I have been very busy since my last post! We've got a lot done! 'We' being my husband Niall, our eldest son Aran, myself and the builder. In the shop the walls have tongue and groove timber panelling, the floor is down and the electrics have been tidied up. All the timber work has one coat of primer as well, so now there is mostly painting to be done - which is my job! After that my husband is making the shop counter and some shelves and then we'll be ready for stock!!!!
Speaking of stock, I've spent the last couple of weeks pouring over catalogues picking out furniture and accessories to sell in the shop. This really is the fun bit!! So many beautiful pieces to ooh and aah over and praying that future customers will love them as much as you do!! I've put through some orders and they will hopefully be here (fingers crossed) by opening day - which is still to be decided!
Starting your own business is exciting and a little bit scary. It is not for the faint hearted. By nature you have got to be a risk taker even if (like me) you are starting a small venture with low risk. Starting a new retail venture, especially in these challenging times is not easy. But the worse thing that can happen is that it doesn't work and I have to close in a years time. A lot of people say this when you start a new business, however no one points out the flip side which is the best thing that can happen is that you will have enough customers and sales to make the business viable and that you will be extremely happy doing something you love! However, it is a chilling thought that a high percentage of new businesses close in their first year (gulp !). As Confucius said -
"Opening a shop is easy, keeping it open is an Art".
For me it's a risk I'm willing to take. I would rather try and not succeed than never try at all. But to ensure that my business has the best chance of success, I have done everything I can to prepare! In case any of you are thinking of starting your own business I thought I would note down a few of things that really helped me on my journey so far.
I would definitely buy at least one book that walks you through the process of starting your own business before you make the leap. I bought and read 'Starting your own business in Ireland' by Brian O'Kane, I thought it was excellent. Any good start your own business book will guide you through the basics eg sole trader v Limited company, tax, VAT etc. These books also pose questions that you may not have thought of before and really make you think and write down your strengths and weaknesses etc so that by the time you finish the book you should know a) if you are the right type of personality to start your own business and b) how to go about it.
As well as reading a few books, I also attended a 10 week start your own business course with my local enterprise board. Again, as with the books, I found the course invaluable for getting information specific to my area, general business advice and tips and it was really nice to meet with the twelve other people in the group every week who were in the same boat.
So, read the book, attend the course and do the business plan. The business plan is a MUST before you start a new business. Whether you're looking for finance or not, you must know your business inside out BEFORE you start! Having to commit all your thoughts, concepts, costs and figures on paper is the best way to figure out if your new business will work in real life.
You cannot know your sales (I'm talking retail here) before you open the door but what you can do is estimate your costs (quite accurately), then you can work out how much you need to break even and cover those costs. Even knowing what this figure needs to be will give you a good idea whether you can see your new business working or not. If you're convinced then you are well on your way to actually starting!!
At this business plan stage another thing I did was make up a Mood Board. I got a huge card and cut out images from magazines that fit the vision I had in my head. Colours, fonts, shapes, actual products you want to sell - anything can go on the mood board. Again I have found this to be an invaluable tool as I keep going back to it for inspiration. It also helps me stay focused when I'm ordering stock as I only buy items that 'fit' the style of my shop. It also helped me pick out colours and font for my logo design.
The following photos are all from my 2 mood boards so they're not the best quality as I was taking photos of cuttings from magazines but I thought it would give you a good idea of the feel of my new shop and what I'm hoping to create.
Mood Board 1
Mood Board 2
There will be a lot of French painted furniture . . .
. . . and some floral textiles - faded - of course!
some garden furniture and accessories . . .
. . . a lot of green-eyey, blue-ey greys . . .
and some French glass and ceramic ware . . .(love those glass shelves)
some more faded floral textiles . . .
some more painted furniture . . .
some metal furniture . . .
a little crystal . . .
and as the shop will be called . . .
La Vie en Rosesome beautiful roses . . . I cannot wait to open the doors!!
“Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” – Confucius