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The Bare Minimum Needed to Start Your Foreclosure Cleanup Business

One of the quickest ways to start a foreclosure cleanup business is to 1) decide you want it, 2) do a little planning, 3) and jump right in. If you think about it too long, you’ll scare yourself to death and will get stuck in the thinking phase. But with a business like foreclosure cleanup, the industry is wide open. All the numbers point to a booming enterprise for 2010 and beyond.

Top Economists’ Predictions

With top economists labeling the rise of foreclosures among prime borrowers the “third wave of trouble,” businesses offering foreclosure cleanup services are poised for tremendous growth. In 2010 alone, well over four million homeowners will receive foreclosure notices; over half of those will go through foreclosure.

Further still, $2.5 trillion in risky loans are expected to reset in 2010 and 2011. It’s predicted that many of these loans were given to people who couldn’t afford the payments from the outset, which will make for an even more congested foreclosure market.

Foreclosure cleanup is the perfect opportunity to start a business, and, with a little planning, your doors can be open in a few weeks, ready to capitalize while offering a much-needed service. And, it’s a business that can be started part-time while still working a job.

Planning Your Foreclosure Cleanup Business

Decide to take two weeks to plan your foreclosure cleanup business. Write a business plan (outline format is fine with detailed notes) so you have a direction, a path, for your business as it relates to services, pricing, equipment and marketing.

Figure Out Which Services to Offer

During your two week business planning stage, you will figure out which services you will start out with. Foreclosure cleanup services can run the gamut. You can offer everything from debris removal, cleaning, lawn care, pressure washing, gutter cleaning, interior cleaning, painting, winterization, window and door boarding and replacement, locksmith services, inspections, and more. If you’re not careful, you’ll be all over the place, so you’ll need to be really focused in choosing the services you want to start out with in your new business.

TIP: Keep it simple in the beginning. Start by offering only those services you know you can handle in-house — and only those services for which minimum equipment purchases are needed.

Setting Your Pricing

After you create a services list, do a little research and set up your pricing guidelines. These will change often based on various factors as jobs come in, but have basic pricing guidelines already setup before you open your doors. Call “like” services to see what they are charging for, for example, lawn maintenance, debris removal, gutter cleaning, etc. Set your prices competitively based on what they are charging, the job factors, what you are putting out, and how much you want to clear off the job.

Getting Your Foreclosure Cleanup Business License

Make sure you call your County Clerk’s office to see what kind of licensing you will need and register your business formally. Go to the IRS’ website and sign up for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, so you are right with Uncle Sam’s reporting requirements once the money starts to roll in.

Getting Insurance for Your Business

Next, call around and get insurance quotes. You’ll need basic liability for your business and the proper insurance for your vehicle. It’s easiest to start out as a janitorial/maintenance type service. That’s a category that’s easiest to get insurance under; but note, you can only offer services for which that insurance covers.

Setting Up Your Website

Then, set up a quick website. There are various website templates online for a little of nothing will allow you to setup a quick webpage. Visit template sites where you can setup a website cheaply or for free.

At minimum, you will want to list information about your company, its services and your contact information on your new website.

Ordering Your Business Cards

Next, you will want to order your business cards. Try to have your business cards match the theme and/or colors of your website. This is another good reason to use printing type websites for your web page. You can order cards that will match your website’s theme easily.

Some sites even allow you to order “free” business cards if you keep their company name on the back of your cards. Not a bad tradeoff to cut costs in the start-up phase of your foreclosure cleanup business. You will wind up paying for shipping of the cards, however. (One such site will send you 100 “free” business cards and you will pay only a few dollars in shipping for the cards. Not bad.)

Create Your Marketing Material

Order some matching postcards online for your foreclosure cleanup business, and create some fliers on your computer that you can print out. Then, take them to a copy shop and duplicate — and start papering your surrounding community.

