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Friday, May 28, 2010

How Can You Tell If a Business is in an Upward Trend?

Question:  How can you tell if a business is in a hot trend?  I own a heating oil distribution company. I'm wondering if this is the best type of business to own in a depression?    
H.C. Omaha NE &

Answer Marc Charles:  

Good question. I think you’re in an excellent niche business which should fare just fine in the current economy.

But, I need to ask, is your business profitable or is it losing money?

It’s important to remember, although some people are experiencing difficulties and some businesses have been affected more than others, the old fable in Acres of Diamonds still holds true.

The lesson of this fable is there are usually acres of diamonds in our own backyard.

In my experience, the best money making opportunities are usually in plain view.

I have to admit its fun traveling the world in search of opportunities. But even then opportunities are in plain view.

No matter how bad things get people will always need fuel.

The question to ask yourself is, “Will your customers prefer doing business with competitors because of better pricing, better service or better terms”?

Look for ways to offer better service and possibly a break on pricing, or financing.

Most fuel distribution companies offer boiler services. But you could go a step further and offer annual “Energy Audit”. An “Energy Audit” would be an unbiased evaluation of a homeowner and business owners building. This audit would include specific recommendations for reducing energy consumption.

Be on the look out for in-kind relationships with companies which offer the services you need, like snowplowing, accounting, direct marketing or dealing with the government.

Granted, most of the barter systems I’ve seen fall short on many levels.

However, in a depression, as in good times, legitimate in-kind relationships are crucial.

Here’s something else I’ll throw into the mix…

The companies saddled with debt, unpaid receivables and huge inventories of outdated products tend to be the first to go under when the economy turns south. We should prepare for this BEFORE it occurs. If you have problems in these areas make changes today.

And don’t forget….direct marketing (done right) usually separates the men from the boys when it comes to increasing sales.

I hope that helps.


Later.......

Marc Charles
http://www.marccharles.com
 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Is Anyone Making Money with Real Estate in This Stupid Economy?

Question: Is anyone making money with real estate in this stupid economy?
B.P. Castle Hayne NC


Answer Marc Charles:

Yes......people are making money. But in my observations only the entrepreneurs with street smarts and an in-depth understanding of depressions, and how they work.

In 2004, I mentioned dozen times in my newsletter, blog, speeches and conferences that  the real estate boom and fiasco would end badly.

Three conference organizers did not invite me back....even though I was the most popular speaker at two of the conferences (according to an attendee poll).

The reason the organizers did not want me back is because I kept talking about a "depression" and real estate collapse (in most areas of the US).

Anyway, that was yesterday....what have you done for me today!

We've all seen the real estate fiasco...and some people have been devastated by it.

But, the real estate boom (ans BUST) was predictable. If you had eyes to see, you would have known the boom was not going to last.

When I saw a cashier from a local convenience store drive into her triple car garage, which was attached to a $400,000 home, I knew the boom was toast. This was in 2005. The boom lasted another three years, and then kaput!

Almost everyone I knew, 90%+, was bullish on real estate from 2004-2008. The reason everyone was bullish is because in most cases they were making money.

But then the market collapsed....and is still collapsing.

Most people never realize, or refuse to realize, they're involved in hysteria. But all it takes is simple, common, horse sense. You can also seek wise counsel from someone who's already lived through hysteria or "madness of the crowd". In many cases wise counsel will be twice your age.

I've made money on real estate. But I've also avoided major losses. I did not lose one thin dime in real estate from 2004-2009. I was also not underwater with mortgages.

Anyway..enough with the long winded response!

Yes....you can make money on real estate in a Depression. The key is buying at super deep discounts, not being over-anxious about doing deals (or fearful), and paying cash whenever possible.

The problem with most foreclosure properties is finding a clear title, and a property with no liens. But that's another topic.

The days of Fix and Flip are over for now! This market may not recover for 10 years...if ever.

But you can still find incredible deals, offer even less, wait for your terms, and rent the property.

Drop me a note if you'd to know about specific markets I'm considering.

I hope that helps!

Marc Charles
Street Smart Host
http://www.marccharles.com

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

When Is Buying a Business From Someone a Bad Idea?

