Some Surprises in Store

It sounds so easy: Open a market stall, sell the products you like, and grow rich. Sadly, as this couple is about to learn, it's never that simple

Q: My husband and I are getting close to retirement and are excited about a new venture. We have found an establishment that rents floor space to "wanabee" retailers. They provide the building, cashier, and advertising, and we rent a small stall and stock the shelves. Our products are ceramics, brass items, and paintings that come from China on a two-month boat trip. We have been putting all our expenses on credit cards in anticipation of being open for business. My question: When will we know if our business is going to succeed? -- N.J., Kernersville, N.C.


For any business, large or small, the key to success is planning. Before you jump into business for yourselves, be smart, take some basic classes on entrepreneurship or get some small-business counseling, and put together at least a rudimentary business plan. In it, you should project milestones and financial projections, such as a break-even analysis, that will help you evaluate the feasibility of your concept.

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