81,000 ONE DOLLAR ORDERS—382-383
The mail-order business has been mentioned many times in this book mainly because it is a very specialized business wherein opportunities often are to be found. As further evidence of success attained by others, let us consider the novel razor-blade sharpener which is sold by mail.
A small manufacturing firm has obtained 81,000 one dollar orders directly from their two-inch display advertisement appearing in various magazines within a period of two years. In this instance, no inquiries were solicited. People made purchases directly from their advertisement, sending in their dollar for the sharpener, or paid it to the postman when the sharpener was delivered. This is often quite possible—selling directly from a small display ad—when the amount of the purchase is only $1 or under. The C.O.D. plan was used in this case, if desired.
Hazarding an estimate, the gross profit was probably around 33 per cent which would mean $13,500, and with expenses rather low, it is plain to see that this little manufacturer has been earning substantial net profits. In conducting a mail order business like this, the overhead is low—no printing necessary for advertising literature and no doubt one or two persons could take care of volume orders. An advertising agency usually places the advertising for its client.
If possible, "think up" (use your imagination) some gadget or useful article that others can use, and consider the possibilities of selling it by mail. If you have something that is as good as a similar product and can sell it for less, you have a good chance of "making the grade." Or if you have something better and can sell at the same price as a competitive article, your chances are still greater. Then again, if you have something better and can sell it at a lower price than a competitive product, you have a lever that will just about insure your success.
Many local businesses are overlooking an additional source of profit when they fail to consider the possibilities of establishing a sideline mail-order business in their store or place of business.
The fact that not one business, but two businesses will be sharing the overhead expense, adds to the attractiveness of the idea. Most local retailers can work in a mail-order enterprise with their regular business without too much trouble or inconvenience. The additional advertising the local business will receive and the extra profits coming in daily via the mails is something to think about!
For the ambitious man without a local business but with mail-order aspirations, this particular field beckons! A chap in a similar position created a new enterprise for himself by using this idea and building a larger plan out of it. He made a deal with a local storekeeper which gave him an office in the rear of the store, the use of the merchandise on hand and a 50 per cent share of the usual annual advertising appropriation for this particular business. The storekeeper agreed to give him 5 per cent commission on all mail-order sales.
This venture went over with a bang and inside of one year the operator had sold $200,000 worth of merchandise for this businessman—and all by mail! A profit of $10,000 for the year without investing any money of his own indicates that the plan has real value for everyone concerned. A plan that can produce such amazing results can certainly produce some sort of profits for other promoters!
If the promoter ran up against a lot of skepticism it would be a simple matter to agree to work the plan without any personal payment until the sideline started to show a good profit. In some cases the mail-order department could be partially conducted in the promoter's own home.
This would be an excellent way to gain some experience in the mail-order field. The merchants wouldn't expect an expert to make them such a proposition. Usually a successful or experienced mail-order man would be operating his own business and not interested such a deal. The local dealer, however, would expect a man with a fair amount of knowledge about the mail order market and a lot of new ideas.
Workouts and supervision in exercises could be provided for by a director. A masseur should also be engaged. Such a gym would be designed to provide businessmen with the regular exercise which they otherwise would not get. Advertising might stress that business will be increased due to increase in businessman's vitality. Ten minutes a day in the gym will end fatigue and minimize exaggerated problems. Charge, with daily massage, $10 per month. At this rate, with 50 customers monthly, gross income per month would be $500, about 50 per cent of which would be profit. It would be easy to estimate what returns would be operating a chain of office gyms.
SELLING ODD BUTTONS—386
That started the odd button store, devoted exclusively to selling odd and old buttons. She has an unlimited source of supply from button collectors all over the land. She reaches them by mail.
Some of the customers buy the buttons and have them made into earrings, cuff-links and pins, so beautiful are the designs.
She wore the necklace at a social gathering one evening and was approached by a department store owner. Would she make similar necklaces for his store? Today she specializes in making this "kernel jewelry."
With awnings in bright hues and designs (all different) on the rowboats, patronage would be increased on the hottest days. What is needed is an awning outfit that could be clamped onto any rowboat or canoe. Fleet owners and private boat owners would provide the market for such awnings.