Question: I'm considering the purchase of a homebuilding business from a distressed seller at a deep discount. I value your opinion.....and I like your cocky approach to business. When is buying a business from someone a bad idea?
A.U. Wilmington NC


Answer Marc Charles;

Well.....this is kind of a loaded question! First of all I'm never enthusiastic about buying a business from someone when I can start, launch and develop a business in the same market for a lot less money.

Granted, there are exceptions.

You can read my formulas for considering a business for purchase in past columns, articles and in this blog's archives.

But let's look at this realistically.

The only real thing a business can offer is a customer list, maybe location, and I suppose reputation.

The physical assets like equipment, real estate, buildings, cars, etc. are rarely worth what a person is selling them for.

So, you focus on the customer list and ACTUAL real time orders.

Granted, employees and management matter....but as we all know, people can be replaced, as hard as that may seem.

This is a drawn out response....but I'll give you an example of a very bad deal.

In Rockport Maine a guy bought a home building business from the founder. The seller agreed to carry a mortage on the business and property for about a million dollars.

When the economy tanked in 2006-2007 it took the home building business with it.

Now the buyer is saddled with a a million dollars in debt, no sales and nothing to show for it.

Plus, the seller has put a lien on the property and business, kicked the buyer out, and started the business back up again.

This may be one of the worst deals I've seen in a long time.

No offense, but the buyer was not a seasoned deal maker or entrepreneur. He failed to look at the worst or even a bad case scenario.

What's more, the buyer never took control of the customer list or future home buyers.

Not good.

I want to eliminate or transfer as much risk as humanly possible. If I can't transfer the risk, I won't do the deal.

In this example, the buyer could have opened his own home building business down the road. Location is not a big deal in this situation...we're in the middle of nowhere (Midcoast Maine)!

That's right.

The buyer could have opened his own home building business down the road, and run it out of a home or small office. He could have started closing sales.....although not as many as he's predicting because he's clueless we're in a depression....but he could start closing deals and building homes.

But he could do it for much less than 1 million dollars...and he would OWN his business and the client list outright.

However, most people won't do this because they're lazy, uninformed or desperate.

Whatever business you are considering purchasing ask yourself if you could build or operate a similar business your self. In most cases the answer will be YES.

I hope that helps.

Marc Charles

http://www.marccharles.com

Monday, May 24, 2010

Do You Think a Used Car Dealership is a Good Idea Now...in a Depression?

Question: I'm thinking about starting a used car dealership. I've researched 23 comparable used car dealerships in my state over a three year period. I've also been involved in the industry at several levels - but never as a owner principle. I'm not over extending myself with debt and inventory...in other words I'm starting really small. My question is in this economy, which I think is a depression, am I nuts?

B.B Denver CO AR



Answer Marc Charles:

Most of the people and entrepreneurs I meet with rarely do the research and due diligence you've done. I'm serious. Most people are in too much of a hurry to start a business, and most people bite off more then they can chew.


But, as I've mentioned in my newsletters, columns and The Liberty Street Letter, a nieghborhood used car dealership can be a very wise choice, especially in a depression.


New car dealerships are dropping like flies, downsizing, and just trying to survive until the next bull market arrives. The next bull market in new cars may be ten years down the road..or longer.


What's more, most new car dealers are expanding their used car inventory....in a big way, because that's what people want (and can afford).


A small neighborhood used car lot with an Internet division, could do extremely well. Obvioulsy if you can offer reasonably priced services like financing, repair, sound system installation, interior repair and upgrades (like carpet and seats).....you should do extremley well.


On top of that, you'll be competing with the huge auto mall superstores (with dedicated Internet divisions and wholesale auction access)....but who cares! Most of these guys will be ghost towns if the depression persists...which I think it will.


And by the way, you can run commercials just like they do on YouTube...FREE!


So...no I don't think you're crazy. In fact, please keep me posted. I put you on my list for buying a car!


MC

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What's The Fastest Way to Make Money on the Internet?

Question: Hey Marc....tell me, in your opinion what's the fastest way to make money on the Internet? I'm not talking about selling stuff on eBay, Amazon or CraigsList. I'm talking about a legitimate way to make money in a web-based business?
W.N. Hollywood CA

Answer Marc Charles:

Hi...thanks for your note and question.

I know you're probably fed up with all the eBay, Amazon and CraigsList hype. But don't count these sites out as a legitimate way to make money. I'm serious.

I've taught dozens of methods and strategies for using these sites to make money with almost no start up capital whatsoever.

