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Business Services

Expense Reduction Consultant

If you have an eye for efficiency and cost-cutting, you could help businesses improve their bottom line.

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Business At A Glance

Expense Reduction Consultant

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Calling all business managers, controllersand operations managers. You can profit from your business and budgetmanagement skills and experiences by starting your own expensereduction consulting service. Expense reduction consultants provideclients with services such as controlling long-term product and servicecosts and developing expense reduction strategies to suit individualclient needs.

The objective of the expense reduction consultant is touncover costs associated with doing business that can be reduced oreliminated while still maintaining the efficiency of the business interms of operations, customer service and profitability. Potentialclients will largely be small- to midsize businesses, but you can alsotarget your marketing efforts toward professionals, nonprofitassociations and privately-run institutions.

Additionally, many ofthese consulting services will specialize in a particular type ofbusiness or industry such as fixed location retailing or manufacturing.Get started by developing an expense reduction manual. The manualshould be representative of the type of business of industry you’lltarget and include an index of categories you’ll analyze, such asbusiness location, employees and communications. The purpose of themanual is to act as a road map to guide you through each client’sbusiness.

You can then tailor the manual to a specific client’sbusiness and enter subcategories for each business component that youanalyze. Expense reduction consultants present each client with anextensive written report at the end of their investigation. This reporttypically outlines the consultant’s suggestions in terms of reducingcosts, including relevant supporting data and statistics.

Fees for theservice vary. Some consultants prefer to charge an hourly rate, whileother prefer to charge a percentage based on the amount of money theycan save a client. The percentage can range from 10 to 50 percent ofthe first year’s saving. Marketing the service can be as easy asjoining business associations to network with small business owners.

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Business Services

Errand Service Business Opportunity

Help busy people get through the day by providing an errand service.

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Business At A Glance

  • Business: Errand Service
  • Start-up Costs: Minimum
  • Home Based: Can be operated from home.
  • Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
  • Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

Let’s face it; today’s busy lifestyles mean that a lot working people just don’t have time for even the simplest of errands, such as taking the family pet to the veterinarian for a routine checkup, buying AuntSue a birthday present, or picking up the kids after school.

Which is great news if you’re a multi-tasker looking to start your own simple,inexpensive, yet potentially very profitable business. An errand service can be operated with nothing more than a cell phone and reliable transportation.

Land clients by networking and by creating a simple marketing brochure explaining the services you provide along with your contact information.
Related: Start A Small Business, Become Self–Employed

The brochures can be pinned to community bulletin boards, hand-delivered to homes and businesses and distributed with the local newspaper.

A few promotional items such as pens and memo pads emblazoned with your company logo, name and telephone number given out to potential customers will go a long way as a daily reminder of your fast, reliable and affordable errand services.

This is the kind of business where growth is fuelled by referrals, so customer service and satisfaction are the most important goals.

The Market

Busy individuals who need a little help getting their day to day errands done. You can also market your services to small business owners.

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Business Services

Mystery Shopper

Are you a stickler for quality customer service? Consider being a mystery shopper.

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Business At A Glance

Mystery Shopper

Startup Costs: Under $2,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Mystery shoppers work for businesses like retail stores andrestaurants. Disguised as ordinary nondescript patrons, they shop ordine, then report to owners or managers on customer service issues andfood quality.

As a mystery shopper (also called a secret shopper oranonymous evaluator), you can also do undercover surveillance onsuspected (or unsuspected) employee theft.

You can report on thequality of care at hospitals, the treatment you receive from collectionagency representatives, or the effects of corporate customer trainingprograms.

Mystery shopping is a big benefit to businesses, both in thecustomer service arena and in averting employee thefts. Most unhappycustomers don’t complain–they simply take their business elsewhere,and so do the friends and family they tell about their dissatisfaction.

And $2 of every $3 lost to retail theft is attributable to employeesrather than customers. The advantages to this business are that you canstart on a shoestring, part-time if you like, it can be creative, andyou get to be out and about all day.

It goes without saying that youneed excellent observational skills. You should also be able to providean accurate and detailed written or oral report that cites exampleswithout resorting to trivia.

For written reports, you’ll need goodgrammar, punctuation and spelling skills as well. And last but notleast, you need the good detective or spy’s ability to look nondescriptso you can return to the same location several times and not be noticedor remembered.

The Market

Your clients can be almost any type of business, although large chainsand smaller firms with absentee owners make good starting points. So dohotels, which stake their reputations on excellent customer service.

The best way to sell to these potential clients is through adirect-mail campaign of sales letters and brochures. Be sure to followup with a phone call.

Needed Equipment

In some states, a mystery shopper is viewed as a private investigatorand you’ll need to be licensed. If yours isn’t one of them, all youneed is your trained eye and a reliable vehicle or publictransportation to take you on assignments.

A computer with a laser orinkjet printer and word-processing software will be a plus forproviding written reports but isn’t necessary if your clients willaccept oral reports.

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Business Services

Hotel Art Supply

Hotels need a lot of artwork for their many walls–and you can supply it.

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Business At A Glance

Hotel Art Supply

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Look closely and you’ll notice that hotelsare virtually art galleries. You will find paintings, prints, andsculptures in almost every room, hallway, lounge, and lobby.

Assumethat one hotel has 150 rooms, one lobby, two banquet rooms, one lounge,and ten hallways. The hotel’s art requirements could be as many as 200paintings or prints alone.

Simply supplying one hotel with a completeart decor package can make you thousands of dollars in profits. Toactivate this business you will want to establish a relationship withat least 15 to 20 different artists who work in various art mediums.

Next take digital pictures of the artwork and place it on a CD-ROM andsimply start setting meetings and knocking on doors. Placing picturesof the sample artwork on CD-ROM will enable you to do mobileprofessional presentations right from your laptop computer.

Of course,the big profit opportunities are landing art supply contracts withhotels that are being constructed or undergoing total interiorrenovations.

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