How to start your own business?

Zoom

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#1
I'm really wanting to make this crazy idea of mine a reality, but I'm not all that sure on how to go about starting. I know there are a couple of Chazzers at least that own/run their own business and I'm looking for free advice. :)

I already know what type of store (specialty dog supply shop) and I sat down today to write an inventory list of all the things I'd like to sell. I have an idea on where to start looking for space. My biggest questions revolve around money (of course).

-how to get capital to start up...did you use all your own money or borrow a bunch?
-how did you live when you were first starting, before the store started paying for itself? Did you have an SO's income to rely on or did you live the storage room?
-What's the best way to approach/find vendors and how do you judge markeup vs. cost?

I'm going to enroll in a small business course at the local juco, but first-hand experience is always good to go on.
 
M

Madilyn's Mom

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#2
Hi Zoom,
Sorry that I don't have any advice, but I'm also thinking about starting my own business. I just want to wish you luck in following through with your dream (I wouldn't call it a crazy idea at all!) :)
Again, best wishes...I have a strong feeling that you will be very successful!!:D
 

Muggie'sMum

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#3
Cool, I am thinking goat milk product business.. no real storefront except a space weekly at our local farmer's market and an online store... we ought to keep each other updated on our projects. I am taking the winter to "stew" (literally, lol, try out some soap/lotion/product recipes and fine tune them) on the idea but hope to get something selling by spring.. hate my call centre job, ready to do just about anything, include milk 30 goats twice a day to get out of there!
 

joce

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#4
It depends on a ton of things. I know for the stereo shop opening orders for good merchandise would have to be at least 10,000$ and thats something thats hard when you have to have at least a couple diffrent brands. I would imagine its a lot cheaper with dog stuff though:) Or at least I would hope!

could you maybe set up and sell online or at a booth at a flea markett for a while to see if its going to go good in your area and to maybe start getting some money in to see how much you can go for on a lease. I see a lot of businesses fail cuz they think the perfect location means everything-and while it does if lease is 6 thousand a month and you barely make that then it doens't matter.
 
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#5
I'm really wanting to make this crazy idea of mine a reality, but I'm not all that sure on how to go about starting. I know there are a couple of Chazzers at least that own/run their own business and I'm looking for free advice. :)

I already know what type of store (specialty dog supply shop) and I sat down today to write an inventory list of all the things I'd like to sell. I have an idea on where to start looking for space. My biggest questions revolve around money (of course).

-how to get capital to start up...did you use all your own money or borrow a bunch?
-how did you live when you were first starting, before the store started paying for itself? Did you have an SO's income to rely on or did you live the storage room?
-What's the best way to approach/find vendors and how do you judge markeup vs. cost?

I'm going to enroll in a small business course at the local juco, but first-hand experience is always good to go on.
That's tough Zoom...yet very exciting! I've owned 3 businesses and all of them (except one for a very short time) had virtually no over head. While I started all three, I worked for someone else so I had income during the growing pains of each business. Is there any way for you to start on a smaller scale and build clientele? It's really hard to start out with inventory, overhead (rent/utilities/expenses) if you don't have an established base. As for markup, the general rule is 100% if you're talking about the products that I think you are. I don't know how much help I can be but I've made lots of mistakes along the way so I can maybe save you some of those.....;)
 

Zoom

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#6
I would like to set up a partial on-line store at least, but I'm not sure how to go about doing that either. I figure I really don't need a large space, less than 1,000 square feet to begin with.
 

GlassOnion

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#7
Well, I'll give it to you the way my economics professor gave it to us:

(Paraphrasing) "Just be ready to throw all your money at it, all your parents money at it, all your sisters money at it, anyone who's willing to give you money for it, be prepared to throw that at it. Business's take a lot of money. LOTS of money, so be prepared to be poor as well."

Then as a side note he added:

"Also 50% of all businesses fail in their first year with another 25% failing in their second year."


Not a very optimistic view on it, but realistic, at least.


However, with online sales there's little to no overhead. Problem with that is it's a lot harder to advertise, there's nothing 'concrete' about it, and you don't get to know your customers.
 