On top of that.....there are ways to make money without a website too! I'm not kidding. I've made money as a writer, trader, consultant, copywriter, ad sales guru, advisor, money broker, importer, car salesman, and many other ways.......all without a website!! And these businesses were 100% web-based....no physical meetings or office space, and almost no phone calls.

But here's another great way....and fast...to make money on the Internet. I wrote about it in Early to Rise........



I hope that helps!

Regards,

Marc Charles

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Please Post Your Thoughts on Some Simple Service Type Businesses

Question: Hi Marc -- thanks for this blog. Can you recommend any simple service type businesses for a start up entrepreneur?
W.L. Tampa FL


Answer: Marc Charles:

Hi WL....thanks for your post.

I love service type businesses. 

Service type businesses are great for new entrepreneurs. 

I've helped a lot of people...including my kids...start very profitable service type businesses.


I like businesses which don't require a boatload of time, money or energy to start.


Okay......here's my list. 

These are ALL viable, legitimate service type businesses I've done myself or worked with entrepreneurs who ran them. They're easy to start, take almost no capital, can be run almost anywhere, and do not require tons of red tape or licenses.


Window washing --- for homes and businesses
Office cleaning
Dog walking service
PC, Mac and Gaming system repair
Babysitting -- yes, even for guys!
Eldersitting
Property management -- can be complicated but keep it simple
Freelance driver (or taxi)
Painting (homes, businesses, interior and exterior)
Mailing service (medical/dental offices, retail stores, direct mail companies)
Auto detailing
Boat cleaning and restoration
Eldercare -- errands, shopping, amusement, trips and companionship
Pet sitting (vacations, long weekends, other)
Landscaping / gardening
Telemarketing (NOT annoying sales calls -- but rather "in-bound" order takers for TV, Web and direct mail promotions)
Trash removal (commercial and residential)
Flyer distribution (on foot, direct mail, other)
Hand towel drying at car washes (owner offers free hand towel drying, you work on tips -- extra charge for hand wax)
Tour guide
Music lessons
Commission sales (opportunities are endless -- think about products that are already selling well, ie mobile homes, apartment rentals, some advertising, precious metals, insurance, etc.)
Farm stands (they want to outlaw them, or regulate the crap out of them in Maine. But for now there are still opportunities in most areas)


How's that for starters?


Anyone reading this post -- please send me your ideas or tips for "proven" service type businesses so I can spread the world to my subscribers.


Later...........


Marc Charles
http://www.marccharles.com

Friday, May 21, 2010

Can a Person Really Make Money with Domain Names?

Question: I’ve heard about people making money buying and selling domain names. I know this market was hot during the dot com boom. But does it still present a viable “side income” opportunity today?


Answer Marc Charles:



Yes. Buying and selling domain names can be a viable side business.


The domain market was extremely hot from 1999-2002, and my “domain portfolio” performed nicely during this period.


But the domain market is far from over.

Just to clarify…a domain name is the official name of a computer (host) which is connected to the Internet, like www.BlahBlahBlah.com



Domain names are alphabetic Internet addresses which end with a period and three or four letters like .com, .net, .biz, .edu, and .info, etc.


There are more than 80,000,000 “dot com” domains active on the Internet according to DomainTools.com.


In order to function on the Internet, a host needs an alphabetic domain name which has an associated numerical Internet Protocol (IP) address record.


For example, the IP address for BlahBlahBlah.com could be 208.77.188.16

Every business goes through cycles or waves; buying and selling domain names is no different.


But domain names are still a vital part of doing business on the Internet.


Therefore, the market for domain names is extremely active, which means millions of people (and companies) buy and sell domain names on a regular basis.


So, how do you make money with these things?


It’s easier than buying a book on Amazon.com!


Here are eight high-traffic domain marketplaces and auction sites on the Internet:


· Sedo.com

· Pool.com

· GoDaddy.com

· BuyDomains.com

· Afternic.com

· DomainAuctionsScript.com

· BuySellWebsites.com

· SitePointMarketplace


The objective is to buy a domain name at a relatively low cost and sell it at a higher price.


I say “relatively” lower cost because this doesn’t always mean buying domain names dirt cheap.


In some cases it might require buying a domain name for $500, and selling it for $1000 or more.


However, I purchased a domain name with the precious metal gold in it for $15 in 2001. I recently sold this domain (and a corresponding website) for $5000. This is more than a 30,000% return on my investment!


