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Advise needed for new mobile business

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carrie123

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Im wanting to set up my own mobile beauty business in September when I pass my beauty courses. Im just wanting to know the best way to start up – advertising/would I need an accountant/How much do you pay an accountant on average/Would you get a business loan to get all the products you need to get your business up and running etc..

Basically any advise would be much appreciated. xxx
 

weezie

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These questions all depend on your personal circumstances.

If you are not good with tax calculation you will need to get an accountant at the end of the tax year. It is your responsibility however to keep good records. Contact HM revenue and customs to register your self employed status and they will send you an information pack outlining the records you need to keep.
HM Revenue & Customs: Self Employed
You have to register with them and pay your national insurance through them.

I personally didn't take out a loan I saved up money while working in employment (two years in a salon) to pay for my start up. You can keep costs low I spent about £1000 to start up and then invested in better products and equipment as I started to earn more money. But if you don't have the cash you may need to take out a loan.

Word of mouth is the best advertising in my opinion. So tell everyone you know or meet what you do and hand out your price list. I think it is important for your price list to look special. Many clients have told me that my price list is the reason that most of the people who called me after being given one called me. They said it looked very professional and that they thought I worked for a large company. This is the front for your business as they do not have a shop window to look in.

Any advertising will depend on your budget. I have not needed to do any advertising as have all my clients through word of mouth but if I did I would only pay to advertise on local websites as these are aimed at your target audience. You could also ask local nurseries/schools/clubs/hairdressers to put one of your price lists on their notice-board.
 

Verve Designs

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Hi,

As Weezie said it all depends on your own personal circumstances- but from our experience of setting up two salons and now running a retails website there are a few things i've learned from, sometimes painful!, experience. Don't really want to give too much advice on accounting etc. Suffice to say- if you keep good personal records and accounts for the first year at least you should be OK.

1. Do a bit of research and see what your competion is doing/charging/where they are advertising themselves.

2. For the first few months try and avoid expensive advertising. We've tried radio, newspapers etc and found the return to be minimal.

3. Print up your own flyers on your PC. No-one's expecting a small business person like yourself to produce glossy literature. As long as you're introducting yourself to your local area and getting your name about- its half the battle. Get yer trainers on a Sunday morning and get round your local area! :D

4. Start with an introductory offer- word of mouth is great- but you need to create some business to get recommendations going!

5. Get yourself a website. You dont need anything too flashy- but its great to have something on which you post prices and refer to on your flyers- letterheads etc. I used Verve Designs for mine and they only charged a couple of hundred pounds.

Don't get delusions of grandeur, start small and ramp it up incrementally. A lot of business' fail in that 1st 12 months- and from experience its because people over-stretch themselves- don't let that dampen your ambitions though!
 

weezie

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3. Print up your own flyers on your PC. No-one's expecting a small business person like yourself to produce glossy literature. As long as you're introducting yourself to your local area and getting your name about- its half the battle. Get yer trainers on a Sunday morning and get round your local area! :D
I actually have different thoughts on this.

Just wanted to say that the only advertising as such that I spent money on was glossy price lists and they are the second reason, after the personal recommendation, that I get calls from friends of friends who are handed them. They say they called me because they thought I must be professional and successful. Some get the impression that I am part of a larger organisation which gives people confidence in my abilities. I didn't drop them door to door due to the cost and the fact that the most likely place for them to end up is in the bin. Instead I gave a few to different people I knew or people I got chatting to out and about and asked them to pass them on to friends and family that they thought would be interested.

For me I feel they are all a client has to judge your business by, plus your website, before they book you. Get this part right and the clients keep on coming. The client is inviting you into their home and a professional business card or price list gives the impression that you are offering a quality professional treatment. :D
 

sj1973

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I actually have different thoughts on this.

Just wanted to say that the only advertising as such that I spent money on was glossy price lists and they are the second reason, after the personal recommendation, that I get calls from friends of friends who are handed them. They say they called me because they thought I must be professional and successful. Some get the impression that I am part of a larger organisation which gives people confidence in my abilities. I didn't drop them door to door due to the cost and the fact that the most likely place for them to end up is in the bin. Instead I gave a few to different people I knew or people I got chatting to out and about and asked them to pass them on to friends and family that they thought would be interested.

