We had both been employed for 20 years in these types of positions and wanted a change from the 9 - 5 working for the boss regime.
I started studying and learning about business plans while my wife learnt about book keeping.
When doing the business plan, I learn t about marketing and research and can tell you it was so much fun learning how to put my ideas into a future business.
Within 2 months, we were leasing a small shop in an arcade for $220 week and we didn't know if we would make the monthly lease or not.
We had no shelving when we started, just a few market trestles, a dining table as a counter and some shed shelves.
After 2 months, we were getting some regular customers and able to afford some chipboard (whiteboard) that we cut into narrow shelf strips and used chipboard screws and a cordless drill to put them together and finished them off with a melamine backing board and some tacks.
They ended up costing us $60 each, much cheaper than if we had to buy them professionally made up.
We paid our council the fee to put an A-frame sign outside the arcade on the pavement and then tied some colorful helium balloons to it.
This worked the best at getting new customers into our shop as being tucked away in the arcade meant not everyone knew there was a book shop in town.
We also walked the streets handing out flyers with special discounts to use in our shop especially on the weekend and one Thursdays when most people got paid in our town.
We also got to talk to people in the street who didn't know there was a book shop in town and were very grateful to know we had set the shop up.
The main system we used in our book shop was an exchange system.
People could bring the books they had finished reading in to exchange for titles they hadn't read.
Our maths for this system was 60% store credits to spend in the shop or 20% cash for their items.
We worked these percentages off what we knew we could sell their items for.
If we didn't think we could sell their items, we gave those items back or let them know we would offer them to the local charity store.
In most situations, people chose to do the exchange and that was our reason why we made the cash percentage a third of the exchange percentage.
Using the stock we had to buy books made a lot more sense than using cash to do so.
Eventually, our store grew to the point where we needed a larger shop and found one on the main street opposite the supermarket.
It cost us $550 week, nearly 2 and a half times the smaller shop, but it was worth every cent as we no longer had to tell everyone where we were.
After 5 years in business, we learn t a lot of things about people and what they want so we have adapted our stock to suit the Paranormal fads or the Harry Potter fads.
If you don't listen to what your customer wants and just do what you want, you could end up going broke very quickly.
People seem to complain a lot about a lack of home prepared meals, people to mow their lawns or to clean their homes.
With an aging population the possibilities of starting your own business are endless.
You could use someone's own kitchen and stove to cook a weeks worth of meals the way they like them cooked and then package them all in Tupperware containers and place them in the freezer.
Imagine if you had to do this for several households or busy executives? The work would be comfortable indoors, if you did a good job, you would be recommended to all of their friends.
You could also clean their house or do their garden, but specializing in the one type of business works better as you can skill up to be your best in that chosen field.
There's also a lot of older people wishing to learn how to get onto the internet and send or receive photo's of grand children.
Offering an in home course could be a very popular business plan to follow.
So if you were to follow a business plan model, there are plenty of free online models to fill out: * you would need to identify your target market * workout a marketing plan to reach the target market * make your offer (how much will it cost them?) to the prospects via phone or mail * act on your referrals and follow up leads I hope this helps people take the plunge into a business of their own as it has been so rewarding for my wife and I as we are the boss and that is the best feeling.