What are the first steps to turning a hobby into a business?
I want to turn my storybook album hobby into a business. I think I have enough interest from the referrals I am getting, but not sure where else to start. Do I need a formal business plan, should I get set up on social media, do I need a website? Thanks for your help.
Deana, someone and many can simply say Yes to all of your questions...each of those things are busy to build a business. However, there are some other questions I would ask you -
- what time and commitment are you able to put into a business?
- what financial investment are you willing to make into it - as all of the above requires money?
- and are you willing to do what is needed so you make a profit from your product - as every dollar you spend the moment you start selling and developing your product is an expense, until you can do what is necessary (Sell and Market) there is no profit or business.
If you can do all of the above - then yes, I would establish a business plan (though many can vary on the level of detail of what a business plan needs to be).
What you need to sit down and think through is:
- beyond the referrals (who are mostly family and friends) who will the target customer be - and do you know that they want to buy your product...- then google a business plan, and begin to work through the other things you want to consider, especially the financial planning - expenses and revenue...to determine what your sales activity will need to be to support the expenses that you will spend to start your business.
- I would not move forward spending any money until you have laid that out...as to many new business owners start creating websites, spending time on social media, buying marketing collateral, materials and products for creating their product...and have no overall clue the total of those expenses...You can reference this - http://www.sba.gov/content/follow-these-steps-starting-business
Most new businesses fail due to a lack of planning. So developing a business plan is certainly important, as well as educational. More importantly, is working thru a break-even analysis to see how many storybook album guides you have to sell to cover the fixed and variable expenses of starting and running your new business, and hopefully - making a profit, for a year month-by-month. Of course, you will need a website and social media platforms are the best sources of leads and sales.
A lot of the important points have been said, but I think I have a few things to add that might help. First off, it sounds like what you offer would be a great candidate for an Etsy store. That might even be a great way to start and get customers who truly value hand crafted and personal products. I would absolutely get your website up and running as soon as you can. Wix, SquareSpace and Weebly are a good places to start for an affordable website. Even if it's simple, you want a web presence where you can send people to learn more about your work if you only have a second of their time. When I got started, I didn't have a business plan, but I know it is helpful for many people and I still think it's something I might put together just to get everything out on paper and force myself to plan for the future. Social Media is the easiest thing to get up and running, so create that official Facebook page and start following the types of accounts that put out content that would be of interest to your customers. A good rule of thumb is to share 80% other people's content and only 20% of posts should be about your business. Otherwise, people will tune you out. Good luck! (Also, if you are ever interested in having an affordable, effective video to highlight your work, let me know! That's my specialty: www.motusvideodesign.com)
Hello Deana, in my opinion, you will need a formal business plan. This is because, the business plan provides you with a map for your business. Also the process of developing the business plan is a fact finding and information gathering process. I believe by using a business plan, you save time and energy as well as gain direction required for a new business.
Social media will also be a good place to start. You could create awareness of your project on websites, forums and blogs similar to your interest. Websites are a great way of collecting data and having people take positive action as regards your business.
The answer to all your questions is YES. Brand yourself, start with your business plan, hire a graphic designer to do your brand identity, and a Facebook or linked page. If you have an questions about how to go about this, Im always at your service. 914 920 9828
A business plan is helpful, as well as figuring out what specific actions you'll need to take to move your business forward. A defined clientele also helps, and figuring out a marketing strategy as well as what tools to use to market your business is essential.
You also want to ask yourself what resources you'll need to do this business, as well as what time you can put into it.
I would think a feasibility plan is the first plan of action. If the numbers and data are right for a viable and profitable business, then I would build that document out to a business plan. After that, getting registered to do business in your state and/or city should be pretty straight-forward?
It is first payment as a taste of first blood at the battle, you feel pleasure from doing business, profit is result, results make us calm and happy if we can see what we do and we do good useful demanded things
Good luck to you and your business
I'd say, if you have enough interest, then just get a few clients a do it! Then you can get testimonials from them and ask them for referral. I would also start building a list to cultivate relationships with potential clients by providing valuable content.
