4 Unconventional Business Startup Ideas You May Not Have Thought Of

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You’re at a crossroads. You know that you’re sick of the daily grind and aspire to something more than being just another wage slave, but you’re not sure exactly what you want to be. You have a whole host of skills that are conducive to running your own business. You’re creative, you’re hard working, you’re passionate, you’re a great communicator and you have superb organizational skills. The trouble is, you’re not sure what unique angle your business needs to make the world take notice of you. All the best ideas seem taken and you don’t want to flood the market with yet another self consciously hip bar or coffee shop. If you’ve a burning passion to succeed, yet aren’t sure what to do with it, here are some unconventional ideas that may prove lucrative…

Franchise Vs. Startup

Starting up your very own business is a rewarding and self-affirming, but it’s also incredibly risky business. There are no guarantees that your business will succeed no matter how comprehensively you do your market research or how well you market yourself on social media. The sad fact is that businesses that work really well on paper go into liquidation all the time. You can insulate yourself from a lot of this risk by starting up a franchise. A franchise has a great deal of the benefits of running your own business, but with a few more advantages and a few less risks. You have the advantage of a proven product and a globally recognized brand name and the franchise provider will give you all of the resources, training and skills you need to do well. Of course, this will reduce your visibility in the business and the brand will never be yours but many franchise owners see this as a price worth paying. You can see a breakdown of startup vs franchise benefits and risks here.

Bail Bonds

Setting up a Bail Bonds business is something that’s at the top of few lists of business ideas for entrepreneurs, but it’s one that has seen many success stories. You can get a lot more information at http://www.startingabailbondbusiness.com/ but in brief it goes like this…

When a person is accused of committing a crime the court sets a bail figure which is paid to allow the accused to live a normal life outside of prison while they await trial. This is a refundable payment that acts as a form of insurance. The bail bondsman ensures that the bail gets paid and that the accused makes it to trial. Despite what you may have seen in Jackie Brown, it’s safe, rewarding and potentially lucrative work.

Chimney Sweep

You’re thinking of skinny, disheveled Victorian boys aren’t you? Think again. Chimney sweeping is an essential and virtually recession proof business that can also be rewarding if you like interacting with customers and working with your hands. Startup costs are fairly minimal and there are millions of chimneys out there that need sweeping all year round.

Editorial Services

If you’ve always fancied yourself something of a wordsmith, but would struggle to generate the ambitious word counts required to be a professional blogger there are plenty of other services that you could offer on a freelance basis in the world of content. Editors, proofreaders, fact checkers, researchers and book doctors are always in fairly regular demand whatever the state of the economy. In a world where content marketing is becoming increasingly widespread among businesses, this may be a great place to find your niche!

Business Overseas Relocation: Where In The World Should You Go?

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The idea of moving your business can be a daunting one, but there are numerous upsides to consider. There are many countries dotted around the world with lower levels of corporation tax, meaning that you could save a substantial amount of money on your operating costs– even when you factor in the potential expense of such a move.

According to the Tax Foundation, the US has the third-highest corporation tax rates in the world, so it’s easy to contemplate the savings you could make. If you decide to make a move, where in the world should you aim to go?

Macau

With a top rate of corporation tax of just 12.0% — which is less than half the US rate — it’s easy to see why Macau has become such a business center in recent years. A former Portuguese colony, Macau has been under Chinese sovereignty for nearly 20 years, and has flourished in this time.

Singapore

A corporation tax rate of 17.0% and a low-regulation style system has meant Singapore has created a powerful reputation as a business haven. The top rate corporate tax is still nearly half of what it is in the US, and an established foreign infrastructure can help you make the transition with ease.

While there will be new laws to adapt to, the general low levels of regulation mean that there are fewer bureaucratic hoops to jump through, which is well worth taking into account.

