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percypony



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 146
Location: Hants
PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 07 4:20 pm    Post subject: Starting a New Business  Reply with quote    

I am just about to venture into a new business selling on-line and at local craft fairs.
Does anyone have any hints or tip? Things not necessarily first thought of? Things to aviod!?
Getting started stuff for now:
Best (meaning easiest to use!) website design software? I have signed up for 1 & 1 to manage the site.
Best company registering provider?
Where to buy wholesale stock? Are the on-line wholesale list providers worth joining?
Oh, I expect I will have a million questions before long but that is all I can think of right now.
Thanks
Percypony

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44206
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 07 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

What will it be selling?

sally_in_wales
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 07 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Same question as Tahir for starters, a lot of the advice we can collectively give you will be based on what we have found works or not in certain situations, so knowing what you produce and what the target market is will be essential. Good luck though, its always a bit scary making that call to the Inland Revenue to say 'you'll need to send me a tax return to fill in this year'

Penny Outskirts



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 23385
Location: Planet, not on the....
PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 07 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Same question again

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 34724
Location: yes
PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 07 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

in any venture make a business plan
be prepared to work really hard
learn fast
best of luck

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44206
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 07 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

dpack wrote:
be prepared to work really hard
learn fast


I think that's excellent advice, work alone gets you nowhere

hedgewitch



Joined: 26 Nov 2005
Posts: 5834
Location: Daft wench GHQ
PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 07 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

tahir wrote:
dpack wrote:
be prepared to work really hard
learn fast


I think that's excellent advice, work alone gets you nowhere


Agree. Also, always be ready to adapt and keep an eye on new trends whatever your business.

percypony



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 146
Location: Hants
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Blast! Posted a reply, previewed it, press back to change something and then it all disappeared!!!
OK start again:
I am planning on quality gifts, by mail, baskets, hampers, teddy bears, baby goods. Not food or alcohol at this stage as too many regulations etc.
I have had quite a sucess with a trial of this just before Christmas on e-bay and positive response from people I have talked to so far so it might be a go-er and I figure if I don't buy too much stock in one go at first then I have little to loose.
I really struggled before Christmas to find good presents for family and friends (I HATE shopping with a passion!) and thought I was probably not alone!!! I want something quick and easy for people with the money and not the time. But also to have a range for most peoples budgets.
Comments welcome.

sally_in_wales
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

So, the first thing to think about is what will link these items together. Will they all be sourced from local craftspeople for example, or will they all have something in common otherwise? It will probably help you market the overall concept if you can say something specific like 'a new and exciting collection of quality gifts, carefully sourced from ethical producers/specialist craftsmen/limited edition wossnames' or whatever the key marketing point is. Does that make any sense?

percypony



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 146
Location: Hants
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Ummm, never thought about that Sally. Will that really make that much difference do you think? At the moment to keep costs down I am looking more into what I can get from whereever at a good price but I suppose it could all look a bit hashed together then. I think it is the sourcing that is causing me the most problems so far so maybe a fresh approach is needed anyway!
Thanks got me thinking.....

Gervase



Joined: 17 Nov 2004
Posts: 8655

PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Sally's right - you need to unify your collection, either by source, or style, or price; anything to give you a unique selling point.
You're facing a lot of competition, so you have to come up with something that makes you stand out, and which will make fickle punters choose you over anyone else.
You can try to exclusivity (M-J's former in-laws have done that with a very up-market site - http://www.whippetgrey.co.uk/ - but they're having to work jolly hard to make it work). Or even simple oddness; have you thought about having every product in just one colour; pink, for example?
Then get yourself a memorable or unusual URL (like Penny's 'squat orange' moniker) and publicise yourself as much as you can.
And, above all, be reliable! Online selling is one of those areas where impressions make all the difference - courteous, impeccably-spelled material, prompt delivery, fair feedback and overall efficiency really matter.

sally_in_wales
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Think of it like a highstreet, there are loads of little shops in tourist towns selling a real mishmash of stuff, and often the total effect isnt good even if there is some interesting material tucked away in there, are you more likely to go into a shop that effectively says 'get your well priced joblots here' or one that says 'get your carefully selected and competitively priced objects of desire here' You may offer many of the same items, but if the pitch is right the sales will be better

Robinjw13



Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Posts: 15
Location: East Sussex
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Agree with Sally. Your mix needs a common point for people to identify with. With such a wide range and to stay focused you'll need a driving aim, such as 'always the cheapest' or 'unobtainable elsewhere' or 'everything for (x type of) people' or 'everything from (a country or region)' for example.

General point 1: innovate, innovate, innovate.

General point 2: learn from your mistakes. If things start to go wrong, remind yourself that the more mistakes you make the more you learn! But be sure to correct mistakes quickly and make changes to be sure the same mistake does not happen again.

percypony



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 146
Location: Hants
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I need to do a bit of thinking then if you guys think this is that important.
I am worried however of limiting myself too much a this stage as I don't know what will sell and what won't...
I also want to appear to a wide audience so obtaining things for a new baby hamper for example and for a birthday present for your granny might not be able to be linked together. Unless I am just not being very imaginative and don't know 'what's out there'!

Penny Outskirts



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 23385
Location: Planet, not on the....
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

What sold particularly well ? That's what you need to concentrate on, but do remember that almost anything will sell in December. Most retailers do something like a quarter (someone correct me if this is wrong, but I seem to think it's about that or more) of their sales in the 5 weeks up to Christmas - we certainly do. If we based our sales projections on this period they'd be very very wrong

So as an example if you sold 10,000 worth of stuff a year - 2500 of that would be sold at christmas, leaving 7500 for the rest of the year or around 160 a week, compared to 500 a week at christmas. It's a big difference.

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