Pull Together Your Call List

Next, you will want to pull together a call list of realtors in your areas (foreclosure realtors!) as well as a list of REO assets managers at banks, a list of larger property preservation companies, and a list of landlords and real estate investors. Then you’ll want to jump right in calling them and seeing how you can service them with your new business.

Come up with a special promotion to peek especially the realtors’ interests. Also, offer them a discount if they belong to, say, NAR (National Association of Realtors). Many realtors will be coming out-of-pocket for foreclosure cleanup expenditures on their listings and will be waiting to get paid from the banks. They will appreciate a price break from your company.

Create a Phone Script for Your Business

Write a phone script so you will already know what you want to say when you call potential clients.

TIP: Make sure you get your company name and your company’s services in there. If you get a voicemail when calling, be sure to include the best time a potential client can reach you, your phone number, and your website address so they can learn more about your company.

The Basics!

These are just the basics to get your business off the ground quickly. Do a little industry research and get started planning today! As your business grows, you will become more formalized and add more policies and procedures that will ultimately benefit you, your business, and what is a growing cache of foreclosed homes.

Good luck out there on the front lines of the foreclosure cleanup industry!

Why Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs Really Need A Solid Marketing Plan?

When I ask entrepreneurs and small business owners, it is not unusual for not having any marketing plan. I once read that Sir Richard Branson never had any marketing plan when he started the 1st Virgin business many years ago. In fact in one study of entrepreneurship (I couldn’t recall the name of the study) was that as much as 50% of entrepreneurs and business owners don’t have a business plan and marketing plan when they first started the business.

What was the outcome? As much as 90% businesses started by entrepreneurs and small business went busted or failed within a year. I experienced one of the many busts few years ago (with my cafe business) because i don’t really have a proper and “the few solid sheets” called a marketing plan.

Coming back to my questions to entrepreneurs and small business owners, many of their answers sounded like this, “I don’t really have one”, “It’s in my head coz I know the business so well” and worse, “I don’t know what is marketing plan”! If you happen to be in one of these categories, rest assured you are not the only one. And to perfectly honest, that’s the ultimate reason why I turned back to my writing board where I was actually in the middle of writing (rather perfecting!) a personal development programs. I dropped that program and quickly drafted and started Marketing Plan Breakthrough S6PEC because many of you need it, seriously.

But, I don’t specifically mean my own Marketing Plan S6PEC Framework because there are so many versions and gurus out there that can give you the benefit of marketing plan. Of course I am going to say mine is a lot better because it’s a practical and practitioner’s guide. Other than being a consultant, I also have performed marketing manager role, entrepreneur role, business manager role, investor and student of entrepreneurship (during my MBA!). But that’s not my main point. My main point is for you to have a marketing plan to guide your business. Which one? Well it is up to you!

So, to put things in perspective; why do you really need a marketing plan?

Guide
- in a marketing you will think, record and document all your ideas, products and services offering, price, distribution channel, programs, sales direction, customer segment and so on. I have experienced whereby I suddenly realized that my business is not going on the right direction because I didn’t follow my marketing plan. Have you experienced that? Or perhaps you suddenly realized that the thing you do know supposed to be done many months ago because you forgot about it? And you forgot because you don’t jot it down and plan for it? This is what I mean that marketing plan as a guide. I cover this in my Marketing Plan Breakthrough S6PEC.

Ideas
- people said the more you talk about your ideas the more refine it becomes. I think this is true. Did you ever experience when you talk to more people you generated a lot more ideas? When people give you feedback it triggers another dimension of your ideas? If you are, so where do you keep all these ideas? It should be in a marketing plan.

Resource Plan
- in marketing, there is only one thing that’s scarce: RESOURCES. Some people have a lot of money but lacked ideas and another group is the other extreme; more ideas and less money. Many of us probably the later than the former! In the marketing plan we will tackle things like people to hire, pricing, distribution plan, sales programs budget and so on.

