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Has anyone started a business with no knowledge

(5 Posts)
Shannyfanny Fri 27-May-16 14:05:46

not aibu just posting for traffic.
Have got some money and want to start a business, selling natural products for hair skin ect.
i have no knowledge of how to start a business but i know a lot about natural products.

can it be possible?
should i take a course?
any advice appreciated smile

ZippyNeedsFeeding Fri 27-May-16 14:29:10

Do lots of research. Then do some more. You might find that the market you are aiming at is pretty much saturated. Thing you might look at a
Who is your target customer?
Why would they buy from you and not an established supplier?
How and where will you sell?
How will you accept payment?
How much competition is there?
Would it be worth jumping through the necessary hoops and developing your own natural products?
How will you keep up with the accounts? Get proper advice about this.
How much storage will you need? The simple answer is usually that you will need far more than you think!
If you are selling online, you MUST read the latest regulations for distance sales (I think it's part of the Consumer Rights Directive and replaces the old Distance Selling Regulations). Google is your friend.

My absolute top tip though, it to start with the amount of money you have, even if that amount is tiny. Do not borrow to start your business, it places too great a burden on the business at the time it can least afford the expenditure.

icanteven Fri 27-May-16 14:42:37

I have. I honestly think that if you are starting from scratch with zero, you can start a business doing practically anything, which means that starting it in the field you describe, a particularly competitive and unprofitable one, is probably unnecessary. The knowledge you have re. skin and hair (what kind of knowledge? You love Bumble & Bumble and have a skincare blog or you have an MSc in chemistry and 10 years of experience in a lab?) could be quickly replicated in any number of alternative industries where an actual income is likely.

I started out from scratch in online retail and it was utterly SHIT. So I branched out into manufacturing and selling to the trade and it was utterly SHIT. Lots of turnover, lots of stress, zero profit.

Then I learned a completely different industry, but building on the experience I got, and a) realised that I should have been applying myself to the tech industry from the get-go and b) now have an actual income.

Happy to chat more if you want to PM me.

ThinkPinkStink Fri 27-May-16 14:55:31

I started my current business in 2013 - and could not (and would not) have done it without a colleague who had experience of starting businesses. That having been said there are surely loads of people who've started successful businesses more instinctively.

The first consideration is that ALL new businesses are likely to fail - more than 70% fail, even more so when you have actual material products (rather than offering a service) - the reason for this is that product purchase/production, storage and distribution is a considerable overhead.

Related to the above, how much money can you afford to lose? It's important to know this so as you know when to call it quits.

If you are aware of this, and you can afford to lose money if it comes to it (and I hope it doesn't) then there are some really important considerations to protect yourself and your company.

Things to do:

Hire an accountant - this is non negotiable - they will organise things like company incorporation, VAT registration, tax calculations etc.

Expect to pay an accountant about £350 per quarter.

Invest in accountancy software so as you track all of your in-comings and out-goings. We use Freeagent. This is what your accountant will use when calculating your tax liabilities.

Expect to pay £20 per month on accountancy software.

Get insurance - make sure you have commercial insurance (in case any future customers get hurt, or sue you, etc.) home insurance will not cover commercial space/materials/liabilities, so make sure to check with your current contents/buildings cover provider.

Expect to pay £25 per month for £1m liability cover.

Write a business plan - this will help you confirm the viability of the plan - a business plan should include:


- Product: what will you sell?
- Place: where will you sell your products (markets/online/etc.) if selling
online, how will you distribute your products?
- Promotion: how will your audience know where to go to buy your products?
- Price: how much will you charge per product?

SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your

Audience targeting:

- Who will buy your products
- Why would they choose your products/outlet instead of your competitors?
- Who are your competitors (horizontal and vertical)?
- What else are your audience buying?
- When will your audience buy your products, will trade be seasonal, personal,
gift etc. driven?

Financial planning:

- What are your in costs (insurance, products, marketing, materials, hosting, websites etc.)
- How much do you expect to sell?
- What will you do if you don't sell as much as you were expecting?
- How long before you start making profit?
- If you're working, when can you feasibility leave your current employment?
- How much do you need to make per month once you start making profit (taking into account Corporation Tax and VAT)
- What are your terms* - how do you protect yourself?
- Do you have experience in writing contracts? If not, how can you get that information?

It's high risk, it's scary, it took us six months to make money, and three years later we're finally stable and earning a decent salary (dividends)... but it can be done, if you go in with your eyes open and are ready for the hard slog.

ZippyNeedsFeeding Fri 27-May-16 14:58:02

You also need to look at what you want from your business. I do online retail and get a full time income from it, but my market is fairly niche and I put in at least 100 hours a week.
Do you want a full time income or just something to top up the family budget a bit? Do you want to work alone mostly, or do you need to be sociable? Do you want to work from home or have business premises? Are you interested in training as a beauty therapist?
Are there any goods/services that you yourself find difficult to source? Could you look into blagging a supply/ becoming qualified in that area?

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