Written comment contained descriptions of various restaurants, what food and services they offered, the spaghetti in a certain Italian restaurant or the Swedish restaurant with its tasty special, Smorgasbord.
The book is published annually and according to the housewife's figures she has sold one thousand copies to the customers and to the Cafe owners, etc. Around 400 restaurants paid to have their listings inserted in her directory. These "ads" sold for a high as $10 each. Not bad at all for a housewife with nothing but an idea in her mind. Such descriptive material could be edited and corrected by any local business writer or handled for a lower fee by some ambitious journalistic student. The "comment" must be truthful and interesting. It need not be a literary masterpiece.
INSTITUTE FOR BALD HEADS—390
Isn't it logical to assume that most of these people would be not only willing, but eager to contribute small amounts to support such an organization? And it certainly is not likely that they would object if the promoter kept a substantial amount of money to pay him for his labors. Obviously, the promoter, or organizer, would have to convince the baldheaded public that the institute would employ scientists of real reputation and high standing in the medical profession.
The project could be supported by membership, and every month a comprehensive report, showing steps forward attained, could be sent to each subscriber. Suppose a million members at $2 yearly, paid by donation or dues, supported such an institute? Such a number would provide more than an adequate income to take care of the organization's expenses including the salaries of the physician-scientists. The organizer's attractive salary would, of course, come out of the membership payment also.
If a real remedy were discovered, imagine the elation of the bald-heads! And let us not overlook what this would mean to the promoter—both fame and fortune. Now a set-up like this may, in the last analysis, be the only way a cure will ever be developed for baldness. This, for the reason that medical-research men are devoting their time and abilities to incurable diseases or those of a more incapacitating character. Notwithstanding, substantial salaries would have a way of inducing them into fields such as the one treated herein.
OFFICE BUILDING LIBRARY—391
There are many such books on the market and new ones being published almost daily. Located in office buildings, a chain of rental libraries should be very profitable. In some instances, such a rental library could be put in (on a commission basis) office-supply shops, similar to the system used in drug and department stores with fiction books. The business books libraries would obviously make available to businessmen all the latest and most informative publications. Owing to the more exclusive field, rental rates could be more expensive than those charged ordinarily for fiction.
PARTY ROOMS FOR RENT—392
This same plan could be profitably exploited in many cities, and a chain of these converted houses should earn important dividends. At any rate, the idea suggests big business. The operator should naturally be entertainment-minded. The exterior of such a place, or places should possibly be decorated in brilliant colors, and have plenty of bright lights outside to show off the colors. Toy gas balloons could be used outside too. The management would soon be able to provide expert assistance as to what entertainment, games and so forth should be provided at each party. $1 per guest is a reasonable amount to cover refreshments and supplying plans for the entertainment of guests, and of course, the rental of the room. This charge to be made to the host, or hostess, of course. The operator might even send out invitations, thus relieving the party giver of absolutely all responsibility.
The eventualities in conducting such a needed service would seem to be enormous. Here are some of them: One could cater to bridge parties or bridge clubs; one could have a movie projector and screen, or perhaps a tiny stage for amateur productions; a "juke box" could be provided, along with available dancing space; Birthday parties could be catered to, or anniversary parties, surprise parties, etc. Coat hangers, card tables, perhaps a small home bar, a kitchen, backgammon, ping-pong, bingo, these are just some of the equipment that could be provided.
Fantastic as it may seem, the facts are as stated. Prior to World War II he was selling around 750 cars a month and while the shortage of cars during the war period curtailed sales, notwithstanding, this used car lot still soared on high. It has been reported that he makes only about $25 profit on a car, but the tremendous volume of business brings in approximately $18,750 profit a month. The average used-car dealer, according to the best sources of information, realizes a profit from $100 to $200 a car.
This used-car merchant dared to be different in his "wacky" advertising, and his name is a family word on the west coast. While competitive firms have maintained his unorthodox advertising has been and is unethical, the Better Business Bureau in Los Angeles investigating his business policies have been unable to stop him, for his business is conducted legally. In one of his billboard advertisements, for example, you see this "Used Car King" portrayed as Napoleon in red underwear, wearing spurred cowboy boots, saying: "I buy 'em retail, sell 'em wholesale—More Fun That Way!" Another poster proclaims: "I want to give my cars away but my wife won't let me—she's crazy."
