and Financing - Your new venture.
There are many topics and help with starting up covering most aspects, but I think not so much on the finance side of things.
Firstly I, myself started full time in the UK as a Sublimation Printer in the mid 90’s and at that time wasn’t able to get finance after my separation and subsequent divorce, but did find opportunities to get a small business grant, but even this was only a small amount of what I needed to start.
Grant v’s Loans. A grant is ‘free’ money providing to meet certainly criteria or rules, but a loan is money borrowed that must be paid back with interest. Grants are available but you do have to search for them. Loans may be even harder to get, depending on your personal situation. With Loan applications, more often, particularly in the UK you will be asked for your business plan and marketing report. One thing to bear in mind is that repayments may start in the first thirty days and every month after until paid including interest / costs incurred. So don’t spend All the money from the loan straight away, you may need some to make the first couple of repayments. Also to pay first couple months on utilities and rent of retail location etc and then buy the equipment and stock to need as outlined in the business plan and market report for assessed stock needs.
If deciding to jump straight in full time, then your own ‘wages’ to start with will also come from the loan, although many start part time, using a main job to cover households expenses until this venture begins to bring in a regular amount allowing you the choice of quitting the main job to this point. My advice at this stage is for the term ‘regular’ to mean six month plus, but you must also account for any seasonal discrepancies. ie the rise and fall of sales income, becoming making this leap to full time. However you can take a night shift job to make up any short fall in income as needed. This allows you the whole working day to spend on your new, now full time venture.
One thing I’ve noticed is more and even more people who have started in printing without the prior planning, is that these have also ventured into wholesale supply, but can only offer this by doing ‘buy-ins’ or also referred to as ‘pre-orders’. This means that they have not, in many cases any experience in this area, particularly with import duty / taxes, or freight / shipping or on dealing with foreign contact sources. Which can result in selling at low prices, but not enough to cover their personal expenses, wages for the time taken away from their regular printing venture. This is where the reported ‘scams’ are coming from. Now it’s not all bad or difficult and even with minimal experience providing the prior research is done correctly, including the market research to ensure the quantities and the product items being purchased. For example, I have seen cases of tumblers being purchased, but not researched correctly, and turns out they no good for the purpose of sublimation. Another main area noticed is people dealing with ‘middle-men’, sales people working for themselves in china doing the very same thing…. In that they are themselves buying from the sublimation companies, manufacturers marking-up and selling to these people who mark-up again to selling in the groups. The point is to deal with verified companies rather than buying from individuals located in china etc. This is not as easy as it may sound, because china individuals have realized this and give themselves a ‘business name’ and even perhaps a website. On this topic, and it’s not a new idea for them to have a US address and claim shipping from US (usually west coast) however look closely! Shipping is still taking four or more weeks from west coast. Obviously, meaning it’s really shipping from China. This is also seen on ebay, using US addresses to claim ’fast’ US shipping or ‘US business’. Even if using freight containers should be across the US with two weeks, if genuinely stocked in US. Of course if buying from China using freight (shipping containers) then not unusually for it to take four to six weeks, which can and does vary with ports shipping into and time customs take to clear the container for forwarding.