Competition is rife in the jewellery industry. You come across small shops, bespoke specialists and established exporters competing neck and neck for a piece of the market. Majority of these businesses are equipped with marketing plans and strategies designed to make them look unique and special to customers.
Despite the cutthroat competition, start-up entrepreneurs still hope to break into the jewellery and gemstone industry. This is is no surprise as the industry rakes in €148 billion globally each year with up to 6 percent year-over-year growth. Overall income from jewellery sales across the world is projected to increase to €250 billion by 2020.
With the right system, tools and approach in place, a jewellery business can be financially rewarding for start-up entrepreneurs. If the data above were any indicator, there is undoubtedly a substantial market for jewellery buyers across the world. But like any other investment, however, you must proceed with caution.
WHERE TO BEGIN
A good start can take you a long way. You may not be immune to tough competition or market fluctuations, but starting right will allow you to adjust your sails when circumstances call for it.
Have you considered launching a jewellery business but are not sure how to go about it? Below is a list of tips to help you have a good start:
1. Create a Business Plan
A saying once goes "those who fail to plan, plan to fail." Any undertaking that requires a fair amount of risks should be planned out properly. And launching a jewellery business is no exemption.
Some firms create comprehensive business plan with detailed statistics, graphs and supporting documents for the purpose of acquiring funding from investors. They need to understand where and how you will spend their money. Through a business plan, investors can decide whether a financially challenged start-up should be allowed to borrow capital.
You can pursue this route if you do not have enough budget to start a jewellery store. But what if capital is not an issue? Should you forego business planning and corresponding documentation?
If your plans are short-term, then go ahead. You might just wing it. But if you're hoping to build a long-term business, foregoing a business plan is a sure recipe for disaster.
Technicalities aside, a business plan is a set of guidelines for operating your business. It is essentially a road map that helps you see if your business is on the right track.
Most business plans contain 7 main sections, each with their respective components:
1. Company Overview (overview of business name and location, offerings, mission, vision and objectives)
2. Company Description (history, business goals, founders, purpose)
3. Products and Services (comprehensive description of your offerings)
4. Market Analysis (SWOT analysis)
5. Implementation Plan (funding sources, detailed implementation process, gemstone suppliers, hiring process, the staff you need, duration)
6. Organisational Chart/ Management Team (names of employees and graphical representation of organisation's structure)
7. Financial Plan (includes estimated budget, available budget, cashflow forecast)
While it looks technical from an onlooker's point of view, you have the discretion to do away with technicalities and create your own business plan. If you're not looking to get funding from banks and lending companies, there is no reason for you not to plan it your way. Do not forget to incorporate the 7 sections above, however.
2. Connect with Your Local Chamber of Commerce
The saying "no man is an island" has never been more real when it comes to starting a business. Through groups and practices, you learn about best practices in the industry. You also get to bechmark these practices and fine tune your business based on current standards.
To gain more exposure, expand your network and increase your business credibility, make sure to join a local chamber of commerce. This organisation offers solid support to businesses, especially small-medium enterprises.
A chamber of commerce is capable of providing resources and opportunities otherwise inaccessible to small businesses. For instance, they organise trade fairs, showrooms and conventions through which you can showcase your jewellery products and bespoke collections. Marketing of such events will be handled by the organisation, so there is no risk of neglecting your main business duties.
Another advantage of joining your local chamber of commerce is that they also provide free advice to start-ups. From time to time, you may consult chamber officers and fellow members for insider tips and recommendations. Access their library (if available) to obtain information that could prove valuable to your business.
3. Use Online Marketing Tools
You might be a start-up jewellery company, but that does not mean you have to limit your presence. Traditional marketing works well with small businesses that want to reach out to customers within their area of operations. However, expanding your market reach through the Internet is not only efficient but it only costs time and effort.
A number of your potential customers would be tech-savvy professionals who prefer quick and convenient transactions. With an online platform that facilitates easy shopping, you can win target customers from demographics you did not expect to reach.
Small businesses with sufficient budget set up ad campaigns to get more exposure online, though this is only an option. Some start-ups start paying ads only after their company has
The Internet is a treasure trove of free yet effective digital tools you can use to increase your store's competitive advantage. For instance, you can set up a business page on various social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram. These are all free and you have the leeway to market your products or services in a creative manner.
THE START IS HARD BUT IT WILL GET BETTER
Remember, every business has their fair share of birth pangs. Though the start will always be difficult, you alone can decide whether the risks are worth it.
Creating a system that works, moulding your brand identity, identifying feasible strategies, ensuring your budget does not run out, reducing the time you have to wait before your investment bears fruit – these are just some of the challenges you have to deal with at the start. Depending on market volatility and the strength of your competition, you might encounter more challenges down the road.
So here is a simple advice. If you must start a business, then at least start well.
Building a business is not rocket science. How you established your foundation will eventually affect your staying power. Take note of the tips above and day by day you will acquire a better understanding of what works and what does not. Eventually, you will have better control of your business and steer it in any direction you choose.