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Your Questions About New Niche Businesses

Sandy asks…

What to do next…Small Business Startup?

I am about a month and a half from opening my new jam and preserves business. My products will be sold at farmers markets and on the internet. I have a couple of niche‘s for my business which do make the products which I have created stand out quite a lot. I will be working from home and therefore the jams and preserves which I make will be made from home. So far I have…

Contacted my local Council Environmental Health Department for Food Safety. They have given me some information and sent me some packs and applications off in the post which I now have. All basically about food hygiene and safety.

I have spoken to local farmers markets as well as ones a bit further afield and will be continuing talks with them about hopefully getting some stalls over Christmas time.

I have looked at my options in prices for produce, packaging, labels, all of that nonsense. But now, I’ve hit a bit of a brick wall.

I still need some information on Business Tax, Business Rates and all the rest of the bits and bats which may apply to me in a small business such as jam making. The only part I have got some information on is insurance but…what else do I need, and how do I contact these people? I need to register my business in order to get a wholesalers membership, but who with? What kind of business do I class as and how do I register? The Council say I may need planning permission…but how do I get that?

Any information at all for the new starter in a small business would be hugely appreciated. The websites that are out there nowdays, some of which are quite good, all tend to be geared and focused towards the experienced business man or woman. Not to a new starter.


New Niche Finder answers:

To start a small business you must be a member of HMRC. So you apply to be a member and register in HMRC as a sole trader.

Ruth asks…


am enrolled at Winona State University and am liking it a lot. On the contrary though, I live in Madison and would like to return to study there. I am undecided at the moment but am leaning heavily towards economics/finance/marketing. Last year I enrolled in engineering courses and struggled through, finding out along the way that engineering is not for me. I took double labs both semesters and received a 2.16 cumulative GPA. I am now taking all business classes and should be receiving a 3.2, give or take .1 or .2 in either direction and am working very hard. I am going to wait until 2nd semester to apply and I am applying for the liberal arts program as it’s the easiest program to get into. With a 3.2 my cumulative will only go up to around 2.5… With good letters of recommendation (and the possibility of getting my AA so that all my pre-requisites will be accounted for and hopefully will look “better” on my application), another letter explaining my mistakes made from last year and my major change to business, along with my improved grades and new direction in school with the right classes and newly found niche and drive. Do you think I have a shot of getting in? I really need ALL kinds of help making decisions so all your input is wanted, good OR bad! Thanks a lot!

New Niche Finder answers:

UW-Madison is a very nice school. My dad went there for his masters degree. I doubt that they won’t accept any transfer without a 3.0 GPA as outlined in their transfer requirements unless you really are a special circumstance, considering they only accept 53% of applicants. The problem with getting letters is that most university transfer applications are cut-and-dry online forms that just ask you to fill in the boxes and then send your transcripts over, so there is a great chance that your letters won’t actually be read by anybody. For a board of admission to actually read your letters, you would need to apply for an ivy-league university, but even then your GPA wouldn’t be sufficient.
If the university is low in admittance for the spring semester (or fall, whichever you’re applying for), there is a good chance that you can get in with a 2.5 so that they can get more money, but just remember that the prestige of schools are partially ranked with their cumulative GPA and their successful graduation rate.

Michael asks…

I need help with my cover letter. Please!?

I am applying for a summer internship at Seventeen magazine and I am very nervous. I have never written a cover letter before. Can someone please read my cover letter and tell me if it sounds acceptable/what areas need help? Thank you so much!

After years of sitting in my small room in my small town in West Virginia, waiting for the day I would be old enough to dive into the magazine business, that day has finally arrived. I am extremely excited for the summer internship position offered in the Features department and would very much like to be considered a strong candidate.

Ideally, this internship will give me the opportunity to build writing and editorial skills that I have so far only laid the foundation for. Since my high school lacked the student population and desire for a newspaper, I began writing for the local newspaper during my sophomore year of high school. Every month, I chose a topic of relevance and interest to me and the local community, such as my prom problems, hatred of math, or love for the Christmas season. Throughout the experience, I learned to work under pressure for deadlines, to take criticisms from both editors and readers, and to write in a perspective that is both unique and unimposing. Given Seventeen’s frequent true life articles and knack at choosing fresh topics monthly, I would be able to assist in choosing relevant topics that readers find both interesting and, at times, underrepresented.

Although college is still a new experience, I have already found my niche among my fellow English bookworms. During the first week of school, I was asked to interview for the position of student aid to the department and got the job. The job has given me basic secretarial skills that would assist in making sure everything that I work on at Seventeen is clean and up to the magazine’s high standards. However, I also look forward to learning more about the editorial and inner-workings of magazines. Given the chance, I am confident that my experience is some aspects and eagerness to learn in others will benefit the magazine in brand new ways.

For your convenience, I have attached my resume for your review. Knowing that it is often difficult for personality and temperament to jump off of the page, I welcome the opportunity to participate in an interview to answer any questions. Thank you so much for your time and consideration on helping me to branch out from my West Virginia town into something so much greater!

