Posted: Fri 5th Apr 2013
This is week six and the halfway point in my start-up journey, writes Philip (left). Part of me feels that I have accomplished a lot but I also feel that there is so much still to do. I am trying to enjoy this process as much as possible because I don't see the point of starting a business that causes me more stress than joy. I can honestly say that this is the most passionate I have been in a long time and I am learning so much about myself and about running a business.
Following on from last week's blog I want to give you a quick run-down of the remaining steps I'm taking to get Eatibbles ready for launch. I'm hoping that over the remaining six weeks of my challenge that my website will be up and running, that I will be selling Eatibbles granola at markets around London and that you will be able to buy it online! Who knows what else can be accomplished in this time but I am open to new opportunities. There's lots of work still to do, but I have to take one step at a time! So what other aspects of starting my business have I addressed?
An extremely important step for any new business is to create a brand that customers will want to buy from. It is, therefore, very important to protect your brand to stop others from using your name and image to sell their products. For my company, I am having a new logo designed and once this is complete I will be registering a trade mark to protect my brand. While anyone can start up a granola brand I believe that we have some very exciting differences from our competitors and we have our own story to tell that is difficult for anyone else to mimic. I hope that the extra protection provided by a trade mark will help to keep our brand unique.
For more information on registering your brand, visit the IPO website.
Some of the more boring aspects of starting a business include the legal and insurance obligations that you must adhere too. This can seem quite daunting but is actually much easier than you may imagine. For a food business like mine, I needed to let my local authority know that I will be manufacturing a food product and, therefore, must adhere to food safety standards. It's also important that you get insurance relevant for your business needs in order to protect you from any claims by customers relating to you or your product.
The internet has proved to be a great resource in helping with market research. It has allowed me to check out the competition, identify a niche market and understand more about the potential market size and opportunity. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter have allowed me to connect with many interesting and successful people. They've also given me the opportunity to build a bit of a following for the brand so that I have an audience to launch to. I can also see that web applications like Dropbox, Skype, Mailchimp, SurveyMonkey and HootSuite will all be extremely useful as I build my business.
As mentioned in previous posts, working 5-9 can be challenging. The reality is that I won't be able to do everything by myself for much longer. Ultimately, I'll need to build a strong team who can complement my skill set and who will bring strengths that I lack. I also feel that it will be important to outsource the production of my granola. Currently I produce everything myself, but in order to grow sales and demand for the brand, I'll need to find a partner who has experience in the food industry to produce the granola to my specification so that I can focus on the other aspects of the business. I've been in touch with a number of potential manufacturers recently, so watch this space for future news on this.
While today it is very possible to start a business with limited finance, it's important to have an understanding of the financial side of your business from the start. So far I've been learning a bit about profit and loss accounts, cashflow and break-even calculations. At the moment it all seems a bit complicated but I'm due to visit the bank this weekend to see what advice they have for a new business in terms of keeping control of costs and managing the finances. I've also been looking into options for funding the business. One opportunity is to use crowdfunding to bring in some much needed finance. I'm working on this currently and look forward to revealing more details in the next few weeks! That's everything for this week. Thanks for reading and remember - please do like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter! Philip :)
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