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View Full Version : So I'm thinking of starting a business, and wanted some input



TBFAN
Feb. 21, 2013, 11:08 PM
It's all in preliminary stages - I've worked in an office for the same company for 13 years and am so burnt out. I have been thinking of starting my own business. Just gathering thoughts and ideas for potential business plans.

I like the idea of a food truck - my boyfriend is a real foodie, so I think we could come up with some interesting recipes. I was thinking it would be neat to take it out on weekends to horse shows, or to local events.

I'm sure it will be a ton of work, but potentially low investment to start out, and see what interest there is.
Does anyone know someone with a food truck - or something similiar?

equinekingdom
Feb. 22, 2013, 02:17 AM
that would be awesome!! Especially if you had something other than hotdogs and hamburgers - offering a greater variety and something unique at horse shows would be awesome and would probably do really, really well!!

Sonesta
Feb. 22, 2013, 12:17 PM
Before you go any further in your planning, do check with all the horse show venues you are considering and make sure they would allow you to bring the truck there. Most venues have food vendors with an exclusive license and don't allow any competition.

Angela Freda
Feb. 22, 2013, 12:22 PM
Before you go any further in your planning, do check with all the horse show venues you are considering and make sure they would allow you to bring the truck there. Most venues have food vendors with an exclusive license and don't allow any competition.
This.
While it's a great idea, most shows around where I am already have vendors [either with trucks or on site facilities] so researching how many places you would actually work would be smart leg work to do now.

cowboymom
Feb. 22, 2013, 12:22 PM
We have a good family friend that has a little food truck and a big candy cart, I guess you'd call it, they make cotton candy and kettle corn at the fair and I think sell hamburgers from the truck... it's been a while since I've seen them. They go to all the local rodeos and fairs and Local Days type of events. They do really well with it and she said it was really easy. That's about all I know though!

purplnurpl
Feb. 22, 2013, 12:31 PM
I have a very random thought to put out there that probably isn't needed...
My buddy and I were actually talking about this last Sat. He's in the 2nd year of his own business and I'm collecting unemployment.

Right now I'm making 1600 bucks a month on unemployment.
I personally think that the government should back those of us trying to start our own businesses. Often in the first year all money made is put right back INTO the business for start up fees and what not.

I think the government should offer a new business grant and pay at least as well as unemployment.
Or--if you do make money in the form of a salary during your start up year--they could at least top it off to equal that of a unemployment collector.

Just sayin...
seems like common sense to me. But, sigh. it is what it is.

Good luck with your endeavor!!

Angela Freda
Feb. 22, 2013, 12:48 PM
I have a very random thought to put out there that probably isn't needed...
My buddy and I were actually talking about this last Sat. He's in the 2nd year of his own business and I'm collecting unemployment.

Right now I'm making 1600 bucks a month on unemployment.
I personally think that the government should back those of us trying to start our own businesses. Often in the first year all money made is put right back INTO the business for start up fees and what not.

I think the government should offer a new business grant and pay at least as well as unemployment.
Or--if you do make money in the form of a salary during your start up year--they could at least top it off to equal that of a unemployment collector.

Just sayin...
seems like common sense to me. But, sigh. it is what it is.

Good luck with your endeavor!!
I like it.

WoofNWhinny*
Feb. 22, 2013, 12:53 PM
Check with the Small Business Administration or local business development center. They can offer you help with business plans, financing info, licensing requirements, and so on.

cowboymom
Feb. 22, 2013, 01:18 PM
Right now I'm making 1600 bucks a month on unemployment.

Holy crap! My husband is about to be laid off for the first time ever and he qualified for $800 a month! He's worked 25 years straight and is supporting a family of four!

I agree with your post too, he hasn't been able to find anything else and we may end up doing our own thing. But gov't isn't doing anything that makes any sense these days.

