Wood workers have, since the very beginning, been profiting from their expertise at shaping and joining wood. From the earliest digging and chopping tools, up to the modern dining room set, man has found a way to profit from wood itself and his projects using wood. Will you be the next to join in this well honored tradition?
The first thing you need to know is, you have to have a plan of attack. This is not hard, it is just about answering a few questions.
1. Are you going to sell locally to the community where you live, or are you going to sell on line to the world? Maybe just the US ?,
2. What niche (a distinct segment of a market) are you going to sell in? Let me explain, a generalized market might be wooden gun racks. The niche of that market might be custom hardwood gun racks.
3. Is there a need or demand in the marketplace for the product you have chosen?
4. Can you compete with the other sellers in your niche and still turn enough of a profit to make it worth your while? Or is your product so unique that there is no competition.
5. If you are going to sell online, are you going to sell from your own web store, or from one of the other avenues such as eBay, Craigslist, Bid Cactus, and etc. etc.
6. How will you market your product? Do not freak out on this one … it does not have to be overwhelming!
7. How good of records do you really need to keep for tax purposes?
8. Do you need to limit your liability by becoming a company, LLC, or corporation?
9. If this product takes off like wild fire, are you going to be able to keep up?
10. Last but not least, do you have plans and diagrams for the projects you might want? Or do you like spending all your time working out the finer details.
OK, now you get the gist of what the rest of the article is about. So lets get started and answer some of our questions.
A1. Are you going to sell locally to the community where you live, or are you going to sell on line to the world?
This is a pretty easy question for you to answer. Really, you can do both, or one or the other. Plenty of people sell only out of their shop, home, or at flea markets and farmers markets. It just depends on what product you have chosen to sell. If you plan on selling large things like dinning room sets that are not easily shipped, try to stick to local markets and possibly introducing your brand to other local stores for them to resale. I have even sold items in stores that did not have enough room to showcase my work. This happened because I took the initiative and made a very nice order book for the perspective store and offered them a cut of twenty five percent. They liked the idea, as it was something they did not even have to stock and I would deliver it. I made the order book from a new family album with color pictures and explicit descriptions. I also included pull tabs with the item numbers, customer name, address, phone number, etc., one for each of us … you get the idea. Try to sell everywhere you can locally. Do not limit your prospective sales.
If your item is small enough to ship without it costing an arm and a leg, then you should really consider selling on the web. You need to figure out the weight of your item and check with the post office or whatever shipping company you may use, to get a price per item cost. Take the time to get the price on the US and globally. This will help you determine if you will sell world wide or in the states only.
A2. What niche (a distinct segment of a market) are you going to sell in?
This can be a lot harder than question one. Your market is woodworking products. Your niche is what you need to find. Try to think about what you would enjoy building or what you have already built and if it would sell. Use the search option on Google or your favorite browser to see if you have a winner or if you need to rethink things. Do not be afraid to ask friends, family, and neighbors what they think. A fresh outlook is always helpful. Just do not let it hurt your feelings. Criticism must be part of the process to grow a business of any kind.
Do not try to reinvent the wheel … make the wheel better instead. As an example, let's say that gun racks are selling pretty good in your area or on the web. And let's just say that none of the ones being sold had any felt on them to protect the weapon from being damaged. Well then, a felt lined one might be a pretty profitable business for you to be in, right!
A3. Is there a need or demand in the marketplace for the product you have chosen?
The answer to this is pretty straight forward. Locally you can just ask the stores if there is any call for the item in question. But please do not forget that there is something to be said for impulse buying. I would hate to count the number of times I have bought something just because it was there, and it was neat. Quite often you just know, because you see them in stores and they are selling. Also maybe the ones you do see in stores are of inferior quality.
As far as selling on the web, I would say research is king. It is easy to start with eBay and Craigslist. Just do a little research by getting on their site and peruse the categories to check the prices of what similar products are selling. This not only gives you info on price, but also quite often you will get ideas about what is hot and products you had not thought of.
A4. Can you compete with the other sellers in your niche and still turn enough of a profit to make it worth your while? Or is your product so unique that there is no competition.
Here is a neat tip. Get on eBay and do a search for whatever you're interested in selling, then hit advanced search. Just scroll down and click on completed listings, then go to the bottom and click search. These will be all the lists in the time period, both sold and unsold. This is a great way to gage your price limits and need. Please remember everything on there is not a new item. Also look at how many different sellers there are to compete with. All of this is relative to how unique, custom, expensive, and the quality of your product, compared to what is available. Research is key in both picking and pricing your item.
A5. If you are going to sell online, are you going to sell from your own web store, or from one of the other avenues such as eBay, Craigslist, Bid Cactus, and etc. etc.?
