When people think of online businesses, manufacturing isn’t the first thing to come to mind. Manufacturing is usually associated with huge workshops and expensive machinery. However, small family businesses creating artisan items are also manufacturers.
If you’re thinking about starting an online business to sell your own handmade items, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. In this article, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to get started, from finding a niche to setting up your website.
FIND YOUR NICHE
The first step in starting any business is finding a niche. There are thousands of small artisan businesses selling their products, so you need to find a niche you can fill.
One way to find a niche is to look at your own skills and interests. Do you have experience in a particular industry? Are you passionate about a certain type of product? If so, you may be able to find a niche that matches your skills and interests.
Another way to find a niche is to look at trends in the industry. What types of products are in demand right now? What do consumers want that they can’t find from others? If you can identify a trend, you may be able to capitalize on it with your online business.
RESEARCH THE COMPETITION
Once you’ve found a niche, it’s time to research the competition. As we mentioned before, there are thousands of businesses out there. So, you need to make sure that you can compete with them in your niche.
One way to research the competition is to look at their websites. What do they offer that you don’t? What are their prices like? How does their customer service compare to yours?
Another way to research the competition is to talk to customers. Ask them why they chose the product they did. What do they like about it? What could be improved? If you can find out what customers want, you’ll be able to give them what they’re looking for with your online business.
CREATE A BUSINESS PLAN
Now that you’ve found a niche and researched the competition, it’s time to create a business plan. Your business plan will help you map out the steps you need to take to start and grow your business.
It doesn’t have to be overly elaborate, but some things you need to include in your business plan are:
- Your business model: How will you make money? Will you sell products directly to customers or partner with retailers?
- Your marketing strategy: How will you attract customers to your business? What types of marketing will you use?
- Your financial projections: How much money do you expect to make? How much will you need to invest in your business? When will you become profitable?
SET UP YOUR WEBSITE
Once you have a business plan, it’s time to set up your website. Your website is how customers will find and purchase your products.
There are great services available, like Shopify, where you can easily create a beautiful and professional website for your online business. Be sure to include plenty of product photos and clear descriptions of what you offer.
You’ll also need to set up a way for customers to pay for your products. There are several different payment processors you can use, such as PayPal or Stripe.
FIND SUPPLIERS AND CONTRACTORS
One of the most important parts when starting your business is finding suppliers who can provide you with the raw materials you need to make your products.
There are a few different ways to find suppliers. You can search online directories or attend trade shows, which are events specifically for businesses making their own products and suppliers.
When you’re talking to potential suppliers, be sure to ask about minimum order quantities, pricing, and turnaround times. You’ll need this information to make sure that you can meet customer demand and still make a profit.
Once you have your website set up and your suppliers in place, it’s time to start making your products. This is the part where you’ll actually be creating the items that you’ll sell on your website.
If you’re not experienced in making your own products or don’t have access to the required facilities, you may want to consider partnering with a contract manufacturer. These businesses can handle the production process for you so that you can focus on other aspects of your business.
When opting for contract manufacturing, you can set yourself up with an ERP to easily manage the operational side of things. With an ERP, you can automate and keep track of tasks like inventory management, invoicing, and more.
For businesses selling online, it’s better to choose an ERP that has the option to connect with your existing e-commerce software. You may need to shop around a bit, but you’ll surely find a great platform offering seamless Shopify integration to keep your sales and inventory automatically updated.
PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS
When you have set up your website, you can start promoting your business. There are a few ways to do this:
- Search engine optimization (SEO): Use keywords on your website to attract customers from search engines.
- Social media: Use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to reach out to potential customers.
- Content marketing: Write blog posts, create videos, or offer downloadable resources that will help you attract customers to your website.
These are just a few ideas – there are many other ways to promote your business online. The important thing is to get started and be creative.
GROW YOUR BUSINESS
As your business grows, you’ll need to scale up your operations. This may mean hiring additional staff, investing in new equipment, or expanding your product line.
You’ll also need to continue promoting your business to attract new customers. As your business grows, you’ll be able to reach new markets and sell more products.
With a little hard work and dedication, you can build a successful online business. Follow these steps, and you’ll be on your way to success.
Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence