Sunday, March 3, 2019

best small business to start

best small business to start

Chamber offering boost to local entrepreneurs - Herald-Whig

Posted: 02 Mar 2019 10:01 PM PST

Posted: Mar. 3, 2019 12:01 am

The Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce is doing its best to support local entrepreneurs.

QACC is offering more than $10,000 through its business plan grant, which is part of the organization's Small Business Program, a concept that also includes small-business mentors, workshops and other resources.

"This year, we wanted to do more than simply offer a grant to entrepreneurs in Adams County," said Alta King, QACC communications specialist. "We want to be certain we provide each applicant with a plethora of resources as they begin -- and continue -- their journey toward owning their businesses.

"We have a team of professionals with a wide variety of experience who are committed to meeting with anyone who applies for the grant."

Each grant applicant will be required to meet with a mentor. This requirement gives each applicant a professional who can give them insight into what it takes to own and run a business.

Applicants will be paired with mentors based on where they are in starting their businesses and developing business plans.

The purpose of the Business Plan Grant Program is to foster business initiatives plus expansions in Adams County.

Applications must include business plans, which a committee will review based on concept, innovation, viability and economic impact.

If an applicant doesn't receive a grant, he or she will receive feedback from the committee to improve his or her business plans.

Another aspect of the Small Business Program involves workshops that will be geared to small-business owners and anyone wanting to start a business. The workshops will be developed by a committee of business professionals.

For more information on the Small Business Program, call King or Executive Director LaTonya Brock at 217-222-7980.

Title Center adds

Quincy site to lineup

Springfield-based title agency Illinois Real Estate Title Center LLC -- doing business as the Title Center -- recently announced its acquisition of First Community Title Services Inc., a subsidiary of Heartland Bancorp Inc.

The acquisition adds First Community Title Services in Bloomington, Champaign and Pekin locations to the Title Center's existing offices in Springfield, Effingham, Jacksonville, Paris, Peoria and Quincy.

They said it

º CNBC: "More details are emerging about a production partnership between Netflix and Barack and Michelle Obama. The company, called Higher Ground Productions, (will be) staffed by veterans of MTV, ESPN and FX Networks and will produce projects that empower 'new and diverse voices.' The Obamas announced last year they signed a multiyear deal with Netflix for scripted and unscripted films and series. 'Our goal isn't just to make people think -- we want to make people feel and reach outside of their comfort zone,' Michelle Obama said."

º "The housing market has begun to shift in buyers' favor, and mortgage rates have fallen significantly from recent highs since the start of 2019. The average rate on a 30-year mortgage dropped to a one-year low of 4.35 percent (in late February). In 2018, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.54 percent."

º NPR: "The Kraft and Oscar Mayer brands are worth a lot less -- as much as $15.4 billion less than they had been. Big name brands have been under pressure to cut costs as consumer tastes have been changing. Many are turning to cheaper store brands or are doing their shopping online. One possible sign of that shift came when Kraft Heinz Co. -- which sells well-known packaged food brands including Kraft Mac and Cheese, Oscar Mayer hot dogs and Jell-O -- announced a big quarterly loss and that its Kraft and Oscar Mayer brands were worth billions less than previously stated. The company, which was formed when Heinz and Kraft merged in 2015, said it lost $12.6 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with an $8 billion profit a year earlier."

The top five's ranking of fast-food french fries:

1. Arby's.

2. Wendy's.

3. Carl's Jr.

4. McDonald's.

5. Popeye's.

Words of wisdom

º Bronze medal: "To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business and your business in your heart." -- Thomas Watson Sr., chairman and CEO of International Business Machines.

º Silver medal: "Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure." -- Napoleon Hill, author of "Think and Grow Rich."

º Gold medal: "When times are bad is when the real entrepreneurs emerge." -- Robert Kiyosaki, founder of Cashflow Technologies.

The Atlanta Small Business Show on CBS: Episode 3 - Atlanta Small Business Network

Posted: 02 Mar 2019 07:30 AM PST

Want your business featured on The Atlanta Small Business Show? Tell us your story! And if you would like to advertise with ASBN, give us a call at 678-332-9706 or email us at

On this week's episode of the Atlanta Small Business Show, we spoke to millennial and gen Z expert, Ryan Jenkins about the importance of creating great working relationships with the next generation of employees. We then traveled to ATDC Georgia Tech and talked shop with its new director, John Avery. We then had the pleasure to interview Ashley D. Bell, Region lV Administrator for the SBA, the country's best-kept secret for small business growth and development. We then caught up with Ted Jenkin, host of the Atlanta Small Business Profile who sat down with Hall of Fame QB, Fran Tarkenton. Startup expert, George Deeb ended our show with The Tip of the Day: How to Pitch to Investors.

