Does Your Hobby Have Business Potential?
Research by the Start Up Loans Company and YouGov in 2017 suggested that 28 percent of adults in the UK have considered turning their hobby into a business. With many workers having been furloughed and finding themselves with more free time to indulge their passions, that figure is likely to be far higher in 2020.
Thousands of people across the UK are making a success of businesses that began life as a hobby on the kitchen table, in the spare room, or in the garage or storage unit. So, how do you know if your hobby has business potential, and how can you give it the best chance of success?
Here are some pointers:
Are People Already Paying For Your Skills – Or Paying Compliments?
If you are an artist, a crafter, a cake decorator, a photographer, or a DIY enthusiast, do friends and family often say: “I would pay money for that – you should start selling.” You might brush away such praise, but if friends and family show an interest in your work then it is likely other people will too. And they may be happy to pay you for it.
Are you persistent?
No small business flourishes overnight. Sometimes, even those that do succeed do so after a couple of shifts and changes in what they provide and to who. You will need to be tenacious and flexible.
Have you done your market research?
Poor market research is one of the most common causes of failure in a new small business. It is very easy for an entrepreneur to be so excited by their idea or product that they assume everyone else will be too. But no matter how passionate you are, and how hard you market a product, if there aren’t enough end buyers your business will falter.
Are you a number cruncher – or do you know someone who is?
Entrepreneurs tend to be creative, so they have the vision to originate an engaging product and to design and market it. However, a cool head for figures and the ability to read spreadsheets, track data and to spot emerging trends or flaws in your business model is crucial. You don’t have to be a jack-of-all-trades yourself. But you should find someone who is the yin to your yang, whether this is a partner or a family member. It is very easy for a creative to get swept away with the excitement and the sheer hard work involved in the first few months of trading that they neglect to keep accurate record of sales figures and other key numbers. But sound data shows you where your strengths and weaknesses are.
Are you tech-savvy?
Even if your business is not tech-related, you are likely to want to use accounting apps and point-of-sale apps to run your business. These are user-friendly and don’t pose a stumbling block to most people, but if you don’t know your way around them, you should learn.
Are you focussed?
A successful business doesn’t have to be all things to all people. In fact, it is important to focus on delivering one key product or service well, before you branch out into other areas. If you have several strings to your bow as a hobbyist it is tempting to offer everything, But this can be exhausting and counter-productive.
Do you still feel enthused about turning your hobby into a business?
Starting a new business is challenging, but it can bring great rewards. And, if your business is based upon doing something you love, then it can bring real personal satisfaction too.
Find out more about how we support small businesses and traders here: