What does a manufacturer need, beyond a quality product, to get onto retail shelves? Our first letter this month comes from the president of a leather-goods company. His product has been well received, and he wants to start selling through a chain of retail stores, but first he needs your advice. Other letters concern incorporating abroad, financial-services regulations, and do-it-yourself stock offerings. In Resources, experts discuss an unusual combination: environmentally safe products and multilevel, or pyramid, marketing.
About a year ago I started my small leather-goods shop in an industrial complex. My company manufactures handbags, belts, briefcases, and other hand-sewn leather goods. Our quality and prices are competitive, but it will take a long time to build sales through word of mouth alone. I want to work out a deal with a chain of specialty stores and sell my products in their stores for a percentage of the profits. How should I structure such a deal? Should I limit my product line? What can I offer the store's buyers?
Cinderella Leather Co.
Going Legit Overseas
I have been financing extended stays in Europe by teaching English as a foreign language. From working at a private school I have moved to private teaching and contracting with organizations that conduct business in English. The latter source of work is no less than a gold mine, and I have several ideas for related services.
Here's the hitch: U.S. citizens are permitted to work in European Community countries only if they can prove that no EC citizen can perform the same work. While my clients, for various reasons, prefer American instructors, any number of Europeans could teach similar classes. I'd like to legitimize myself by incorporating as a U.S. company doing business in Europe. Is this possible? If not, do I have an alternative?
Checks And Balances
I'm planning to start a service company offering at-home financial-management services to the elderly in my town. I would help clients develop budgets, balance bank statements, and resolve any problems that arise. I'm sure there are requirements I will have to meet before I can offer such services -- perhaps I will have to be bonded. And since many of my potential clients live in government-funded residences, there may be additional restrictions on such a business. I'd appreciate any help.
Becky S. Grigg
City of Coffeyville
Do It Yourself
Among all the books and magazines on business, I have found nothing that discusses selling company stock on one's own. Is this subject taboo? Or can Network readers suggest some resources?
David E. Salisbury
Publisher and President
Indiana Publications Inc.