Before you start a jewellery business it is important to prepare just as you would before setting out to make a new piece.
To kick off Jewellery Business Week we’ve created a check list for your “business workbench” – the things you need to have thought about, gathered together or researched before you start.
Prepare for running your business as you would making a piece – gather your knowledge, tools and materials
Ask the hard questions
Just because you are thinking of starting a one-man band, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t think like a big business. A large company or one of the Dragon’s Den panel wouldn’t launch a new venture without having a clear plan and setting out their targets. So here are a few questions to consider – the answers will help you plan:
Why do you want to start your business?
You are about to embark on a lot of hard work, so be clear about why you are doing it. This is important for your motivation.
How much time do you want/are able to devote to your business?
Be realistic – 20 hour days, seven days a week is not practical. You need a work-life balance however much you love jewellery.
How much money do you need to make from the business? Again be realistic. If the business is to be a fulltime job, make sure your budget is realistic and that you will be able to pay the bills. Even if it is a part-time venture, you should make sure you replace any income you are giving up and value the time you give to the business.
Describe your business
Can you describe your business, what it does, what it stands for and who your customer is?
You need to have a very clear idea of what your business is and who it’s for before you finalise a name and decide on your branding. There’s no point in commissioning a logo and packaging in flurescent orange, if you are planning an eco-friendly business aimed at women over 40. (We’ll be talking more about these issues during the week – so check back with the blog each day).
For example, you may need to register as self-employed with HM Revenue and Customs and start paying National Insurance contributions. Or even if you a running your business around a job, you’ll need to complete self-assessment tax returns each year. HMRC has helpful guides to work out what you need to do.
If you are self-employed you will need to pay Class 2 National Insurance at the flat rate of £2.70 per week. By registering as self-employed with HMRC you automatically register for Class 2 NI.
As for insurance for your tools, for public liability and to check what types of insurance you need, have a look at insurance companies’ websites to see if they have a section for small businesses. Some, like Hiscox insurance, have guides on different types of insurance or blogs for small businesses. But even if a company has useful guidance, shop around and to get the best deal.
Invest in your business skills
You have invested in developing your jewellery making skills, so don’t neglect your business skills.
Making lovely jewellery is only one part of making your business a success. So write down a list of all the skills you need for the business and get training for the parts you are missing.
London Jewellery School runs lots of business courses designed specifically for jewellery makers and it is also worth checking out if there are any local enterprise organisations that will provide you with support and training.
And even when you do get training, don’t forget that seeking advice is still an important option. Find mentors and firends to share problems and questrions with and don’t always assume you can find the right answer without help.
You may be a one-man band but there is plenty of support out there for you.