Sunday, April 6, 2014

Starting A Small Business Part 2

Advertise.  Market.  Stay Sane.
I can't believe it has been over a year since I wrote Part 1
on this series, Starting Your Own Business.
Now where did I leave off.....

 What will you need to start your business?
You will need to spend a little money upfront.  Your gonna need stuff. 
You will need to address advertising and marketing.
 You will need to know the sane survival of running your business.

The first thing you address is your product.
What you are selling?  No matter if you are supplying a trade service,
public retail or manufacturing a product,
you have to supply the best quality and have the quantity.
You get what you pay for is so true in running a successful business.
Quality and quantity equals longevity.

I can only offer advice and experience on how all of the above determines my business.
Quality and quantity of my product.  Advertising and marketing.
And how I stay sane while running my business.....for the most part anyway!
I am in the wedding industry. I work from home.

 The first step.  Quality and Quantity
When I first started my wedding linen business I initially got a
bunch of samples from different suppliers.
I determined which was the best quality.
I then ordered just the very basics for my business.  For me I started with 600 chair covers.
As I started to get weddings and event bookings, I took that money and order more supplies.

Supplier's image

Initially I bought linens from US and Canadian suppliers.
Eventually I moved up to purchasing my linens from a large manufacturing company out of China.
I would track my shipment as it made it's it way from China to Canada.
I would then pick the order up in Toronto.
In time, my business grew.  It soon graduated from not only renting out linens,
 but selling linens to Venue's and other businesses in the wedding industry.
My orders got so big, I no longer could bring them back home in my truck from Toronto.
I eventually had to get a transportation trucking company to bring them to my storage building.
This was at the height of my business career.  I lived on adrenaline.

Google images

Second Step.  Advertising and Marketing
 You have to let people know you are out there.
Now you have a few items ready for your business to start.
You are also armed with a great supplier.
Now you introduce your company.  Advertise.  Market.  Make money.

 Start slow.
So important.  If you are new at your business you want to get a feel for everything.
Get to know your clients.  Get to know your industry.  Get to know others in your industry.
Look at what is free to advertise.
In Canada, there are free ads in Kijiji.  Always does well for me.
Put a free ad in Craigslist.
Trade shows.  I always try to get a booth for free by networking with the trade show organizers.
I offer my linens, they give me a free both.
I ask the organizer of the trade show if they would consider giving me a free both,
if  I can supply linens for their bridal fashion shows.

Pinterest image

Network, network, network.
Network with other vendors in your industry.
With my business, I contact Venue's and caterers to combined our two services.
Help each other out.
I offer their business to my clients, and they offer my linens to theirs.
And I always offer a cut in the profits for them.
For example, the catering company offers a chair cover rental to their clients for $2ea,
I rent out the chair cover to the caterer for $1ea.  Only labour I do is the laundry of the chair cover.

But sometimes you have to caution who you approach,
because some vendors are very competitive.
This is why it is important to know who is who in the industry.

Pinterest image

Third Step.  World Wide Web
Doesn't get any more simpler.  Start a web page to display a visual of what you have to sell.
Start with a free website.  My business website is a Blogger site.
Have a place your clients can visit online.
95% of my clients are young bride and grooms.  They only know and do Internet.
And so must I.

Fourth Step.  Stay Sane.
Funny thing to say, but it is a big part of running your business - the sane survival of it!
Sadly, it is very realistic in running a business.  Burnout.  The brain goes faster than the body.
A tough lesson to learn. So many small business quit after a few short years.
 The really sad part about business that go under, is it leaves only the big businesses behind.
And they get bigger.  And they charge higher prices to the clients.

While there is no real advice I can offer on this, but run your business on your terms.
Know when to slow it down.  Know when to take a break.  Know when to step back.
I have been operating my linen business since 2005.
By 2010 I was already starting to think slowing down.
When the car accident happened in 2011, I stopped cold turkey.

Fast forward to 2014,  I started it up again.
But so much differently now.  Very different.

My business website

Slower.  I now offer DIY services and prices to my clients.
They get lower prices, and good quality products.
And I do less physical work.  Everyone is happy.

No more stressful clients.
After almost 10 years in the business I can spot a Bridezilla a mile away.
I tend to leave those ones to someone else.  Less stress on me.

Working from home however means long hours.
There is no time clock to punch in at 9:00am and out at 5:00pm.
Work always hovers around me, some evenings I am up til midnight working.

I want to mention that I sincerely love what I do.
I take great pride in what I have accomplished.
I am comfortable with my experience I have gained over the years.
And most important, the very best part of running my small business,
I am my own boss!

Let's stay connected, follow me on 


  1. That was very interesting to read and somehow comforting to know I'm not the only one up until midnight sometimes!

  2. Going slow was always a hard thing for me to do. I'm terribly impatient and I want my business to boom now

  3. If it did boom now I wouldn't know where to start .

  4. Wow - you are inspirational! I had no idea that this was what you did?

  5. You are such an inspiration! xo Jen