• The Supplier Central is now part of Business Data Group

    I’m pleased to let you know that this website has now become part of the BDG family and will be brought together with our existing UK business community under the banner of UK Business Forums. You can read the full release here

    Whilst my colleagues and I are working through the technicalities of bringing the two communities together we have suspended new registrations to this site and I’d encourage you to register on UK Business Forums

    I look forward to getting to know you and your business,

    Richard ‘Ozzy’ Osborne
    Founder of UK Business Forums

Guide Back to Basics Chapter 2 - Checking the Foundations and Damp

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Think of us as a surveyor on the house you’re going to buy – there is a checklist of basics you want to put in place to ensure you want the property and it won’t fall down the minute you walk through the door. There’s also a list of features you’re going to need in place if you have ambition to expand your business in the future.

So what are the fundamentals that make the foundation of a good business?

· Business Name

This will set the tone for your business, how you present with it, and remember once you start to invest in company registration, building websites etc you don’t want to have to start again.

o Does it relate to your business? Or at least not detract from it. Your brand can be called a nonsense word, but you don’t want to be naming a pet food company “Big Giant Computers” for example

o Is the registered company name available?

o Is the URL available? What territories is it available in? remember in the event of Brexit the .eu URLs owned by British Business’ may be revoked, so don’t build a business plan based on that!

o Does anyone else have a similar URL? Slate.com estimate between 10%-20% of URLs are mistyped daily – you don’t want to be sending your potential users to someone else’s website. Also you don’t want to choose a URL too close to one of your competitors as you can be convicted of ‘Passing Off’.

· Core Product Set& Suppliers

Fortune favours the prepared. Before investing in goods or a business model, it is essential to research the market and make sure you are not wasting your time or energies. When people have no idea where to start

o Do you understand your product enough to set a realistic price point? A good rule of thumb here is ‘could you argue with a stranger about why they should buy it?’. Ask a friend to test you, if there are questions you can’t answer you should do more research

o Is what you are planning to sell profitable? Have you scoped out the competitive landscape? Especially if a big company with funds to outspend you or someone with a long history of doing this well. If you don’t know who or what products you are competing with then you aren’t ready to start!

o Does your product have longevity? Have you checked you are not jumping on a band wagon too late? Just because something is selling well in this month, doesn’t mean it will still be fashionable in 3 months. Think of fidget spinners!

o Is your product production reliable and safe? Have you met all the health and safety and legislative criteria for your target countries. This is particularly important in selling toys, electricals, clothing or white goods. The marketplaces are so hot on this now, you are likely to lose your selling account if you don’t ensure you are meeting the criteria.

o Do you know your supplier? Have you met them, or at least taken references on them? You can check the basics on any UK Business out at Companies House for free https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/ . If your supplier is in a different company you should always get a sample product (Even if you have to pay this is worth the small outlay), or if in China, use an Alibaba verified seller selection to limit your risk – click here. You can also visit trade shows such as Spring and Autumn Fair to meet the business’ and place orders, or simply use their ‘Exhibitor List’ to contact companies – they are unlikely to be able to pay to exhibit at these big events if they are rookies.

· Set-up and meeting demand

Much like building a house, a lot of what you set as the foundations you will be stuck with for a long time unless you want to spend again to re-set the roots. So, what are the key basics to getting set up?

o Do you want your own website? If yes, either choose someone reputable or start very simple with something scalable like a Shopify site. You can always build a simple site in something like Wordpress or Wix if you are looking for a non-transactional site. But Shopify is a very simple and cheap way (we’re talking 30mins and under £20) to get a transactional website quickly.

Although this means giving a % of each transaction - we’ve met lots of people who thought they needed to commission a website after being convinced by an individual developer and thought it needed to cost £1,000s, but in order to test your model at a minimum cost the lowest risk option is definitely to use one of the companies out there who can give you a quick start solution.

o Have you decided what Marketplaces you want to sell on, and have you registered an account? Especially amazon can be a laborious process to get approved and you have to decide if you want to be an Amazon FBA seller and then deciding if you want to automatically sell to EU countries. You should be fully aware of all the options before starting, and what stock levels you are allocating to which marketplaces. Our recommendation would be that it always worth having an eBay and Amazon account to see if you get buyers through those platforms. Then looking to expand to other marketplaces and territories where you see success.

Finally a key basic is being prepared for delivery. On any sales channel you need to meet the expectations you have set at the point of sale or your rankings and reputation will suffer as the orders start to come in. Remember 24 hour delivery means you need to have instant access to the goods and a method of delivery. Whether this just means knowing your post office open hours, or knowing you need to set aside an hour a day to check sales and prepare for shipping if you work full time – delivery is not something you can ‘wing it’ on.
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