How to Start Your Own Baby Products Business

There are no absolute steps to ensure success in any kind of small business, but with the right guidance and planning, one can become a good entrepreneur. One of the small business ideas that never runs out of style is the baby industry. Here are some tips to start off on the right foot in the baby market.

First of all, decide whether you will be a reseller or a direct seller. Do you prefer to buy pre-packaged baby products on wholesale and sell them at a retail price, or will you make your own products, or perhaps both? Making your own merchandise can go anywhere from having your own factory to a smaller scale production including yourself and maybe a few friends sewing clothes, quilting, to constructing baby-proof furniture. The possibilities are almost endless. Whichever of these options appeal most to you, it is important to put into mind the practicality and efficiency that parents, especially mothers, can get from the baby products that you are selling. You can start off on a single item to a few, but as your small business becomes big, a lot more variety can help expand your market and consumer base, not to mention your profit. Soon enough, you can even own your own company.

With these ideas in check, choosing an appropriate and eye-catching name for your small business is the next crucial step. Advertising businesses and products these days can be done on so many levels. Website promotion is one of the more contemporary approaches, together with business branding efforts on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, even on YouTube. Aside from this, you can manually make entries of your baby products to be posted for sale on online auction sites or shopping platforms like eBay or Craigslist. If you prefer the more direct and traditional marketing methods, word of mouth still works faster than most advertising techniques. Spread the word with family and friends, and soon enough, a whole neighborhood will hear of the news.

Learn about your competition, because sure enough, there will be a lot in the baby industry. Research the products and services that other companies have to offer. Compare their prices and features with your own baby products and make the necessary adjustments if need be. It’s a stiff market out there, especially in a quite unstable economic state as that of today. People – especially mothers – are always on the lookout for the best deals in terms of price and product quality. To be able to deliver both of these will guarantee you a spot in the formidable baby industry.

As soon as you start earning money, be sure not to spend all of it immediately. This may be tempting, but putting priorities in your expenditures is very important. Make it a point to put aside money dedicated to keep the business running – maintenance costs, taxes, budget for new products, replenishing resources, among many others.

With all these in mind, starting your own baby products business will be easier to kick off.

Strategy – How To Keep Your Service Business Focused On The Most Productive Business Activities

One of the prevalent problems most service business owners experience is difficulty with focus, loss of focus, and having no focus for their business. Instead, they conduct business from the “putting out fires” position. They aren’t staying focused at all times on the most productive business activities (bringing in clients, increasing revenue, increasing profit). They’re letting other demands pull them away. Often, these demands are not important or even relevant. If you’re having trouble keeping your focus on the right business activities, here are a few ideas for you.

1. Keep it simple.

You don’t have to do four million things at once. Eliminate 95% of the stuff you’re currently doing, and get it down to just a handful of activities. Put everything else “on the back burner” – at least temporarily. You can still do these activities. You don’t have to do them now.

2. Create a written strategy.

Know exactly what you want to accomplish with your business, the tactics to do that, and all the action steps that each tactic requires. Work from this strategy. Put a time-line to this strategy. Follow the time-line, and keep your focus on the top priority activity (as identified by your time-line).

3. Ask yourself at all times, “Is this the most productive business activity I could be doing?”

If not, make some changes. Make this reminder habitual and you’ll discover how much of your business activity is not focused on your most productive activities.

4. Execute your strategy consistently.

Use your written strategy as your business roadmap, making it clear what is next, and where your focus should be. Resist all the sales spiels and time demands, or delay them into future strategic behavior. You can add new things into your strategy at any time. Just make sure that they really are valuable and not distractions to your strategic objectives. It is challenging to stay focused and to resist distractions, but try using as a “filter” the primary objective of your strategy. Ask yourself if any new activities Will truly advance that objective.

5. Be clear in your strategic planning about any information or training you need, and work on getting it before you need it.

One sure way to stop your business momentum is to neglect to educate yourself in advance of the need to know. Figure out what you do not know and where to learn it. Stay ahead of your need to know and you will maintain the momentum of your business.

6. Recognize and reject distractions.

When new ideas or time demands arise, see if they fit the context of your current strategy. Explore whether or not they fit somewhere into your longer-term strategy. Are they simply distractions? Stay clear on this, and be willing to place these new potential activities where they belong in relation to your strategy.

7. Keep your focus on the concept of focus.

Modern life has unlimited potential to distract us with “important” activities that are essentially time wasters. It’s way too easy to get sucked into following the crowd with the “latest greatest” technologies, methods, and ideas. They are so seductive and play on our fear of being “left behind” in a rush to the new. We don’t question whether or not they are effective, fit our personality, or advance our strategy. Instead, we just jump in and follow the herd. Decide you will behave differently, and it will really pay off for your business.

These ideas will help you keep your service business focused on the most productive activities. Stay focused on attracting more clients, and increasing your revenue and profit. Don’t get distracted by off-track activities.

Video Production Business Tips – Starting a Video Production Business

A good friend of mine called some time ago to pick my brain about starting a video production business. He and I graduated from the same college with the same degree but his life and career took him down a much different path than mine. He has done well for his wife and 3 kids but has always had the itch for getting back into video production.

During our phone conversation, I was reminded of how hard it is to start a new business, especially a new video production business when you have a family that depends on your income. The truth of the matter is that you have to be in a position to lose for a while before you will start to win. You have to spend money for a while before you will start to earn enough money to make a living.