Granted, this domain name sale included website programming, image files, membership list and a database. But these elements cost me less than $1000 - so my actual return on investment was still pretty good.


Here’s an insider’s secret for buying profitable domain names.


Look to the future!


In other words, things, people and events that are popular today, may not be popular in 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years.


When I purchased the domain name with the precious metal gold in it I suspected precious metals might be a hot commodity in the future (after a stock market crash), and I was right.


So, when you’re purchasing domain names look for topics, events, people, music and technology which should be popular down the road.


For example, most of the domain names associated with “American Idol” (the popular TV show) have already been purchased and in some cases are overvalued.


But that doesn’t mean you can’t make money on domain names with the phrase “American Idol” or something related to the show.


The idea is to look to the future when purchasing domain names.


This might mean contestant names in Season 8 of American Idol, special reunion concert tickets like the Simon and Garfunkel Tour (SimonGarfunkelReunion09 is available as of this writing), or special events like the 2010 Olympics (2010-Olympic-Tickets.com is still available as of this writing)…your domain names should be profitable.


Think of domain names like real estate.


Four years ago property in South Beach Miami FL was hot and sold at a huge premium. The same property today is selling at a huge discount.


The same is true in the “domain portfolio” business.


Companies like GoDaddy.com have millions of domain names in their portfolio. GoDaddy.com is domain name registrar – meaning they are authorized by ICANN to sell and register domain names.


GoDaddy.com also buys domain names at a low cost and sells them for a profit. GoDaddy.com also aggressively purchases domain names when expire!


You can purchase domain names at relatively low costs at these four registrars:

DotEasy.com

GoDaddy.com

Sedo.com

Netfirms


More Profitable Domain Ideas


You can also grab domain names with “built in” popularity. These domain names were recently offered for sale in the SitePoint Marketplace:


SantaNews.com ($1,500)

LocalSwineFlu.com ($50)

RealPokerStars.com ($100)

SecretForexTrading.com ($30)


The combinations for domain names are almost endless.


Buying and selling domain names can be a viable side business and the start up costs are minimal.


I hope that helps!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Would You Buy Google Stock?

Question: I know you're a big fan of Google. But would you recommend buying Google stock?
E.C. Albany NY

Answer Marc Charles:


No....I wouldn't.


And here's why......


As you may or may not know, I spent considerable time in the "trenches" as a commodity and currency trader. I made my living trading in the markets.


I learned many valuable lessons. But one stands out more than any other lesson.


I call it the "Carpet Theory".


It means the carpet can be pulled out form underneath you at any time, for any reason, without logic and for no technical reason. It is the nature of the market when people are involved.


Another theory is everything moves in waves or cycles.


I know....I know.....millions of so called experts disagree.


But I think things move in cycles.


And most cycles look like a triangle.....things go up at an angle, peak, and then go down to the base....like a triangle.


The trick is knowing when something has "peaked". But you can use historical price charts for a clue.....say 50 or 100 year charts.


In Google's case they haven't been around for 50 years, like many other companies.




But when I look at a chart of Google stock over ten years...it "looks like" the stock has peaked or will peak soon.


Granted, it's just an opinion. But if I were trading Google stock I would sell call options slightly higher than the current price. 


As far as buying it at $550 per share expecting it to go to $600, $700 or $1000 per share in the next few months or years......I think this is an unwise investment.


That's what I think.


I hope that helps.


Later..................


Marc Charles

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What Criteria Do You Use When Buying a Business?

Question:  Do you use any formulas when considering a business for purchase? 
W.T. Golden Valley MN




Answer Marc Charles:
If you use the formulas taught by the largest business schools it would be three times net profit. So, if you buy a restaurant which has an annual net profit of $500,000, you would pay $1.5 million.

But I’m not a big proponent of business school formulas, especially when it comes to buying a business.

I would never pay $1.5 million dollars for a restaurant with an annual net profit of $500,000. There are too many reasons to go into the details here.

But the biggest question to ask is whether or not the restaurant will produce the same kind of numbers going forward --- in the current environment.

There’s a hot dog stand on the coast of Maine which has annual sales of about $300,000. His net profit is about $95,000 per year.  If the owner listed his restaurant for sale at three times net profit, or $285,000 – a purchase like this would make more sense to me.