Ryan JenkinsHow to Better Lead and Engage the Next Generation of Employees – Ryan Jenkins, Millennial & Gen Z Expert
According to Gallup research, millennial employment turnover is over three times the rate of other generations, costing the U.S. economy a staggering $30.5 billion annually. If your small business has experienced similar issues with the younger generations, then you need to hear from our next guest, Ryan Jenkins. Ryan is a millennial and generation Z expert who has spent the last six years helping clients like Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, and Delta Airlines better lead and engage the next generation of employees. He is also the author of The Millennial Manual. Watch Now

ATDC Georgia TechOn location at ATDC Georgia Tech: Everything You Need to Know – John Avery, Director
We recently traveled to the Georgia Institute of Technology campus, where we spoke with John Avery, the new Director for ATDC Georgia Tech, a start-up accelerator that helps Georgia technology entrepreneurs launch and build successful companies. John provided a detailed look at the initiatives, programs, and resources that ATDC offers. Watch Now

SBAWhy the SBA is America's Best-Kept Secret for Economic Development – Ashley D. Bell, Region lV Administrator
The SBA, also known as the U.S. Small Business Administration, might just be the best-kept secret in the Federal Government. This agency provides support exclusively to entrepreneurs and small businesses by offering opportunities for business education, mentorship, and capital lending. If you haven't heard of this organization before now, then you'll want to pay close attention to what our next guest has to say. Today we speak with Ashley D. Bell, the 45th regional administrator for the SBA's 4th region which oversees eight southeastern states. Watch Now

Atlanta Small Business Profile – Fran Tarkenton, Hall of Fame QB
On this episode of the Atlanta Small Business Profile, Ted Jenkin has an enlightening conversation with Fran Tarkenton, Hall of Fame quarterback and owner of the Tarkenton Companies. Watch Now

incubators and acceleratorsTip of the Day with George Deeb: How to Pitch to Investors 
Atlanta is the country's best-kept secret for tech startups, due largely in part to its abundance of co-working spaces like incubators and accelerators. Organizations like Atlanta Tech VillageTechSquare Labs, and ATDC Georgia Tech focus all of their energy on supporting entrepreneurs who want to achieve success, in a community that promotes faster connections between talent, ideas, and capital. Watch Now

The Atlanta Small Business Network, from start-up to success, we are your go-to resource for small business news, expert advice, information, and event coverage.

Follow us on Facebook here and stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts on demand.

While you're here, don't forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest business news know-how from Atlanta Small Business Network.

This has been a JBF Business Media production.

24 Ideas for Your Next Small Business in 2019 -

Posted: 02 Jan 2019 12:00 AM PST

More than 20.5 million Americans own their own businesses.

Another 53 million work freelance full or part time in various fields ranging from computer programming and rideshare driving to, yes, journalism and writing. (Hello!)

Most of the rest of us want to. The OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development) found that 58% of women and 69% of men in America agree with the statement "I would rather take a risk and build my own business than work for someone else." The numbers say that you, dear reader, would like to be your own boss.

So what holds us back? A lot of things, really. Money for one. Starting a new business can take quite a bit of startup capital that few people have just lying around. The bigger issue, though, is often ideas.

Thousands of talented people want to write a novel, if only they could think of a story. Many more would start a band if they had a catchy tune. Then there are the millions of entrepreneurs who would open their own business if they could come up with the right thing to do.

To help with that process, here are some ideas for small businesses to get you thinking.

Food Service

The restaurant business is tough. While not as bad as people say, it's still a competitive industry. On the other hand, if you know what you're doing this can be a business model that people love, that fits into any community and that faces almost no competition online.

1. Fast Casual Restaurant

Picture a Five Guys or a Chipotle (CMG) . These are the modern version of old-fashioned diner dives, a long counter where someone serves up good food fast. They're a step up from fast food in quality, a step down from full service in price and overwhelmingly popular. Better still, this model requires less overhead since you can run it with fewer staff and a smaller footprint.

2. Bar and Coffee Shop

Hugely popular and astonishingly rare, the bar/coffee shop hybrid answers three questions: What does a coffee shop serve at night? What does a bar serve in the day? And why is it that the same people seem to go to both places… Serve espresso at 10 a.m., craft beer at 10 p.m. and keep that marginally employed writer (hello again!) spending money all day.