Find a coach or teacher [ahem, like me] who can help you learn the steps (your niche, your offers, your pricing, your brand, and more...) of business development for a solopreneur. You have the vision, get support in planning your actions and then take them!
Enjoy this: taking your creativity and passion and making it serve others who love what you do — that's living an awesome and fully expressed life!
I believe most of the important things have beeen answered by all the other members. So yes, yo definetly need a Business Plan, yes, you need a web page, or at least start with a Facebook page while you are creating your brand and your image, but I wouls also recomend to do an intensive check on competitors. Who are they, what is their strategy, what are they communicating with their potencial customers, how is their relationship with the social medias,...When you are atarting, it's very useful to inventigate what others are doing, adapt it to your business idea and improve it.
Richard Stern-I suggest you consider doing an investigation of the industry to ensure your product is relevant to the cuswtomer base you want to serve.
If the results of your investigation is positive then write a Business Plan that meets thee important criteria the Business Plann must be: Reasonable, Realistic, and Doable by the ownership group.
The Business provides both structure and starts your journey with specific guidelines.
You need to think about a mission, vision statement along with a business plan...And most importantly be realistic about your sales potential and know your costs
Deana, I think if you believe you have a market for your products you should begin to reach out to at market with a warm letter sharing your new venture. Before you do that
you might want to think about how you will be selling your product. Will you have a brick and mortar business or sell throught the internet or both? This should help you recognize how you want to pursue Social Media.
I think a website is helpful so your customers can view what you have. You may not need a formal business plan if you are not planning to borrow money but it is a good idea to map business strategies about how you will market, where you will market and how you will determine success in a written document.
When I work with clients, I always tell them to write the ideas of what the business looks like and ideally how the want it to grow.
First, you need a product(which you have), then you need a plan to promote that product and a market to promote it to, so it sounds like you need to know how you will reach your market AND how you will sell to them, so you need to have a plan in place for how you will accept payment as well.
Business owners all go through similar steps however which ones you tackle first depend a bit on where you are at right now.
Sounds like you need a platform to promote and since the internet has a wide reach, I would recommend getting at least some type of website up where you can take orders and accept payment and getting a marketing plan in place to sustain growth.
Please fill following Sagheer business plan:
(0) Market re-search………………………….why?
(1) Market re-search……………………………what?
(2) Market re-search…………………………..How?
(3) Title or name …with respect to name, with respect to business, with respect to location, with respect to era.
(4) Motto…with respect to business.
(7) Mission Statement.
(8) Vision Statement.
(9) Location……with respect to positive and negative aspects.
(11)Finance……..Fix and Running.
(12)Finance Management……with feasibility report in the form of chart.
(14)Business Flow…with the help of flow chart.
(15)Mathematical Model of Production…with cost estimation method.
(16)Promotion Strategy ……..with Probability or regression model.
(17)Risk factor…with your weak points (S (strengths) W (weaknesses) O (opportunities) T (threats) Analysis).
(18)Role of Technology.
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Yes, yes and yes. However, there are some things to consider first. I generally start with the vision...what do see when you think about having your own business? Do you want it to be your only source of income someday? Are there employee's? Should you incorporate? Do you need trademarks and copyrights? Do you have a Accountant? Are you considering hiring a bookkeeper? What about an attorney? Whats the culture going to be like? There are many questions to ponder when starting a business. Don't forget your city business license and fictitious name statement.
When someone is considering making their hobby a business, it can be a catch 22. They start out with an idea/skill/hobby and start making money with it and if they aren't clear with their vision the hobby now becomes un-enjoyable and you become a slave to the business.
Once you create your vision, you then work on a business model, then you can work on your business plan, figure out what your break even is and what are your 1, 3, 5, 7 and 10 year goals.
I hoped this helped. Best of luck! Its very exciting to start your own business.
If your hobby isn't going to be profitable in the beginning, I believe in learning a SEO program that will allow you to generate income while you build your brand. Learning a great system will allow you to be more profitable with what ever you choose to sell.