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How do you know? (small business)

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#1 BabyRed

Posted 29 October 2016 - 07:30 PM

This might be the great un-answereable question, but anyway...

For years I have been told to turn my hobby into a small business, but I've resisted because there's no money in it, my current part-time job (which I hate) pays me well, and I didn't have a passion for business.

But I recently had an epiphany, and came up with a great idea for a new product. It is so niche that I simply cannot find anyone else selling exactly the same thing. It's a sort of half-way product between two other well-selling products. And there might be decent money in it, if I manage it properly.

I've researched the market, got opinions from friends and my husband (who is both an accountant and a small business owner himself), and they all say go for it, but I really only want to invest the time and effort if there's a chance I can quit my job sometime in the future. I have no interest in a small business that might make 10K a year max.

So how do I know whether it is worth the plunge? Is there more research to be done? Or do I have to just start and see if people buy it?

Small business seems so crazy risky!!

#2 crayons

Posted 29 October 2016 - 07:35 PM

You have to risk it :-)  put things in place to minimise losses, like keeping your part time job as long as possible, setting revenue goals for 6 months time and pulling the plug if it's not working. Consider what the absolute worse thing will be if it doesn't work?

#3 AsperHacker

Posted 29 October 2016 - 07:43 PM

You can't know if it will work unless you do it. There's never going to be any guarantee that you can quit your job and make more than 10k.

No matter how much research you do it will never be a sure thing and you're going to have to invest the time and money to find out if it is.

Small biz doesn't have to be crazy risky, of course there's risks, but if you're not interested if you might only make 10k, then that's a risk you can't mitigate.

Sounds like you've done the background work. I'd go for it if I were you. But, I love small business and know that sometimes all the effort and money in the world won't make it work. That's a risk I'm willing to take. Are you?

#4 BadCat

Posted 29 October 2016 - 07:55 PM

The only way to know is to do.

I'm just starting my new venture now.  I hope it will make me enough that I can quit my job in the future.  I'm scared it will do nothing at all.  But I'll never know if I don't try.  

Like you, people have said it's a good idea.  I like it.  It's simple.  I can't bring myself to let it go.  What if I let it go and it would have made a fortune?  I'd never know, but I'd always wonder.  I couldn't live with that.  Can you?

#5 Tokra

Posted 29 October 2016 - 08:07 PM

Only one way to find out!!!

#6 BabyRed

Posted 30 October 2016 - 02:24 PM

Thanks people - some excellent food for thought there, and great practical ideas.
I think I'm on some sort of trajectory now... not going ahead with it would feel so disappointing!

#7 born.a.girl

Posted 30 October 2016 - 02:32 PM

How will you sell it, just online or through shops also?

#8 Ellie bean

Posted 30 October 2016 - 03:02 PM

What happens if another business copies your product idea after you start- is that a risk?

#9 darcswan

Posted 30 October 2016 - 03:32 PM

Well, size the market & your net profit per unit
Then do 2 jobs for awhile to test & mitigate risk

Then make the plunge :)

#10 Chaotic Pogo

Posted 30 October 2016 - 09:02 PM

I didn't have a passion for business stands out to me.

You need a business plan. 1-2 pages.  Who what where how and why about the customer product sales channels and suppliers.  Size of market, profit per item and how much stock you need to keep on hand.

You need systems. For everything. It can slow you down at the start but without them you never get ahead.

The first time you do something and have to work it out, keep notes. One day they will turn into your policy or process.

Website and social media.
Accounting and invoicing
Accepting payment.
Checking if a delivery is complete
What to do if item is returned because broken
Contact channels phone email etc.
what you will do personally vs what you will outsource. Eg I outsource IT, graphic design, bookkeeping data entry but I do my own management report weekly. Never take your eye off the books!

Set some deadlines for money and time invested/ profits.

Try Trello for keeping track of stuff you need to do and Canva for initial graphic design.  Calxa for cashflow reporting.
Register a company and a trademark.

Good luck!  It's very exciting.

#11 Empress NG

Posted 04 November 2016 - 09:13 AM

I am kind of at the same point as you.  One idea could be putting together a business plan and fronting up to the bank or some investors and asking for a loan/an investment.  You don't have to take the loan but might be a good way to see if the bank/investors thinks it is a solid proposition.  Mind you, I have never done this myself but it seems like a possible approach.  

RE Ellie BEan's comment above, perhaps also contact the Intellectual Property Office to get some advice on protecting your idea.

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