Strategy
- similar to business strategy, marketing plan will capture strategies required to support your business strategy. For example if your business goal is to achieve 20% increase in sales, your marketing strategy would be to 1) introduce new product, 2) increase price for premium offerings, 3) recruit more distributors and offer commission scheme and so on. Strategy is king. When you can see your business in totality, I can assure you that you will find it easier to manoeuvre. Marketing plan is the place to address all these issues.

Risk
- in our marketing plan we shouldn’t only concern about making money or positive points, we also should address the risk we are taking. for example it is common for a marketing plan to capture things like, “require additional staff to handle sales call”, “additional investment from the management budget will increase chances of increasing 10% sales target” and many more. Imagine if you can factor your risk earlier and think through it, wouldn’t it be better for you?

Pricing
- I once said in my Marketing Plan Breakthrough S6PEC that, “Price is the key determinants of your profits”. I stand firm to keep it that way. In your marketing plan, you will address pricing plan for your distributors, customers, multiple segments (some business charge differently – price discrimination) and cost price i.e. your raw materials and things like that. Not many address price correctly and bear in my mind that we need to standby few pricing plan to respond to the market. Take for example during festive season, if everyone is lowering price and slashed their price or even ignited a price war, what do you do about that? Follow suit or wait? If you want to follow, how far? If you want to wait, how long? You capture all this in pricing plan.

Customer Segment
- this is talked about most of the time, but let’s accept the fact that today’s customers are fragmented to smaller niches. Your product and service will not be consumed by only one segment and at critical mass. it is likely to be consumed by smaller segment and multi. No more critical mass, but rather a solid spread of niches. For example, who buys iPod’s today? If Apple only think about yuppies they are making a big mistake because apparently iPod is also used by women and people with active lifestyle. Another example, who buys from hypermarket? If hypermarket only focuses on households they may not survive or be successful like today. Hypermarket main segment is actually small business restaurant operators that buy in larger quantity compare to households and on daily basis. I’ve been there, I know! LOL

Corrective Plan
- a marketing plan is a living document. Trust me, the moment you have it and experience planning your marketing, you will realize this. Therefore it is a plan that allows you to assess past strategies and results and at the same time allow you to make necessary corrective measures to fit your business growth. for example, who expected the 2008 financial crisis to hit us so badly? No one other than the few so called “economists” but how did responded to it? Severely. Many businesses closed including many giants. But the good thing is, many have a solid marketing and business plans, therefore they make quick corrective actions and moved forward.

Innovation
- I once sat in a meeting of project and business updates and suddenly one of the directors said, actually with all that we have now we can be in the medical device market. Violaaa!!! This medical device company used to service government hospitals and they have all the equipments. It’s just that they never thought of going direct to the hospitals and take the lion share of the business. In that meeting, after going through the company yearly updates, this “innovation” came instantaneously and the next year they are pitching about it to the government hospitals directly.

Imagine if you can do all these and manage all these in a marketing plan? Systematic, organized, well thought, innovative and captured all your pertinent business information, don’t you find having a marketing plan is useful for your business?

One thing about my business, I don’t sell templates. I only sell REAL content. I believe that template is only to give you the general overview of direction but not how-to do it. That’s why I highly not recommended you choose to download or purchase marketing templates because I have seen them i personally think it won’t help you much. Let me share you a recent story about template.

I have childhood friend who wanted to open a small business. I offered him my service at $$$ which is so much below market rate because we have been friends for 20 years. He said no, because he thinks there is another cheaper way to do it or in other words “resourceful is my middle name” kinda thing. So I let him do that. I offered him five days later that, if he needs me to view the marketing plan I will do it for free over tea. He showed me a marketing template he bought for USD 25 and all he got was a template!!! I scolded him and cursed the site that provided such thing. It was just boxes everywhere and not even a paragraph on how to fill those boxes. Well, this is what I mean and I defy being in that business because that’s cheating. By the way i got to do my friend’s job after that.:)

What I offered is much simpler, richer and with all the things you need. Firstly, my blog is to help you enhance and as a source to guide you on the marketing plan you purchase. Well, let’s don’t talk about purchase yet.

