Starting your own business? This could be the start of a great venture.
There are so many perks that come hand in hand with running your own business. You become your own boss. You don’t have to answer to anyone in particular.
You can go with your own ideas and initiative. You get to choose what industry you work in and what you sell to the consumer market. You can decide who you sell to.
You can decide exactly what products and services you sell. You can choose your own team and build your own professional empire. You choose where you’re based, your working hours, your mode of work. The list goes on. But one of the best parts of being your own business owner?
You get to profit. You get to keep the profits from the hard work your business produces, giving you the opportunity to earn a lot more and lead a much more comfortable life than if you were an employee. It’s not all too surprising that so many people are turning in this direction right now.
Since the pandemic, when many people lost jobs or found that they had time to reconsider their career paths and choose something else to do, many people have decided that setting up their own business gives them the control over their career that they want. But, of course, it’s extremely difficult to get started. This is a complex process that many people fall at. But given the right guidance, you can make sure that you tick all of the boxes to get a professional business up and on the road. Here are some suggestions that can help you along the way.
Deciding Your Niche
First, you need to decide exactly what your business is going to do. This means deciding your area of operations and the products or services you’re going to sell. As you can imagine, the world is your oyster on this one. You could sell near enough anything as long as it’s legal and there’s a market for it.
From clothing to beauty products, tech, ingredients, food, writing services, landscaping, bedding… the list goes on. Anything you can think of that someone could buy could prove to be your niche. Of course, for your product or service to be a success, you need it to be worth someone’s time and money. This means ensuring that you’re filling a gap in the market and that your product stands out from the rest in the crowd. It needs to be well designed and appropriately priced.
Once you have an idea of what you want to sell, it’s time to get into the product design process. Designing a product can be difficult, as it means working with someone who can take your ideas and bring them to life. You need to make sure that once your product is designed, you also consult your target demographic to actually determine whether they’d spend money on it.
Find out how much your product costs to make, decide on a price tag that gives you sufficient profit to make selling it worth your time. Then carry out some market research to see if your target demographic is interested in your product and whether they’d be willing and able to spend the amount attached to its price tag.
This can give you great areas to focus on and improve and will ultimately leave you confident in launching your product if you get the right feedback.
Of course, someone has to make your product en mass. This means putting things through a manufacturing process. Manufacturing is the process that takes raw materials and turns them into your final goods, ready for sale to the public. When you’re first starting out, it’s highly recommended that you outsource this process.
At the end of the day, to manufacture goods in house, you’re going to have to invest in factory space, the right equipment or machinery and the staff required to work the machinery. This is extremely costly and a big risk when you don’t know how well your product will sell in real life. Instead, by outsourcing, you hand the task to someone who already has the space, equipment and staff on board and pay a fee for the service. If you find that your product sells really well, you can then invest in in-house manufacturing and cut out the middle person’s costs. But until then, it’s generally best to outsource while you find your feet.
To continue with the next steps, you’re going to have to have a strong brand. Brand is what will help customers to recognise and differentiate your brand and its products from others. You will need a brand name, a logo, an aesthetic and a tone of voice.
These will all work as identifying factors. Branding can be difficult if you’re not creative or design minded yourself, so this is where you might like to bring in the help of a branding agency. Again, this is outsourced work, but it tends to be ideal for startups. They’ll be able to help brand your company in a way that suits you and appeals to your target demographic.
Packaging and Order Fulfilment
Once you’ve got a brand, you can start focusing on packaging for your product. This needs to tick a few different boxes. You’ll need to ensure that it’s practical and can easily be stacked (for loading onto shipping containers or lorries to head to stores or be distributed to Ecommerce customers, and to easily be stacked in brick and mortar stores).
It will also need to be protective to keep its contents – your product – safe. Finally, it needs to be appealing, showing your target demographic what’s inside and effectively branding the product. Then, you need to focus on order fulfilment. This is how you will organise shipping, ensuring that everyone gets their parcels in good time and maintaining customer happiness. Again, these are processes that tend to be outsourced when you’re first starting out, but that can then be brought in-house later.
Next up, a website. A website is essential to operate well in today’s commercial climate. It comes hand in hand with so many perks! Your customers can shop with you anywhere at anytime. This could be during the day, on their lunch break, while they’re on public transport, in the middle of night or anywhere. It can also expand your products and services to a wider audience as long as you’re happy to offer national shipping. If you’re happy to spread further afield, you can also offer international shipping.
Now, chances are, you don’t have a thorough knowledge of code and website design yourself, so, unsurprisingly, this is another area that the majority of small businesses tend to outsource. You will need to work hand in hand with a web designer and web developer to create a website that works well. You will then need to use professionals for content, including a copywriter for product descriptions and other written content, a graphic designer to make the pages look nice and a professional product photographer to show your products off in their best light.
Once you’r ready to launch, you need to make sure that you have a customer service assistant on hand to deal with any customer questions and requests. This is especially important if you are operating online, as customers don’t have as much real-life information to go on as they might in a brick and mortar store.
They may have very specific, niche or personal questions that aren’t answered on your website, but that are required for them to actually invest in your product. They may also have complains or queries that need to be answered too. A good customer service assistant will be able to answer questions, put wrongs to rights and leave a smile on your customers’ faces. Now, a key element of this process is ensuring that your customers have plenty of means of getting in touch with your business.
Different people like to discuss matters in different ways, so give them choice. This could include a number to call, an email address to send an email to, live chat software for my website and so much more. Then, you need to make sure that your customer service staff are well trained and competent. They should have a thorough knowledge of your brand, your products, your services and more. Finally, you should ensure that they are polite, patient and accommodating.
Marketing and Advertising
Last up, let’s touch on marketing and advertising. This is what will make the wider public aware of what you have to offer. There are countless modes, including traditional methods (leaflets, posters, billboards, TV and radio) and digital methods (PPC, SEO, social media advertising and more). Take some time to really learn about this area and focus on it, investing money where required.
As you can see, there really is a lot to bear in mind when it comes to getting your business up and running – and this is just brushing the surface! But hopefully, some of the tips above will really help you out when it comes to getting things up and running in the right direction.