3. Bakery

Everyone loves a treat and these days bakeries have an edge in that market. Social media positively melts down for psychedelic frosting or a cookie that looks like it will bite you back. With creativity and a novel approach, a bakery has the ability to stand out in a market that many other dessert shops lack.

4. Coffee Shop

A regular coffee shop can work. In fact a popular one can succeed brilliantly, but beware. This is a low-margin business that depends on moving a positively enormous amount of product. What's more, your regular customers will be money losers. What, you think a business actually profits off someone camping on his laptop for five hours after paying $2 for a dark roast?

Professional Services

The big advantage to a professional services firm is that you can open one cheaply. You're essentially selling your own skill and expertise. Especially today, you may need little more than a web presence and a business card to get started. These are just a very small number of the ways you can do it.

5. Contractor

Can you fix things or build things? You may want to look at construction and contract work. Maybe you'll go into carpentry, helping people remodel their houses. Maybe you know how to fix plumbing or rewire electrical systems. Whatever you can do it's almost certainly in high demand.

6. Accounting or Law Firm

Obviously this is a niche field. Unless you currently are a CPA or a JD there's not a whole lot of value in hanging your own shingle, and you can probably expect an unpleasant visit from the real thing if you do. However, for white collar professionals there's a lot of value in launching your own offices. Just have some runway capital on hand. It will probably take a while to succeed.

7. Consulting

This one is a little more nebulous… The question is, ultimately, what are you good at? Do you currently work in PR? Maybe it's time to offer those services on your own. Do you do human resource work? You sound like a terrific career coach. Have you spent years in a bank? It might be time to offer financial planning. Whatever you're good at, someone out there could use a consultation on the subject.

8. Graphic Designer

Graphic design combines two fields that rarely overlap: Technical competence and a creative eye. If you can look at a blank page and not only see what belongs there but also know how to make it happen, there are literally thousands of companies out there who will need your services. From designing logos to helping a business create its entire look, graphic design is a strong and growing field.


Media is an upside-down place to work at the moment. While many business models struggle to survive, others have emerged and made individual bloggers and YouTube stars millionaires. You probably won't be the next Ariana Huffington or PewDiePie, but there's a lot of room here to make a living.

9. Freelance Journalist

Outlets have begun relying on freelancers for an increasing amount of coverage, so there's lots of opportunity to work as a reporter and be your own boss. Just beware… Work can vanish in an instant and you cover all your own costs. Not a problem when writing from your desk, but it can make it hard (if not at times impossible) to get out in the world and do the shoe-leather work of real reporting.

10. Freelance Writing and Editing

Firms need people to write PR copy for them. Other companies need someone to polish up their website, edit books, ghostwrite articles or help clean up white papers. Today every business in every business model produces many, many times more written material than they used to. Someone has to ensure that it all sounds crisp, clean and professional.

11. Blogger

Here's the secret that most people don't realize about being a blogger: It's a business. Shocking, right? Yes, to succeed as a blogger you have to write catchy, interesting articles. You also have to understand SEO, audience engagement, bounce rates, monetization, affiliation and partnership deals and much more. This is a marketing and technology business, and if you've got a flair for that you might have the makings of a successful blogger.

12. Social Media Consultant

This overlaps with consulting, but then again most things do. Most businesses know two things about social media: First, it's incredibly important. Second, almost no one really understands it. If you're one of the few people who do get the marketplace of ideas on Twitter (TWTR) , Instagram, Facebook (FB) and more, you might have a thriving business opportunity.


The best thing about starting a business in technology is that it's generally location-independent. You can solicit business from all around the world and may well get to work with clients who can afford to pay top rates for outstanding work. This is a high-skill field that's in high demand. If you've got the chops, consider opening a business as a…

13. Web Developer

Bespoke web development, like graphic design, combines technical savvy with an eye for aesthetics. This isn't a field to enter without experience, but if you're a sharp, talented coder who can lay down a clean user interface against a sharp color scheme, it might be time to start seeing which local companies look like they still use Geocities.

14. Freelance Coder

Many companies rely on outside contractors to help finish big projects, especially during crunch time. Like all freelance businesses this is generally a boom-and-bust model. You might spend three weeks looking for work then spend a month barely looking up from your computer screen. If you can make the income stream work, though, this is a lucrative field with many opportunities.

15. App Development

The best part of app development is passive income. Every product you create will sit out there on the iPhone and Android stores making money for you long after you stop putting a single hour into it. Of course, that depends on getting those products in the public eye. So brush up on your marketing skills, come up with a few ideas and enter the world of independent development.