TBFAN
Feb. 22, 2013, 02:09 PM
I went to a seminar last year on starting a small business - there seems to be a lot of support (loans, etc) for women who want to start a business. One female lawyer gave a talk on how banks were lending to women in business at a high rate (comparatively, at least).
It's been hard to really keep my focus and many different ideas on track for this endeavor, probably due to my ADD, and my lack of ideas for something that would truly engage me.
This is the first business idea I've had that I've really gotten excited about - but it's also a little intimidating now to think of what I'll need to make it happen. I've never worked for myself before!

Good idea about calling the organizers to make sure they would let a new vendor in. I do know at least two people who run several local schooling shows at their farms, and am pretty certain they would let me come in. I could start there, and then check out potential recognized shows.

Part of what got me thinking about this idea was that so many folks talk about the "Smoothie Lady" that is at a lot of shows on the east coast. Even if she only does that on several weekends a year, it seems like a good profit for what's involved.

Angela Freda
Feb. 22, 2013, 03:00 PM
Part of what got me thinking about this idea was that so many folks talk about the "Smoothie Lady" that is at a lot of shows on the east coast. Even if she only does that on several weekends a year, it seems like a good profit for what's involved.
It might be a good profit, or just seem like it.
Learning more will tell you which it is.

The first thing that pops into my head re; this kind of thing is insurance, so that, for example, if you get a bad batch of ____ that you then sell to everyone and they get food poisoning, you're covered.

The best way to develop a business is not to think of what you would like to do, but what you've noticed there's a need for that you can and like to do.

4Martini
Feb. 22, 2013, 03:07 PM
I have a friend that has an ice cream truck and he says he makes a ton- but they are long days. I think it was a pretty big initial investment for the truck and equipment.
Food trucks are really big here and they even have food truck nights at the local parks where they all show up and you have a picnic for dinner. Then go get ice cream. I love going out- but the wait can be really bad sometimes with the lines.

WoofNWhinny*
Feb. 22, 2013, 03:08 PM
Holy crap! My husband is about to be laid off for the first time ever and he qualified for $800 a month! He's worked 25 years straight and is supporting a family of four!

I agree with your post too, he hasn't been able to find anything else and we may end up doing our own thing. But gov't isn't doing anything that makes any sense these days.

I believe it's based on what you were earning while employed, not on what your current expenses are. :ambivalence:

atlatl
Feb. 22, 2013, 03:09 PM
I have a very random thought to put out there that probably isn't needed...
My buddy and I were actually talking about this last Sat. He's in the 2nd year of his own business and I'm collecting unemployment.

Right now I'm making 1600 bucks a month on unemployment.
I personally think that the government should back those of us trying to start our own businesses. Often in the first year all money made is put right back INTO the business for start up fees and what not.

I think the government should offer a new business grant and pay at least as well as unemployment.
Or--if you do make money in the form of a salary during your start up year--they could at least top it off to equal that of a unemployment collector.

Just sayin...
seems like common sense to me. But, sigh. it is what it is.

Good luck with your endeavor!!

Sorry for being Debbie Downer, but you aren't going to start a new business on even $1600/mo paid once a month. The whole point of having to jump through hoops like preparing a business plan and doing some level of market analysis is to determine whether an idea is likely to succeed.

Even as far to the left as I am politically, I can't support trading unemployment (which is insurance to tide you over until you find another job) with a grant for anybody's idea for a self owned business. Just the overhead associated with vetting ideas from everyone and their sister who applies would cost a small fortune.

TBFAN
Feb. 22, 2013, 03:35 PM
The seminar I went to had a bunch of speakers - like the woman who started Baby Einstein - and they all had about the same message: do something you're passionate about, not just what you think will make money.

That's a great notion, but it's taken me ages to find something I might enjoy (heck, I'm passionate about eating!). Don't know how I'd find something there's a "real" need for as well. Though, we all need to eat ;-)

HappyTalk
Feb. 22, 2013, 03:38 PM
A "food truck" in our state is known as a mobile food service. They are licensed and regulated by the local health departments. I would start there.

clanter
Feb. 22, 2013, 03:43 PM
hate to tell you this but unemployment benefits are not something that just rains down from the sky but is paid from taxes on the businesses and the states

cowboymom
Feb. 22, 2013, 04:14 PM
""While technically employers pay both the federal and state taxes, economists generally regard the tax as falling on workers on the theory that the dollars employers pay in tax would otherwise go into workers’ paychecks."" from http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1466

He's worked full time since he was 17 years old sometimes more than one job and paid PLENTY of taxes over the years and now when he's 42 and laid off due to the sudden death of his boss and his employment is $212 a week which is a very slight fraction of his previous pay and he has a family- I think that is a screwy number.