The UK

The UK’s top rate of corporation tax of 20.0% is not the lowest in the world (though still lower than the US), but is noticeably low for a developed country. What makes the UK such an intriguing investment is the uncertainty created by the Brexit vote. The right wing of the (minority) governing Tory party have made it clear they believe the UK’s future involves styling itself as a “Singapore-style low tax, low regulation economy”. The center wing of the party disagrees, but it’s fair to say current Brexit negotiations are not going well, meaning that a “Singapore-style” economy could ultimately be born from the chaos.

There will be new-to-you laws and legislation to adapt to, meaning you may need help with key legislation, but there’s plenty of help around. If you need to figure out IR35 then expert advice and resources from Qdos Contractor will get you up to speed, while PAYE advice can be found from most accounts. Ultimately, if you prefer the idea of moving to an Anglophone country with a potentially lucrative future, then the UK might be a good bet.

Ireland

Ireland has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world, at 12.5%. The downside is the country has a history of economic instability — the so-called “Celtic Tiger” that ultimately proved unsustainable — which may give you pause. The economy is relatively stable at the present time and notably business-friendly, so if you don’t mind the potential for future unrest, then Ireland could be a viable option.

If you want to cut your operating costs — and particularly your corporate tax rate — then any of the countries above are well worth considering.

Thinking Outside Of The Box To Propel Your Career Forward

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If you want to take another step up the career ladder, then you need to make sure you’re doing everything you can in your current role to propel your career forward. One effective way to do this is by thinking outside of the box. You know what they say: life starts outside of your comfort zone. Here’s how you can begin thinking outside of the box to improve your career almost right away:

Start Making Little Changes To Your Routine

Every time you do something, whatever it may be, your brain is strengthening pathways to help you perform that task more effectively. This works for both negative and positive actions. So, if you procrastinate most days, you’re only going to feel inclined to do it more and the habit will be tough to break. Similarly, if you talk to the same people and do the very same things, you’re going to have the same thoughts. Thinking different thoughts is the key to bringing new and creative ideas to the table. It really can make a difference. These small changes could make big things happen.

Good Media Only

There’s all kinds of media out there, and for some reason, people choose to only absorb the negative stuff. Stop watching rubbish TV. You don’t even have to read a book on business, if you don’t want to. Choose a great story and relax by reading that instead. Maybe listen to a different genre of music to see how that resonates with you. Stimulating materials will help you to become more creative.

Make Sure You Have Time To Think

Being productive doesn’t mean moving or doing something all the time. You can be productive just by thinking productive thoughts. If you take time to yourself, to think in a situation where you don’t feel pressured, or even to meditate, you may find that you come up with effective solutions for things. You may come up with a lower friction solution for misaligned rotation that you’ve been looking for for weeks, or another great idea that you know will stand you in good stead with your boss. However, to do this you can’t be ‘busy’ all the time.

Focus – No Multitasking

Ban multitasking from your vocabulary. It can actually slow you down, rather than make you more productive, like many people think. Focus on one task without distractions – that means putting your phone in another room, and even stopping your email notifications.

Connect With Your Boss

If you can build a rapport with your boss, do it. Don’t be ‘bosses pet’ as this isn’t a good idea if you want to continue a relationship with fellow employees either. Simply develop a positive relationship, and you’ll feel more confident to present your unique ideas.

Using these ideas to make changes to your day to day life will definitely help you to switch things up and take your career further. Do you have any suggestions you think will help readers? Leave your own thoughts below!

What Does Your Business Need?

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If you’re just starting out, this is a question that will plague you for a long while. If you’re a well established business, there will come a time when things seem to come to a stand still and you’re left questioning what your business needs. But the worst thing you can do is panic. All you need to do is take a step back, reevaluate, and see where the next part of your journey takes you. If you’re already successful and well established, don’t panic about a drop in sales, if you’re a small new business, then don’t worry about no sales at all. Everything takes patience and time, and with a few pointers from this article you can be on track in no time.

Outside Help

It doesn’t matter whether you’re established, or just starting out, you should never be afraid to accept outside help. If you’re a new small business, seek help from financial advisors and other business owners. Financial advisors can help you obviously stay on track with money, but can also help you divide your money up between the different areas you need to spend it on. They’ll help create budgets and just generally make sure things aren’t getting out of hand. Other business owners have the wealth of knowledge you need. Don’t be afraid to reach out and just ask for some friendly advice on how to get things going successfully. If you’re a well established business, brain fog can sometimes stop you from seeing the bigger picture. There’s that many things going through your mind on a daily basis that it might be an idea to enlist the help of a business analyst. Yes, it may be annoying having someone tell you how to run your business, but it can work wonders for you. They’ll have a fresh pair of eyes and will be able to see clearly where things are going pear shaped.

Better Systems

Each year better systems are being designed to help you with the running of your business, no matter how big or small it is. The first thing you need to look into is what system you can put in your office to help the running of things, Take technology such as VoiceOnyx phone service. Your business needs the smooth running phone systems that such companies can provide. They’ll help to improve communication with your customers which is always vital in any business. Then you need to take a look at other things such as your website.

A good website is what draws any customer in. It needs to look sharp, smart, and the ease of use must be impeccable. Look at ways you can use your website to improve systems such as payments. Slow payments are the end of purchasing can really annoy users. Research how to make yours better and implement it. The best way to see if it has improved is to test it yourself rather than waiting for a customer to complain. The smoother the process the happier the customer.

What You Need To Do To Rise Up The Ranks

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There’s not one business owner across the globe that isn’t interested in marketing, and there’s a good reason why. Without a strong marketing team and a stronger marketing plan, your business cannot thrive as well as it could. Search engine optimisation (and if you’re not familiar with the term, look here), should be a big part of your marketing plan. The whole idea of being online is to be seen, and as you may have deduced, Google has thousands of hits for every conceivable search. SEO involves editing the HTML code to make your company search engine friendly, thus rising you up the search ranks.

With good SEO comes quality traffic, and it’s this traffic that will improve your revenue streams and give your business more publicity – and who doesn’t want more publicity? Business is all about making a good profit and being a force of nature in the industry you want to thrive in, so you need to be looking to your marketing team to ensure that your company is ready to take on the challenge. Rising up the ranks is not always straightforward, but there are a lot of things that you can do to increase those search engine rankings and make sure that you are visible. Other than having a marketing team that is spot on, you could hire in experts like Inner Spark Creative, who can manage your SEO for you. We’ve put some of those things together for you here:

Tag, Tag, Tag

Implementing meta tags and title tags into your content and background HTML is so important for your company visibility. Title tags are important because this is what conveys your skills in marketing to the customers who look you up. The title tags that you use are going to be the key in getting your message across to the audience, and all the important information that you need to get out there into the world shines from this little area of space on your website. Every single page of your dedicated website should have these tags in them, so make a note for your next marketing meeting!

Content To Be Contented

Everyone, business owner or not, knows that it’s important to have good content on your business website. Content gets picked up in the search engines, keywords get picked up in the search engines, and you want to be able to offer something to your audience to make them want to buy from you. The one thing that’s important about content is that you don’t want to overdo it. Overstuffing your content with keywords can actually see your website as blacklisted from search engines, which is the last thing you want to do!

Links Are More Than Chains

Most companies embed links within their websites and content for clicks. Links are very valuable for gaining search engine ranks, and this is a tool you should be using throughout your company website. The more quality links you have in your website, the more popular your site can be in the search engines that people are looking for you in. Ensuring link acquisition is from reputable, relevant websites is going to make the difference that you need to have for increased rankings. Don’t just fit random links into your site, though, as all links should be relevant to what your business does!

Domain-ate Your Name

Before your company goes all out with the purchase of a domain name, you have to look for URLs that have the right keywords for your company. Confusing the search engines is not a good idea, as this then confuses the people that come to your site. You want your domain to be simple, effective and not overloaded with symbols. Make your domain name dominate the search engines and keep its relevancy to your website.

Coding, Coding, Coding

You may not be particularly IT literate, but your marketing team should be. There should be at least one HTML fluent member of your main marketing team, as HTML is the code you should be using to be found. Search engine spiders are simple, which means they need simple writing (ie, HTML) to be able to read the code. Writing your website in Flash is far more likely to confuse the search engine spider, so stick to HTML and make your website stand out.

Make It Easy

People will visit your website expecting to be able to find all the information that they need with relative ease. It’s up to you to provide them the means to be able to do this. This means having a sitemap on your website, good drop-down menus and a search bar so that you can give your site visitors the easiest and best experience possible. If you have links in your website that are broke and mashed together, you’re going to put people off. It’s important to remember that sitemaps are a search engine necessity, and a good, solid sitemap will be more beneficial than anything else.

Blogarific

A business with a blog is a business with a purpose. If you have a blog, you’re telling the world that you know you have something relevant to say. Your blog is your platform to discuss what you’re doing and how you’re doing it and it gives your business a personality. Having a blog on your website increases your likeability, and the links you can embed in the blog are all going to go a long way to attracting the right audience. Blog posts get indexed throughout search engines, and if you’re using the right keywords, you can rise the ranks and people can find you.

SEO is important, but you have to make sure that you are tailoring your website to people and not just the search engine bots. Aiming your website in the right way to the right people should be able to keep you up the top of the search engine listings, and rising through the ranks of the web pages can only serve your company well. Get your marketing team on the ball and make your website stand out there. Be a big fish in a big pond!

Increasing Blog Traffic

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If you’ve recently started a blog or set up an online business, you are probably wondering why no one is reading it. You’ve put hours of work into the design, photography and writing. Your posts look and read great, yet no one is viewing them. Before you started your blog, you’d probably read others, seen how many views they were getting, that they are working with brands and that they had thousands of followers on social media and wanted the same for yourself. You assumed you’d published a post and people would read it. You imagined yourself going viral and becoming a famous blogger in the first few months.

Then, a few months in, even with a growing social media following, you find that very few people actually read your blog. Don’t worry; you are not alone. Most people that start blogs give up within the first year because it isn’t what they expected. To gain consistent traffic takes a lot of time and hard work. Let’s take a look at some ways to help.

SEO

When you start a blog, most of your viewers will come from social media promotion. Very few will simply stumble upon your content. But, that’s what you want. Most people that come over from social media are fellow bloggers and friends. If you want to reach a wider audience, who are actively searching for content like yours, you need to work on your SEO and start bringing in search engine hits.

SEO is a complex thing, that changes all of the time, so if you want fast results, it’s a good idea to look at SEO Expert Brad Blog for advice and help, not only on SEO but all aspects of blogging. In the meantime, make sure you are using long-tail keywords, filling in the alt text on pictures and adding meta descriptions to all of your posts.

Social Media

If this is what’s bringing in a lot of your traffic, you need to make the most of it. Make sure you are on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter at least and that you are actively using them. Join relevant groups on Facebook, promote old posts, engage with your audience and share other people’s work for the best results.

Remember, a huge following is nowhere near as important as an engaged following. So, get chatting with people and make friends.

Tell Your Friends

Many new bloggers feel a little embarrassed and so avoid telling people they know. The truth is, you probably will tell them one day, most do. So, get it out of the way and ask for their advice, feedback and help sharing content. If they don’t blog themselves, they’ll be pretty impressed.

Keep Going

One of the best bits of advice for a new blogger struggling to gain traffic is just to keep going. If you are writing well, promoting in the right places and engaging with your audience, the traffic will come. Just keep going, picking up tips and making changes along the way.