On top of that, the hot dog stand in question is always packed with customers, and it only takes a couple of people to run it. I suspect he’s taken business from the surrounding restaurants during the current economic downturn too.

I’m not real big on buying someone else’s business though, with some exceptions.

I prefer starting businesses on a smaller scale from the ground up, with as little overhead and debt as possible….in a market emerging in a hot rising trend.

I hope that helps!

 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Should I Open a Resturant in California?

Question: I know what you've said over the years about restaurants and nightclubs. But I've found two different opportunities which appear to be sound. In both cases I would own the properties outright (no mortgage). I would hire seasoned general managers with profit share agreements only. Both locations have been profitable since day one (I conducted separate audits). Please send me your thoughts.
W.E. Burbank CA

Answer Marc Charles:

Hi -- I appreciate your email and question.

First of all it seems like you've done your homework. That's more than most people do!

I love your strategy of owning properties outright and hiring seasoned GMs with profit share agreements only. That is the best strategy in my opinion.

But I would still try and talk you out of owning a restaurant. Restaurants are like boats....you love buying them but can't wait to sell them!

On top of that, I would never open a restaurant in California. I realize a lot of people are making money hand over fist with restaurants in prime locations. But I couldn't stand the regulation, red tape, taxes, fees, fines, police state, franchise board, etc. etc.

So no........I would not open a restaurant in California. Skip across the boarder into Nevada, or a couple of boarders to Utah or Texas!

If I can't persuade you to change your mind.....or invest in resturant groups or ETFs, then consider this approach............................

Restaurants and nightclubs are the hardest businesses to launch and run profitably.

Why? 

Because the overhead costs can kill you.

If you want to open a restaurant, you have to contend with staff salaries, inventory, inspections, unions, utilities, property taxes, licenses, heating and cooling systems, insect protection, trash removal, and certifications ... to name a few.

These are serious expenses. 

More important, these are expenses that most restaurateurs ignore - or grossly underestimate - until it's too late.

But you can make money hand over fist in the restaurant business.

Obviously, not every restaurant fails. But most of them do.

If you're thinking about opening a restaurant, here are three simple things you can do - and it will cost you less than $75:
1. Watch reruns of The Restaurant (if you can) - a series showing what Rocco DiSpirito went through opening a restaurant in New York City. The show has been cancelled, but reruns are still around.
2. Subscribe to Nation's Restaurant News. This is considered "the bible" for restaurant owners and professionals.
3. Play The Restaurant Empire game on your PC. You'll love it, your kids will love it, and your spouse will love it.
My fascination with the restaurant business began in high school. I was the youngest general manager for a hot Mexican casual dining franchise. (Unfortunately, this franchise had to file for bankruptcy as a result of a hepatitis outbreak that killed several customers and made hundreds of others very sick.)

What's more, I have four friends who opened restaurants over the past 12 years. All of them failed - except one. (And he's miserable.)

Interestingly, the failure of most restaurants rarely has anything to do with the food. In most cases, the failure is due to out-of-control overhead costs, the inability to find quality people who stay put, ineffective direct marketing, and the ego of the owner/chef.

Most of the owner/chefs I've talked to opened their restaurants so they would be admired by the press and their customers - not to make money. Maybe it shouldn't be called a "business" if making a profit is not the goal.

If you watch The Restaurant with Rocco DiSpirito, you'll get a sense of what I'm talking about.
Rocco is a lot of fun to watch. And he may be one of the greatest chefs that ever lived. But his pride and ego blinded him to the principles that make restaurants profitable. 

His constant squabbles with the partners who were providing the capital reveal his lack of business savvy.

Rocco knew very little about risking capital (prior to this experience, he never owned a business) - and even less about leading a team of qualified (high-spirited) professionals.

Anyway, if you're still motivated to open a restaurant after being exposed to the downside - and if you have sufficient capital - consider a top-notch franchise instead of trying to do it "your way."