I would really suggest starting with eBay or one of the other ready made selling formats to get you started. After you have a little experience with eBay and other selling platforms I would suggest a web store of your own. You should start small and keep web store expenses down. You can always upgrade to a larger service plan later. I truly like like Daddy. They are both inexpensive and reliable. They even called me once to say that I should think about downgrading to a cheaper plan, since I was not even coming close to using my allotted storage space. Can you believe that? I tell you what … save me money and I am your friend for life! I will, for your convenience and information put a link on my web site for web hosting. They are always having some kind of deal or sale going on.
A6. How will you market your product? Do not freak out on this one … it does not have to be overwhelming!
Locally, word of mouth is the best. A bunch of your clients bragging about your products is the best thing that can happen to you. You will have to make your first customers really happy to achieve this. Low prices and quality products still go a long way. For those cheap customers offer a first time buyer discount to get them started. You can even offer a Plain Jane version of your product that is substantially cheaper. Hear is a cool idea that works well … offer a discount for the buyers willing to fill out an endorsement of you and your fine product. Get the idea, get a little creative. At first you are going to have to advertise though, simply because you have virtually no word of mouth. Business cards, flyers, ads in the local paper, and signs are all great ways to start. If you have children use them for the leg work. There has to be a reason you had them, Right!
If you are going to sell on the web, you need to get use to promoting wherever possible. This includes, but is not limited to, keywords for everything, article submissions, directory sites, face book, twitter, blogs, you tube, safe email submission sites, list building techniques, paid web advertising, and etc. Please, please do not get overwhelmed with this, just do one thing at a time. I am not going to bother explaining each of those things, as we want an article here … not a book. To get started on any one thing, just do a Google search for that item and start clicking away on links to gather information. Please join totally free plans at first, or you will be broke in no time. This all takes time, but keep after it and YOU WILL SEE RESULTS. It is all about traffic to your site and having the desired product for that traffic. Traffic and the right product equals sales. Everything else equals a money sucking hobby.
A7. How good of records do you really need to keep for tax purposes?
Keep records of everything you have purchased in actual receipts and copies of receipts in a file on your computer. Make backups for safety sake. I have, in the past, totally hosed myself on record keeping. Randy did finally learn though. Keep and categorize everything per items being sold. Hey, paying taxes is bad enough, do not pay more than your fare share because of poor record keeping. Use spreadsheet at first, its more than probably already on your computer.
A8. Do you need to limit your liability by becoming a company, LLC, or corporation?
After you get going on your business, and your starting to make a few sales, you'll need to think about this. You will need to protect yourself and loved ones from the public and the tax man. The only thing I can say without knowing you and your product is … Certain People Will Sue Over Anything and they make a fine living at it, I might add. So, please seek professional lawyerly advise! Not Me or Anyone Else on the web!
A9. If this product takes off like wild fire, are you going to be able to keep up?
You should be so lucky as to have this be a major concern, but it is good to plan ahead. Who do you know who is willing to work for you for little money at first? Are you willing to split profits, pay hourly, or pay by the piece? Lets see, personally I like piece work, both as an employee and as a worker. As a worker you can get good and fast at doing a repetitive task, and the faster you can produce, the more you make. As an employer, you simply do not have the employee who just shows up to collect a check. It is hard to find someone to start out on piece work, which is why you would usually start the worker out at minimum wage till they get their sea legs. You have to have allot of business for piece work to make it worth your employees while. Basically I am saying keep your options open and be willing to modify your pay plan as the need arises. Such as an increase in sales, or a drop off. Quite often when you first start out, you need to just pay someone that you think maybe work for awhile just to get you going.
If you get to busy and you can not easily expand, you need to consider outsourcing to a reputable company, that can handle the load. There certainly is nothing wrong with this, but you need to be able to maintain your quality levels at the levels your customers have come to expect.
A10. Last but not least, do you have plans and diagrams for the projects you might want? Or do you like spending all your time working out the finer details.
This is kind of a big deal with me. On the one hand, I like to draw on a computer. On the other, I do not want to draw every single thing that my company might consider selling. After all, its just an idea until you see proof that there is a market for any particular item you might consider selling. Also, I might get stumped on an idea for a niche, or I might feel the need for speed under a certain set of circumstances. If you do not have the time. ability, or desire to draw and design your own products, then you have to get some plans. Not just any free crappy old plan will do either. The plans need to be quality plans and lots of them, to be of any real use to you. You also must be able to easily change them to suit your needs and purposes. A video or pictures on how this son of a gun goes together might be of real service to you, huh. Have I peaked your interest yet? Are you ready to get started? Click the link and lets go!
Source by Randy U Wood