By: Dan Miller

This weekend Joanne and I traveled up to the Amish country of Ohio to visit my dad in his retirement home. As always, I am amazed at the micro enterprises that cover the back roads of this farming area where I was raised. At one shop, where I bought some fresh unpastuerized apple cider, we saw a pile of miniature straw bales, about half the size of regular bales. My brother told me a local Amishman had rebuilt a hay baler to produce the tiny, decorative bales. While regular sized bales sell for about $1.00, these half sized ones sell for $2.00. That’s the power of a unique idea.

We also visited the local winery featuring Amish Country Wine. And the local furniture maker, whose website is There is certainly some amusing irony in the Amish being winemakers and having the latest technology. But the point is, they are great about finding great ideas and building a successful business around it.

If you have an idea, you’ve got to have a well thought out business plan. The importance of a comprehensive, thoughtful business plan cannot be overemphasized. Much hinges on it: credit from suppliers, management of your operation and finances, promotion and marketing of your business, and achievement of your goals and objectives.

Here’s a free business planning site – you will see examples and questions to help you develop your idea. You’ll also see information relative to taxes, insurance and legal issues. I love to see simple ideas produce unusual success --
Now, let me see your idea develop


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