What is a small scale business?
A small scale business is one that is run by one person, usually from home and doesn’t plan on world domination any time soon. (I added that last part myself.) As a mom, a small scale business is the right size to run while my children are young. I only have so much head-space and running a huge, or even mid-size, business with a baby on my hip is just not going to happen. (More power to the moms who do make it happen!)
I know many parents want to be home with their kids while they are young, or even travel full time with their kids, but still need to make money. Starting a small business that can be run locally, online or is location independent is the perfect way to make that happen.
How do you start a business?
Much of the beginning work is done in your head. Give yourself some time to think, alone if you can!
You need to figure out what kind of business to run of course, but even more than that you need to figure out what problem your business will solve.
If you don’t have an idea yet take my free course Find Your Passion. This course will walk you through some questions to ask yourself and things to think about as you decide on a type of business.
You can also find tons of ideas on the business ideas page, the posts 38 of the Best Small Scale Business Ideas for Women, The Best Small Scale Food Business Ideas or get inspired by all sorts of Mom business owners in the interview section.
RELATED POST: 9 Women Running Unique Small Businesses
It took me a while to settle in to a business. You can read more about my journey and some important questions to ask yourself in this post about starting a business.
Once you have an idea you will also need to decide on a name and tag line in the very beginning. Naming your small business can be a fun process if you keep an open mind and check out the fun (and free!) tool I recommend.
The tagline can be a bit more tricky since you want to let people know exactly what your business does and who it does it for. Take your time with this and try to get rid of any extra words so you tagline is short and to the point.
Logos and Graphics
You should work on creating a cohesive brand from the beginning. This doesn’t mean you need to spend a ton of money, but it does mean you should take time to get it right! There are many ways to create your own logo and graphics.
One of my very favorite resources is Canva. You can create everything from logos to ebook covers to social media graphics. The free version is enough to get started and if you find yourself using it a ton the monthly upgrade is only $12.95.
If you need more help with branding consider purchasing my e-course Brand Your Small Business. It walks you through all the steps above, plus creating a moodboard and how to use Canva.
The legal side of small business
There are different business registration requirements in different states. You will have to do a search for “How to register my small business in (insert your state here.)” Some counties and cities have requirements too, but you should be able to find that out through your Secretary of States office.
Another consideration is if you should become an LLC or Corporation. Donata Kalnenaite, Esq. wrote a great guest post about the different kinds of business structures. Before you decide for your own business check with a local tax expert to make sure you are doing what is best for your business type.
Marketing for your small scale business
A small business website is important for almost all business types. People want to be able to find out more about what you offer before they call or order. You can set up a simple website yourself, even if you have never built a website before.
Weebly makes it very simple to build a website. They have an easy to use drag and drop interface. There are upgrades galore, including building a store, integrating email marketing, and adding plugins. If you need some extra help in that department check out my course, Weebly Website in a Weekend!
For creative ways to market your business online and off, check out Small Business Marketing 101. It covers everything from reaching out to other businesses, creative ways to advertise and getting wholesale accounts set up.
Pricing your product
When you are just starting out, pricing can seem overwhelming. Whether you have created a product or are offering a service, pricing can make or break your business.
If you have a product to offer, I cover ways to set your retail and wholesale prices in Pricing for Profit. Make sure you are pricing with wholesale in mind, even if you don’t think you will be offering your product wholesale anytime soon. You never know when an opportunity will come along!
If you are offering a service, check out Packages Vs. Hourly Rates. This is geared towards Virtual Assistants but can help any service based business figure out pricing.
RELATED POST: 23 Business Ideas for Kids
The future of your small scale business
Your business needs to have a plan for the future. You don’t need to know all the answers now, but it is important to think about what you want to more towards.
Creating a Small Business Vision Board can help you focus on what is important to you and your business. I encourage you to set some time aside to create a visual representation of the future of your business. It is a creative way to set goals and inspire creativity.
You might be thinking about creating a Business Plan too. It is easy to get overwhelmed with writing a full business plan. There are graphs and projections and five year plans. A small scale business doesn’t necessarily need all of that.
A One Page Business Plan is perfect for a small business. It asks you to think about the most important questions but doesn’t require months of research. You can sign up at the bottom for access to a webinar where I walk you through all the steps and supply you with a template to fill out.
Small Business Resources
Small Business Administration – A government resource for small businesses. They have tons of information available for free!
SCORE – You can get a free business mentor from SCORE! I have worked with three and they have all been a wealth of knowledge.
Wave – Keep track of your financials with this free easy to use accounting software. You can even send invoices and get paid right through the software.
Toggl – If you need to keep track of time for clients this free software if perfect! You can just click one button and be done.
AirTable – the best online organizational software out there! I use this to create to-do lists, daily reminders, keep track of my editorial calendar, my Virtual Assistant clients and more.
Canva – Create your own logo, graphics, ads and more with this free online software.