Posted: Fri 29th Mar 2013
StartUp Saturday alumni Philip Crilly is sharing his progress with Enterprise Nation readers as he seeks to get his gluten-free food business launched in just 12 weeks. Here's week five, and Philip takes a look at the steps he's taken so far and explains why he's starting Eatibbles.
Over the next two weeks, I'll give you a run-down and summary of how the preparation of my business is going so that Eatibbles will be ready to be launched to the public, writes Philip (left). For some of you this may seem like a bit of a recap of my previous posts but hopefully it will give you an idea of what I am working towards with this challenge. Here are the steps I've taken so far to get Eatibbles off the ground...
1. Coming up with an idea
I've always liked the thought of having my own business but a huge barrier I've faced in the past was that I couldn't decide on an idea that I wanted to move forward with. The concept of Eatibbles came about when I thought about the customers who come into my pharmacy. As a pharmacist, I always want to provide high-quality, health-promoting products that customers will benefit from using. I realised that some of the gluten-free products I dispense don't meet this particular standard so thought this might present me with an opportunity to bring something new and better to the market. Does your job present you with any opportunities to do things differently or better?
2. Finding my niche
I've read a lot about the importance of being able to clearly define who your customers are when starting a new business. Defining your niche allows you to speak directly to those people who will benefit from using your product or service. I identified that the niche market for my product is people who suffer from coeliac disease and wheat intolerances. Alongside this, I could identify that the family members of those who suffer from coeliac disease may also be interested in my products, as would the many people throughout the UK who are health conscious and keen to stay fit and healthy. Are there any other niche markets you think could benefit from the products that Eatibbles makes? Or your own products?
3. Researching the market
"The more I find out about the market, the more concerned I am about how successful the brand will be. I'll need to become the market leader."
Market research is important in order to check whether the public will want to buy your product. To be honest, this is an area I am still working on. I find market research quite difficult because the more I find out about the market, the more concerned I am about how successful the brand will be. There are currently a number of other gluten-free brands in the UK; this is both a good and a bad thing. On the one hand it indicates that there is a market for these type of products but on the other, it means that I'll face a lot of competition so will really need to become the market leader in order to be successful. Have you any tips on how I could differentiate my brand from others already in the market?
4. Writing a business plan
A business plan is an essential guide that clearly defines what your business does, what the market is, how the business will operate, how you will finance the venture and who will help you grow and develop the concept. The StartUp Kit has a great template that explains everything you need to put into your business plan.
"I see my business plan as an evolving documentÂ - it's important to be open to new ideas along the way."
I see my business plan as an evolving document. What I mean by this is that as I find out more about the particular market I'm building a business in, my plans are often changing. I think this is how a business plan should be because I believe that while it is essential to have specific targets and aims to work towards, it is also important to be open to new ideas along the way that may strengthen the business and which you may not have been foreseen before. I found completing the Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Award entry form quite helpful when it came to completing my business plan. Are there any other sections you would include in a business plan?
5. Registering the company
Deciding what type of company you will become is the next step in any new business preparation. The options you have include becoming a sole trader, a limited company or a partnership. You will need to decide which type of company suits your needs best, but I felt that becoming a limited company was the right choice for me. Registering a limited company with Companies House also means you need to let the HMRC know about your business. You also have tax return obligations each year. While it may seem that there is a lot to do as a limited company, I felt that it would give the business credibility and would also give me some financial protection. What type of company would best suit your business needs? That's all for this week. I hope this has given you some insight into what I have been up to so far. Next week I'll continue with the preparation stages of my businesses before moving on to the big launch. Exciting times ahead! Thanks for reading, Philip :)
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