The past year and a half have been an odd one. Very few of us were prepared for the coronavirus and Covid-19 pandemic. This pandemic has impacted us all in different ways, but one common ground that many of us have struggled with is employment. Unemployment has skyrocketed during the pandemic. Many businesses have been unable to operate or experienced a significant drop in demand and had to go bankrupt, dissolve or collapse as a result. Many businesses made huge numbers of staff redundant. Some businesses had to offer staff reduced working hours or reduced salaries to cover their payroll. It’s not all too surprising, then, that many of us are now turning our minds to running our own businesses. This not only gives you more control over your income, but it also gives you the freedom of being your own boss. Of course, setting up a business is no simple task. Here are some steps you’re likely to find yourself taking to get your venture up and off the ground.
Decide What You’re Selling
First and foremost, you need something to sell. This will depend entirely on what you have to offer. If you make handmade goods, this could be a great place to start. If you have a skill that you can provide to customers as a service, this could be a good idea. Alternatively, you may spot a gap in the market and seek a way to fill it. Once you know what you’re selling, you’re going to have to go through multiple processes to get your product or service ready for marketing, advertising, and sale.
- Product or Service Development – you need to design what you’re selling. This is a long process but gets the ball rolling.
- Manufacturing – this is the process that brings your ideas to life. Most small businesses use third-party manufacturers to save themselves the cost of factories, equipment, and staff.
- Product Testing – this ensures that the product is safe for use by the public.
- Market Research – this shows your product or service to the market and helps to get insight into whether it is likely to sell and make profits or not. Most small businesses use market research agencies to carry this work out on their behalf.
Creating a Website
Once you know what you’re selling, it’s time to create a space to sell it from. Ecommerce is booming, particularly during the pandemic, so setting up a website is the logical place to start. This, of course, is a complex task, so you’re likely to need the help of professionals such as web designers, web developers, graphic designers, copywriters, product photographers, and more. This sounds like a lot, but once your website is up and running and you have all the content ready, updates will be easier and less regular.
Set Up Payments
Of course, if your customers are shopping through your website, you will also have to accept payments online. Chances are you’ve done some online shopping yourself and are familiar with some of the different ways available to pay. Some businesses opt to use third-party payment services. The most popular and successful of these is, by far, Paypal. This allows users to log into an app that already holds their personal details, such as name, address, and payment details. They can then click pay, and the order will be processed. However, bear in mind that third-party payment plans always come hand in hand with a cost. If your business does well, it could prove more profitable to process payments yourself.
Consider Finance Options
If the items or products you’re selling are expensive, you may consider offering finance options. This will encourage more people to shop with you, as your items may seem more affordable if they’re split into monthly installments rather than a large, one-off fee. Now, again, there are third-party finance options, such as Klarna. These provide the customer with finance, pay the cost of the product to you, and then the customer pays the third party lender (in this example, Klarna) back. However, if you can, you can offer your own finance options too.
Now, you’ll inevitably face other stages when it comes to setting up your own business. However, these are just a few to prepare yourself for. Hopefully, some of the above information can come in useful, and you’ll see your store up and running in no time.