He won't be taking the unemployment, such as it is, but it blows my mind a little bit that he only qualified for $200. If he didn't have the connections that he does we would be moving away, the next nearest town is 100 miles away and no jobs anywhere here. Everything he, or his employer, or anybody else, paid into the system to help him out in this situation isn't going to help him a bit.

I'm glad we aren't counting on it. He already has it covered, himself.

Thanks for the tone though clanter, bless your heart.

NJRider
Feb. 22, 2013, 04:47 PM
Keep us posted. A couple years ago I stumbled on a Craigslist ad for a mobile gourmet coffee/treat trailer. Boy, I was sure interested but did not have the cash at that time for the unit (It was about $10K)...so never pursued it. But probably for the same reason, it appealed to me also.

SMF11
Feb. 22, 2013, 05:45 PM
I'm in the process of starting my second business (my first is my retirement boarding farm). Besides doing what you love, pick something that has the potential to make a lot of money. For example, I adore horses and love working with them every day, but even though I do make money the upside to boarding is very limited.

When I was thinking of what to do I considered retail, but the upside is too limited there as well, at least for me in my rural town (pop. 3,000).

The food truck idea is an interesting one, but you'd really have to run the numbers to see how much it can really earn. I guess my point is, you'll be busting your butt whatever business you choose; pick one where the effort pays off with a fair amount of $$. You can do that and find something you are interested in as well.

Good luck!!

ybiaw
Feb. 22, 2013, 06:14 PM
I live in what is apparently Food Truck Paradise. I love food trucks. LOVE THEM SO MUCH!!!!!! I think your business is a great idea.

CREPES FOOD TRUCK.

I would die.

LexInVA
Feb. 22, 2013, 06:18 PM
And let the street meat jokes begin....

Megaladon
Feb. 22, 2013, 06:44 PM
Well, if there is one thing that people will always do, it's eat. Horse show people love health food too, they're usually more conscience about eating right and don't want heavy meals. Sounds like a great idea, good luck.

Hulk
Feb. 22, 2013, 06:58 PM
Just some thoughts.. check state regulations you might have to have a food saftey course yourself as well as having the vehicle your serving from inspected. Be vigilant in keeping an strict eye on your overhead expenses, they are what will kill a business. Have a clear vision of what you want to do but be ready to adapt. And remember the old saying, you dont own a business the business owns you.

My first business was in 2nd grade. We lived on a lake and I sold worms by the dozen to fisherman. My uncles built my worm box for free (no start up costs) I washed out milk jugs for packaging(no packing costs) I ammended the worm soil with coffee grounds donated by a resturant( they liked me I guess). I would go out all night picking worms by flash light when all the other kids were playing.(free merchandise). Well, I had a pretty kicking business. I made more than any kid my age should have. Great experience, been in some kinda business ever since.

Best of luck to you. Think it out, then go for it.

Toadie's mom
Feb. 22, 2013, 09:01 PM
And it isn't just horse shows that food trucks frequent. Race tracks have them! Lone Star had food truck days 2 or 3 times last year. Santa Anita has them all the time. When we were there last spring their must have been 30 in the infield. On the other hand, Rolex for instance, one company has an exclusive contract. I would imagine that's the case for most big show venues. Too bad because food at Rolex 20 years ago was so much better!

Pookah
Feb. 22, 2013, 09:22 PM
Definitely a promising idea, but do a lot of research! Some (annoying) places prohibit them, and/or make the sanitary guidelines they have to follow so insane that it is difficult to do business. Even if you don't think you need one, I promise that the time spent to research your market, etc and put together a really well thought out business plan will absolutely pay off.