Starting Up A Business - A Guide For Newbies

Hi Vicky...great write up...I m looking for a bit of advice as I m almost ready to launch a brand of clothing I ve been working on and have my methods of marketing worked out etc...alot of that via social media....which leads me to my question of potential overseas sales...and taxation for selling goods abroad. Obviously my goods will be viewed from people overseas who arent my target market and wondered if they can buy from a(or my) uk e commerce website...and how export tax and post would be worked out.....or if its not possible from them to purchase from these sites( I m not bothered about selling abroad and confusing tax to be honest but its something I need to address before I kick off so any advice would be great). Thanks Niall
 
May 26, 2009
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Hi Vicky...great write up...I m looking for a bit of advice as I m almost ready to launch a brand of clothing I ve been working on and have my methods of marketing worked out etc...alot of that via social media....which leads me to my question of potential overseas sales...and taxation for selling goods abroad. Obviously my goods will be viewed from people overseas who arent my target market and wondered if they can buy from a(or my) uk e commerce website...and how export tax and post would be worked out.....or if its not possible from them to purchase from these sites( I m not bothered about selling abroad and confusing tax to be honest but its something I need to address before I kick off so any advice would be great). Thanks Niall

when you create your website or if selling on ebay you have a choice where in the world you want to sell. Anyone can view the website but you normally have a list of countries you wish to post to. Best thing would be to put a banner up on main page saying UK only if you don't want to sell outside of it, and tha way your not wasting customers time who might spent a great deal of time looking around only to find when they get to the shopping basket that you don't ship to their country.

I sell Mod/Skinhead clothing and also set up a brand label for Mod style shirts and I've sold all around the world from Argentina, Uruguay and Australia so you would be suprised at just how well Mod/Skinhead clothing does. Obviosuly depends what your selling but don't overlook the world. Only problem is dealing with returns/exchanges but it's far easier doing this off ebay and with your own ecommerce website and also far less costly than ebay whereby you would have to pay return costs.
 
wow, really great post. Thanks for sharing.
 
Thanks for that Dave.…yeah moved on from the mod clobber..…mx gear now. What's the crack with export tax when you sell abroad then or is that up to them at the other side.....and can you insert different postage prices for different continents in the settings on e commerce websites?
 
Jan 29, 2015
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Hi all,

I have written a few guides and posted them on TSC but I thought it was about time I collated all the info into one easy place. Here goes...........

What to sell

This is the million dollar question! Basically no one can sell you what to sell, you have to come up with that one on your own. The best piece of advice is to choose a niche that interests you and gets you excited. There is absolutely no point trying to sell something does doesn’t get your blood pumping and makes you jump out of bed in the morning raring to go! Once you have decided on the products you wish to sell then the next step is research........... and lots of it. Find as many people as possible that already sell the items and see how they go about it and find ways to improve on what they are doing. Remember being the cheapest does not always mean you are on the road to success, price is not everything! You can still be more expensive so long as you offer a good all round service, try and find a unique selling point that makes you stand out from the crowd.

The other piece of advice is don’t run before you can crawl. Start small and reinvest any profits you make into more stock. Gradually widen your product range but be careful not to overstretch yourself, cashflow is key!

Where do I get it from

Once you have decided on your chosen product range it is time to start souring. Your first big decision is do I get it from a UK wholesaler or do I go overseas? I shall set out some of the pro and cons for each avenue of sourcing...................

UK Wholesalers – There are still loads of wholesalers around the UK (although not as many as there used to be!) who will be willing to supply you but remember that you cant just walk in off the street and expect them to serve you. Many wish to preserve their lines of distribution by only selling to registered businesses and wont supply members of the public. To avoid being turned away make sure you go armed with information showing you are a legitimate business. Take headed notepaper, business cards, utility bill, company registration number or any other form of id you can come up with. I have compiled a large list of UK wholesalers that should help you find someone in your area - http://www.thewholesaleforums.co.uk...02257-list-uk-cash-and-carry-wholesalers.html. The downside of using UK wholesalers is that you may find the margins are not what you would expect and also that you might actually be competing against your own supplier as every man and his dog seems to sell on Ebay these days!

Overseas Suppliers – This mainly covers China as the vast majority of the worlds goods are made there but there are other countries worth looking at if needed. Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, India are all worth a look and even some European countries still have thriving manufacturing industries. It really depends on the type of product you are looking for. If the product you are trying to source is branded and you find a good looking Chinese supplier, STOP!! You will not get genuine branded products from China, they are pretty much all fake! If you do take the risk then fully expect your goods to be seized by customs or maybe not arrive at all. If a deal looks too good to be true then it probably is. Having said this there are plenty of legit suppliers out there it is just a case of researching the company to make sure you are happy with them. Start with sites like DHGate, Alibaba, Global Sources and see how you get on. If you are unsure about a particular company try posting their name on the forum and see if anyone has any experience of using them. For those of you with a little more cash in your pocket I would strongly advise getting on a plane and meeting some suppliers face to face. Read my guide here - http://www.thewholesaleforums.co.uk...191-guide-doing-business-face-face-china.html

Another very useful way of finding suppliers is to go to a trade exhibition and see what is on offer and try and talk to suppliers and build up a business relationship. Again go armed with info on your business and for gods sake, look professional! Too many times people come on our stand at trade shows looking like they just got out of bed and then wonder why they are not taken seriously. You are projecting an image of your business and if you look like you don’t care about your appearance then suppliers will presume you wont care about running a professional business either. If you cant make it to a trade fair then there are literally thousands of suppliers out there with websites that you can contact. I have compiled a list to make things a bit easier for you - http://www.thewholesaleforums.co.uk...ion/100067-large-list-suppliers-websites.html. One piece of advice I would give is not to email any potential suppliers as this can be easily ignored and most suppliers will pass you off as a time waster. If you are serious about purchasing from someone, send them a letter on headed notepaper, they are much more likely to take you seriously.

