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Welcome to Fresh Threads, our weekly roundup of the best comments and advice from the forums.
This week's edition is coming to you on a Tuesday, because we've already had more than enough great threads to fill an article — and I'm away later this week. But mainly the first point.
Here's everything that interested and entertained us over the last few days:
Patrick21, First Steps to Starting a Business
In the process of opening up his own pub, Patrick’s already done a lot of research around equipment, business plans and cashflow forecasts. He believes his idea is “unique” since there are no similar pubs around, and it’s not very complicated.
He’s applying for a loan, but still has some questions before he finalises how much he’ll need. How does leasing equipment work, how many clients could he expect and how many gallons of beer do mid-size pubs usually order or sell? He’s also heard that business rates are rising – how much of a threat are they likely to be?
EthicalPR: Have you ever managed a pub or run your own business? If not, what do you feel gives you the skills and experience to run a successful pub that will start from scratch?
In regards to your idea being unique – there are very few unique ideas. If your concept is such a great one, then why are none of the big brewery chains doing it? Being unique doesn’t automatically equal success. It could spell disaster, as it means there is no demand for the concept.
Blaby Loyal: I can't emphasise enough the need for you to get some 'hands-on' experience before you go ahead with what you’re planning. From my experience, the licensed trade demands unique skills: if you don't have them, you're in danger of being worked over by all and sundry right from the outset (staff, security, suppliers and customers alike).Don't give up on your idea by any means, but please do get some experience so you can see what's involved from the inside. You'll effectively be getting paid training, and will come into contact with people, suppliers and other businesses who might prove invaluable to you when you do set up on your own. Good things sometimes take time.
Nadim.c, Time Out
Nadim remembers watching The Apprentice a couple of years ago, where they made burgers and sold them in London food markets. As she points out, they seemed to just choose places to sell, rather than obtaining street trader’s licenses or checking health and safety measures. If it was that simple to sell on the street, wouldn’t everyone sell where they want?
BusterBloodvessel: I understand that it’s reality TV, but it has always made me wonder when they go selling pies, cakes or meals and they “randomly” wander into pubs or restaurants and strike a deal. Surely that’s all set up and the restaurants are pre-warned or paid to take them? I can’t think of many pubs where I’d wander in and go “Hi, I’ve made some readymade curries today, would you like to buy 10 and put them on your menu tonight?” and they’d actually take me up on it!
Ashley_Price: You cannot say anything on TV is realistic, simply because there are too many restrictions and too much planning that needs to go into it. Say you watch a reality show where, on the spur of the moment, someone dashes in, picks up their keys and goes shopping. In reality, this has had to be planned out hours in advance, as the TV people have to phone the relevant stores and get permission to film. So take everything you watch with not a pinch, but a sack of salt. And remember, television is only there for entertainment; it has nothing to do with reality.
Redigo, General Business
Redigo is being encouraged on a weekly basis to introduce WhatsApp into their business, but they’re yet to be convinced whether it’s worth it.
Obviously, the speed with which you can respond to questions or share files would be an advantage. Has anyone else started using WhatsApp, and has it benefited your sales or customer service?
Tony84: I don’t start conversations with my customers on WhatsApp, but if they use it, I use it. It’s quite handy for sending documents, and is surprisingly more secure than email because it’s encrypted end to end. I wouldn’t say a lot of our customers use it, nor would I say it’s a deal breaker to customers.
billybob99: I’ve been using it since it was released, but it depends on your business and the areas you serve. I've noticed it’s used solely by potential clients who are enquiring and are based overseas.
apricot: I use WhatsApp to contact my suppliers and hold video conferences if necessary. When a supplier needs to contact me to change product colour or size, they instantly contact me via WhatsApp. I’ve also had to use it several times for overseas customers – I don't speak German, but I can write using Google Translate. It’s free, secure and there’s instant sharing, plus it’s available both on phone and desktop. I don't see any reason why one would not use it?
parkingandsecurity, General Business
parking and security runs – you guessed it – a parking and security company. They’re looking to grow the security side, but it’s a relatively new area of marketing for them.
How would someone approach you and get your interest?
Dotcomdude: Do some kind of security assessment of the business from the outside and approach them when you can tell them something they didn't already know (in the security arena).
Mr D: Free security audits are worth every penny; sometimes what can be seen outside is not the story the company is willing to hear, as they also see inside. If you find news about break-ins and other security concerns in the area (along with crime figures) you can put together something realistic and local, and persuade people to pay for a security audit.
Haunted Worlds: Security is by far one of the most important things in life for anyone or any business. People will want to know whether you're a "proper" security firm and not one of these flyby-in-the-night crackpot schemes. Shout about your accreditations: you've earned the right to do so! Put it this way, the company I work for is an MLA-approved locksmiths and every page on our website has the MLA logo.
That's all - enjoy the rest of your week!
Thank You for sharing this stuff!
After all said and done, not all businesses or websites need to worry about it. Most small businesses will not be affected right?