We weren’t able to get to all 683 questions. So I chose one that goes well with our theme of being Lean and Mean(ingful) in 2013.
This question was submitted by Sheri Novak in Michigan.
Here’s her question:
Q: I’d like to know your thoughts on the best way to structure a baby equipment rental company (mine is Tiny Toes Travel in Traverse City, MI) in order to expand within my current delivery area and to expand into other areas.
I just started the company in June 2012 and it was a busy summer, but I did all of the deliveries (which I am guessing you’ll tell me to stop, and I agree!).
As the only delivery person I am limited by time, so I need to either hire or contract out the deliveries. Since it involves babies there is the issue of liability. Also, I have had requests for rentals in areas 1-2 hours away from me, so I’d love your thoughts on the best way to expand the company. Thank you in advance for your help!
A: Sheri, I’m going to keep this answer general for the sake of readership and then I’ll answer your question with some specifics for your business.
First things first… decide where you want to build your business and where you don’t. This goes for any business owner. You need to have a clear vision for yourself and your business. Sure, business by accident happens but it’s short lived and can’t be sustained because of a lack of planning.
The tendency is to chase money rather than have a solid business to build from. I understand that starting out you need money… doesn’t matter where it comes from because money is money. However, this lack of discipline will only create future business hardships later on.
I would like to have you get clear on your reason for having the business. Is it to make extra money? Is it to grow it and sell it? Is it own and have several locations?
Without knowing this, my answer is limited. But let me give you a few ideas to get your gears turning.
Take inventory of what your most popular and profitable rentals are and contract out the rest. You could license satellite offices in other areas and sell the leads to daycare providers in those surrounding areas that have extra equipment to rent out. You now can grow your company exponentially depending on the demand.
Another thought is that most parents who are renting your equipment know how to use and set it up. You can have them come to your office to pick up the equipment and should have a separate fee for travel and set up. Make it worth your while. You’re the owner of the company and need to respect your time as such.
I hope that helps you continue to be lean and mean(ingful) in 2013.
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If you’d like to have your business questions answered by Loral, submit your question to Ryan@LiveOutloud.com and share what it is you do along with your website address. Be as specific as you can in your submission. Please note any and all challenges you’re currently facing.