Here’s the condensed version of the advice I gave my friend:

1. Research your market. Find the need. Fill the need.

What are the other video production companies in your area? What type of clients do they serve? If there are 10 wedding videographers and 0 corporate video production companies, then you should seriously consider being the first and only corporate production company in your area. If there are 10 corporate video companies and only a few wedding videographers, you should lean more towards wedding videography. If it’s about the same in both categories, consider serving both markets or simply choose the type of work you prefer to do.

I researched online while I was on the phone with my friend. After looking at the competitor’s website, I learned that this company wasn’t producing good work. The quality of their website was poor and their wedding demo was even worse.

With that in mind, I suggested to my friend that all he’d have to do to get out of the gate in a hurry is make sure his site looked better than theirs and that his wedding demo did the same. He is a talented shooter/editor so creating a better demo won’t be a problem.

The other side of the equation is that this competitor doesn’t do any corporate video work so my friend could be the one and only corporate video production company in his town. At this time, the corporate clients get all their production projects done out of a larger city about an hour from there.

2. Plan to Lose Money.

After the research proved that there is plenty of opportunity for another production company in his area, we discussed how he’d handle the cash needs for both his new business and personal obligations. The reality is that it could take as long as two years to generate a large enough client base to reach the salary he makes in his current line of work. Knowing this up front, he has to figure out how he’s going to pay all the business and personal bills until his company can support both.

He can work full-time or part-time for someone else in order to support his income and spend the remaining time to build his video production business. He can also loan from a bank or find an investor to finance his business.

3. Pull The Trigger!

Let’s face it. Starting a video business is probably the hardest thing you’ll ever do. Keeping your head above water is equally as challenging. However, you can’t be successful as a video business owner until you take the first step. If you have decided that this is something you definitely want to do, THEN DO IT!

Don’t waste any more time. Every day that passes is a day that you can either be working towards building your own asset (your business) or working to build someone else’s asset (someone else’s business). I’ll tell you from experience that you will make mistakes – a lot of mistakes. But the only way you can learn from those mistakes is to hurry up and make them.

The advice I gave above isn’t anywhere near the information you need to start and run a successful video production business but it should give you a few things to think about. Find the easiest entry point in your market (wedding, corporate, etc.), figure out how you are going to pay the bills while you are building the business in the first year (full-time job, part-time job, bank loans, investor) and finally, pull the trigger!

Video Production Business Tips – Reasons NOT to Upgrade Video Production Gear

We can all find reasons to upgrade our video production equipment and software. Industry magazines tell us we should and equipment/software manufacturers advocate we do so we’ll have access to the new features available in the upgrade. There are thousands of people in production forums throughout the world who believe that staying up to date with current upgrades and technology is crucial to being competitive in the video production industry.

To an extent, they are correct. But what people don’t share with you are some of the reasons why you should not upgrade your equipment and software. Or at least not at the speed in which the industry says we should.

The underlying theme here is that upgrading your gear takes money out of your pocket which impacts the overall cash flow of your video production business. If you choose to finance upgrades with debt (loans, credit cards, etc.), then you are also impacting your cash flow because you will add payments to your monthly expenses. I know that upgrading is a necessary component of running a video production business. However, you should think hard about the following reasons NOT to upgrade before you spend the money.

1. If you haven’t mastered the video production equipment and software you have now, you shouldn’t upgrade.

When you start to get the itch for something new, take out the manual and start reading. You’ll be surprised at all the things you didn’t know about the equipment/software and this will re-energize you. Until you can push your gear to its absolute boundary every time you use it, save your money.

2. Rarely will an upgrade result in more profit for your video production business.

Think about it. Did the last piece of gear you purchased improve your bottom line? It probably didn’t. My employees are constantly advocating that I purchase new cameras or software. I respond by telling them that if they can justify on paper how the new gear will result in additional profits for the company, I’ll consider it. Needless to say, most of the new gear doesn’t get purchased.

3. When you finally pay off your car, you want to do your best to drive it as long as you can.

Not having to make payments is a wonderful thing. The same goes for equipment and software in your video business. If you have a camera that is paid for and is still generating revenue for you, think hard before buying another camera. Making money with gear/software that isn’t costing you money substantially increases your profit margins. A couple hundred dollars every quarter or year in maintenance will help that piece of gear be a profit maker for as long as 3 to 5 years, depending on what it is of course.

4. If you had a choice to invest $5,000 into equipment for your video business or invest $5,000 into something that will improve the quality of life for your family, which one would you choose?

If you chose the equipment, you have your priorities all screwed up. If you chose your family, your head is on straight. In my situation, $5,000 will cover several mortgage payments on my house and on my rental properties if/when they are vacant. Instead of sinking the extra cash into a business asset, I use that cash to build personal assets which will directly benefit my family.

5. Upgrades take time away from your revenue generating activities.

If sales are down, upgrades won’t improve that. You have to improve that. If you are in the middle of several projects, upgrades won’t help the situation. They will simply slow you down which will cause you to be less profitable. Purchasing new equipment won’t make a prospect want to do business with you. The quality of your work and reputation is what gets the phone to ring. Ninety-nine percent of the time, your clients won’t give a flip about what kind of cameras or software you use. They’ll only be interested in the formats you can provide them after the project is complete.

Obviously, you can’t run a video production company without upgrading your equipment and software when absolutely necessary. I just hope that this article has given you a reason to only upgrade when you are 100% sure you can no longer squeeze a reasonable profit margin out of the gear you have now. Training yourself to hold off on spending large sums of money for as long as possible will help to increase the financial strength of your video business as well as improve your skills as an entrepreneur. Both of which will accelerate your success!