I was recently listening to several podcasts by entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck and found there were a few steps I never completed before starting my previous business. I thought I would share a checklist that I will try to complete before opening my next business. The items listed are not in chronological order or in order of importance.
- Do the research! With my previous business, I headed to Ebay to check and see the median price for a pair of used Levi jeans. This was something I felt I would have great access to at various thrift shops. When researching this business, I have been using Etsy and Pinterest to pinpoint the one Alzheimer’s fidget craft that will make a profit and fill a need. Fidget mats seem to be a saturated line of fidget crafts. Cuffs, Pillows and Aprons are not as prevalent. The first two are small which would have a lower price point and a higher gross profit.
- Create a business plan! How much cash will it take to make a number of prototypes? Do you have the equipment needed to complete the task? If not, add that to your list of expenses. Will you need some classes or training to make your prototype? You will be competing against masters of a craft. What what will make yours different?
- What type of business structure? There are people and research you need, to plan for before opening. You will need an accountant to at the very least, file your taxes. Do you need a partner, in order to complete a quality product in a timely manner? Do you need a source of funding in the form of a partner? Do you need a virtual assistant to do the mundane and repetitive activities? Can you survive financially creating and running this business on your own?
- Where will you purchase your supplies? If you are very lucky, you have the needed supplies to create your first prototype. If that is not a possibility, can you purchase items from a thrift store, garage sales, a warehouse or a discount retail establishment. Do not cut quality standards in order to get the lowest price!
- Social Media is your Friend! You don’t want to be “that person,” on Facebook asking friends and family to purchase. You need to get the word out. Develope your own business Facebook page. That is free and the cost to boost exposure is minimal. Start an Instagram account. Create a Twitter account. YouTube is a very popular place to get the word out. Last, begin a SnapChat Account. If you are not knowledgeable about these platforms, get on the internet or ask your kids for direction. This is something you need to land on both feet running.
- Find some Office Space! It is very tempting to say you’ll simply work on your laptop from your bed! What a life! You’ll go nowhere, quickly. Can you clear out a closet and begin with all of your equipment stored and a small space? Can you to take over the corner of a room? Can you take over an empty bedroom and totally devote this space to your business. It is so important to separate your business from your personal space in some meaningful way. You will burn out and be overwhelmed if your house is filled equipment and supplies.
- Make a Portfolio! This might be as simple as ordering business cards, letter head, thank you notes and envelopes. You might need a resume and a or presentation of some kind to show possible partners and investors. Be sure to do this before you open as you will be very busy creating and you need to be prepared for your first sale!
- Decide on an Opening Day! Nothing is worse than beginning without a goal. Okay, maybe opening without all of your ducks in a row. Either way you will be overwhelmed and disorganized. Make sure the date is far enough in advance, but also timely. If your product is Christmas related, you may need to hold off a year as
This is by no means a complete list of things to do before opening your business. Hopefully, this will trigger your creativity or even help to provide some additional steps that you had not thought of.