New Niche Finder answers:

This isn’t so much a cover letter as an essay, which is a problem when you bear in mind that your employer has a lot of these to read through, and they’re going to be looking not just for writing skill but for candidates who can convey their points in a succinct way. Your introduction should be something to the effect of “here’s how I found out about your internship, and here’s a very brief summary of why I’m interested and what I could bring to your organization.” Then in the next one or two paragraphs, you flesh out your qualifications: don’t tell your life story, but highlight a few things in your resume that particularly demonstrate your strengths as they relate to the job requirements, and focus more on what you’re ready to learn in the next stage of your career than what you’re lacking. (Your third paragraph minus that awkward last sentence is actually a pretty good example of what you should be shooting for.) Finally, you want to close on a more confident note: if you’re really magazine contributor material, they should get a sense of your personality even from this brief letter – so while you do want to make it clear that you’re looking forward to the next stage of the process, find a different way to state that. Good luck.

Donna asks…

60+ free ways to increase traffic?

Make Use Of Free WebSites To Promote Your Blog!
6. write related articles on WikiPedia with your blog url in it.
7. make a hubpage for your blog, with a little bit information about your blog.
8. make a wiki page for your blog.
9. make a squidoo lens or more with a link to your site.
10. sign up at 43things.com and write things related to your blog and what you want to accomplish.(you’d be surprise by the number of people, just reading other peoples list)
11.create a myspace page for your blog.
12. create a facebook page for your blog.
13. create a hi5 page for your blog.
14. join blogcatalog and do the same as with mybloglog.
15. use MyBlogLog to create a community around your blog. join other peoples community, so they do the same for you.
16. create an account with Technorati and with every new post, ping it.
17. post related how-to videos on you tube with your blog address on the bottom of the screen or at the end or beginning of the video.
18. use yahoo answers to answer questions related to your niche, leaving your link in the resource box. (believe it or not, 10% of my traffic comes from 20 minutes a week answering questions on yahoo answers)
19.create an account on stumbleupon, and stumble each and every article you write. (one of the best ways to drive traffic to your site for free)
20. join as many forums as possible, especially forums related to your niche

Take Advantage Of Free Tools And Plug-ins!
21. place a “digg it” button right after your post, to make it easy for your readers to digg your post.
22. use a comment notifying plug-in to let your readers know about new comments. believe it or not, most people read more of other peoples comment on your post, than your post itself.
23. use social bookmarking plug-ins to make it easy for your readers to submit your post to social bookmarking site
24. install “tell-a-friend” plug-in to make it easy for your readers to let others know about your post.
25. make use of “all in one SEO” plug-in to make your blog search engine friendly.
26. use a forum plug-in to create a forum for your blogs readers to talk and discuss related issues.
27. use a free keyword tool to find and use good ranking keywords in your niche.

28. use sites like vista print to make free business cards ($5 shipping for 250 free BC which is worth it) with your site url on it and pass it around.

29. make a free favicon to be easily found in your readers favorites file. (people like to find what they want fast. i myself sometimes give up finding a particular article or site in my huge favorite file, simply because i don’t want to spend 5 minuets to go through the whole list. a favicon is like big spot light focused on you between hundreds of other people!
30. use free press release services to gain visibility.
31. Use pingomatic to ping RSS aggregators.
32. use free advertising sources like craigslist and backpage to post ads about your articles or blog in related categories.

Other Bloggers Can Help Too!
33. talk about or if you can interview a trusted person in your niche
34. Leave comments on blogs in related niches or any niche for that matter.(don’t spam, leave genuine comment, as you would like others to do so for you)
35. make a banner ad for your blog and exchange with other interested bloggers.
36. use blogroll to link to other bloggers in your niche in exchange for a link to your blog on their blog roll.
37. ask other bloggers to write a review of your blog in exchange for a link to their site from your site.
38. dedicate a post about a top bloggers in your niche. it will catch their attention and they may link to you
39. whenever appropriate, link to other bloggers articles in your post. they will return the favor.
40. use your best articles to post on other peoples blog as a guest writer (it’ll gain you visibility and new audience)
41. another blogger to post on your blog as guest (while he enjoys some new readers, it will brings his readers to

New Niche Finder answers:

I submitted Forums and Blogs to promote my website.

Jenny asks…

Where can I get the headphone jack replaced in my MP3 player?

So I have an expensive MP3 player — the CC Witness by C Crane. It’s expensive because it also has an AM/FM receiver, and I think it’s the only MP3 player that offers AM. No editorial comments about how you hate AM, please.

The headphone jack has gone bad and I want to get it swapped out. I don’t want to buy a new CC Witness because they cost near $200. I don’t want to buy a different, cheaper MP3 player because the Witness is the only one with both AM and FM tuners.

C Crane will replace the headphone jack for $59 (+shipping?), but that seems ridiculously high. It looks like any high school student who likes to tinker with computers and knows how to solder could do it. Unfortunately, none of that describes me :-) I called a couple of computer repair places but they usually have a minimum charge of $100!

So does anyone have any suggestions for a place I haven’t thought to try, that might know how to get the part and solder it in to my device but only charge, like $30? Kind of looks like a niche here for someone to start a small business doing minor electronic repairs for cheap! I’m in the vicinity of San Jose, California.

New Niche Finder answers:

Send it back to CCrane – they will do it right. Tiny radios like that are very difficult to repair – just opening the case is a nightmare if you do not know how to open that specific case. CCrane is a great company, they will take care of you – well worth $60 + shipping.

I own two CCradios by the way – AM rules!!!!

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