For me I feel they are all a client has to judge your business by, plus your website, before they book you. Get this part right and the clients keep on coming. The client is inviting you into their home and a professional business card or price list gives the impression that you are offering a quality professional treatment. :D
did not think of it like that....i always thought door to door would be best and word of mouth....but having put your point accross hun...i can see where your coming from....thanks for sharing xx
 

Zingara

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Verve Designs

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Fair enough- but i didnt mean scribbled on some toilet roll with a biro! You can still get a decent result from home if you think about a design and choose some decent paper!

Plus it means a smaller business CAN go door-to-door as the cost isnt prohibitive. Spend some money on a pack of 250 A4 high gsm Card- print off a decent (simple) design, cut them in half and you've got 500 A5 leaflets to start you off.

It's a matter of percentages- handing them to friends and family is fine, and a good idea. However, don't expect anyone to promote your small business apart from yourself. It's a fallacy to think that they go immediately in the bin. If that was the case why would there be a multi-million pound industry based on direct marketing? If someone is having a treatment and a flyer drops through the door, and you're local and reasonably priced- well, you're half way there.
 

Blue Rose

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Maybe a lot of leaflets end up straight in the bin & don't get results because: a)the recipient has no interest in the product/service being offered and b) there isn't enough incentive for the individual to phone the business.

For instance I'm not a fan of takeaway pizza or Indian so those leaflets go straight in the recycling bin. Another leaflet may come round that sounds interesting, but all they're offering is 10% off your 1st purchase. Woopee do! Not enough reason to pick up the phone. The offer needs to be good enough to get people to think 'WOW, that's good, I must call them'.

The advantage of doing leaflets yourself is that you can test the waters by doing a small run. If you get a good response you can deliver more leaflets, if you get a poor response, you need to change your offer. I think as long as you choose nice paper and use a paper cutter & NOT scissors (nothing looks more naff & cheap) you should be ok.
 

hippy-chick

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good advice so far.

but shop around.
I pay £30 a year for my website but have to put the info in myself as its a template.

I get my stuff from vistaprint, I put monthly special offers on postcards and hand them out.

I've done 3 small postal drops and don't think I've got anything from it yet.

I did get 10 bookings on my open evening, and all of them have come back.

Start small and build up gradually.

when it comes to skincare range, realise that you can pay anything from £50-£5k. Start getting bits now but keep the receipts. Even if you don't declare yourself self-employed, you can submit receipts for a year before you do. so, if you see a nice pic, of such get them and keep those receipts seperate from your other receipts. I saw a lovely buddha pic in Home bargains for £2.99 today.

I also regularly pop into charity shops, you can get some nice pictures, bits of furniture, etc.
 

carrie123

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I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that took the time to reply and I really appreciate all your comments xxx
 

weezie

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Just wanted to say that clients give you clients so once you have one make sure they tell everyone they know about you. This is especially helpful when they have school age children as they all usually live in the same areas making it easier for you :hug:
 

Peter Bowen

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Good points here.

I'd also make sure that you collect as much information about every single client and prospect that you can. At the very least, name, mobile, email and postal addresses.

The most cost effective form of marketing for small business is generally direct marketing of some kind - you can only do this if you have someone to market to and your existing clients are great people to market to.

You can store this information on a computer program or just in a notebook for now.

We've set up an easy to use marketing system that works automatically in the background for salon, mobile or self employed operators - it does the marketing to the existing clients leaving time to focus on the work.

Cheers

Pete
 

hippy-chick

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Good points here.

store this information on a computer program or just in a notebook for now.

Pete
would that not involve data protection laws?
 

Verve Designs

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Interesting Peter but a Conact Management System is a bit OTT for a small mobile business.

But the key to building business is retention. Getting the clients is good but retaining them is where your business can grow.

The obvious way to retain a client is to go a good job and have them back, the other way is to market yourselves to them.

Create offers to generate interest to lapsed clients, but as hippy-chick said have an eye on Data Protection, sending them a flyer through the post is about as much as i'd suggest you'd need do.

This information is really for larger organisations- but you need to consider the following-

The 8 Principles of Data Protection
Under the DPA, personal information must be:
• Fairly and lawfully processed
• Processed for specified purposes
• Adequate, relevant and not excessive
• Accurate, and where necessary, kept up to date
• Not kept for longer than is necessary
• Processed in line with the rights of the individual
• Kept secure
• Not transferred to countries outside the European Economic Area unless there is adequate protection for the information
 

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