16. Security Consulting

From white hat hackers to security analysts, the market for security consulting right now is enormous. You can even build a thriving business just speaking to company employees, helping IT fix its PEBCAK errors. This is a high-skill field that demands an outstanding resume, but if you've got the right background it can be incredibly lucrative.


Modern retail is at once a challenge and an opportunity. Online stores have stolen customers from brick and mortar at a devastating rate, it's true. But their biggest victims are the large-footprint businesses like Sears (SHLDQ) , Borders and Best Buy (BBY) . In their place has opened up plenty of room for the small, highly-curated shop that provides an experience as well as a sale.

17. Bookstore

Don't click away yet! Bookstores may struggle, but that doesn't mean they can't succeed. If you can build an identity and experience into your store, with a well-chosen selection that makes life easier than clicking around through Amazon's (AMZN) vastness, you may well have a healthy business model on your hands. If that doesn't convince you, think about this: Americans love to read, and two-thirds of them would rather do it on paper than pixels.

18. Clothing

Clothing has an edge over most other retail spaces these days, because try before you buy matters so much more in their space. You can't slip on a blouse or see just how those jeans fit while clicking around a website. Especially in the far more lucrative women's market this is a critical feature. If you've got an eye for fashion and can build a selection that will get people in the door, this business model comes with a built-in killer app: The changing room.

19. Food Shop

People need to eat. People who want to eat rarely want to wait two or three days for shipping. Get where we're coming from? Whether you open a niche shop that caters to specific interests or sell general goods to the millions of Americans who live more than a mile from the nearest grocery store, a well-placed small grocer can succeed and thrive.

20. Online Retailer

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. One of the best things about online retail is using breadth of audience to make up for niche demand. Whether you want to sell artisan products, like hand-carved jewelry, or creative works like your very own board game, chances are someone out there wants it. With a storefront you'd be out of luck unless that person coincidentally happens to live a few miles away. Online, though, your customers can find you from anywhere.


These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to planning and launching your own business. The truth is, for almost any skill set there's someone out there who needs it and will pay good money in exchange. The best way to come up with a business idea is to sit down and think about what you can do, what you love to do and what people need. Here are a last few ideas to help with the creative process.

21. Bespoke Travel Planning

Yes, the internet put a stake through the heart of traditional travel agents. Good riddance. That was a business model built entirely on having access to booking systems and little else. Enter the bespoke travel planner. You help your clients have the best possible trip for their money, booking them into hotels, tours and restaurants they never would have found otherwise. You don't sell access, you sell expertise. That's a winning formula.

22. Storage

You know what isn't sexy? Storage. You know what makes an absolute fortune these days? Storage. Whether renting lockers to individuals or bulk warehouse space to companies, secured storage is a booming business model nationwide. You'll need more startup capital than most businesses because this requires lots of square footage, but if you're looking for a business that people need… Well, look no further.

23. Diet and Fitness

Some people look great in tailored shirts and yoga pants. The rest of us would like to look like those people. If you know how to build a diet and exercise plan for losing weight and looking great, we've got some news that's hardly new: You're sitting on a product that lots of people want. Get out there and sell it.

24. Landscaping

Perhaps you simply love working with your hands. You have a talent for helping things grow and shudder at the thought of sitting behind a desk all day. Now consider that there are far, far more people who own homes and lawns than who share your gifts. Yep, right now there are millions of Americans looking at desiccated dirt and mournful trees wondering, "how do I fix this?" Consider that your bat signal.

Successful Retailers Drive Store Traffic By Starting With Mobile Devices - Forbes

Posted: 28 Feb 2019 09:51 AM PST

Park Place's Path to

We're well over 20 years into the era of e-commerce and more than 10 years into the era of mobile commerce. And still, customers behaviors continue to evolve faster than retailers' abilities to adapt. Customers are empowered with real-time information, choices and insights on demand. Whether it's searching for the "best [product] for me," watching specific types of product review videos on YouTube, asking their voice-activated devices for sports scores and weather or reading consumer reviews, connected consumers are further disrupting online and offline shopping journeys. The question is, what does it take for physical retailers to keep up and win?

Among industries in the throes of modernization, the auto industry is under notable pressure to connect the dots for a digital-first customer with an in-person sales experience. For the most part, customers still have to visit a dealership to get the keys to their new car. Yet, for many dealerships, the connection between the online world and physical stores is often complicated and not a delightful experience for consumers. But these days, by the time a customer visits a dealership, they are far more educated about their intended purchase and also the buying process itself.  Dealerships must modernize the digital touchpoints to guide customers along their path, their way.

