I would really like to start a children’s jewellery making party business, but I don’t know where to start. I already have a market stall and so have public liability insurance, but I am not sure what regulations I would need to adhere to when putting together my business plan. There are obvious risks involved with children using beads…I want to make sure my business will be safe and legal. Can you help to point me in the right direction?
Well done with the market stall. Some of the large businesses we know today started as market stalls. Tesco started life from a stall in the East End of London. So, keep at it and focus on increasing sales whilst still being profitable.
In terms of putting together the business plan, you need to do some research about the market and how you see your products fitting in and performing in the market.
Your research should cover areas such as:
– What your idea or product is.
– Market research covering your target market, competitors in the market and who you see your target customers being. Who is already doing what you want to do?
– You also need to think through how you intend to promote and market your products. Will you have an online presence, retail outlet etc.
– Financials in terms of pricing and costs associated with running your business is another big one. You need to have an understanding of how you’ll finance your business and maintain a healthy cash flow. Lack of cash-flow is one of the main reasons why businesses fail.
– Where and how would you operate your business? What help do you need to keep your doors open?
– How will you source your products and from what suppliers.
– You also need to cover the legalities of running a business. Will you run it as a self employed person, a limited company or partnership (if there were others involved), what insurance, certification do you need etc
– Some kind of risk analysis is needed to ensure that you are somewhat prepared if things go wrong. You can never be totally prepared though.
Research is key. As you are already running a market stall, I suspect that you may already have most of this information, you just need to write it down to clarify and crystallise your thoughts. There are no strict rules when writing a business plan – especially if you are not using it to seek funding from the banks or investors. As it’s for your own use, just write a plan that you can work with. You can start off with a one page document and then add more details as you do your research. There are also templates you could download from the Business Link site.
Baby products in the UK need to meet the European Union safety and quality standards. To be sure that your products are safe for children, you need to ensure that your suppliers also meet the UK standards. You can read more about the standards from the business link website. Access it via this link.
In addition, because your products are handcrafted, you need to ensure the product is safe and that you’ve taken every care to ensure that those that may pose some danger have clear signs advising parents of that.
I was a tutor on an online course “Be Your Own Boss Course” developed by University of East London and Mumsnet that you can also access to help with the planning.
Other helpful links are:
British Toy and Hobby Association
British Standards Group