There are so many blogs out there today that the completion is tough. But, you can stand out from the crowd by finding your own voice and offering new ideas. Don’t give up; you’ll get there.

Employees: It’s Time To Take A Stand

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As an employee we should feel valued and respected every day that we come into work. But as employee’s we know this isn’t always the case. There are so many things wrong with some companies that make them truly terrible placed to work for. Yet the chances are we put up with everything thrown at us simply because we don’t want to lose our jobs. But this isn’t how things should work. Any workplace should be free of hassle and everyone should have mutual respect for each other. If you’re fed up of some of the things going on in the company you work for, then take a stand!

Discrimination

Discrimination happens in every company in many different ways. It doesn’t necessarily have to be racial discrimination, this is really uncommon now. The discrimination we’re talking about is gender and favoritism. Gender discrimination is still really prominent in the workplace. Often males are chosen for the better roles, or given the better tasks during the day. If it is a mainly male based company then this is likely going to be happening often. But it does work both ways, if the office is mainly women, it is easy for a male to be discriminated. It isn’t right to be spending your days doing the jobs nobody else wants to do. If you’ve got designated job role, take a stand and stick to it all day. Don’t keep saying yes in fear of losing a job. If this did happen you could look into unfair dismissal charges. It can also be the case that with gender discrimination comes wage discrimination, more information of which can be found on this employment law blog. Favoritism is huge in companies all over the world. If you’re the favorite one then lucky you, if not it can make working days so annoying. If you feel someone is getting special treatment, mention it to your manager and try to get it evenly spread out through the office.

Rights

As employees we do have a lot of rights that sometimes aren’t respected. For example, if you work at computers all day, you do have the right to take a 5-10 minute break for every 60 minutes you’re at the computer. This doesn’t necessarily mean a break from working, but you should be able to be away from the computer. You also have the right to fair treatment and respect, which a lot of companies lack. You should come into work and be spoken to with respect like you’d expect in any other walk of life. But once some bosses get the power in their hands, the turn nasty rather than nice. If you feel you’re being spoken to unfairly, just have a word and let them know how you’re feeling. You also have the right to feeling safe in your working environment, again another thing some people don’t feel. If there are continuous hazards you need to report them to your manager, if they’re aware and don’t care, you need to take it further and ask for outside advice on whether a health and safety official can pay a visit to your company.

Millennials Hate Risk, Here’s Why

This article stated Millennials aren’t Entrepreneurs which got me thinking…how do we really interpret risk?

With a title like this one would assume criticism will follow, but you’re wrong.

Of course startups tend to be started at an older age. Life experience can be a catalyst for great ideas.

The risk Millennials hate is: lifestyle risk.

Why work a corporate job you hate, just to support the life you want?

If you dread waking up in the morning something’s gotta change.

Entitlement can be viewed in two different ways: deserving special treatment or not settling for second-best. The former is a stereotype, the latter is a motivation.

Companies like Uber, Airbnb and Nexflix resonate with Millennials because they tap into a deeply embedded value: if you don’t like what’s being offered (monopolies), disrupt it by creating a new category.

The irony here is Millennials aren’t the only ones supporting the above companies. They are just the pioneers.

Risk is defined as being exposed to danger, harm or loss. In business-terms, smart companies/entrepreneurs look to avoid risk as much as possible.

Society interprets living adventurously as risky, but every generation in their 20’s prior to having a spouse/kids travels (as well they should).

By not purchasing homes, cars and staying at companies past a year Millennials have turned risk upside down. Carpe diem.

Don’t ignore the future, but enjoy the present. If you plan too far ahead you risk creating memories now.

How To Cut Costs When Running A Small Business

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When it comes to business, time is money, but, then again, money is also money. If you happen to run out of cash when running a small business, you could be in a lot of trouble, and may even end up going under. Unfortunately, there are lots of hidden costs of running a small business, as well as plenty of obvious ones, so you need to make sure that you save as much money as you possibly can. Luckily, there are plenty of ways that you can do this; Here are a few popular ones for you to try out.

