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Entertainment & Events

In-Store Demonstration Service

Do you know how to hold a crowd’s attention? Create in-store demonstrations.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

In-Store Demonstration Service

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

Business Overview

If you’ve got a flair for demonstrations, people skills and the gift oforganization, then an in-store demonstration service might be thebusiness for you. You’ll contract with food brokers and other suppliersand manufacturers to show off their products via your own on-call,personally trained demonstrators.

People are more likely to purchasegrocery products after tasting them, and customers of other types ofgoods can also be enticed by something they can see in action, feel,hear or smell, all of which makes the demonstration business valuableto brokers and manufacturers as well as store owners. You can startsmall and grow big–some demonstration companies manage as many as2,000 to 20,000 demonstrators in several states.

You’ll probably startoff by doing the demos yourself and hire others as your company grows.The advantages to this business are that you’re always on the go sothere’s no time to get bored, you can work from home, and your start-upcosts are minimal. Many owners of in-store demo businesses have abackground in the grocery industry. This is helpful but not an absolutemust. The must-haves are strong organizational skills to keep track ofyour demonstrators, their assignments and the materials they’ll need tobring to each job; and top-notch administrative skills for paying yourpeople and making sure you get paid. People skills are anothermust–you’ll be dealing with lots of personalities, from store managersto food brokers to your own demonstrators. You’ll also need a flair fordemonstrating products and for teaching others how to do the same.

The Market

Yourbest clients will be supermarkets and warehouse superstores like Costcoand Sam’s Club, but you can also sell your services to departmentstores. Offer free demos to supermarket managers. Once they see howwell you do, they can connect you with food distributors andmanufacturers or hire you themselves–some stores offer demos of theirown recipe ideas. You can also contact distributors and manufacturerson your own–if you’ve got access to a computer or a typewriter, makeup a letter describing your services and requesting an appointment,then follow up with a phone call. And don’t forget companies other thangrocers–lots of products lend themselves to demonstrations.

Needed Equipment

You’ll eventually need a computer with a laser printer and a faxmachine, but to start with, you don’t really need anything but a phoneand a car to get to your demo sites. You can hire your staff asindependent contractors or as employees, depending on the laws in yourstate. This can be a sticky area as far as the IRS is concerned, so besure to check with an accountant when you reach the hiring stage.
Sincedemonstrators supply their own equipment, you’ll need an electricfrying pan or griddle for serving those hot tidbits, a card table onwhich to operate, and a wastebasket for used paper napkins andtoothpicks.

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Entertainment & Events

Party Entertainer

Always been the life of the party? Start a party entertaining business.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Party Entertainer

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

Business Overview

There are a couple of options available in terms of starting a partyentertaining service. You can work as an agency, representingentertainers for parties.

Or, if you have the skills, you can be anentertainer yourself. The different types of entertainers forchildren’s parties include clowns, magicians, trained pet shows,singers and skit plays. You can also gear your act to adults and offeryour services for corporate events as a magician or karaoke deejay.This is a relatively low-investment business to start and operate, andthe profit potential is very good. I contacted four different agenciesand found the average rate for party entertainers was $50 per hour,with a minimum charge for 1-1/2 hours including travel. An agencyrepresenting entertainers for parties or being an entertainer yourselfis a good home based business that allows for flexible hours, goodincome potential and loads of fun.

The Market

Your customers are parents who are giving their children parties, andbusinesses who are planning anniversary, holiday or summer events fortheir employees. While you can advertise in the Yellow Pages and sendfliers to local businesses, your best marketing tool will beword-of-mouth. Be sure to bring brochures or business cards to everygig you get.

Needed Equipment

Your area of expertise will dictate the tools of your trade. You will also need reliable transportation.

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Entertainment & Events

Mystery Dinner Parties

A passion for drama, imagination and social interaction could make this perfect for you.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Mystery Dinner Parties

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

Organizing and hosting mystery dinnerparties is not only a sensational business venture to initiate, but itcould also prove to be a lot of fun. ‘Who done it’ or murder mysterydinner parties have become an extremely popular entertainment servicein the past few years, and there are many benefits to starting thisunique and fun service including:

  • The business can be managed from ahomebased office and operated on a full- or part-time basis.Additionally, the initial start-up investment is less than $3,000.
  • The demand for the service is excellent, and clients can includeindividuals wanting to host an interesting dinner party, corporationsseeking a fun social function for their employees and customers, andevent planners searching for something out of the ordinary in terms ofa unique entertainment experience for their clients.

The theme of theparty can be created or you can use a popular mystery theme or storythat people are familiar with. Currently, mystery dinner party servicesare charging rates in the range of $15 per person plus the cost of acatered dinner.

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Entertainment & Events

Theater Productions

A talented play producer can make money from one of the oldest forms of entertainment.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Theater Productions

Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Producing theatrical plays is much easierthan you think, and many plays have the potential to generateoutstanding profits even if they’re only small community productions.Producing plays simply means you’re the financial backer of theproduction and you pay for the costs associated with bringing the playto stage.

However, there’s a major benefit for producing these types ofsmall plays–often the performers, directors and stagehands will workfor little or no financial compensation. Just the fact that they’retaking part in the play itself is reward enough. Additionally, manyvenues for performances can also be secured for free, providing thereare benefits for the owner of the venue such as refreshment sales orproduct sales. The key to success in producing a community play forprofit is to retain as much of the ticket revenue as possible whileseeking out ways to reduce or eliminate production costs.

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