Where to sell it

Most people start with Ebay as it is the best way to get your goods seen by millions of people for relatively little money. Many people will moan about the fees (me included on occasion) but it really is a good place to start your business and gain experience in buying and selling. Ebay is very cut throat as everyone is trying to undercut each other, my advice would be not to worry about being the cheapest but instead concentrate on offering a good service and visually appealing listings. If you research the do and don’ts of Ebaying then you should be fine.

You can also try other sites like Amazon and Gumtree but depending on what you are selling you will probably find Ebay is still the best place to sell online.

Another option is to get out into the wide world and actually interact with fellow human beings. Car boot sales, indoor and out door markets and Christmas fairs can be great venues for selling goods. Research some local attractions and go along and find out about pitch costs and availability. Give it a go you might surprise yourself.

The next step is to aim at opening your own e-commerce site . Once you have established sales and built up a good customer base then it might be time to spread your wings. There are plenty of pros on the forum that can help you set up a site for relatively little money.

Registering your business, Tax & VAT

I have written a whole guide on this subject which you will find here - http://www.thewholesaleforums.co.uk...pany-registration-vat-tax-and-employment.html but the basics are this..............

When do I register with HMRC – Straight away. They used to give you 30 days to get registered but now you need to do it as close to your first days trading as possible otherwise you may incur a fine.

Will I have to pay tax? – Yes you will need to do an annual tax return each year and pay tax on any profit your company has earnt.

Do I need to register for VAT – No, not to begin with. You only register for tax once you have reached the £70,000 per year threshold. It is more hassle than its worth when you are first starting out so don’t let it worry you.

Book keeping

This can be the thing that confuses and troubles most start up businesses but once you become used to keeping records it becomes second nature. The most important thing is to keep EVERY receipt and bit of evidence that is pertinent to your business. If you pay for something, anything that is connected with your business then you can claim for it as an expense. When claiming for expenses you total them up for the year and deduct the total from your yearly profit thus paying less tax.

I have created a basic Excel spreadsheet for book keeping that should get you started - http://www.thewholesaleforums.co.uk...newbies-example-spreadsheet-you-download.html

This should cover most of the basics to get you started but if you have any specific questions then I am more than happy to try and answer them.

Vicky :)
Hi vicky. I'm just starting out andhave received some of orders from the US AND CHINA so I'm getting ready to set up soon!
I went on aliexpress last night and noticed even when I search wholesale that the prices were per unit??? Is this right or am I searching wrong? I'm
Used to seeing prices per packs?
Id be grateful for any help given!
 
May 22, 2008
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Aliexpress is not usually the best place for decent prices. Most of the advertisers on there are one man operations who when they receive your order, rush around the local markets to fulfil it. Aliexpress is really just a Chinese eBay!

You will find more true wholesalers on Alibaba, Global Sources, DHGate etc. But do your due diligence as there are many, many unreliable or down right criminal sellers out there.
 
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Jan 29, 2015
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Aliexpress is not usually the best place for decent prices. Most of the advertisers on there are one man operations who when they receive your order, rush around the local markets to fulfil it. Aliexpress is really just a Chinese eBay!

You will find more true wholesalers on Alibaba, Global Sources, DHGate etc. But do your due diligence as there are many, many unreliable or down right criminal sellers out there.
Thank you so much. It's like Aladdins cave trying to find descent people!
 
May 22, 2008
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Thank you so much. It's like Aladdins cave trying to find descent people!
It certainly is! One of our suppliers in China (who has turned out to be amazing!) for a specific product took us a year to find!
 
Jan 29, 2015
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It certainly is! One of our suppliers in China (who has turned out to be amazing!) for a specific product took us a year to find!
I can imagine!!
Another question while your hear! As I'm starting small is alibaba a good place to try if I'm not looking for min orders of 100-500. I'm looking for a min order of around 10 at the mo as I said before I'm just starting up and want to dip my toe in first before I go in all guns blazing!
Any advise would be amazing!
 
May 22, 2008
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Aliexpress is better for smaller quantities but you won't get the better prices if you're ordering small. Don't forget to account for import VAT and any duties. And avoid any well known branded goods from China at all costs - it will be fake!
 
Not importing personally but as a matter of interest what is the percentage for import tax?
 
Hi new to the forum, so its my first post, if im wanting to resell products on ebay, how am i suppost to register to a wholesaler if i dont have a website, or ebay account that has anyproof of renvenue? so at this point the only thing i would be able to prove of my business would be a VAT code?
 
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Thanks for the information; very informative... much appreciated
 
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Hi, Vicky

I'm new here, just wanted to ask some questions on accounts on EBay/PayPal.

1. On your EBay Accounts Spreadsheet 'Income' - does the gross amount mean without eBay, PayPal fees and postage?
2. Would using your spreadsheet be ok with HMRC for a basic soletrader?
3. When eBay sends you a invoice for eBay fees - would I put them on the expenditure sheet of the following month, see eBay sends them the following month?
4. Would just having a purchase and sales ledger be ok to run as a soletrader with HMRC, or do I need other documents - Balance Sheet etc?

I think that's about it for the moment, I would really appreciate your help. Thanks
 
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I find this bookkeeping advice very helpful. It's very hard to remember always to keep all of those receipts, but this is so important. Thanks for a great reminder!