In the UK, it’s the second week of home schooling for most, and we’re (kind of!) starting to settle into a new normal, at least for the time being. If you watched the BBC news over the weekend, you might have seen a short feature highlighting some of the positives that have come from this very bizarre time. From the brilliant sense of community and the incredible kindness that has risen among the chaos, to the possibility of a baby boom in nine months (eek!), one of the things that jumped out was how some of the greatest entrepreneurial ideas often spring from the most difficult of circumstances – so will there be a new business boom alongside the babies?! This got us thinking… if you’re fit and healthy (we pray that you are) and you find yourself at home when you’d normally be out at work or doing the school and nursery runs, then maybe, just maybe, this crazy confinement will spark a light bulb idea. So here are a few ideas based on our experiences of how you might get things moving right now.
Start small. When we launched we did so with our one style of leggings in just four prints. We were still freelancing and working at the time and ran everything during evenings and weekends. We took each step without any real pressure until the time came for us to take the plunge to work on the business full time. This might not be the right approach for you - perhaps you’ll have lots of financial backing and can work on a new business exclusively, but if not, it’s entirely possible to take things slow.
Do your research. Whatever your idea, you will absolutely have to do this, and now is a great time to really think about everything you’ll need to find answers for. Below are a few of the areas you might need to consider:
a) Is your idea a new product?
- Will you be able to make it yourself or will you need to find a manufacturer?
- What kind of manufacturing are you looking for? Organic? Fair Trade? Ethical? Can you start putting feelers out to find the right one for you (many might now be closed, but you can still research)
- Will you want to protect it? Think about trademarks, copyrights and patents.
- Will there be safety implications? For example, will your product need to be fire tested? Find out what you might need and how much it might cost by check out testing and certification organisations like Bureau Veritas and Intertek.
b) Is your idea a service?
- What makes your service different to the competition?
- How will you reach your customers?
- Research new technologies and platforms as they might help you get a head start
Utilize social media! When we launched, Instagram wasn’t really the ‘thing’ it is now and although we have built an amazing following which we are eternally grateful for, we didn’t use it as our starting point. Had it been as big then, we probably would have done! Tricky algorithms aside, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube to name some of the most influential, are amazing free marketing channels that give you access to millions of contacts, potential followers and future customers. Think about the best way you can use these tools to communicate with them.
Think outside the box. People are rethinking the way they live and work at the moment so why not rethink the way you approach your idea? If the past couple of weeks has shown us anything with the countless online videos, lessons and services that have popped up, it’s that people will find a way! If you’ve had an idea for a while that’s felt impossible to get off the ground, maybe now is the time start an online version in a bid to find your customer base. Perhaps you’re a qualified personal trainer, a nutritionist, an artist or a cook and can offer virtual classes.
Don’t forget about the admin. If you’ve thought of your brand name, make sure no one else has it! You can do this very simply by running internet searches, but there are also databases out there that you can check like the National Business Register. You will also need to register the Domain Name – this is what will give you your website address or URL. Even if you don’t want to launch with a website (perhaps you never will) it’s still advisable to do this so that no one else can down the line. It’s a pretty inexpensive part of the whole process so well worth doing. Check out GoDaddy or Google other domain name websites for more info.
And finally. You will also need to register your business with Companies House or with HMRC depending on what type of business you want to set up. Check out https://www.gov.uk/set-up-business for a list of all the start-up admin you’ll need – this is far more thorough than anything from us!
We hope that helps. If you’re specifically looking to start a childrenswear brand, we wrote a blog with lots of useful tips a while ago. You can find it here.