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Old 04-15-2005, 01:10 PM   #1
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Exclamation Help Starting A New Business

OK DC people, I need your help. I am interested in opening my own business, but I have zero business sense and have no idea where to even start. I am currently looking for classes to take, but aside from that what else should I be doing?

The store I want to open would sell premade foods kept in a fridge or freezer. I would sell things like soups, stews, lasagna, and other things that freeze well. I would also have a counter to make a limited number of sandwiches just during lunchtime. The idea would be for people to come in on their way home from work or on their lunch break to get dinner for that night.

OK guys, give me your suggestions and experiences with opening a business. I need all the help I can get. TIA!

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Old 04-15-2005, 01:20 PM   #2
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GB, the best place to start is www.score.org. It's a council of small business owners that provide information and training--for free--for people interested in starting their own business. Around here they have classes several times a month in proposal writing, financing, etc, as well as one-on-one counseling with retired small business owners. I've heard it's a wonderful resource.

Good luck!
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Old 04-15-2005, 01:56 PM   #3
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PAB Thank you so much!!! This is exactly the type of thing I was looking for
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Old 04-15-2005, 02:04 PM   #4
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GB, also try to find a website for your city. A lot of times they will have free seminars for people interested in starting a business. Also check your local Chamber of Commerce. This type of info will be specific to where you live. Good luck! Let us know what happens.
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Old 04-15-2005, 02:10 PM   #5
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Thanks HTC, more great advice!
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Old 04-15-2005, 03:57 PM   #6
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I remember seeing something on the Food Network awhile back about a guy who started a soup and sandwich counter in the train station in Boston. It was one of those started in his house and has a big off-site kitchen type of success stories. But it's close to you so maybe you could find a way to have an informational interview with his company.
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Old 04-15-2005, 04:15 PM   #7
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GB:

Also check with your board of health. They have regs about preparing food in a home kitchen for sale to the public (if that's what you're going to do).

Also, be prepared to handle to financial side of the business. That can kill you even if the basic idea is a great one.

BTW, as a currently unemployed finance type, I'd be willing to help you answer some questions.

Let me know when you open and I'll be happy to be your first customer!

Andy M.
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Old 04-15-2005, 05:37 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone!

Andy I happen to be very close friends with someone on the board of health (not in my town, but in my parents town). He loves to talk so I am sure I can hit him up for some info!
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Old 04-15-2005, 06:49 PM   #9
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gb, I've worked in several places like that and at one time was going to open my own. It's tons of work - are ya ready?! - but very rewarding, too.

Some things in addition to those already mentioned, are -

keep it simple, at least at the beginning; your enthusiatic customers are going to say, why don't you do this - or that - but you'll have to evaluate each one for it's merits and how it fits into your 'scheme'. IE, if you're doing a simple soup and sammy type menu, and someone says 'gee, it'd be great if you made your own ice cream'; sure, sounds like a great idea, and a real 'hook' to get folks in, but look at the extra costs, etc.

Visit as many like places as you can; talk with the owners, find out their joys and heartaches.

Talk with a food business consultant; I found one through the folks who do our accounting; their advice is invaluable, and they can guide you through a lot of pitfalls, even tho it costs you money.

Don't - EVER - EVER - buy equipment based on what the sales rep is telling you. Case in point - I was Kitchen Manager for a new place opening up, mainly burgers/sammies/pizzas (premade dough - yuck)/salad kind of place - BUT - they were opening for breakfast too, and the (@)#(*&$#)(*& sales rep told the owner we could toast our bread and bagels in the pizza ovens!!

I would love to shoot the breeze w/you on this - if you're up for it, PM me and I'll phone ya!
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Old 04-15-2005, 08:31 PM   #10
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Thank Marm, this is some fantastic advice! I just may take you up on that phone call down the road!
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