In spite of the protests of other used car merchants on the same block, this enterprising business man went so far as to change the name of the streets in his advertisements; that is the streets around the area where the big lot is located. He named the block after his own name! His radio programs are a departure from the ordinary and people call him "nuts," "wacky" or "crazy", but he doesn't mind. His attention-getting publicity sells his cars. While radio listeners may tire of being bombarded with crazy jingles, they are ever conscious of who and where this used car dealer is.
Perhaps you, too, can use this "wacky road to wealth" program in any business you start. A clever series of "crazy" ads, handbills, signs ideas. Keep them up until you get plenty of publicity. Dare to be different.
SELLING FORMULAS BY MAIL FOR 20 YEARS—394
This mail order operator also prepares his formulas the same economical way. Therefore, it may be immediately realized that his overhead expense is kept at a minimum. He has a wide selection of formulas, and every month prints a new circular telling of new offerings, which he mails out to lists of prospects. Sometimes he may list as many as 13 different formulas on a sheet. Recipients of the circulars may buy the entire group offered for a dollar bill and a 3¢ stamp.
Opportunity seekers are his chief prospects; people who want to make this or that for resale. He maintains a large mailing list and in addition uses the services of professional mailers to distribute his circulars. Selling formulas by mail is nothing new; it has been done for a long time and probably still offers opportunity for others. If you are interested in this form of mail order business it would be a good idea to study different books on formulas and contact reputable chemists with a view to having them prepare exclusive formulas for your own use. Once you get started, experience will guide you to various avenues of profit in the operation of a formula business.
HOME MADE TIES AND RACKS—395-396
There's the case of the young married couple who offered the home-made ties the wife made on consignment to as many stores as the husband could visit. While the wife made handsome ties which cost her about 15¢ apiece to make, the husband busied himself in the basement workshop preparing their racks to hold about 10 ties.
The racks and ties were now ready for distribution—on consignment—to the various stores in the business district. It was a simple "sales" matter for the husband to ask the business man if he could place his rack of 10 ties on the counter (without charge) and call a week later to see how they sold. He offered a 29¢ profit on each tie sold, the ties selling for 69¢ each. That the plan succeeded goes without saying. Some stores sold a complete rack in one week. Placed in 100 or 200 stores throughout a county, the profits would multiply greatly.
Most women can sew. And many husbands are handy with the tools. Combine both and many interesting items can be placed in stores on consignment. In fact agents can be secured to place the merchandise. Meanwhile, the merchandise need not be relegated to ties only. Layettes or pinafores or the brain child of wife or husband can be made and sold on the consignment method, a method that has catapulted many a small business man into a big time operator.
A FIELD NOT OVERCROWDED—397
One scrapbook he prepared for Princeton University was composed of 200 volumes, each containing 200 pages, and the cost was $21,000. The obituary scrapbooks he has made run into the thousands. The scrapbook he compiled for the Duke of Windsor, it is reported, cost that celebrity $20,000. Just to mention a few of the scrapbooks he has prepared for important concerns—the Vatican Library, the French Government, the Pan American airways and the Cheese Industry.
For notables far and wide and for Mr. Average Citizen, this professional scrapbooker has compiled scrapbooks and they say his work is outstanding. Of course, all scrapbooks he prepared didn't bring fabulous sums. Some of them have been quite simple yet impressively gotten up. The Memorial Scrapbook probably was in the greatest demand and usually included all letters of condolence, wires, cards, etc. received from sympathizing friends. Clippings from newspapers about the deceased and interesting material about the departed are usually contained in a Memorial Scrapbook.
Many things are pasted in scrap books. Resolutions, cards, letters, coins, locks of hair, old money, flowers, charts, maps, photos, etc. Those with pet hobbies sometimes like to have a scrap book on the subject they are interested in. Memorial Scrapbooks are sold by sending appropriate literature to names and addresses secured from town and city papers—and sending the letters a few days after the services. This man claims to have sold about 31,000 different types in all. 10,000 of them were of the Obituary or Memorial kind.