Zoom

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#8
Yeah, I knew the failure rates before, but it's always nice to hear them again :rolleyes: ;)

A large part of what I want to do is get to know my customers, as a selling point will be that since I know what I'll be talking about, not only are you getting the product, you're getting the information to use it to it's best advantage. That will be the biggest up I'll have on Petco/Petsmart...and better quality products to begin with.
 

GlassOnion

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#9
Could try hooking something up with vet clinics in the area as advertisers. Where better to reach an audience that cares about their animals?

Vet clinics and groomers I would think. You could cut them in on some of the profit for 'sponsoring' your product and reach a large base. Print up flyers and stuff and have the clinic/groomers display some of your products.

Or something along those lines.



And I think I butchered the spelling of sponsoring.
 
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#10
Zoom... I was thinking the same thing today..about starting my own buisness. I would like to open up an on-line Irish Dance supply store in my area. There are lots of Irish Dance school's here in Dallas, but there isn't a store that sells Irish Dance stuff... so Irish Dancers have to look elsewhere for their stuff.

I could make a killing with all the junk I could sell :D

Good luck with your buisness :)
 

MomOf7

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#12
Thats a great idea!
If you have the capitol to get up and going and there is high demand for it in the area I say go for it! Why not run after a dream rather then always wonder what if?
Maybe you can contact a professional ohhh what do you call them....They sew! Something I hardly do. You could even offer custom fit items:) Charge up the yang for that! That right there might just make the store hit the fan if you catch my drift. How many times do people have to settle for just a ok fit.
OHHH you could have the floor tiled with a big doggie bone kinda at an angle when you walk in. Then little decorative tiles on the wall like a border with lil doggies and dog bones. Colors, white red and black with a splash of yellow to contrast. Lil crystal or decorative bowls at the top of any racks or stacks of specially designed display stands with lil bones in them for treats. Decorative doggie poo bag holders throughout the store coupled with a hoder that contains clorox wipes and a roll of decorative paper towels. Special poo container that seals the smell. Have a lil play area for the dogs and animals.
Keep business cards for other people or businesses that do pampering for pets. Keep little information brochures...Like at a doctors office...The brochres can cover all kinds of dog or animal related topics.



Good luck and if I come up with any ideas I will send them your way!
Sorry so long sometimes I think someone gave my gerbil some crack:lol-sign:
 

Martine

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#13
We set up our own business and we don't have a shop - the internet is our shop front -so we've managed start up with very little overheads. Because of this scenario we have spent our money on a good web design and more importantly optimisation - trying to get our website at the top of the search engines when people search for the relevant term. If you do employ someone to optimise your website - go by recommendation - there are loads of sharks out there. Also I spent loads of time looking for relevant and popular directories to list in. We've cut money on phonecalls by using an IP phone. Encouraging referrals and repeat business is also really important - it sounds like your advice and experience will go a long way there.

The main downside for us are holidays - we haven't had a proper one - and the fact our living room is also our work place - so it's usually full of work stuff and visitors and Misha have to be quiet when the phone rings, lol.

Zoom, you've got the idea and the desire to make it work, it is nerve-wracking - but equally exciting and far better being your own boss. Good luck!!!
 

joce

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#15
If you want to get to know your customers still and do it online maybe try an avon type thing first. Go door to door and to vet offices and training places. Maybe rent out a small corner in a training place to start.
 

Zoom

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#16
Does it matter than I don't have *my* product to sell? I mean, really, my product is my information...I'm going around and asking people if they know anyone who makes their own leashes and stuff and just needs a 'front' for their merch.
 

Roxy's CD

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#18
Yeah, we spoke before, and if you could start out with a website and perhaps a room in where you live full of stuff or something...

Rent for stores is expensive, especially when your just starting out. We're lucky because there's four of us. So *if* we ever have to take anymore money out of our pockets, it's split four ways...

I'd try and contact some big names, but good customer service, like Hartz or Eagle Pack, and just speak to someone about your interest in selling their products. How they would go about it. If you would have to pay up front or if they would "spot" you the product.
 

GlassOnion

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#19
So you just want to be an educator for the products and a middle-man? Kind of like a stationary Avon person.
 

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