Saturday, March 5, 2011

Business Update: Contract Signing

First thing to look for when setting up a business is location. So yesterday, we signed the leasing contract for the place that I was talking about in my last two posts. It was a simple, no further ado signing and payment of initial rental payment.

I was glad that the owner was approachable and was even giving advice on what to put on the establishment to maximize our income. And we were thinking of the same things as for the store concept. Hehe. Am I business minded already?

Anyway, they would clean and fix the place first before giving us the keys so we can start doing our own renovation/beautification according to the shop needs. There would be a sub-meter for the electricity which is good because we would only pay for what we had consumed unlike other commercial places that there is a fixed charge. Water supply is not a problem also.

So, all in all, I think it was a nice place with a nice lessor.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Business Update: From One to Two

My first business choice was food cart which is blooming this year but there is one factor that made me think twice. Mall space rent. The rates are so high that I know that we would not be able to make a decent profit. Everything will go down the drain straight to the mall management. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against malls, their rental rates or stores renting in malls. What I'm trying to say is if a noob like me would dare try to rent in such places and not know how to properly manage the business or how much income I could earn to make ends meet, wouldn't that be too risky? It's as if throwing money out the window.

So, as what I have mentioned in my earlier post, I have resolved to renting a commercial space outside a mall. And because of that, I had another business that I can set up. A sari-sari store. Therefore, from a simple food cart, I have 'upgraded' my business plan to sari-sari store with food cart. Hehe.

I know that sari-sari stores don't earn that much because of very low mark-up on every item but I thought that it would be better to have something else than just food cart. The little profit that I could make from sari-sari store can help support the rent and other business expenses. It wouldn't be much but little is better than nothing at all. Besides, it would be a waste of space if I wouldn't use the whole stall for something profitable.

Business Update: Location Location Location

Last time, I mentioned that I was planning to franchise a food cart. I thought it was a nice idea since I see a lot of food cart businesses blooming in a mall near our place. But when I saw how high the rental rates are on malls, I immediately sought other places where I can set up my chosen business.

I browsed several, if not hundreds, of ads online for commercial space rentals with good foot traffic and low lease rates. I did not specify where exactly I'm about to rent so I would have a wide selection of places but still within Cebu. I was on my umpteenth ad when I stumbled on something. Commercial space for rent in XXX...Hey! That's our barangay! I instantly thought that it would be best if the business place is near our house so it would be easier to go there everyday. Also, the fare for purchasing supplies would be cheaper. I immediately scribbled the ad owner's contact number and text messaged him the next morning after I have informed hubby about my prospect place.

But checking out the place did not come easy. It took 3 days of attempts before we finally came to visit the site. Aside from us being busy, we also had emergencies and the owner was obviously busy too so we had to check on each other's schedule before we could finally meet up.

Anyway, the place was nice. It was not too big for just a small business but not too small. The location is also a plus with moderate to heavy human traffic but no loiters. Beside the stall is a bakery with non-stop flow of customers (the reason why we decided that the place has good human traffic). After just a few minutes inside the room, the owner gave us a quick trip in front of the place to let us see that business is good in the place. And after just a couple of minutes, I told hubby that I'm decided to grab the deal. Of course we told the owner that we would think about it and she gave us a whole month to decide. But it took us only, I think, three hours to decide and inform the owner that we're ready to sign the leasing contract.

I was really the one who decided to get the place so I hope I made the right decision *cross finger* and may our business-to-be bloom there.

Food Cart Business Plan

For 2 days now, I have been thinking and researching about food cart businesses.Why? Because...

As part of our medium to long-term plan, me and my partner have decided to build a business. But building a business from scratch is too hard and too risky particularly for noobs like us. We have never set up a business before so we wanted something that is not too complicated to understand and manage. He handed me the responsibility of finding a nice business idea because I'm fond of researching and reading through forums, articles and anything that can give me information about that particular something. So I wandered around the internet in search of a good business idea and I landed on food cart business.

There are loads of advertisements about no-franchise-fee food cart businesses with small initial investments so I was persuaded to look into one of the ads and inquire about the stuff. And here are some things I noticed I must consider in making a franchise.

I was delighted to know that it was not really that hard to franchise a food cart business. You can attend seminars with food tasting included every week or even everyday at their respective venues. The agents were nice and are willing to answer to all your queries even if I hadn't attended the seminar yet. One agent was willing to provide all the necessary requirements to me even though she was not sure if I was going to get a franchise or was just making a prank: which is a shame to those who only waste agents' time although there are a lot of reasons why potential clients back out.

The hard part though is finding a place where to set up your food cart. Malls have standards thatrent a space inside the mall. And you have to present requirements even before you can inquire about the lease price, which is reasonable because they would be crowded with mundane queries if they don't set up proper procedures. Aside from the fact that it's hard to find a spot, the monthly rentals nowadays are sky high. You have to pay a couple of months deposit which is quite heavy if you don't have much money to invest. Also, there is 1-2 years of leasing contract which could be a problem if you plan on moving your cart before the end of the said contract.

Third is manpower. You have to find an employee who is responsible, honest, hard-working and with pleasing personality. Because one important key in any business success is its employees. Your employees will be the one to take care of your business and serve the customers so it is really important to be meticulous in choosing an employee. Aside from the quality of your products, another thing that your customers will be noticing is the crew/personnel. Some people choose not to buy from a certain store even if the product quality is good because of the attitude of the salespeople. Product and service quality must always go hand in hand in any business.

So those were some of the things one must consider before being a franchisee. Hope these helped. And in my next posts will be the updates on my food cart franchise adventures.