Connecting the Dots: Modernize the Roads Between Online and Physical Worlds

Gone are the days when a majority of new car customers shopped based on newspaper ads or compared models and prices by visiting local lots. Did you know that 60%[1] of automotive searches come from a mobile device? As a result, new car buyers visit only two dealerships on average before making a purchase[2]. This means that brands and dealers who seek to become part of the consideration-set, must invest in every stage of the customer journey. Doing so aligns customer intent with desired outcomes at each step. This includes becoming discoverable when the research process begins and then sequencing your messaging based on a potential customer's previous actions.

While seemingly counterintuitive for any business that relies on human touch at some point in the journey, many digital-savvy dealers are optimizing digital and mobile first engagement for a more personal touch at the time of purchase. When done right, this allows for customers to find everything they need to then visit a local dealership to finalize the deal.

One dealership leading the way is Park Place Lexus in Texas.

I recently read an interesting overview of how Park Place Lexus dealership is modernizing the customer journey by connecting the dots between the online world and their physical store. In a video that shares how the company is modernizing the consumer journey, Park Place CMO Dave Evans explained, "The expectation…of any purchase…is completely different than what it was even two or three years ago." He continued, "We know that customers want to control their experience. The experience is really what they're looking for."

Kennedy Gibson, director of digital marketing for Park Place dealerships, added that they also had to meet new consumer needs. "By the time a customer gets to us, they're a lot more educated about the buying process, so we have to adjust the car buying experience to match," she said.

For example, consumers are beginning their journey more and more on their mobile devices. They're searching for specific results, such as "best SUVs for kids" or "safest SUVs for kids" or "best car for pets." Then they're pouring over videos that communicate the likely consumer experience, i.e. walkthroughs that demonstrate vehicle features or explanations as to why this vehicle is the 'best' or 'safest' as well as other forms of content such as "test drive" and consumer review videos.  Once they narrow down their options, they then search for something along the lines of "best [BRAND] dealer near me." The research continues with consumers avidly exploring videos and reviews of dealers to also gain insight into the in-store experience before setting foot on the lot.

Four Ways to Shift Sales into High Gear

For dealers or any retailer to thrive, they must absolutely study and understand customer intent and behaviors to then align the right technology on the right platforms with the right content and messages.  This paves the way for a one-to-one relationship online and offline, encouraging customers to visit the dealership along the way. That's where, after all, deals are closed and customers take possession of their new cars.

Combining and optimizing digital, mobile and real-world experiences is exactly the approach that Park Place is taking to win.

1) Connect the dots of the customer journey from online to store

To start, Park Place introduced its "Path to Purchase," an online journey experience that allows customers to complete 80% of the purchase process online. It intuitively walks customers through each step of the purchase journey, from exploration to financing to providing trade-in information. As a result, Park Place Lexus is already seeing 23% growth in purchases that start online and finalize in the dealership.

2) Optimize the mobile journey specifically

Park Place redesigned its mobile site to meet the expectations of mobile customers looking for directions, hours, information, or service on the small screen. Doing so has boosted visibility with the company earning over 15,000 "directions-related" visits per month and 12,000 "click to calls" per month. For those customers who engage with the dealership's website, Park Place sees a buy rate two times higher than those who only use other auto internet sources.

3) Amplify digital discoverability

Even on mobile, digital search is still critical as it's where the journey most often begins. According to Google[3], search remains the most commonly used research method when buying a new car. Park Place aggressively focused on shoppers who had recently searched for new cars on mobile devices.

4) Measure customer engagement, which drives growth

True measures of success aren't just about reaching eyeballs, populating lead forms online and converting them in person. Dealers and retailers can tie marketing directly back to actual business results - you don't have to rely on proxy or legacy metrics like lead form fills, which people no longer fill out anyway. Rather, you can now track how well your marketing is driving actual footsteps into the dealership. Park Place is measuring tangible outcomes such as store visits, how many people they're impacting, and then optimizing based on those engagements.  Now, one-in-five people that click a paid search ad for Park Place end up visiting one of their dealerships.

CMO Dave Evans, summarized the relationship between online and in-store this way, "Park Place is very passionate about creating relationships…as behavior patterns change."  

This is still a relationship business. You still have to know people to deliver what it is they value. If their behaviors differ from your business models and practices, then it's up to you, not them, to build bridges of value between your digital and mobile site to your physical address.


[1] Google Search Data, U.S., April - June, 2017

[2] Google, KANTAR TNS, Auto Consumer Barometer 2018, U.S., Q3 2018, Base: New car buyers, n = 519

[3] Google Search Data, U.S., April - June, 2017

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