Network is a hit -- or so it would seem from the response to the inaugural section, which ran in the August issue ([Article link]). There we published several letters from readers who had business questions and problems on which they were seeking advice. As it turned out, other readers had plenty of advice to offer. A sample of their comments can be found in [Article link]. Here are some new queries.
Have Agency, Will Travel
Two years ago I opened my own travel agency after eight years of working in a traditional one. Two problems continue to plague me. First, I can't find enough experienced travel agents who are willing to work on commission; second, I'm having a hard time motivating my sales staff to make cold calls. Any comments would be appreciated.
A Affordable Travel Co.
Up from Down Under
I am a young entrepreneur who has recently completed a university degree, and I am very keen to start a small business in Australia. I believe there are numerous products and ser-vices in the United States that would have enormous market potential here. Unfortunately, I do not know how to go about contacting American companies that might be interested in the Australian market or in importing Australian products into the United States. I'd be grateful for any advice.
Haberfield, New South Wales
Shooting for Capital
I've been working on a business plan for a company I'd like to start -- an outdoor recreational facility featuring commercial rifle and pistol ranges. I've gathered a lot of background information and done all the necessary legwork.
Now, I'm ready to begin searching for people who might be interested in backing the venture, but I don't know where to start. I figure the start-up costs will be between $2 million and $3 million. How do you find people with that kind of money?
Lanoka Harbor, N.J.
Crossing State Lines
I'm in the business of selling and installing bathroom products. We work out of a retail store in Norwalk, Conn., and will soon open a second store in another state. I wonder what it's going to be like to have stores in different states. How should we set up the relationship between the stores? How independent should the stores be? I'd be very interested in hearing from other owner-operators about the pitfalls of multistate stores.
Mr. Shower Door Inc.