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Small business

Veteran

Casey Planchon San Antonio, TX

I am curious to see if you could find an advisor in the professional sharpening business in the ACP? I am looking deeply into starting a small business in this area; sharpening knives, garden tools, lawnmower blades, and so on.

Thank you for any help you can provide!

Casey Planchon
US Army Veteran

22 December 2020 5 replies Mentoring

Answers

Advisor

Andrew Woodland Orlando, FL

Hello Casey – firstly let me thank you for your service. I am based in the UK as a business mentor who supports many start up businesses. The comments from all the advisors so far are worthy of note.

So, let me pick up on some of the key comments.

Business Plan – absolutely vital for a new start up business. As already mentioned, it will challenge you to consider all of the aspects of a new business – you will need this if you are looking for a loan.

Your Business – not wanting to predetermine your ideas on your business, but all of the comments below would indicate that this service could be mobile and also online. This would reduce the overheads of having a store and tying you to one location and expecting customers to come to you.

Research – I think a lot of your effort needs to be focused on your local area. Suggestions already provided were:

• Hardware stores
• Fabric Shop
• Lawn mowers sales and service – Garden centres
• Tool rental services
• Local Hospitals

Competition – I would do a search on what competition already exists – you can get a great deal of information on how they run their business.

I did a quick search in the UK and here are a few examples – providing an online service seems to be very popular.

https://knifesharp.co.uk/pages/how-it-works
https://bladeandbutler.co.uk/what-we-sharpen
https://premieredgesharpening.co.uk/sharpening-services/chefs-knives/

Good luck with your new venture.

Advisor

Joe Engle Indianapolis, IN

Hello Casey. For starting a business, I strongly suggest you develop a business plan. It forces you to think through things like, revenue, competition, location, etc. It will be the blueprint and roadmap for your business the first few years. It is also needed if you need to get a loan to get started. See www.bplans.com/sample-business-plans/ for many examples.

If you decide not to pursue your own business, but want to get a job please message me. I put together a document for transitioning to civilian jobs and developing a resume which I can send you.

Good Luck!

Advisor

Valerie Serdy Sammamish, WA

Similar response to Henry: our local (to me!) Ace Hardware store hosted a traveling sharpener. You could bring in your knives, etc to him at the store on a particular day and he'd sharpen them while you waited. A local fabric store also served as a drop-off and collection point for another sharpener. It may be worth checking into your local stores that are similar to see if they offer the same service to their customers. You may also want to look at places that service lawn mowers, since sharpening the blade is sometimes included in that. My local machine-rental place does this--it rents things like thatchers to homeowners.
Part of your question is, I think, the basic: How do I start a small business? Your local library may have some good resources there, or you may be able to find a local-to-you advisor just for this aspect.
The next part is something like, what are the specifics for a knife-sharpening business?
And then finally, how do I market the biz to get work?
It may be easier to find advisors for the first and last question! Good luck!

Advisor

Henry ("Dr. Hank") Stevens Fort Lauderdale, FL

I have a variation on your theme as a response. It will require some investigation on your part but within this is, I think, the nub of an opportunity for you. I worked in hospitals for many years. There was a man in an RV who would visit the hosp[ital once a month and take some of the instruments to his portable shop where he would "professionally sharpen them." Therefore, I suggest visiting your local hospital and investigate this possibility. I would start with the Purchasing Agent and/or the Central Sterile Supply supervisor; maybe Administration. Your initial theme should be one of research and not sales! Good luck!

Advisor

Jennifer Gonzalez New York, NY

Hi Casey,
Thanks for the great question. While you are waiting for an advisor to respond, I would suggest using our community feature tab on the top. You will click on the Advisor tab, then refine to small business. You can even narrow it down to advisors in San Antonio. Once you read through the Advisor's profiles, you can reach out directly and ask any questions you may have. I hope this helps.
Happy Holidays,
Jennifer

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