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5 Things to Look for in Entry-Level Businesses

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- When Kellyn Timmerman, owner of FeNa, launched her online handbag business in March, she knew she was taking on a big risk, even if she did have a passion for designing handbags.

For that reason, Timmerman, an architect who was laid off during the recession, looked to keep her expenses under control. She decided to have a presence online only, as opposed to renting a storefront. And she minimizes loss by making bags to order instead of having a set inventory as she looks to sell her line of small clutch handbags.
Caring Transitions franchises take care of everything from estate sales to actual moves for seniors opting out of living alone -- a business with high demand and low costs for an owner.

So far the risk is worth it, she says.

"I have never felt such satisfaction and reward than I have working for myself," Timmerman says.

Indeed, every business owner interviewed for this story identified a single key factor for business ownership: passion or a sense of personal satisfaction. If a business can't provide that to an entrepreneur, it's probably not worth doing.

But since every entrepreneur wants to succeed but may lack what could be a million-dollar idea, taking a cautious, well-thought-out approach is the best way to start.

Experts say common attributes of successful new businesses include low barriers to entry, such as little upfront money, working from a home office or minimal training.

Caring Transitions has those qualities. It offers services to seniors or the ill who need to move to a retirement community, assisted living facility or elsewhere. Caring Transitions will take care of everything from estate sales to, in some cases, the actual move.

"Our job is to assist people to get through that. We're kind of like the general contractor. Here is the entire blueprint for what has to happen. We decide with you what we can do with you and what has to be hired," says John Buckles, the company's founder. "You can feel good about what you're doing and can directly see the results that come out of that."

Franchisees run the business out of their homes, gaining clients typically through referrals from doctors and attorneys. Combining that with an aging but longer-lived baby boomer population makes owning a Caring Transitions franchise is a good entry-level business, Buckles says.

"There are more people that need this today than providers. People are going to have to go through this process," Buckles says. "I don't need to convince people that it is needed. It makes it easier for [a franchisee] who is coming into this."
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