene and catering training can last upto three years. It is possible to shorten it under certain conditions. However, it can be a high investment of time and money but will certainly serve you well. Do things by the book and get legal proceedings in order.

Tip 3: Start Researching and Planning in Good Time

Create a timeline – what are the first steps? Who does what with whom? Opening a café or restaurant is complex – a real monster project. There is a lot to consider, especially if you are not alone in the shop later. So structure your thoughts early on with the timeline. The period includes the four to six months before the opening, the opening day and, depending on the concept, several months after the opening.

  • Writing down the countdown: what will be important when?
  • Planning is good. Verification is better. Now it is important to compare the plan with reality in order to minimize errors.
  • Best practices: Talk to 3-5 restaurateurs who have already had an opening behind them. Here you will get a lot of valuable tips for improvement.
  • What will you serve? What will you offer?
  • Will you sell other items. Coffee granules in packets, cakes to take home?

Tip 4: Create a Workable Concept With a Business Plan

The business plan depicts your concept in text and numbers. To get to your concept and figures, you can ask about “best practices” from founders with a similar gastro concept.
You can ask, for example:

  • What was the decisive factor for your success?
  • If you founded a company again today, what would you do differently today?
  • What are your three tips for founders in this area?
  • And then you build your learnings into your business.

Your business plan must include a little bit of everything. Including your hopes and dreams for the business. Will you branch out and sell other things, as previously mentioned? Coffee shops are forever evolving and so is the market. You should look at coffee packaging trends for example.

Tip 5: Be Brave, Confident and Stick With It

Have a lot of courage! Believe in yourself and your idea, because you need that. Many will say without being asked: The concept does not work anyway, your idea is not sustainable etc. Everyone has these doubts, and you are not alone. Business is a scary concept, yet achievable if marketed right and believed in. Treat it with passion and TLC.
Here are a few encouraging tips:

  • Look for supporters in your private environment who think you and your idea are great. They carry you through difficult times too.
  • Internalize your business idea. This is how you shine and ignite your passion in others too
  • Find a mentor
  • Hold on to your business dream

Stay tuned and dare to go through with it instead of listening too much to all the people who know everything better and better and say: It will never work. People don’t always know best and many may be trying to put you down. Eliminate those people from your business journey, because negativity is never good. In business, you have to be smart, positive and realistic, but also passionate.

Tip 6: Have Enough Cash When You Start

Your financing is in place. You order your coffee machine and the kitchen equipment. The electricians are coming in to fit all the wiring and lighting. And then your account is empty. The loan approved by the bank has not yet been paid out. If you do not have equity as cash you will be in trouble, you will not be able to keep to the schedule, etc. That will be really expensive and you must have the cash to be able to keep the business flowing over day to day. If the final financing has already been secured, short-term bridging finance can be the solution. This can be in the following ways:

  • Borrow in a private environment – family, friends & fools
  • Taking out personal loans via online platforms
  • Borrow via your bank or a business loan

A choice of location crucial for your success

An ideal location is an easily accessible place, which is in the roaming area of ??customers, especially in the morning. Before committing to signing a lease, spend time on site and look at who passes by and when. This will help you determine whether there are enough potential customers. And also whether the establishment is visible and how the competition is performing.

Use of Facebook and other social networks to market

Facebook is the dominant social network in the world. Opening a “fans” page for your business (or the site itself), can be a great move to attract potential Facebook surfers, and make them follow any content posted on this fan channel – unique promotions for page fans, announcements about new products, service added or discontinued and the like.

This is actually an online “customer club” , which allows you to keep in touch with the customer at any time. In the news items that appear on the Facebook page, it is possible and desirable to include links to your website. When surfers click on a status, they will be taken to the site to continue reading it. In this way you will also gain visits to the site itself, and at the same time the surfers will also be more accessible to purchase what you offer. Beyond that, Facebook – like Google – also allows you to advertise for a fee in a variety of forms: regular sponsored ads, sponsored stories (influenced by what happens on Facebook pages for businesses) and more. The pay per click is lower than in Google AdWords, making Facebook the second largest advertising platform after Google. Inanimate moves can also be made through Google’s social network (Google Plus) and even via Twitter, as organic marketing channels. Get to know all the subtleties that result from the abundance of channels available for use, and combine it all into one big marketing framework that takes into account your needs and those of the business.

The ultimate guide to starting a science-based business using lab lasers

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article |Science-based business|The ultimate guide to starting a science-based business using lab lasersIf you have a passion for science, expertise in a specific scientific area or you have a burning curiosity for solving a particular scientific problem, then you may want to start a science-based business.

There is no shortage of options for creating a science-based company. Whether you want to create products intended for use by scientists or use your scientific knowledge to benefit wider society, there are an infinite number of different commercial avenues you can take.

Of course, if you want to make a commercial enterprise out of science then you are going to need the right equipment – which is where lab lasers come in.

Lab lasers are, as the name suggests, lasers that you can use in the lab. They can be used for a variety of mind-blowing purposes, from fusion to levitation, as well as a number of more conventional tasks if need be, such as welding or cutting.

This is the ultimate guide to starting a science-oriented business using lab lasers:

Science-based businesses require a lot of equipment

Naturally, if you want to combine the worlds of science and business, then you are going to require a lot of specialist equipment.

This will likely include a lab where you can base your scientific processes, a variety of specialized scientific equipment, and even a production line if you are mass-producing products.

Of course, a tool that can help you in both the laboratory and the production line is a laser, because they are able to perform a range of highly useful functions.

These functions may include concentrated scientific processes, such as manipulating individual atoms (called optical tweezers), or optical levitation.

Alternatively, you may want to incorporate lasers into your production processes, using them to perform tasks like welding, soldering, cutting and engraving, among others.

Of course, if you are going to incorporate lasers, then you need a laser module, which is responsible for turning electrical energy into concentrated light.

Always start with the ‘why’

As with any business venture, you need to have a clear reason why you are doing it.

This ‘why’ doesn’t need to be complicated or overly dramatic – in fact emotional decision-making is never advisable – but it should speak of a rational ethos behind your company.

Perhaps you want to help solve a desperate need that your customers have, which hasn’t been solved before, or you want to further the fight against a scientific emergency, such as climate change.

The simpler the reason the better, because the last problem you need is a confused or conflicting brand identity.

Having a clear ‘why’ also helps attract customers and talented recruits towards your company. If they align with your ethos then they can quickly become passionate supporters of your business, eager to contribute, whether by buying products or working for you.

Aim to solve one problem

Leading on from the question of finding your ‘why’, it is crucial that you refrain from trying to be a jack of all trades. No businesses thrive on trying to please everyone, but science-oriented companies are particularly well-suited to concentrating on a single problem.

This is because your aim should be to solve one problem, or provide a single solution. If it is a difficult scientific challenge, then it will require all of your concentration and resources.