Finally decided to bite the bullet after a year of deliberating - but I could do with some help please?

(6 Posts)
SumBex Wed 05-Feb-14 16:18:04

I wish I'd found this board sooner but now I have, here goes...

Following my own wedding last year, I got lots of encouragement to set up a business making wedding things. I've also had two separate business offers over the things I made but decided I would like to go it alone.

I did lots of research initially but have had a tough year and lacked the confidence to start so have been putting it off. I have decided to start with wedding stationery as the set up costs are minimal, with a view to branching out at a later date when cash flow has improved (hopefully).

I have today registered two domain names both with a .co.uk but should I also register the .coms? I have only registered the domain names without taking the option for web hosting and email as I'm still developing a portfolio. When I decide to do this, will I have to use the company I used to register the domain names or can I use any web hosts?

My brother is a graphic designer so I'm hoping he might help with a logo and branding. So far I have lined up four people for which to make invitations at a reduced cost whilst I build my portfolio. Once I have this, how should I go about marketing myself? I've thought of wedding fairs but I've heard they're not so good for sales and tables are expensive. I will also do a Facebook page but not sure about costs?

I'm confused about lots of things, incredibly nervous but also so excited! Initially I'm just hopeful to cover my costs and enable myself to build a customer base from recommendations as well as get the necessary equipment.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for reading smile.

insomniarules Wed 05-Feb-14 16:25:04

Think google ad words might help direct traffic to your site
Wedding fairs?
Local paper feature?

Geoff0409 Wed 05-Feb-14 17:48:03

At last some of the stuff I have been looking at for my own business idea can help someone (I hope).
Firstly, congratulations on your new business.

I would doubt that you would need the .com's, but it's up to you. It depends on how far you afield you want to appeal to but if you want to send stuff internationally then it can't hurt - unless it is a bit pricey.
You can transfer your domain name to whoever you want. I know that vistaprint, 123-reg etc will let you transfer and I am sure that any web developer will tell you how to do it.

I don't know much about facebook but do know that they charge more if it's a business - however as social media is so popular now it might drum up business both locally and farther afield.

You are doing the right thing - let it build up gradually and go from there. A few years ago I ordered a grobag from a lovely family company run by a lovely lady - she had spent just £300 on stock and after 2 years was so busy that her husband was leaving his job and going full time in the business! I wish you loads of luck.

DameFanny Wed 05-Feb-14 17:52:47

If you can get the .coms do so, and redirect to the .co.uk - prevents confusion and customer loss.

Keep the website simple - better to pay for a proper designer to do it. I couldn't begin to tell you the number of websites I've given up on because they had intrusive popups, or wouldn't work on mobile or whatever.

DameFanny Wed 05-Feb-14 17:54:49

Re marketing, how about offering commission to other wedding businesses in the area? Put some leaflets with local venues and give them 5 percent or whatever if something comes back?

SumBex Thu 06-Feb-14 09:54:10

Thank you everyone for the fab advice. I'm going to look through some older posts to find the best web hosts/website builders.

The first thing I'm working on is a logo and branding so I can use this on marketing materials. I found on another thread, someone linked to a fab PDF on branding. This has got me thinking that I need a tag line/motto of some sort. Is that right?

The .coms are available although I will probably only sell in the uk. They work out at £20 each which isn't a lot but what with everything else I'm spending, is a cost I'd like to avoid if I can. I like the idea of redirection though.

Should I post the names here to get opinions or is that bit risky incase someone else decides to register the .coms before me?

I think my biggest problem is confidence. I know any business is risky but the market is very competitive for the things I'm doing and I'm struggling a bit with having some self belief even though everyone who has seen my work has told me I should be selling it. I have a part time job to keep me going so I won't be 100% relying on any income I make and accept that I will most likely make a loss in the first year at least. Did anybody else suffer from a crisis of confidence or am I doing the wrong thing if I can't muster some self belief?

I'm currently contacting everyone I know who is getting married and offering my services at a reduced rate to build my portfolio and get my name out there. I like the idea of working with other businesses on a commission basis - it will hopefully bring in some sales. I'm also hoping to speak to wedding venues in the area to do the same.

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