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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Downsizer Forum Index -> Small Business Questions, Ideas and Advice
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percypony



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 146
Location: Hants
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 11:17 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

I did really aim my trial run at the Christmas market so you are probably right with your predictions there Penny and I also made it all quite 'seasonal' too. I think this is a bit of a bandwagon I can use though as there are loads of 'celebrations' throughout the year to use. Easter, Mother's Day, Birthdays, New Baby etc.
I am still trying to get my head around a theme though....

sally_in_wales
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

percypony wrote:
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'!



So, you want to sell focussed gifts for a range of key markets. How about taking that family structure as your marketing pitch? Picture your website, the first page has links based on a family tree maybe, and clicking on 'new baby' or 'auntie' takes you to the gifts you have identified as being ideal for that target market. (You can have the same things in more than one category) Add a simple questionnaire where the stuck present buyer fills in a few details (she likes pink, hates chocolate and likes crafts) and it offers some suggested products.

Call it for example 'Family Treasures' or something more imaginative (that was a first guess!) and the link between the product and the business is clear from the start

percypony



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 146
Location: Hants
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Ooooo Sally I like the family tree idea!!! Shame I have no experience designing websites yet and am relying on the free software provided... Might have to get learning fast.
Thanks!!!!! I am going to look further into this one...
Is this the sort of thing you meant regarding a theme???

sally_in_wales
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

You'll be fine with the website, start simple if needs be and give it a facelift once you know what works, what is more important is that it is glitch free and easy to navigate in the beginning. Just use product categories to convey the idea initially. Yep, that would be a theme, though I would also suggest having some clear thoughts in mind about the sourcing and quality of the goods, you need to have consistency across the range, which isnt to say that you can't sprinkle in a few cheap and cheerful extras to tempt people to buy just one more thing, just that the bulk of the stock needs to be able to sit together and look of equal standard.

Another thought if you liked the family tree idea- family tree research is mega big business, having 'family tree' somewhere in your website will get you loads of hits from people who started off looking for geneaology, clicked on you by mistake, but who might just hang a round long enough to buy their mum a present whilst they are at it

percypony



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 146
Location: Hants
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thanks Sally you are a star....
I'll let you all know how I progress... but keep the ideas coming too please! Website software, companies house, suppliers etc
Thanks S x

sally_in_wales
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

You don't necessarily have to register at companies house unless you are going straight for a limited company, you may wish to opt for being 'you trading as your company name' for the first year so you can see how it goes, and go ltd after that. A lot of us operate as sole traders, it keeps the paperwork simple whilst your trunover is still low

Penny Outskirts



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 23385
Location: Planet, not on the....
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

For suppliers, take a visit to this show at the NEC in Birmingham. It's huge, and you may lose the will to live whilst walking round it, but you will find practically every wholesaler of anything in the UK has a stall there. Huge number of contacts and ideas.

Wear comfortable shoes

http://www.springfair.com/

percypony



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 146
Location: Hants
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hey that looks fun Penny... Might have to persuade hubby we need a weekend away!
Do I still have to register with someone though Sally? Some wholsalers are asking for a company number (or something along those lines) befoe they will trade with me.
Anyone read any good books on starting up? Or is there any published leaflets from the government or something? I don't want to find myself with a huge tax bill or something cos I haven't filled a form in!

sally_in_wales
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

All I did was call the tax office and tell them I was starting a business, they asked me what it was and what my first dayof trading was, and sent me some bumpf, that was about it. I've never had any suppliers ask for more than that, and if they do I just explain I'm a sole trader and point them to my online shop so they can see its a legitimate business

Bernie66



Joined: 14 Jan 2005
Posts: 13967
Location: Eastoft
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

http://www.downsizer.net/Projects/Starting_Out/Starting_Your_Own_Business/
http://www.downsizer.net/Projects/Starting_Out/Starting_In_Business_Checklist/
http://www.downsizer.net/Projects/Starting_Out/Happy_Selling/

Are really good articles which hopefully may give you some more hints and tips and insight into life in business. Some girl off here wrote them, she knows what she is talking about too!!

"Some girl" being our very special Penny

Old-Chads-Orchard



Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Posts: 386
Location: Malpas, Cheshire
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I used oscommerce for my web shop, not the easiest to setup how you may want it but it does come with a pre built setup. www.oscommerce.com

sally_in_wales
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

offroading.net wrote:
I used oscommerce for my web shop, not the easiest to setup how you may want it but it does come with a pre built setup. www.oscommerce.com


I fought and spluttered with oscommerce until I went with a webhost that installed it for me as standard, works a treat now and it is simple enough once its properly installed

Helen_A



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 1548
Location: MK, Bucks.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Oooo Spring fair...

If all goes to plan I should be going, DP and I usually do it together.

You do need to register, it will help to have a minisite up etc. before you do as they *do* check you out if you give any web contact details, and coming from a .com or .co.uk will be an instant reassurance to them Design and print up business cards - lots - but on paper is fine, I've never had a paper one queried when it looked good because everyone knows that everyone is on a budget

Look at the site before you go and identify some companies you want to see (wrt baby goods/new parent stuff feel free to pick my brains - I do the ethical/organic/green/crunchy end of things with a bit of kitcsh and goth/alt thrown in for good measure, but there are loads of things out there i love and know there are markets for that are out of my remit and will happily point others at )

You can do the whole thing in a day if you plan not to do any buying there and then. Be aware that most of the big gift end companies are looking for minimum orders of around 500 first order and 250/300 per subsequent. If you need to concentrate then looking in the association areas (new exhibitors, various craft associations, princes trust) will pay off as they will be much smaller cos with less usual products and happy to fill smaller orders (mushroom designs is a great co who do silk ties, photo albums and things with a screen printing emphasis and a craft finish, and their minimum is very negotiable... and they are simply lovely so if you find them there then go talk to them!! )

Um, and I've rambled.... Grief only a couple of weeks to go.... If you can go on the monday or tuesday then those days are a little quieter, although sunday is fantastic in the toy hall as the exhibitors know that the 'buggy crowd' will be in and many pull out the stops

Helen_A

Helen_A



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 1548
Location: MK, Bucks.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 07 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

FUMOP

If you want a show closer to home then there are Top Drawer and Pulse which are also gift led and are in London. Top Drawer is 14-18 this month, and pulse later in the year. Most of the big exhibitors there will also be at the nec, but a lot of the smaller cos only do the smaller shows because they are more affordable and better focussed, where as spring fair can turn into a networking event for the big boys.

http://www.clarionretail.com/ClarionRetail/ClarionRetail.nsf/vNFSiteHomepage/general?opendocument for details of all the Clarionretail shows this year

Helen_A

percypony



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 146
Location: Hants
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 07 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

That sounds far too simple Sally!!
Thanks Bernie, all downloaded for future reference!
I have a someone to look after my website if that is the term but wondered what everyone used to design theirs? Software wise?
I am still 'working on' hubby about the Spring Fair even if we just use it to look about rather to see what's available and at what cost than to actually buy anything. It is not that far really 3-4 hours on the motorway I suppose.
I'll sort myself out some cards, thanks for all the tips Helen! I think we will have to go for the Sunday so as not to 'have' to take time off work at this stage. I'll sharpen my elbows up then if it is going to be that packed! Having a large huband helps though!

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