6 Benefits of a Quality Restaurant Franchise for Start-up Entrepreneurs

Based on my research and hands-on experience, here are the top 6 benefits of purchasing a quality restaurant franchise. The franchise provides you with:
  • cost-control expertise
  • marketing expertise
  • systemized personnel training
  • intense demographics research
  • back-office technology and expertise (for dealing with payroll, vendors, and insurance)
  • research and development (concerning food and dining trends)
Here's an idea of what some restaurant franchises will cost you:
  • McDonald's - $500,000 to $1,000,000
  • Carvel Ice Cream - $75,000
  • Chester's Fried Chicken - $70,000 to $395,000
  • Dunkin Donuts - $500,000
  • Buffalo Wild Wings - $500,000
  • Captain D's Seafood - $450,000
  • Figaro's Pizza - $95,000
  • Blimpie Subs - $25,000
  • Huddle House Restaurant - $250,000 to $500,000
  • Burger King - $100,000 to $350,000
Another thing to keep in mind is that restaurant trends are always changing.

You've probably seen this in your neighborhood. The No. 1 fast-food chain today may be tomorrow's laughing stock. One bad marketing decision or health issue can sink an entire operation.

Fifteen years ago, a Burger King franchise was considered the "hottest ticket in town." These days, Burger King can't unload stores fast enough.

Trying to predict which fast-food brand will be the "hot ticket" 10 years from now is almost impossible. However, one way to identify profitable restaurant trends is by watching where the "big money" is being invested.

A "big money" restaurant operation like Brinker International (Chili's, Macaroni Grill, Maggiano's, On the Border, Rockfish, Corner Bakery) is a good example.
Brinker International is one of the largest and most successful restaurant franchises in the world. 
They own more than 1,600 units and have more than 140,000 employees. For the past five years, Forbes magazine has listed Brinker among the "400 Best Companies to Work For."

I think franchises are a great alternative when you're starting out in the restaurant business - even if you have a "name" as a chef and are tempted by the idea of franchising your brand ... like Tony Roma and Emeril Lagasse did.

The purpose of Profit Center Dispatch is to identify legitimate business opportunities and show you  HOW to make them profitable.

And when it comes to restaurants, your best bet will be a solid franchise that has identified a rising trend.

By the way, there are hundreds of non-food-related franchises too. And most don't require nearly as much capital.

So while you're investigating restaurant franchises, you might want to check out some of these:
  • Meineke Car Care Centers - $65,000
  • Valpak Direct Marketing System - $5,000 (15,000 households)
  • 1st Propane - $10,000
  • Sona Laser Hair Removal - $200,000
  • SuperCuts - $30,000
  • Friendly Computers - $50,000
  • AccuTax - $10,000
  • CashPlus - $75,000
  • Regis Salons - $50,000
  • Ice Cold Air (discount auto repair) - $75,000
  • Lil Pals Mobile Pet Photography - $20,000
  • Ace Cash Express (Kiosk) - $15,000

If you're determined to open a restaurant, consider viable franchise opportunities.

Watch the major money restaurateurs. Where and what type of restaurants are they building today?

Do your research and then talk to current owners or former owners of the operations you're interested in. You may not hear what you want to hear, but it'll give you a great perspective on the reality of this business.

The main benefit of owning a legitimate franchise is that you will have an established brand. The next-best benefit is that you will be taking advantage of time-tested marketing. This could save you tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars by avoiding the serious pitfalls and marketing blunders of most "go it alone" restaurateurs.

Morel Resources for Restaurant Franchises:

Additional Resources for Non-Food Franchises:

I hope that helps!!

Send me your thoughts.

Later.....................

Marc Charles

"The King of Business Opportunities"

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What About Medical Tourism? In or Out?

Question: Hi Marc, question  for ya. I'm a successful entrepreneur between ventures. What is your take on medical tourism? I know it can be complicated and convoluted. But it seems to be a growing trend and I'd like to tap into it.
A.K. Cambridge MA

Answer Marc Charles:

Hey AK -- thanks for your note and question.

You are 100% correct about medical tourism. I have two good friends involved in the busienss on different levels.

You're also right about it being a little complicated.....and of course on some levels you'll be dealing direct with consumers.....which I don't like personally.

But there's no doubt whatsoever people are spending big bucks in this area.....especially with all the new (higher) health care taxes, regulations, red tape, waiting lines, etc. etc. in the US.

I wrote about this industry first in 2004. But the sector has grown probably ten fold since then.

I'm familiar with another entrepreneur who specializes in "dental tourisim" to Costa Rica.

So there are tons of options.

Here are some of my other thoughts........................

You can make money by helping people slash their medical bills ... while enjoying a vacation in an exotic location at the same time!

It's absolutely true.

I've been researching business opportunities (and profiting from them) for more than 20 years. 