Much of his business was obtained via the mail order route through the use of well-prepared, attractive literature, and the evidence of his ability as a scrapbooker is impressive. Scrapbooks can be of different sizes and arrangement, and with a little experience and ingenuity anyone interested in this profession should, in time, be able to develop a worthwhile service to offer clients throughout the country. When proficiency is obtained, it would be a good idea to let prospects see a sample or two of your specimen work. In the average city or large community, for that matter, there should be plenty of prospects for this service if the service were made known. But until you are able to do good work, don't attempt to serve clients.
The scrapbook usually made by the amateur or beginner shows all the material pasted together without any separation. Separation makes the professional job look distinctive. Special attention is necessary for the layout, that is, the general arrangement, In order to get all material in balance and in proper order. Rubber cement is used in place of ordinary glue. Originality is the keynote of the expert scrapbooker, and his finished work is a thing of art. While the average scrapbook contains many things, the individual taste or wishes of the client must be considered. Then, too, scrapbooks can be of different sizes and length, and seldom would any two scrapbooks for different clients be the same. It isn't a matter of simply pasting clippings or any old thing haphazardly in a scrapbook.
One who has a flare for the unusual, for distinctiveness, for originality, for neatness and for ingenuity might find the scrapbook profession a very interesting one. When a client is made to appreciate the finer points of a real scrapbook and understand the amount of thought, time and attention required, the substantial fees involved do not loom so high. As in all things, it is just a matter of "value received". A poorly prepared scrapbook at $100 would be high compared to $1000 for something outstanding.
The professional scrapbooker mentioned herein would make up scrapbooks as low as $25, but these were the small kind with limited material to work on and not requiring much time. People in the lower bracket incomes are prospects for this service.
TWENTY-THREE LUCKY PERSONS—398
With the sample dummy booklet in his possession he called on local merchants and explained his proposition. He had a mailing list of thousands of well-to-do people in Minneapolis, persons with cash available, and who were prospective customers. He further explained why folks would read the booklet and had the evidence to show, with the dummy booklet. All of the merchants who paid for their ads to appear in the booklet understood that only one person out of the 5,000 people on the mailing list would be entitled to free merchandise. The merchants interviewed were quick to see the value of this advertising, and the low cost of it, and accepted the deal.
The originator of this novel advertising "stunt", made up his mailing list from the telephone book, although he could have obtained suitable mailing lists from some local List Bureau.
This same idea could be promoted elsewhere and no heavy capital required. Printing such a booklet, twelve issues, probably wouldn't exceed around $250 per issue, 5000 copies. Under postal permit regulations, postage for a 24 page publication would be $50. Envelopes would cost $3 per 1000, totalling about $315 monthly. So much for expenses or "outgo", but what about income? Figure 23 pages at $20 (or more) per page and you have at least $460, or a profit of $145 a month. This can be increased, however, by "working" a larger mailing list with a booklet or more pages and serving more merchant-clients. At any rate, the idea still has possibilities. For a nominal charge, most any printer would be glad to prepare a dummy booklet, and before you invested in envelopes, mailing lists, etc. prospective clients could be approached, and in most cases, payment for their ads made in advance. This then, would insure sufficient capital (and immediate profit) to take care of all expenses. The originator had the contracts made out in the printer's name, and the printing establishment billed the dealers, allowing the promoter to do the collecting.
SUCCESS NOT ONCE—BUT TWICE—399-402
Scratching his head in an attempt to figure out ways and means to make money, he finally decided to render a service to business firms who had delinquent accounts to collect. He probably decided upon this particular service for the reason he had some experience ill the collection field. Forthwith he prepared a series of letters, adapted in such a way that they would fit in with most lines of business. These letters were neatly multigraphed and were couched in a folio or manual form. They were so written as to hold the goodwill of debtors and yet cause them to pay their obligations. In short, a series of master collection letters.
Some of the letters contained ideas that were successful for the firm he had previously worked for. He made up a mailing list of business firms from directories and other sources and mailed a warm, winning "sales" letters to them, neatly multigraphed. The letters had a ring of sincerity and so worded as to convince the recipients that he really had something. That they believed this is attested to by the fact that within a year one thousand business firms paid him $5 each for the manual…and as a result of his experience and success conducting the service, it lead to an excellent paying position with a large collection agency.
