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My Biz Idea....

Discussion in 'Business Models, Niches, Industries' started by Luke12321, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. Luke12321
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    Luke12321 Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    I am starting this thread to document my progress in planning and starting my business. I encourage anyone and everyone who has questions or suggestions....to ask/tell them. This is what the forum is all about! Here is more information about my business idea.

    I am located within the USA (southeast region) and very close to where holiday (x-mas to some)tree's are grown by the BULK.....big time farmers! I can buy quality tree's cheaper than most anyone in the US. My first idea was to mail tree's out and market strictly online. I quickly found out after some research that it would cost too much to mail the tree's so then I decided to market to particular cities. (My plan is to just start with one city). I cannot sell locally because of how easy it is to visit the farms and cut it down(known as choose and cut) which is an experience within itself that I simply cannot replace. The city I have targeted is a few hours away that has a relative high income per household which cannot visit the farms without making a trip that would require a hotel room for the night.
    So if you want a real tree, where do you buy them from? Most people buy them off of the retail lots located throughout the city. Most people make purchases soon after Thanksgiving as well. What is the problem with that? Most retail lots buy in bulk from the farmers anywhere from late August, Sept, or October. This is my first advantage. My tree's will be fresh and not over 72 hours old. For the next advantage, I will give an example. MJ wants a tree. MJ does not want a sticky tree that might drop something in his Lambo! (Hope everyone liked the example haha). My business will deliver the tree to MJ's door, even in the stand if he so preferred on whatever day he desired.

    With the next entry I will bring up how I plan to advertise the business and the operations side of the business. Feedback on the general idea would be great though until then!

    Luke
     
  2. Peter2
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    Peter2 Fastane Legend. RIP.

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    This is a one month a year business as it stands. How will you be able to earn an income during the other 11 months of the year?

    I believe that most people would actually like to see the tree before they buy it instead of just looking at a sample picture and description.

    I assume you will have a truck of some kind in order to deliver these trees. I think you could be more profitable if you offered your delivery services to all the tree vendors with locations in your target city. They would offer the delivery service to their customers, and you would fulfill it. By doing it this way, you would have no marketing costs except for maybe the printing of some signs that you would give the tree vendors to display.

    When you deliver the trees, you sell the customers right there and then on a disposal service. Schedule the date and time when you will come back to pick up the tree. Build a customer list that you can use for other services down the road.

    When Christmas is over, you can use your truck and customer list to market things like garbage pickup for example. That way you are not limited to the Christmas season. You can make money all year long.
     
  3. Luke12321
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    Luke12321 Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    "I believe that most people would actually like to see the tree before they buy it instead of just looking at a sample picture and description."

    That is the one thing I am most worried about. I have came up with some ideas though to assist that problem.

    1. On my website, have a very detailed picture display for each product.
    2. Putting up the tree's on display in public places with a small sign advertising my website and number to order at.
    3. Also on the website or when called by the phone, 100% money-back if not fully happy with product and tell them we will deliver to them and let them look at the tree before they order.

    The key with this business will be to generate a few sales and go beyond the customers expectation with level of service and quality of product. After that, I am predicting word of mouth will spread quickly from my customer base.
     
  4. Luke12321
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    Luke12321 Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Here are some ideas I have came up to market my business idea.

    - Display tree's fully decorated in local businesses such as high traffic gift shops or malls.
    - Advertise on local web sites.

    Other ways I have research but not really pumped about the idea of it is, newspaper,radio,direct mail.

    Anyone have other idea's you could advertise a service like this?

    ****I did not mention this in the first post but we will come pick up the tree after the holidays are over at no additional charge.****
     
  5. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Luke,

    Personally, I do not like the idea. As Peter mentions, its a 1 month a year business -- I don't consider cyclical businesses.

    Also, many family's consider "christmas tree buying" a very personal, family event. They all hop in a car, communally review trees, pick one, buy it, take it home, and put it up. Its an event. Your business proposes to take that event away.

    Now with that said, my opinion is not the final say if such a business is viable -- the marketplace dictates what is viable. Many a business has been started and everyone has said "that will never work" -- the marketplace is the only opinion that is relevant. They vote by spending money.
     
  6. australianinvestor
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    australianinvestor Bronze Contributor

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    I agree about it being a short-term business model, but perhaps this is exactly what the poster needs. No need to build permanent business infrastructure like long-term staff, procedure books, computer networks, websites, etc. Nice and simple, and it will deliver a lump of cash at the end.

    Maybe it's a great little way to enter the business world, without too much of a downside. Try it for a month, and if it goes well, you'll have tens of thousands of dollars to spend on a new business (and you can sell the current one on top of that).

    I'd be very tempted to try this by maybe renting a parking space or two at as many local shopping centres as you can. Hire friends/university students to man them, and arrange for a guy with a truck to pick up a bulk load and deliver them to each site. Try to get the trees on credit (pay for them after they've sold), and pay all your staff after the work has been done. Then it's a no money down deal (or close to it).

    Simplify it as much as you can, and see how much you can make. Even though it's only a one month a year business, if you can make $10K a year, someone might by the business off you for $20K or even $30K. Maybe sell it to one of your staff for maybe $40K total with a 10% deposit and you can finance the rest to him. He/she can make small payments over the next 11 months, and pay you a large chunk when Christmas rolls around next year.


    Daniel.
     
  7. Luke12321
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    Luke12321 Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Thanks for the reply. You guys have all gave me something to think about. The reason I am drawn to the idea is that it is low cost to start up. I did not want to have to buy 500 tree's with the risk of having alot of waste on my hands at the end of the season. The multiple retail stops is an idea but I don't have enough trust for people to be able to handle the retail lots (tree's or money get "stolen") It would be very easy for people to take the cash and run and all my trusted friends would not be able to take a month off. Also, the multple site idea would require bulk buying and no sales "in house". With all that said, I think what MJ pointed out really makes me think twice, "it is an experience" to buy a x-mas tree with your family. Keep the suggestions coming those guys, I am still all ears.
     
  8. Kona37
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    Kona37 PARKED

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    Would you beable to rent a lot and sell the trees directly? Still offer the online service because maybe you can order a tree online after they see you in lot, or they can still have it delivered. But renting a lot isnt very expensive and it would give people the option to both buy the tree onsite and off site, if marketed correctly I actually know a person who made about 15,000 dollars profit last year doing this. He said he would have made more but gave away some of his trees to the less fortunate because the christmas spirit cursed him. Online can also use as a marketing tool for your onsite location which can help advertise...think thats the only viable way.
     
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  9. Andrew
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    Andrew Contributor

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    ChristmasTrees.com is for sale. Get financing from a company like DomainCapital.com; if you can cover the costs of financing with revenue then you've got a real asset.

    I don't know a damn thing about Christmas trees, but you need to think about doing it bigger and/or better. How about high end lights, ornaments, and tree decorations? Then there is the whole seasonal thing so selling your customers during Easter, the Fourth of July, Halloween, and other holidays could be important.

    Think about what takes it from a $15,000 a year business to a $1,500,000 a year business. Some real experience will help, just don't limit yourself. Most importantly, make sure you are doing it because you like Christmas trees and not just because its an idea -- ideas are a commodity.
     

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