Upcoming Events at Downtown Brooklyn Library: Financial First Aid!


The vast majority of cities and towns in the US have libraries, but few have a library system with as many resources, events, and community support as the Brooklyn library system. Downtown Brooklyn’s branch, however, is something unique and special even within this unparalleled system.

The Downtown Brooklyn branch is not a “regular” library either. Called the “Business Library,” it’s history in fact predates that of the Brooklyn Library system itself, dating back to 1852. It has, for most of the time since then, served primarily as a resource for businesses, entrepreneurs, and private citizens with business, employment, and money management concerns.

Considering how many people today have employment and money management concerns, one might expect Downtown Brooklyn’s Business Library to be overrun with the unemployed and financially strapped. The library does after all, offer a number of workshops, seminars, and one-on-one counselors to help with these issues.

For instance, almost every day of the week for several hours a day the library offers one-on-one sessions with a business counselor and several other days a week offers one-on-one career and job development sessions with another professional.

Sessions like this are incredibly valuable and in fact can cost hundreds of dollars if sought from the private sector.

An event later this week titled “Financial Fitness Series: Repairing Your Credit” is given by Citibank representatives on “why a healthy credit rating is important and how to improve your score.” That’s coming straight from the horses mouth, so to speak.


So if you are like 90% of Americans today and have financial problems or concerns, check out the Business Library’s “Programs and Services” tab at its home site here, and see if they aren’t offering something you desperately need.


Practical Guide Reveals How to Make Money in the Used Car Sales Business

Want to learn what it takes to make money in the used car sales business? This guide maybe just what you need.

Here are a few key points you need to know before you open a used car sales lot:


  1. Every state has a different set of rules and regulations, some states are tougher than others – some are more lenient. Either way, your state laws will affect your overall sales. So, it’s important to learn and keep a copy of the laws regarding car sales in your state.


  1. Each state is different in that there are limits to the amount of cars that can be sold legally before you have to apply to get a car dealers license from the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state. You need this before you open a used car sales business with a lot.


You’ll fill out an application and take a few tests, and the approval can take up to a week before you can move forward with buying/renting your car lot.

Once you’ve done 1 and 2 above, you need to look for commercial property to rent. Look for high drive by traffic areas in a moderate speed zone so your prospects can slow down enough and see what you have and can react fast enough to pull-in. Be sure the lot is flat and paved.

There’s unnecessary risk purchasing a lot you don’t know will produce, so I always recommend you lease it first with option to buy to know if it’s a profitable location before you make the decision to purchase the property outright.

At this point, you have your dealers license and found a good lot, next you need a surety bond worth at least $30,000 in coverage. This protects your customers from hidden problems and every state requires it.Once you’ve spent a few weeks taking care of legalities, you can start buying inventory for your new used car sales business. Wholesale car auctions in your state are great places to get your initial inventory. You’ll find all types of cars to showcase on your used car lot.

You can also find quality vehicles at police auctions, private auctions, garage sales, estate sales, Craig list, and eBay motors.

Also, decide if you want to deal with taking trade-ins. You’ll have plenty of inventory, but some of these cars could have hidden problems you don’t want to deal with. Because your taking on extra risk, you want to be sure you spend very little money acquiring trade-in’s and get routine inspections before you give cash.

When evaluating the trade-in value, keep a Kelly Blue Book on hand to help you determine the value of a vehicle and what it can be sold for at a reasonable price.

Now you know how you can start making money in the used car sales business with this useful and practical guide on making money in the used car sales business.

You have no excuse now but to get to work, and put this information into action for yourself so you can start living the life you want – on your terms.

Why Initial Cash Flow for Your Business is Critical to Your Success

As an entrepreneur who faces the effects of an economic downturn, initial cash flow is extremely important.

Why? Because money cost money.


Let’s put it in perspective:


Depending on the role you play , you pay for the cost of money not circulating in your business when it has no where to go. Because money, in it’s very nature, should always be moving – never sitting still. Like a child on a sugar rush, it must keep going to move your business forward – faster. That’s why the root word for money is “currency”. The ocean works because of it’s currents.


So, what does the money flowing into your business immediately have to do with generating cash flow?


It guarantees employees, suppliers, vendors and the government are paid on time. And being on time with your payments develops goodwill and reduces the odds of paying additional fee’s in terms of interest or penalties.


Goodwill is a rare commodity – more so in business. It’ll help expand and grow yours over several lifetimes and could be developed into a full-fledged corporation based on the trust you develop keeping your financial promises.


Respect is gained fast in the marketplace and will have vendors and suppliers fighting to work with you because of your reliability. It’s a sign of professionalism and a strong working foundation.