A Mr. W. D. of New York state, learned of the above mentioned success and decided to try out a similar enterprise. After five months trial, he found himself averaging better than $100 a week and extending his operations every day. He even gave part time employment to two unemployed people. He sold his set of letters outright and also had a mailing service, mailing out the letters for his customers, if they so desired, on a percentage basis.
Still another mail order promoter compiled a group of collection letters; told his story on 5,000 post cards, all mailed out to business men. Orders piled in until in one year's time he netted $8,000. He secured his tested letters from an advertising agency.
Professional people, such as doctors and dentists (small practices), are usually excellent prospects for ready-made collection services. A good, sound, ready-made collection service in the form of effective letters and special forms has possibilities if properly promoted. In attempting to sell such a service by mail, perhaps the most important thing is the presentation (sales literature) you use to convince prospects your service is tops. Remember that the average neighborhood doctor or dentist, with a small practice, is not apt to turn over his delinquent accounts to a professional bureau. Therefore, he may lose hundreds of dollars yearly in such bad accounts! There is a real need for a manual of letters written specially for the dentist or doctor.
Such a manual need not be composed entirely of collection letters but can contain ideas for different forms to use on different occasions and for different types of debtors, and the more comprehensive your collection manual the more value it will be to your clients. Ideas for getting debtors to "pony up" might also be obtained from collection agencies if you will approach them right, or offer to pay them for ideas. The types of "collection services" that can be couched in a folio or brochure are many. If this kind of business service interests you it will be well to "read up" on every book and article you can get about debtor-creditor relations and the various angles of collection strategy.
A collection-service manual could also contain business-building ideas of interest to the different classes of clients. For instance, if you had an idea that would help grocers stimulate sales, that idea could appear in the manual sold only to grocers. Or if you had an idea of value to dentists, that idea could be incorporated in the manuals sold only to dentists and so on.
The more complete and the more valuable your service is, the better price you can expect and get for it. Ideas for getting debtors to pay their accounts; ideas for stimulating business; ideas for reducing costs and ideas for improvement in general efficiency are ideas that have a cash value and business men are eager to pay for them. Separate folios could be prepared if advisable; one containing business-building ideas and methods for increasing sales, etc. and one on collection ideas plus "copy" for means (letters, forms, etc.) to use.
Suppose you have a folio of ideas that will increase the sales for grocers. There are over 260,000 retail grocers in the country, so you see you have a tremendous market. If you sell just 3 per cent of them, at $1 each, for a four page folio of information, your gross income would be about $7,800.
The grocery market would be interested in profit increasing handbills or ads being used by markets in other states. You could obtain a collection of such circulars, form letters, ads, etc., by contacting many merchants personally or by mail, offering to give them a folio of letters, ads and circulars that their competitors elsewhere have been using to increase profits, in exchange for their own ads and circulars. In this way you will build up a fine collection from every state in the union! Most small storekeepers may know how to run a store, but few know how to prepare pulling circulars or letters.
A CANINE DUDE RANCH—403
That's the reason why a dog ranch in the mountains of California has many wealthy dog owners for its patrons. But the facilities here are said to outrival a dude ranch patronized by human beings.
This modern boarding kennel houses some 150 dogs—many of them the pets of wealthy people who go on vacations and entrust their dogs to the owners of this canine dude ranch. Sailors leave their pets here when they go to sea. The dogs are inclined to grow more hair, to have thicker coats at the end of their stay. Some of the pups who are to enter "dog shows" at a later date, are sent to the ranch so that they may have a fine coat of hair in a short period of time. A sideline income is provided from the sale of their own dogs. They raise Irish Wolfhounds, Newfoundlands, Chows and Norwegian Elk hounds.
The kennels are built to resemble miniature ranch houses. "Runs" or corrals are provided for the dogs to romp in. There is a dispensary and a kitchen. The dogs eat some 200 pounds of chopped meat each day. Everything is worked out to perfection. There is even a "maternity ward," of all things! The patrons are throughly satisfied with the manner in which their dogs are kept and that spells repeat business for the kennel owners!
Showmanship is even used in this type of business. A Newfoundland dog is used to carry the dog lunches (on his back) when the dogs are taken on an occasional hike through the mountains. The six attendants all wear cowboy clothing.
A similar enterprise could easily be started locally. There are many dog owners right in your own city who would willingly subscribe to a service of this type.
MONEY IN MAGIC TRICKS—404
There doesn't seem to be a great deal of competition in this particular field, and others could no doubt cash in on the opportunity that appears to exist. By handling the business a little differently, a good sales angle would be provided. For instance, a bargain package of tricks could be assembled and rented for ten to thirty days. That idea might take very well with many customers.
Further, some form of an exchange set-up could be adopted whereby customers could turn in their used magic novelties as a credit on newer tricks and novelties. Folks who buy such items quickly tire of them and are always interested in buying new magic tricks. The rental and or exchange angle should allow these people to continue with their hobbies at half the cost.
BLUE SERGE DOOR MAT—405
So it was only natural that when a person wanted a good blue serge suit, he would think of this Blue Serge Shop, to the exclusion of other stores. As his business developed to the point of making important money, he started to manufacture his own cloth, and remodeled the front of his shop in blue serge, and had a door mat made of the same material, and customers walked on a blue serge carpet. It should be apparent by now that he was purposely magnifying the atmosphere generally of blue serge. As you might also guess, he, himself, wore a blue serge suit with a blue serge tie. His wife wore a blue serge outfit. Even the delivery car was covered with the stuff, and protected from the elements by a transparent covering.
Just prior to his death, before World War II, he became known in the community as the "Blue Serge King". It is reasonable to suppose that this was what he had strived for and through it created a prosperous business.
When you begin thinking about starting your own private business enterprise, it might be well to give more than passing thought to the subject of this sketch. Doing things better or differently and specializing in some particular thing usually pays golden, cashable dividends.
According to the details that were obtained about this business, the owner made arrangements with a large publishing firm to obtain subscriptions for their periodicals. On some magazines his commission was 50 cent for a yearly subscription plus 4 bonus points. When he accumulated 20 bonus points he would get $4.00 extra. Forthwith he made a tie-up with a local charitable institution. One instance, was the arrangement made with the Boy Scouts. Such organizations are usually in need of money and receptive to receiving donations. He made a contract with them and obtained permission to use their name in soliciting subscriptions. The agreement provided that he give them 10 per cent of the gross receipts.
When he canvassed by telephone he would inform prospects that he was calling in the interest of Troop No. 5 of the Boy Scouts, informing them that they were trying to raise sufficient funds to pay for poorer members' uniforms. Prospects learned further that the funds were being raised through magazine subscriptions and that there was actually a saving over newsstand price of magazine.
One certain magazine at $1 a year was offered, although later through the contact made he was able to sell the subscribers other magazines. When the subscriber agreed to take the $1 magazine he was asked to make out the check in favor of the Boy Scouts and mail directly to their headquarters. Of course the Boy Scouts, and other organizations who were in on the plan, agreed to cash the check and turn over the money less the 10 per cent commission.
The idea worked. When a subscriber, however, overlooked mailing his remittance in, arrangements were made with Boy Scouts to make the collections directly. They were paid a small service fee for running these errands. As indicated elsewhere herein, the plan was put into effect in connection with charitable institutions and it clicked. The majority of his work was done right over the telephone. If he received a "refusal" on some particular magazine, at a later date he would telephone them again with reference to another magazine and another organization.
Sometimes an unusual enterprise can be worked out of a scheme to not only use the Scouts as agents but to sell to them too.
One man, who took pictures as a hobby, worked such a project as a business and quickly found out that his hobby would pay him a living. His profits came from boy scout activities and he reached his prospects through boy scouts.
The plan was to sell a number of scout troops on the idea of having their activities filmed. Using a motion picture camera, he would film the scouts at their work. Individual scenes of each scout would be taken. He particularly picked on scenes that would show the boy taking his scout tests. These tests usually take the scout through a variety of tasks and sports such as swimming, drilling, camping, building fires, setting up tents, woodcraft, hiking, etc.
Many a scout would be mighty proud to be able to actually show his parents and friends the wonderful things he had done. To the boy such visual scenes would be a hundred times better than trying to tell his folk about his activities.
Our promoter serves about twelve communities each year. His completed films are full-length. A theater or community hall usually serves the purpose when he puts his work on the screen. Here the actors in the picture sell tickets to their friends. Tickets sell at a dollar each and it is not unusual to sell from 1,000 to 2,000 tickets for each showing.
