Advice on start up - website and printing(13 Posts)
First step in market research is asking people in your target audience if they would be interested in your idea and how much they would pay for it.
Can you find your target audience locally? Or do you need to find them online?
If you can't find them now, how will you find them when you're trying to sell to them?
At this stage a business plan is just thinking about costs.
1. How much will it cost to make your item.
2. How much will you sell it for.
3. How many a month can you sell.
4. How much are your other overheads per month (e.g your wages)
Profit is roughly ( (2-1) x 3 ) - 4. If that number is negative then the business won't work.
Nothing stops someone stealing your idea.
But, who would? Starting a business is a huge financial risk, and most fail. Also people start businesses around what they are passionate about - not what you are passionate about.
Even once your business is going someone can steal your idea. This is what you need to think about as part of your business plan. Is there room for competitors in your market? If not, then you probably shouldn't even start.
There is a phrase "nothing new under the sun", which applies. Generally most things have been done before.
So, rather than worry about someone 'stealing' your idea, concentrate on what makes you different - ie speed of service, variety, price.
'business plan' is usually a banks way of asking you to tell them why you want them to lend you money.
If you are not asking for loans, then you have no need of a 'formal' document.
Doesn't mean you should not be asking all the same questions though.
A growing business near where I live is betsybenn.co.uk they sell indivdual printed products of all types - online, and I believe in to john lewis.
A relative of mine runs something similar mostly promoted via Facebook social media. Been running a few years as a sideline now finally she's able to go full time but reckon it's 3 years since she started it in the evenings.
Think in that sort of market would be hard to make a go of it full time from the start but never say never.
There is usually very little to stop anyone stealing your ideas (see 'barriers to entry') so your best bet is to make it attractive and easy for people to buy your version, so 'why would they' go anywhere else.
That means things like making your web site easy to use, likewise the delivery options. Think about the 'journey' the customer goes on to buy your product, and make sure there are no points at which they say 'oh, that.'s too difficult' ill try else where. Likewise, the price needs to be 'competitive'. If someone can do the exact same thing, or very similar, for half the price, why wouldn't people do for theirs?
Lots of marketing of brands is about making sure people want to buy your version, think about the slogans e.g. 'accept no substitutes' is saying make sure you buy my version. All the best.
"Just got to find a good website designer now I guess"
In a large company 'designing a website' would be done by:
* Product Owner - who says what they want the website to do
* Graphic Designer - who says what it should look like (in detail)
* Ux designer - who says what's the best flow for the website (buttons, menu's etc)
* Content - who writes the copy for the website
* SEO - who make sure the site ranks in search engines
* Developers - who create the website
(+ testers, ops, support.....)
So, you are going to be the 'product owner'. You're going to tell a website designer what you want. You will probably have to write all the content as well.
They need to do everything else. Which means they won't be a specialist in any of those fields.
What I'm saying is be very careful you don't just hire a graphic designer who can make a pretty looking website. They also have to understand ux and everything else you don't understand.
And be careful how you hire them. Do you want them to just do what you tell them to do? Or do you want them to take the initiative and tell you what makes a good website? If you're paying them a fixed price will they do this?
So, all and all, it's very tricky hiring a good website designer, even if you can afford them.
And creating a website that sells products is about a billion things more than creating a good looking website.
Having a good product idea is nowhere near good enough. "If you build it they will come" does not apply in the work of internet selling.
I don't have any recommendations. Just telling you some more issues to think about.
If you're going to allow ordering and payment through a website you really need to make sure they know what they're doing so it's secure in terms of people's data and financial info. Won't be cheap to do.
A vote to check out what happens on your site when things go wrong, for example, if someone types in something obviously wrong, say the email address in a field intended to be a phone number. What is the tone of the error message, is it a typically IT message , like 'badly formatted number' or does it use some humour and elegance to pop up saying 'please check your phone number' or even 'is that your email address, it doesn't look quite right for a phone number.
Likewise, if something goes wrong does the site clear everything you have already typed in. I know this is a goof, safe way to make sure nothing unintended happens, it is also incredibly frustrating. Its the sort of thing that would make me go elsewhere.
Have you looked around for new business startup help? Could you get someone from a local college to provide some help, for a modest fee as part of a project? What other support can you muster?
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