Let’s take a quick look at an example that vendors love and favor:


Cash-and-Carry stores offer big discounts to its customers over retail.


How so? Because goods are purchased cheaper since they make payments instantly or in a short period of time. The result being deep discounts offered to it’s customers. This is what often creates the edge over big box retail competition.


You don’t have to beat yourself up over not generating initial cash flow at the start (although for obvious reasons it’s a huge plus) because most businesses won’t produce for some time. Odds are, the money invested is locked up into the business until it’ starts selling as soon as possible.


Keep this in mind: It’s never a good idea to stretch your credit or defer payments in the initial few weeks of your business with your vendors and suppliers. You need to build enough trust and faith on your reliability before they allow you to extend credit for a period of time.


It’s pretty clear why cash flow is important to growing your business and the sooner you can sell your products or services to generate the cash, the faster you can use it grow your business quicker. After all, cash flow will make or break your business, and the sooner you work to get your employees and partners to generate money for you, the longer you’ll stay in business to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

The Reality vs. The Dream of Owning Your Own Business

So many of us dream of owning our own businesses. Even in an economic climate where small businesses are closing at such a rapid rate or even if we are not sure exactly what KIND of business we would like to own and operate, we dream. We might make notes of how we would do things differently if we owned the business or keep a file or notes of types of businesses we would like to own. The first challenge, of course, is to make that dream a reality and THEN comes the challenge of reconciling reality with all those dreams we carried around with us for years!

It can be extremely enlightening to sit down with a small business owner who is 1-2 years into a new business and ask them to share their experiences around “What the reality of owning the business has been like compared to the dream?” You might be surprised at the things they say are much more difficult or much easier than what they had anticipated. Many novice small business owners underestimate the amount of time, effort and resources that will go to initial licensing and getting the business set up and operational. They may think that is just a matter of getting the funding and opening the doors but there are often multiple government agencies and licenses and other details to tend to prior to the business ever making its first dollar.


Others find that the expenses of maintenance, upkeep and replacement of equipment and supplies far surpass what they anticipated. For example, a new small coffee business owner may anticipate the initial cost of acquiring all the equipment to operate but underestimate how much it will cost when things break down or need to be repaired or replaced.


There is a place for those lofty dreams of how fabulous life will be as you serve up plates of food in your own restaurant or build houses or whatever business you dream of owning, but there is also a place for getting down to the gritty details of reality. As you draw up your business plan and organize budgets and details for your future small business, be sure to allow for conversations and preparations for reality as well. Talk to other business owners, ready articles and books and try to anticipate where the challenges, surprise expenses and pitfalls might be in order to have a more realistic expectation of what being a small business owner will entail.

The Hardest Part of Owning Your Own Business


The media will present to you a much skewed look at owning your own business because it is either trying to sell you on opening one and buying into that sales pitch or the horrible pitfalls of owning your own business and how their products can help you avoid all of their scare tactics. I have found that the problems as usual lie somewhere in the middle and can be managed if dealt with properly. And these issues are not the kind of exciting issues that make the headlines, so help is not easily found in the main stream venues.

Time Constraints: Ah, the allure of having your own time in your own business, hmmmm, I thought working for someone else was time consuming, until you have your own business, you really don’t get a good clue as to the 24/7 babysitting job you have signed up for. After a certain period of success and some good decisions and good management; you can cut back a bit. But as competitive as business is you do have to keep on your toes or you can become a dinosaur overnight.


Rules and Regulations: Depending on your business there can be so many governmental drawbacks you don’t even get out of the gate or you could have very few. Just know them, not what pertained 5 years ago; it’s up to you to be current.


Employees: Some people can have hundreds of employees and make tons of money with them; some have been sued and lost their entire businesses over 1 or 2 employees. I also know many people who just work by themselves in their business and thrive that way.


Management: If you are a super-duper-cooper manager already, then great; your business will only prosper from your expertise; but if you are not, this is not the playing field to find out, hire someone who can do a better job than you. No matter what widget you are selling or service you are pedaling; bad management will suck your business dry if you don’t keep an eye on it. If you are seeing that as a whole the business is not a well run entity it is time to regroup and find the holes.


Some people take to owning a business like a duck to water. It’s an inborn talent kind of skill, the born entrepreneurs and pioneers of our times. There are those who have worked for mismanaged companies and started their own business to make a better success of the business the way that they could see it could be. As long as you can come up with some formulas to keep your passion or your light shining through the dark times, you know in your heart of hearts whether it is a right decision for you to own your own business.