Shop Around

The most obvious way to save money is to actually put some effort into researching where you can get the best rates and deals for the things you need. Often, you can find anything from your electricity to your coffee cheaper elsewhere, so it makes sense to invest some time into getting things for cheaper. However, some things are worth the money. Your insurance is a good example; Never go for the cheapest insurance policy on offer, as this is unlikely to offer you very much protection.

Buy Used Furniture & Equipment

There are plenty of places that you can find good quality office equipment and furniture for a fraction of the price, simply because it’s been sued for a little while by someone else. eBay and Facebook marketplace are two great examples. You can also check out local auctions, car boot sales, and ads in your local newspaper. If you wanted to give back a little, charity shops also stock plenty of great finds.

Rent A Postage Meter

If you spend a large amount of money on postage each month, then you will benefit from renting a postage meter. It will print neat and professional postage for your letters and parcels, which means you can avoid wasting your precious time on trips to the post office every other day. You will likely be surprised how little the postage meter cost is to rent every month; It’s only a fraction of what you’d be paying by visiting the post office to send all of your letters.

Send Postcards

If you’re only sending a short message to your clients or customers, such as about a meeting, a conference, appointment, or sale, then there is no point in you wasting paper and money on posting an entire letter. Instead, consider buying pre-stamped postcards from your local post office. You can then simply write or print your message onto these postcards and send them for much less than you would have had to pay to post a whole letter.

Go Green

Being eco-friendly isn’t just great for the environment, it saves you cash too. It doesn’t matter if the space you use is a home office, a store, or something else, the more energy efficient you can make it, the less you’ll have to pay on energy. Therefore, it makes plenty of sense to go out and buy energy saving light bulbs, instead of keep putting it off. You should also recycle everything that you can; Some recycling centres will even pay you for this. It might also be a great idea to go paperless so that you can save money on paper, printing ink, postage, and much more. Instead, send out emails, and store any important information on your computer, instead of in a filing cabinet (Just be sure to back up your storage!).

Use Own Brand

If you frequently buy something, such as paper, or coffee, then you should look into ways of saving money on this. Shopping around is one way, but you could also try the own brand versions of the products. The box may not look as appealing, but generally, the product inside the packaging is pretty much the same. You won’t notice a massive difference to your savings straight away, but every penny adds up quickly.

Cut Back On Non-Essentials

As well as buying own brand goods, you may want to consider cutting back on a thing or two. If you know that there is something that you definitely need, then, by all means, buy it, especially if it’s necessary for your business to function properly. However, if you’re not sure whether or not to buy something, it makes more sense to leave it for now, and think it through properly before buying it. For example, the carpet in your office may not be in the best shape, but you might not necessarily need a new one, especially if you have all of your important business meetings elsewhere.

Hire Less Experience

It may seem counterproductive to hire employees that have little experience, but it does make a lot of sense. Everyone needs to start somewhere, and if no one ever gave someone that didn’t have experience a job, then no one would have ever been given a job. While someone applying to work for you may not work experience, they may have plenty of knowledge from their education, and a willingness to learn more. Even better than this is the fact that you can pay them less for having less experience, and they will understand this. However, if it makes sense to hire someone more experienced, then you should definitely do that instead.

Get An Accountant

Hiring an extra employee might not sound like the best money-saving technique on the planet, but I assure you that an accountant is absolutely essential, especially if you are looking to save money. An accountant can make your life a million times easier, especially if you don’t have much experience with finances. They can find ways to help you save some extra cash here and there, and will make sure that your taxes are done properly so that you don’t end up with a large and nasty fine.

Running your own small business isn’t easy, and it definitely isn’t cheap, but hopefully, these tips can help you out with running yours. Not everything is going to work for you, but some will work great, so try out a few different ones to see which helps you out the most.