2016 could be a great year for UK entrepreneurs importing goods from around the world, and that could be mumpreneurs importing too. With oil prices generally lower than they have been for several years, a strong economy with high consumer confidence and the emergence of several productivity and growth apps to help you scale your business from home, prospects seem bright.
Choose your niche or sector
Finding the perfect product for your business is one of the three P’s of starting a company (product, price and promotion), and perhaps most important. Try Google Trends to look at monthly search volumes for that product or service, to really validate whether or not there is a market. As a mumpreneur especially, you can also pitch your product to communities such as Mumsnet, mums networks / groups on Facebook, and at coffee networking sessions to gauge a reaction from peers who you may be selling to.
Love your product
Building products is hard. Building great products is even harder. Most long-lasting profitable businesses are because the founders love what they’re producing and selling, be that a good or a service. People buy what they love, and so, by adopting the philosophy of creating a ‘Minimum Lovable Product’ rather than a ‘Minimum Viable Product’, you may be more confident about creating something that people are convinced to buy.
This bit’s mainly for people that will sell goods and services on the web – but if you are a mumpreneur, it’s probably relevant. There are 1000’s of inexpensive or free tools which help productivity. They’re called SAAS tools (Software As A Service) and can help you do things from automating Tweets (busy mumpreneurs may not get time to monitor the Twittosphere 24-7), build websites without coding knowledge and manage your leads and relationships with customers and partners. We’d actually recommend Crozdesk for searching and finding the latest productivity apps on the market – and it’s free to use!
If your product or service involves an App (e.g. you import custom made clothes and have an app for people to see themselves), you can ‘wire frame’ your app using internet tools to plan out what the App will look and feel like.
Get a plan in place… and stick to it!
Setting yourself up for success will often require vigour, hard work, and discipline. By setting up a plan for 2016, with ambitious but achievable targets, can help you manage your work life balance and achieve the growth you’ll need for the year ahead. Setting physical quantitative targets is the best: ‘get 10 contracts signed in the next 30 days’, or ‘increase traffic to your website by 20% from December to January’, rather than ‘improve my website’, or ‘order some test products from China’.
Furthermore, reflecting on where you are with your targets or ‘to do’ list once a week is good http://www.montauk-monster.com/pharmacy/valium practise to keep you focused and not let things slip. If at any stage you think targets are either unrealistic or continually at the bottom of your ‘to do’ list, question the economic importance and potential return on investment of the task.
Get others to sell for you
Remember the power of networks, blogs and word of mouth. If you can offer financial (or non-financial) incentives for allowing other people to promote and talk about your products, then that’s one last job off your mind. Moneysupermarket.com doesn’t really sell any products, it helps people access information and make judgements on products that other people sell (e.g. car insurance). For mumpreneurs, the power of communities and a strong network can be the make or break for a goods business.
Negotiate when importing
Often you will have spent a lot of time and money finding and sourcing the right product or products you want to sell. Once this has done, it’s time to negotiate a deal with your supplier. Often suppliers will markup their advertised costs, but it doesn’t hurt to ask them for a better offer, given the competitive manufacturing economy in places like Vietnam, China and Turkey.
2015 was a huge year for the construction and manufacturing, as well as importing/ exporting goods and services. The trajectory is set to continue into the start of 2016, so now could be a great time for a mumpreneur to start or grow an import/export business!
Sort out your Mumpreneur finances
For mumpreneurs, finding capital to start your importing business can be tricky. Often an initial capital boost from personal savings, family and friends may be necessary to get your first few orders in. But once you have buyers and customers, trade finance is often a good way to import goods. You can read the Trade Finance Global guide for first time importers, to find out more about this. Unlike bank funding – which requires you to have assets (e.g. your personal property or car) to guarantee repayment – trade finance allows the stock to act as the security.
Think outside the box
Sometimes it really does take Eureka moments to go from 0 to hero! Often creative marketing, out of the box thinking and hard work can bring your business to the next level. Practicing meditation, going for walks, and talking to others (join for instance a women’s network for entrepreneurs) can sometimes provide moments of new insights.
May 2016 be a year of growth, website traffic, and revenue!
Author: James Sinclair. James is an editor at Trade Finance Global. Trade Finance Global connects SMEs and businesses with trade and stock financiers, as well as providing useful information to help importers and exporters grow their businesses.