Almost half of Millennials have “own my own business” as one of their life’s goals. It would be nice to run a Fortune 500 company, have a private jet, and make billions off of deals on your corporate yacht. However, there is such a thing as being realistic. You can still meet your goals even if you don’t always get the picture perfect ending. If what you want out of owning your own business is pride, passion, and a bit of success then you can totally make that happen even if you’re just working part time. There’s no need to quit your day job; if you can figure out the product that you feel passionate about producing or procuring then you can set yourself up with a part time specialty shop to spread your passion and make a little money while you’re doing it. Here’s what you really need to get your ideas off the ground.
Decide What Profit Margin You Need
Not every home business is a get rich quick plan. Not all of them are even intended to be. Sometimes they only have to break even. Let’s say that a woman named Maggie loves teaching school, but also loves making hand-dyed silk scarves. She doesn’t want to give up her day job, and she doesn’t want to turn every free moment into trying to make as many scarves as possible. Once she saves a little startup money, she only needs to be able to make enough money to be self-sustaining. She earns back her initial investment and then simply reinvests all the profit she makes into new materials and the like. Every now and then she’ll make more than she needs to invest, and that’s nice, but it’s not primarily about the money. Maggie can afford to take a low key approach with her business because she’s not aiming to support herself.
If you actually want to make sure that you’re turning a reasonable profit every month you’re going to have to put a lot more time and effort into your products, your store, and your online presence than Maggie is.
Your Online Location
You should be on all the social media platforms that you can. Even if you’re not a fan of these sites for personal use their impact on your business opportunities cannot be denied. Shoppers are 80 percent more likely to like a brand that uses social media, and 40 percent to check out a brand they like on Facebook or Twitter. This is a powerful tool in your belt. You want to connect to people as best that you can. In addition to just letting people know about your business online and building curiosity and brand loyalty at once you should also have a way for people to buy your product online if at all possible. It’s very important that you have this up and running as close to the launch of your business as possible. The quicker you start building word of mouth traffic the better off your business will be in the long run, and it can help get you through that shaky first year.
Your In-Store POS
It never hurts to have a brick and mortar location. Whether you rent out some space in a store, get your own retail location, or just set up your booth at the local crafts fair you have to think about your point of sale system. It’s not enough to just bring a cash box anymore for a couple of reasons. The first is that you’re going to encounter a cashless customer base. One in five adults no longer regularly carries cash on them at all. Sixty percent of adults carry less than $20, according to National Journal. If you intend to sell anything that’s a little bit pricey you can bet that you’re going to have a hard time finding someone capable of buying it on the spot. If it’s something that they have to work hard for, it’s probably not something that they’re going to actually get.
Consider in this day and age that you don’t even have to spend very much to get a usable POS system. Shopify’s app allows you to check sales and inventory, as well as use a credit card scanner, right from your iPad. There’s no reason that you shouldn’t be able to accept credit cards as easily as anyone else.
Your Ad Campaign
Even if you don’t intend to support yourself even in part on your earnings from your store you should still invest in advertising. You can use analytic tools to bid on the less popular keywords via pay per click advertising, according to Entrepreneur. Also according to Entrpreneur, a couple glowing reviews from happy customers that mention the functionality of the product you’re selling (as opposed to a generic “it’s great!”) will do you a world of good.
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