Whether you’re an artist making beautiful bespoke works or art, a craftsman who makes gorgeous handmade jewellery or an engineer who makes purpose built tech from their own home workshop, it’s easy to have your entrepreneurial ambitions scuppered by one minor inconvenience… Not having a physical premises.
There was a time when retail spaces were fairly affordable and easy to come by and raising the cash to secure them was fairly straightforward. A combination of economic misfortune and the steadily rising costs of retail premises have proven a real stumbling block for entrepreneurs eager to share their wares and their talents with prospective customers. Not only is the prohibitive cost of a high street presence becoming increasingly unattainable for all but the international corporate giants, securing funding for a small business is extremely challenging, with business lending stagnating below pre-crisis levels for years .
With just a little ingenuity, however, it’s a stumbling block that can be circumvented. The miracle of digital technology has made it easier than ever for sole traders to exhibit their creations and target potential customers without the need for a physical store.
High street stores may be cripplingly expensive but a stall in a mall, retail court, community centre or maker’s market presents very few expensive overheads and puts you in a prime position to find the right target market. All you need to do is set out your wares in an attractive and eye-catching way and be prepared to make the personal impression on your customers to keep them coming back. While you won’t need a store you’ll still need the infrastructure for making sales so we recommend checking out Tallysoft.com ’s range of Point of Sale (POS) Systems. You don’t want to be turning away willing customers because you can’t take credit cards.
eCommerce If setting out a kiosk doesn’t appeal to you, you could always consider an online store. eCommerce grows your reach exponentially , enabling people from all over the world to view and purchase your products. If this is the way you want to go, it’s important to choose the right platform for you.
WooCommerce it is easy to use and inexpensive but looks really professional. If you choose to setup a website on WordPress (more on that later) this is ideal.
Shopify is also simple to use while looking great, but it takes a hefty commission from your sales.
Magento is simple and affordable but difficult to customize without an extensive programming knowledge.
If you’re looking for a secure way to make payments, you should try Braintree, Balanced Payments or Stripe. In today’s market many online business from Netflix to Loot Crate are capitalizing on the inherent customer retention of online subscription services. If you want to create a subscription based service then CrateJoy can give you everything you need to get started.
Whatever you do, have an online presence
Whether you choose to sell your products online or not, it’s important to have an online presence. A polished and professional looking website describing your products and your business acumen is a great way to establish yourself as a legitimate business presence. If your budget won’t permit the overheads, however, then at the very least you should supplement this with a robust social media presence.