Buisness Planning for Hard Times


When you start a business you want to make sure that it grows to be as successful as it possibly can. Which means that no matter whether you’re just starting out or if your company has lasted for years, you want to make sure that should hard times hit then your business will not only be able to bounce back but thrive. You can check out a compiled list of methods and applied scenarios in the book Business Planning for Turbulent Times. In the meantime there are a few steps that you can look at now before you decide to buy the book.


The Fundamentals of Building a Business


As you’re most likely aware the best chance to make sure that a business hold strong through hard times is to make sure that’s it’s built that way from the very beginning. So the obvious step to take, if you didn’t start out that way, is to go back and look at the fundamentals that make up your business. The planning is actually more important than the plan itself. If your final plan backfires that’s alright since it’s to be expected. The important aspect is the process by which you reached it in the first place. Planning takes reviewing, revisions, and corrections a process that is repeated over and over again.


This allows for the chance to watch how conclusions change which is an important step when looking at the development and future changes in your company. Also pay close attention to your planning process so that you can pick up on any changes or unexpected surprises that might pop up. Planning can act as an early warning system which is invaluable when planning not only for the short term but the long term as well. Watch the flow of cash in and out of your business. Profit isn’t always cash and any changes in the cycle of your money (customers having to wait longer to pay their bills etc.) can be detrimental since a business requires an extra financing every 30 days that customers hold off payments.


Your next step would be to watch the metrics. Since you’re looking for early warning signs then sales, costs, and expenses can be used as metrics. Measure what you’re able to and watch for any sign of changes. Improve your communication with your customers, employees, and vendors. If your payments will be made slower than usual then let your vendors know when they’ll get paid instead. Making sure that you’re your customers know that they’re appreciated keeps them coming back. Never let anyone working with you or for r you have to guess what you’re thinking or what you intend. These assumptions could cause problems later on that you don’t need, plus a steady flow of communication can make your employees and customers happier to be involved in your business. Also be aware that your business plan will usually be wrong, but even so it is never done which brings us back to our first point.

Business Ideas: Hobby Services: Service Industry Business Ideas

YogaIn today’s marketplace, convenience is key. Consumers want what they need, when they need it, without having to rearrange their busy schedules to get it done. That’s partially why service businesses are always in hot demand – if they can find a niche market and then serve it well.

What follows is a list of some service industry business ideas that will get your creative juices flowing while providing you with several opportunities to explore, brainstorm and research further to see if one of these business ideas is the perfect entrepreneurial venture for you.

Business Idea: Searching for Collectibles and Antiques

This is a highly specialized niche market, but for the right collector, it’s a business idea that can provide great financial rewards. For those who already have a specific hobby they are passionate about collecting – such as stamps, paintings, comic books, dolls and antique scales – opening up a service business that caters to similarly inclined shoppers may be a logical step. Continue doing what you normally do to find the items you collect (garage sale hopping, flea markets, eBay) but instead of merely looking for yourself, look for your clients, too. Finding clients isn’t that challenging either, as you’ll probably already know where people with similar interests spend their time: reading collectors magazines, in the eBay forums, searching the Internet and in flea markets themselves.

Business Idea: Cleaning Golf Clubs

If you are already an avid golfer, then you know how important it is to keep your golf clubs clean. Yet, how often to you actually make the time to keep them in tip top shape? That’s where a golf club cleaning service can step in. By giving clients a very specific service – cleaning their golf clubs – while they get changed after a game or at any other time that is convenient to them – you are saving them time, energy and probably the cost of a new set of clubs after their poorly maintained ones have rusted, pitted or become discolored with use.

Business Idea: Yoga, Pilates or Self-Defense Instructor

Although the services are quite different, the intention is the same: offer clients a way to get into shape or defend themselves by showing and guiding them in ways to take control of their bodies and minds. Your schedule should be somewhat flexible for these types of business ideas, since your intended audience will likely require classes at varying times, and you’ll need to take some intensive training before teaching anything at all. But once you’ve completed those necessary steps, contact either other instructors in town to ask them how and where they began teaching, or make a call to your local recreation center and find out what you’ll need to do to use their facilities for a course.

Business Idea: Seamstress

For those who already love to sew and have all of the necessary items in place, starting a sewing business is quite straightforward. Put up some flyers around town announcing your services, contact local tailors and dry cleaning companies to let them know you’ll work with for them as a contractor, and get a cell phone that is only used for work purposes. Then, create a list of set prices for all different kinds of sewing needs such as hemming, repairs or creating a prom dress from scratch. Before you know it, your phone will be ringing off the hook.

Business Idea: Personal Chef

There are as many opportunities for providing cooking services to clients in your community as there are types of cuisine to choose from. Elderly clients may want someone to come into their home and cook for them, and young families overloaded with responsibilities may cherish a couple of hours of cooking time off from a pro. Expecting parents may like to sit down with a chef to work out meals they can prepare in advance and freeze for when the baby comes, and busy singles who travel often may lust after a home-cooked meal. You could even teach a specific kind of cooking that normally takes a bit to master, right in the intended chef’s home. How’s that for convenience?

Planning your web site

HtmlBuilding your web site is a serious time commitment. Each business is unique, and therefore has unique needs for a web site. With this in mind, I will generalize the process to building your site by breaking it down into three stages: the Planning Stage, the Building Stage, and the Maintenance Stage. This article discusses the Planning Stage.

Stage 1: Planning it all out

Ultimately, everything we do in relation to our businesses comes down to making a living for ourselves. You know, that “bottom line” thing. While we enjoy our work and enjoy our independence, as business-owners we always need to remember that our time is important–at least, it is to us! Because our time is so valuable, careful planning will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

Generally, when planning your site, you’ll need to do the following:

  1. Decide your web site’s purpose. (Why do you want a web site?)
  2. Collect/create the information you want to include on your web site.
  3. Map out your web site.
  4. Pick your programs. (Which web creation tools will you use?)

Purpose: Why do you want a web site?

You may have a number of reasons for building your own web site, and you should try to list all of them. (I recommend actually writing them down, and keeping this list for future reference.) Your purpose(s) will depend largely on the type and size of your business, and might include the desire to advertise your business, to sell your products, to reach a larger customer base, and so forth.

Collecting your information

You’ll need to decide on the information to include in your web site. I suggest starting off with a brain-storming session that includes you, and possibly a few of your key employees (if you have them). Think about the questions your customers ask you most often, about the products/services you want to highlight, and about the information that is most related to your purposes (see #1 above).

Mapping out your web site

This stage is also known as “story-boarding,” and is similar to the processes used in film-making, advertising, and other similar fields. The idea is to build a map of your site that you can use to visualize the entire system you’re working on. I find maps useful when working on web sites because they allow me to see my progress–to keep track of what I’ve finished and what I still need to do.

Selecting your tools

The tools you use to build a web site are entirely up to you because there are so many available. Generally speaking, you’ll need an HTML editor (text or “WYSIWYG“*), an FTP program, a graphics editing program, and a server on which to house your web files. Some HTML editors come with the FTP and graphics functions within them. Most newer computers come with all the programs you’ll need.

After Disaster Strikes How Do You Recover

disasterIt has been a tremendously unnerving time during the last two weeks, and most of us will still be in shock forever. In every tragedy there is great triumph to be seen. In business as it is in life, we never really believe we will loose our precious comfort zone and all of its luxuries. Think again and be ever so watchful and vigilant for your country and your neighbor. In the business world you must pick up the pieces and go on, and as bad as this incident was it is entirely possible it could happen again. This article is about helping recover your business. It is a tough road to go down but if you have ever been in a disaster you know, so bear with me. Here goes.

Are your business managers and employees ready for a disaster? Say it with meYes we are!

In this article I will explore the world of disaster recovery for businesses. This aspect of business practice is rarely funded, not practiced, and oftentimes forgotten. Nothing could be worse than losing friends and loved ones to a horrific tragedy, but people in this world will tell you that if something happens to them, they would want you to carry on. So to grant their wish lets use that sad energy and turn it into mad energy.

Its especially hard when you loose a great deal of your leadership structure, like the New York Fire Department did in the recent World Trade Center tragedy. As a matter of fact during my research for this article I found that many businesses either did not have a disaster recovery plan or it was so outdated that only certain aspect of it were still applicable. Small businesses are the ones most often hardest hit. These small businesses are often unprepared for a disaster. With few employees, there is usually no one designated to create a contingency plan, and with small budgets, there is often no money to fund a plan even if it’s created.

I found that even though there is an absence of contingency planning in small businesses, it can also be found in larger companies, but it is not as widespread. For example, many of the large businesses in the Oklahoma City area had recovery plans in effect, which helped them stay in business following the bomb’s explosion on April 19, 1995.

The Social Security Administration, which was housed in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, was able to continue client’s claims with no interruption, despite the fact that their business site was destroyed in the blast. Because of contingency planning, almost all information on Oklahoma’s 100,000 social security clients is stored at a computer center on the East Coast. When the disaster occurred, workers in Dallas immediately reassigned the workload to other offices and calls were routed to other offices where specially briefed staff members handled them.