I started my current consulting business about 14 years ago. Since then, I have enjoyed the privilege of working with businesses and non-profits of about every kind. I been inspired by many of the passionate people who started those businesses. In that time, I've had several ideas for different businesses, but due to the time committed to consulting, they have all died on the vine. I just did not have the bandwidth to invest in these ideas in the way it takes to be successful. Well, now I have a business idea that I think I can start with an absolute minimum of commitment, at least to get it launched.
So, what is the big idea?
At this time, I am not ready to share the idea. It stems from an idea that I had several years ago ( like 10 years ), but not really the same. It's not so much a technology company, though technology will play a major role. The previous idea never got off the ground, really. There were too many pieces, and it became clear that I was going to need a lot more money than what I had planned. This time around, I plan to simplify tremendously.
I think it's enough to say that it's a consumer retail business. It'll be mostly online, though I hope I can get some product into retailers. For the most part, I plan to drop ship from the supplier. I'll purchase a small inventory for trunk sales and promotion. But the primary idea for this business is that it should be a side hustle, and mostly work without a lot of attention. I don't plan to quit consulting, but if I can make some money, while participating in an activity I love, then I'll consider it a success.
Then why even bring it up now?
The purpose of this post ( and hopefully subsequent posts ), is to document the process of launching this business. I was to expose some of the gory details of what it takes to launch this business. Since I am so early in the process, I think this is an adequate time to start recording my thoughts.
Where things are right now?
Well, not too far.
- I have a logo, thanks to my brother, Rick.
- I think I've found a supplier.
- I have a pretty good idea about how I want to market.
- I purchased a domain name, though the one I want is on back order.
That last one I am a bit bummed about. I actually owned the domain at one time, back when the original idea for this company was started. But after sitting on it for a couple of years and realizing it was never going to happen, I let the domain expire. I have relatively high hopes that I will be able to regain ownership of the domain. It's currently redirecting to some Asian language site, it appears to be spam, so I don't think it's very valuable to the current owner. Unfortunately, there is a chance they just purchased the domain in hopes of gouging whomever comes along that wants the domain. I wouldn't imagine it would be very desirable on the open market, but the cost to the current owner for holding out is not very high. I have a very limited amount I am willing to spend to get it, so if they aren't willing to negotiate, I may be out of luck.
For the record, I purchased a back order from GoDaddy, and I enlisted their brokerage service. My budget is only $200 + commission ( 20% ). If that doesn't get the domain name, I did purchase a backup, but it's not as good.
Normally, you should start a business by creating a business plan, marketing plan, spend a bunch of time with an attorney and an accountant. I'm not going to do that.
I am starting by setting up an account with the supplier and building the ecommerce platform. Partially because that is what I know best. Partially because I don't want to spend a bunch of money on the front-end.
Don't get me wrong, a retail business requires a fair amount of set up. I'll need to collect sales taxes, so there will certainly be plenty of work for legal and accounting.
My initial goal is to get this business off the ground January 1, 2020. And by "off the ground" I want to have the store online, and some inventory in hand. All of the legal and accounting stuff set up. I want to sell my first product on Jan 1.
I think that is enough for now. I will do my best to keep this blog updated, though I tend to be terrible about that. I want this blog to tell the story of the business, and maybe offer some assistance for other people who have an idea and want to start their business.