Once in a while, someone will throw me a curve ball about a new business that has never crossed my mind. This is one of those businesses.

A friend and associate of mine recently returned from Costa Rica from what he called a "medical tourism" trip. Actually, it was a dental tourism trip. But the experience he described set my wheels in motion.

My friend needed some major dental work. He received quotes from several dentists in the U.S. 
The best price he could find was $16,000.

He decided to go to Prisma Dental in Costa Rica instead. His entire bill came to $6,000 — and that included his airfare, lodging, and ground transportation. That's a savings of more than $10,000. 

Plus, between dental procedures, he enjoyed a well-deserved vacation!

You're probably thinking that you would NEVER go to a doctor that you don't know, let alone one in an unfamiliar country. I had the same thought when my friend told me about his experience. 

Traveling to the ends of the earth to have a medical or dental procedure is certainly not for everyone.

But I'm not suggesting that you go into business organizing medical tourism junkets to some god-forsaken backwater with bugs the size of softballs walking on the walls of the doctor's office. I'm talking about introducing people to top-notch medical practitioners ... most of whom were trained in the USA or Europe.

In fact, the clinics I'm talking about are more technologically advanced than many of the clinics and hospitals that you find in North America and Europe.

The important thing to remember is that medical tourism is a rising trend. If this concept is marketed to the right target audience (aging baby boomers who have money, love to travel, and want to save money on medical or dental procedures), it can be very profitable.

Here are three ways to make money in this business:

1. Organize and promote all-inclusive medical, dental, and/or cosmetic-surgery trips to qualified prospects.
This would be fairly simple. You'd compile a list of 20-30 clinics that would be open to the idea. (And it appears there are hundreds of clinics like Prisma Dental in Costa Rica that would LOVE the extra business and would be willing to work with you.)

Then you'd ask those clinics for first-class lodging recommendations, preferably at all-inclusive type resorts or hotels.

Customers would arrange their own air transportation once dates have been set for their medical/dental procedures. In time, you could provide and organize charter air service (if you wanted to).

Promoting this business by running ads in the Yellow Pages, newspaper, magazines, and websites would probably be a waste of time and money. Your marketing objective would be to reach qualified, targeted prospects via direct mail. One way to identify your ideal prospects would be to ask your clinic partners for a profile of their European or U.S. patients.
Another way to reach qualified prospects would be to advertise in targeted publications, my favorite being e-mail newsletters.

2. Work as a freelance marketing expert for overseas medical, dental and/or cosmetic-surgery clinics — and receive a percentage of every deal

The pitch is simple. You simply ask the clinic's owners if they would like new patients from the United States — and if they would be willing to pay a commission on any new business you send their way. I think you will be amazed at how receptive most of them will be.

3. Start a medical tourism search engine/directory — perhaps with open forums enabling patients to discuss their experiences.

The objective would be to help would-be medical tourists learn about the many overseas medical, dental, and cosmetic-surgery clinics. Users could search your directory using a keyword or phrase like "hip replacement." The search results would return all the clinics that offer that procedure.

You would charge the clinics an annual fee to be included in the directory. If, for example, you had 100 clinics in your directory and charged them each $79 a year to be included, that would give you $7,900 per year.

Once you've got the clinics in your directory, the hard part is over. You can then focus your energy on marketing and other business development efforts. I'm confident you could get plenty of advertising revenue from hundreds of related businesses: resorts, B&Bs and hotels, and so on.

I hope that helps!

Send me your thoughts.................
Your resourceful guide --

Marc Charles

"The King of Business Opportunities"

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Do You Have Any Bright Ideas for Obtaining a Car Free of Charge?

Question: My friend told me about an article you wrote about getting a car free of charge. I Googled your name and those words but couldn't find the article. Is it true? Do you have any bright ideas for obtaining a car free of charge?
W.M. Gary IN

Answer Marc Charles:


Auto dealerships are going out of business in droves. But the opportunity to drive a new car for absolutely no cost has never been better.


The tactic I’ll show you for obtaining a new car at no cost is a proven method, tested and 100% legal.


There is some work involved, which I’ll explain in detail, but there are no gimmicks, tricks or micro-print.
Most people still prefer driving newer vehicles. This may eventually change as the recession wares on.
But the desire to drive nice late model automobile is still red hot.


Now you can drive away in a brand new automobile at zero cost.

Here’s how to do it.



Practically every auto dealership in the world has a leasing department.


Leasing continues to grow in popularity with consumers, business owners and corporations because of the low monthly cost, low transaction costs (oftentimes with no money down) and the ease of getting out of one auto lease and into another.


However, even though auto leasing is growing in popularity, several manufactures such as GM, Chrysler and Ford have discontinued their auto leasing programs.


The main reason auto manufactures have discontinued their leasing programs is due to three factors:


1) The value of automobiles were declining faster than lease values
2) Maintenance of contracts
3) Fewer people buying and leasing new vehicles.


But the current situation opens the door to a wonderful opportunity.


Auto dealerships desparately need leasing business and contracts.


Consumer, business owners and corporations would lease automobiles but not at current prices.


The strategy is to organize an informal group of consumers, business owners, professionals or even corporations.
We can approach auto dealerships with the clout and buying power of a professional organization.


For example, in any given city or town there are hundreds (if not thousands) of specialized groups of people, like doctors, lawyers, dentists, accountants, real estate brokers or entrepreneurs.


But we’ll need a second criterion for our auto leasing organization to work properly.


The specialized group of professionals needs to be “qualified”.


In this case qualified could be defines as anyone who is eligible for an auto lease, has leased cars previously and is in the market for a new automobile.


The next step is to obtain a list of qualified professionals who meet all of the criteria. This can be accomplished with the use of reputable mailing list broker. You can search Google Local for reputable mailing list brokers in your area, or use the Yellow Pages.


The final step is to write a compelling sales letter to all of the people on your mailing list. Tell them you are developing a professional organization with the main purpose of acquiring new automobiles at the lowest cost possible for all of the members.


In your letter you can explain there is absolutely no obligation of any kind until they review the lease agreement and details.


The sole purpose of your initial letter is to get a favorable response from the recipients of the letter. This can be done with a simple phone call, fax, email or by return mail.


If you send a powerful sales letter to 500 qualified professionals there’s a good chance you’ll receive a 1-2% response. In this case this would mean 5-10 people - if the response rate is higher so much the better.


You might also consider retaining a professional copywriter to construct the sales letter – or retain the services of a writer who specializes in sales letters.


Armed with our favorable response of 5-10 professionals we approach the auto dealership. If a particular dealership is unable or unwilling to offer a spectacular proposal for your professional organization – then simply go to the next dealership.


You will find dealerships who want to play ball and write the deal.

Here’s the catch…



If a dealership wants your professional organization’s business (which hypothetically consists of 5-10 people or more), they should be willing to extend a new car lease to you at no cost.


In other words, if you can deliver a group lease consisting of 5-10 professionals the dealership should be willing to extend a complimentary lease to the group organizer at no cost.


In the current hard times most auto dealerships would bend over backwards to make a deal like this work. If you presented this proposal to a Toyota dealership you could possibly drive away with a new Toyota Camry LE.


The average cost of a 2009 Toyota Camry LE in July 2009 was $20,000.


I hope that helps.


Yes.....this strategy works :)


Later.......


Marc Charles

Sunday, May 2, 2010

How Can I Make Money as a Freelance Writer? Am I Dreaming?

Question:There's more hype, smoke and mirrors with regards to making money as a freelance writer than almost any other field. How can I make money as a freelance writer? Am I dreaming?
O.Y. Clermont FL




Answer Marc Charles:
Yes...you can make money as a freelance writer...I'm doing it, and so are a lot of other people.


But it's not magic genie.....and it may be a hobby but you need to treat it like a business.


You can apply your talents, expertise and insight to generating income immediately – whether that’s with a job, sub-contracting opportunity or freelance work.

You can easily start a freelance writing business “on the side”.

My advice is would be to focus on one of four areas if you want to build a writing business. The four areas I would focus on are:

1)    Direct marketing (copywriting, editing, sales letters, Internet landing pages)
2)    Niche publishing (like financial markets, corporate real estate, agricultural futures, etc.)
3)    3) Targeted Information (special reports, ebooks, newsletters, unique premiums, directories, and “How to Guides”)
4)    4) a combination of all these areas!

American Writers & Artists Inc. in Delray Beach FL offers outstanding products, services and courses to help people transition into this “new kind” of writing…..and build a viable “online” business.

I hope that helps!

Marc Charles