Friday, January 27, 2012

Five Key Questions to Ask Before Hitting the Market

  1. Will your product sell?  This is one of the hardest things to self-assess, but the most critical factor in whether you and your crafts are market ready.  Make sure that you are comfortable with the quality and are confident that your product has consumer appeal.
  2. Do you understand the legal requirements?  Different regulations apply in different product categories (food, cosmetics, etc) and these vary by location. Do your research and understand where you and your product fit into any applicable policies. This is an area where fellow creatives like your Etsy teammates already in the market can be a great resource in pointing your towards your local and niche specific rules and requirements. Export/import restrictions are also worth checking out. (Aussie readers, head to the ACCC website or Product Safety Australia for more information)
  3. Do you understand the taxation and registration requirements? Different countries and regions have various policies, so I won't go into detail here, but this is an essential and better planned upfront to keep your business activities stress free and above-board. (Aussie readers, head to the ATO Small Business Support page for more information, and be sure to look at the trading and registration requirements for your state or territory.  
  4. Do you have a micro/small business plan?  Take some time to consider your objectives, your target market, and how you plan to sell, grow and sustain the business over the short term as well as the coming years.  It doesn't need to be a complicated plan (unless you need bank support and even then it isn't too bad), but failure to plan is planning to fail. Check online for free templates, like this business plan template from Commbank if you don't know where to start.
  5. Do you understand your expenses well enough to make a profit? This post from Handmadeology shows how simple it is to get into the sales groove and find out your "profitable" business is really well into the red.  Investing some time in this area can help to ensure you can afford to sustain the business.
What are your tips for new (and growing) creative businesses?  How is your own personal small business journey going?  We'd love to hear from you (good and bad) and grow together!

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