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Phoenix Forward

5 tips for creating a business for under $10

How to be an entrepreneur

Who says you need money to make money? Dr. Virginia Green, an instructor for the MBA program at University of Phoenix Southern California Campus, challenges her students to create a small business for less than $10. With the right entrepreneurial spirit and enough chutzpah, she says, anyone can do it. Here are her five tips for launching yours:


Survey small-business owners.

To get in touch with your community and start your creative juices flowing, Green suggests that would-be entrepreneurs survey five small-business owners of shops they frequent regularly.

“Ask them three questions,” she says. “How did they get started? If they had to start over, would they do it the same way again? and What’s a service that would really appeal to them today?

“Remember,” she adds, “you’re not looking to get hired, but just trying to tap into the experience and needs of the local community.”


Match your talent to a need.

After taking your survey, brainstorm ideas for services your community is lacking. “Everyone spends money because of pain or pleasure,” Green says. “Ask yourself, 'What’s a pain that’s not being addressed in my community?'”

Under her instruction, Green has witnessed many successful business launches, from “Mommy and me” exercise classes to dog walkers, office organizers, kids’ birthday party planners, tutors in Chinese and Spanish, to people doing social media marketing for mom-and-pop shop owners.


Create a no-cost website.

Once you’ve chosen your niche, go to the WordPress® publishing platform and create a no-cost website. “Include a straightforward description of what your business does,” advises Green, who also consults with small businesses as part of The Biz Visions Group.

“You should also feature a YouTube® video of yourself speaking about what you do,” she adds. If your computer doesn’t have a camera, write and post informed articles on the topic.


Take advantage of free marketing.

Get a Twitter® and a LinkedIn® account, and use them to push your service. You can also advertise on your local Craigslist® bulletin board for free.

“Everything goes back to creating your brand,” Green says. “When you Tweet®, stick to your business. The goal is to present yourself as someone who is in the know, so that people come to you for your expertise.”

To widen your reach, visit your local chamber of commerce and ask to be a guest speaker for free in order to promote your new business in the community.


Utilize available online resources.

If you have a question or you get stuck along the way, there are plenty of no-cost resources online. Green encourages people to visit score.org, a government-sponsored site that pairs business mentors with new entrepreneurs. You can also visit the Small Business Administration to take a free class on starting a small business.

Finally, go to the Vistaprint® online printer and take advantage of its offer for 250 business cards for free. You’ll only have to pay the shipping, and that’s less than $10. “I know it’s old-fashioned,” Green says, “but I still believe every business entrepreneur needs a calling card.”


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YouTube is a registered trademark of Google Inc.
Twitter and Tweet are registered trademarks of Twitter Inc.
LinkedIn is a registered trademark of LinkedIn Corp.
Craigslist is a registered trademark of Craigslist Inc.
Vistaprint is a registered trademark of Vistaprint.

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