Homebuilding, decorating, and interior design are all the rage these days. From Netflix shows to online groups dedicated to helping homeowners turn their houses into their dream homes, there is no shortage of people trying to turn their homes into the best they can be. Couple this trend with the pandemic, and 76 percent of Americans made at least one home improvement project during the COVID-19 crisis. There is no denying that as long as Pinterest exists, there is a market for home goods and other small businesses that cater to home improvement.
If you have a knack for building furniture pieces, you are uniquely positioned to take advantage of this trend. If you want to start a small business on the side, here are some tips for starting your own custom design furniture business.
Do your research
Wanting to start a small custom design furniture business is all well and good, but you need to start somewhere—and this means you need to start with a specific target. Find a specific niche and market base you want to cater to, and the materials you want to work with. A big part of building a business is creating your own brand identity, or in this case, what you want to be known for as a designer. Here are some questions you need to answer to be able to come up with goals:
- What type of furniture do you do best? What materials are you most comfortable with? Focus on this one product first while you’re starting, then you can expand to more types of pieces once you start seeing a profit.
- Do a thorough market analysis to check if there is a demand for the product in the first place. Identify your target demographic, their key needs, and distinguishing characteristics. Market research should also include an assessment of your competitors—the last thing you want is to offer a product that’s already readily available on Amazon or Craigslist. You want to create a furniture piece or product that only you can provide to ensure that you’re filling a gap in the market.
Find reliable suppliers
The next step is finding suppliers and partners who can help you build your business from the ground up. If you’ve been making furniture for a while, then you must already know some places where you can find the best types of materials to work with. But launching a start-up also includes finding other types of vendors, like shipping or delivery services that offer flatbed and freight hauling. Finding the right suppliers to partner with will help you come up with startup costs and a business plan to fund your business for the first few years.
Establish a business plan
Now that you have sufficient information on the furniture industry trends, your competitors, and a general idea about startup costs, now is the time to develop a more detailed business plan. Here are some things you need to include in the plan:
- How you plan to fund your startup, how you can sustain it for the first few years.
- Details on the product you want to sell and how you’re planning to sell it.
- Information on how you’re going to finance your startup costs because creditors and potential investors might want to have some idea of your financial projections.
- Your business’s organizational structure and management, should you plan to include more people.
Finance the business
Your preliminary research and business plan should help you understand how much you need to start your business. Itemizing your start-up costs is crucial because it will help you communicate well with potential partners, investors, and creditors. A proper forecast of your start-up expenses will help you prepare for what’s to come, especially since you also have tax ramifications to consider. When doing your budget, make sure to include side expenses like licensure and permit fees.
As for finding sources of funding, there are a variety of options that you can look into. You might have family and friends who would be interested in investing in your small furniture-making store, or you can also opt for a loan with institutions like the Small Business Administration (SBA) and local banks. Platforms like Kickstarter and GoFundMe are also worth looking into.
Helping people build the home of their dreams is always worth it, and if you have a talent for building people’s unique furniture piece ideas, then all the better. Don’t neglect your talent and see if it’s something that can help you turn a profit.