Would you want to view the actual content or maybe download the Marketing Plan Breakthrough S6PEC Introduction first? Please send your inquiry to [email protected] Information is FREE. Otherwise please go to http://www.marketingplanbook.com

Home Business – 6 Keys to Help Decide to Start an Online Business

When you are thinking of starting your home based business online, you are probably wondering if you should start or not. Many “newbies” may feel overwhelmed by the hurdles they see as being very high. With determination and hard work, you can overcome them and become very successful. Here are a few keys that may determine if you are ready to start your home business online or if you should not.

o Look For The Right Niche For Your Home Business

Finding the right online business is your decision, no one can tell you which is right and which is wrong. You have to decide. Do your homework; Find a Niche that you believe in, what do you feel good about? Finding a company that offers excellent support, mentoring (working with someone you know and trust) has been in business for at least five years (they have worked out the “kinks”), a good comp plan will help you on your decision. Do not expect to be the successful entrepreneur right away. There will be challenges but the persistence of doing your homework; analyzing and finding the right home business will eventually pay off.

o Is Your Bankroll Large Enough To Start A Home Business

No matter what type of online business you have in mind to start, do not think that you will make thousands of dollars starting out. It will take some time until you will be making the money you need to support yourself.

As in any business, expect to have startup costs. In the real world look at four to six months to get your home business up and going to make enough money to have a steady income.

Consider working from home on a part-time basis to start. Do not quit your full time job. On the other hand, if you have discussed this home business opportunity with your partner, they may earn enough income to take care of your outlay while you are getting your business up and running. Another alternative is maybe an investor who feels that your home business will be profitable and is willing to promote you and take the chance of investing.

o Requirements for a Home Business Online-Self Discipline

You have to be your own boss. Running your business like a company requires you to be self-disciplined. You have to keep distractions way while working. This means no TV, noise from the family, allowing your full concentration on your home business. You have to get away from having to be told what to do and when to do it. Your online business success depends on your self-discipline. Be systematic, avoid distractions, set deadlines and attain them. Work on a regular basis and have a schedule that will be met daily. Your schedule may consist of making calls, writing articles, blogging, sending out ads. What ever your schedule is keep to it and do not fall behind, you will notice when you do and it will cost you. Always keep on your toes.

o Time Is On Your Side

When you are thinking about starting that home based business you MUST remember that the biggest step you will need is going to take up your most valuable asset-TIME! Starting out you will spend a lot of time with your research and setting up your business. After the set up, you will be your own employee, working long hours and being a jack-of-all-trades. This is where the discipline comes into play. There will be many family things, social engagements, that you may have to put aside but in the end, it will pay off. Setting your schedule for your business will help you in your home business and your family life. You MUST make the time for your online business to make a success.

o Afraid Of Challenges

The challenge of not having a steady income to make your obligations to your debts will cause many stressful times and sleepless nights. Overcoming these challenges, a home based business can create freedom, independence and wealth. To save you from these risks research, preparation and good mentoring are keys to finding the right business. Remember entrepreneurs by nature are “risk takers”. The smart entrepreneur takes a calculated risk and not a foolish risk. If you are not up to some of the challenges, it is better to avoid an online business.

o Believe In Yourself

Operating your own online home business means, you have to believe in yourself to make the venture work. Not believing in yourself will cost you time and money. Your confidence will overcome the rejection of prospects, the rough times. As stated earlier, when starting out start part time, start your business small. Having the support and belief from others will help you attain your accomplishments. Believe in YOURSELF. When you succeed at one of your goals, give yourself a “pat on the back”. Stand tall and be proud (you have earned it). Let your loved ones know that you have succeeded, let them give you the “pats on the back”.

Sorry to say, not all are designed to have a home business online, but the ones that follow that dream, work hard and are determined will be successful. It is up to you.