The audience is made up of parents, relatives and friends. A sprinkling of neighbors, teachers, scout masters, legion and lodge members, etc., help to swell the gathering. Occasionally scouts from other troops come to see the pictures. Even girl scouts—whole troops—buy up batches of tickets. Many local groups and political committees show up at some of the theaters!
Some advertising is necessary but this is given without charge by the local newspapers. Such mediums find that the whole plan is interesting—it makes a good story for their columns. Most editors are glad to help out in the promotion of Boy Scout work. Particularly when they learn that the troop is to receive 50 per cent of the "take" and that this amount will be used for special equipment, uniforms and partial "help" for the underprivileged scout.
The originator of this ingenious project makes up to $1,000 a month with all parties completely satisfied with his films and promotional efforts!
THIS IS AN AUTOMATIC AGE—408-410
Did you know an automatic grocery service has been perfected? This automatic grocery store sells canned goods, packaged foods and small parcels of things usually sold in bulk. The buyer simply drops the required coin in the slot, pushes a plunger and a panel slides down, disclosing the product desired resting in a little cubicle. It is somewhat similar to the automatic restaurants in New York City which do an enormous business.
What are the advantages of shopping in an automatic grocery store? No annoying waiting for clerks and no long waits in line at the cash register while others are getting their purchases tabulated for payment. It requires no stretch of the imagination to see the advantages for the owner of the store.
One grocer worked out a similar system. Comfortably seated at a circular counter the buyers (housewives) select their purchases from moving shelves of price-tagged merchandise that pass before them. The endless chain of shelves makes a complete circuit in eight minutes, just slow enough for customers to make their choice of this and that. These customers could be served cokes, coffee, sandwiches, malted milks and soft drinks while they sit at this counter. These cold snacks and drinks might be purchased at another counter and carried over to the circular counter to be enjoyed while selecting the day's groceries.
On New York's bowery an automatic hotel was opened for the public! The guests enter, and each selects a small room shown by a sign on the lock to be unoccupied, deposits a quarter in a slot, and enters. Inside he finds a cot, made up, hooks and hangers for his clothing, a chair, mirror, wash basin, soap, towels and privacy for the night.
Another profit-maker in England is called the Automixer. It mixes more than: 300 different drinks. The buyer deposits a coin, pushes a plunger, and then dials the ingredients of his drink on a device similar in appearance and operation to the telephone number dial. A special glass-washing apparatus is a part of this machine. Paper towels are dispensed by a penny vending machine which collects from the customer after he has used the article, instead of before. It was found that most persons washed their hands first, then were forced to search through pockets with wet hands for a coin. The device made money because the customer was found to be quite honest. Then there's a novel vending machine in Brussels that announces your weight in a clear voice when you step on the platform.
WORLD'S SMALLEST NEWSPAPER—411
By condensing his news items to conform to the size of the paper, the owner is able to provide considerable information in the miniature edition.
With an economy of words, he tells about a local girl in the village who has the mumps; about a neighbor in an oxygen tent, an outing of the "ladizade" society, a villager's Model T flivver painted red, or a farmer's new manure spreader. It is really an unusual little publication which is why it is popular. The owner is not concerned with conventional methods of makeup and never seems to be concerned with columns. He simply puts the "newz" and advertisements right across the page, line after line and item after item. Everything is unorthodox.
The "world's smallest newspaper" is not, however, purchased because it is tiny, but because the news items are about folks they know and often about themselves. People are more interested in knowing what a neighbor is doing than someone they don't know in another state or another country.
There are many opportunities in the United States for others to publish a similar weekly newspaper, in about every village and hamlet of five hundred population or more. Such a miniature newspaper could also be produced in cities to "cover" various neighborhoods, and sold to people there. If you were operating a little business like this, you wouldn't have to invest in printing presses. Any good printer could publish your weekly for you. Your profit wouldn't be made through subscriptions (although that would help with some of the expenses), but from local merchants from their ads. A journalistic student could handle the editing and revising of all "copy", for a small fee.
Such a newspaper would be for and about the "forgotten man," about everyday, homey folks who seldom get their names in print. The idea is important enough to warrant more than passing consideration. It should be no problem to obtain all the news items needed. The chances are subscribers and others would be willing to furnish the necessary information by telephoning it in. An occasional visit among the folks in the neighborhood (as an inquiring reporter) would be sufficient. When local merchants see that the publication is a reality they will support it with paid advertisements when properly approached on the subject.
The type of newspaper mentioned herein could be a permanent thing, as in the case of Mr. Swift who has been publishing his weekly for over thirty years. If the idea appeals to you, any good commercial printing firm could be helpful with suggestions.
A MINIATURE RESTAURANT—412
New York City is famous for odd cafes as is San Francisco. Many successful restaurants have prospered by featuring a certain kind of breakfast or luncheon, and, often, at bargain-prices. However, it takes volume business to justify low prices. Low prices, though, are not always the lever that makes for success in the eating business. Quality food is the main ingredient of success, especially when served "differently", or more pleasant or unusual atmosphere. Showmanship principles and touches of "glamour" have always paid dividends when used by restaurant owners. Regrettably, too many restaurants today are too much alike; they all seem to be from the same mould. Yet how it would pay to be different as some wide-awake operators have learned to their profit.
Sometimes simply by specializing in a certain kind of a meal or just a certain item. In the average run of restaurants the waitresses are even all alike and seem to look alike and dress alike. There is room for improvement here. Waitresses, who are especially trained, to "meet the public", snappily attired in uniforms would add a touch of pleasant atmosphere in any place. Any good waitress can keep customers coming back regularly if she knows something about "human relations" and the "art of handling people." It is more or less a matter of salesmanship and showmanship combined.
One cafe allowed the waitresses to serve the foods directly from the dish-family style-and second portions too, if wanted. Naturally, it cost the restaurant owner a little more for each dinner-but he probably served twice as many meals.
CUSTOMER FURNISHES THE CAR—413
There are many homes that have idle cars in the garages because there is no one to drive the car, particularly in the case of invalids and convalescent patients who would be glad to pay someone to drive them out into the country.
Certain neighborhoods might offer spare time profits if a station wagon were used to take children to school and back again each day.
The above are merely some thought-generators. There are a hundred and one ways to get this business.
This gave birth to an idea. The young couple got busy and got in touch with friends who would fall in with their plan in reference to discarded, but in perfect condition, clothing. The clothes accepted had to be in A-1 condition for re-sale. Naturally, the couple "bargained" with the original owners. A 25 per cent mark-up plus cost of cleaning, pressing and minor repairs comprised sales price for garments now as good as new.
The "Store" was set up in one of the rooms of their house. Saleable garments were attractively arranged on racks. A small ad was inserted in the classified section of the local paper stating that the "Wardrobe Exchange" would exchange, sell or buy ladies dresses, and telephone number also appeared.
A small ad like this brought enough business to warrant the success of this venture. Women came with their old garments and were surprised to find clothes in perfect condition which they immediately wished to exchange for their dresses. In most cases the young couple took the woman's garment in exchange for one on the hanger and received from $3 to $10 with the old garment.
Newspaper advertising wasn't used extensively for this home business. The wife used the telephone and explained the novel service to a list of women in the neighborhood. Pretty soon the home "dress shop" grew until larger quarters had to be secured. Women told each other about it until many came with garments and left with one or two.
This venture can be started without any capital, if necessary. A few women can pool their old clothes at the outset and get their cash after the first customers come in to exchange their dresses.
Women's hats and men's clothes could be worked in to this "WARDROBE EXCHANGE" venture. Costume jewelry could be applied to this case. The store and its clothes, hats, costume jewelry etc., however, should be kept on the highest level possible. Clothes that should be discarded because of wear and tear will not enhance the appearance of the home "WARDROBE EXCHANGE" business.
Why not cater to these fine elderly women by making these hard-to-get items for them. They'd be willing to pay better-than-average prices for wearing apparel they cannot get in local stores, Here's a specialty service that has good money-making possibilities in it. In fact—one woman is said to have made a good living performing such a service.
Perhaps some of the articles can be purchased in small shops. Some of the elderly woman can't go out after them. How about a "buying service" for them?
Note: To account for inflation, multiply prices by 8 to 10.