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Start a business??

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  • Arborvita
    Before you go spending on insurance, branding, websites, craft fairs and all the other costs, you need to find out if you have a viable business! Your friends telling you that your stuff is sellable is not enough!

    I strongly recommend you do a business plan. Find out who you would be competing with, and what sort of money they are making. I have made many mistakes, where if I had done my research I could have prevented. For example;

    I can sell at craft fairs and make lots of money. Wrong! Unless you have a great product and a decent craft fair, the money is unlikely to be there. A decent weekend craft fair will cost several hundred pounds in booking, then you need insurances. To cover these costs you will have to sell lots of products so need a lot of stock that you can shift. Can you afford to make several hundred pounds and potentially not meet your costs for the weekend? Refining your products to meet the needs of customers will increase sales but this takes time.

    Website will sell lots of my products. Wrong! Use google marketing tools and you will find out how many google searches there are a month for your product. Is there enough people out there searching and buying online?

    So do your home work. Do you intend to sell as a bit of a hobby or to make money? Doing your homework can save thousands of pounds!

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  • iBeads
    also find out if Business Link in your area are still running business start-up courses. These are due to finish in the Autumn in this area, but I think each area may have a different time scale.

    These courses (and the business link website) will help you to think about your business plan, which is important before you start.

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  • Simply_Business
    Starting a business

    Hello Emowen,

    Don't worry about not quite knowing what you need to do to set up a business - day to day I work for a business insurance broker and I have spoken to hundreds of people who are setting up their own business. Often the business is based around a passion or hobby they have so the business side is something alien to them - you are not alone!

    If you are going to be attending trade fairs, town markets etc - you will be wise to consider public liability insurance. This kicks in if your stall collapses and breaks someone's foot and they look to sue you. As you will be selling products you should also consider products liability - this aims to protect you if any of the goods you sell cause an injury in some way (a pin is accidentally left in for example)

    If you have any queries or questions please feel free to reply to this post.

    Kind Regards


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  • greannancrafts
    Hi Welcome to the forum.

    Don't forget to hang on to all receipts and keep a record of income and expenditure,

    Mr Taxman runs some great courses for start ups, well worth attending one.


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  • Caroleecrafts
    to the forum. I think Ali has given sound advice for your new venture.

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  • AliCat
    You will need to register with HMRC but only once you actually start selling so if things are in the planning stages at the moment, you can hold off until you are ready to make that all important first sale! You don't need to register your business name but it is worth doing some advance research into similar named companies and what domain (website) names are still available so that you don't end up choosing a name which you struggle to get a website with a suitable address. If you find what you really want, it is worth looking into buying that domain now so that you secure it for when you are ready as a website really is an important selling tool these days.

    You will also need public liability insurance which isn't expensive over the course of a year - I get mine from CMTIA and it costs less than £50 for the year. There are lots of other companies and some policies may be more suited to what you are planning to do so do your research before buying.

    For fairs, is a great place to start to find fairs in your area. You can also sign up and list yourself on Stallfinder for £10 a year so that organisers can approach you directly with details of their events.

    Social networking is becoming more and more important so a blog, Facebook and Twitter are all pretty high up the list of tools (must get around to sorting out the last two myself!)

    Good luck with your new business.

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  • emowen
    started a topic Start a business??

    Start a business??

    Hi, feeling a bit dense in asking this but am new to selling and need some help..
    Have been sewing for several months both as a hobby and as therapy for me after surgery but my produce is, according to others, suitable for selling so am intending to sell via home parties, contacts, craft fairs and eventually a website. What do you need to do legally re starting up - register with HMRC as sole trader?, register business name?, what else?