I haven't really mentioned my small business in recent posts, save for mentioning that I was filing my tax return the other week. The reason for this has been that I haven't really been putting much time and effort into it, mainly due to new commitments such as the CS, but also because I've been thinking of winding it right down in the near future.
I've never really made big profits from it, it's been more of a hobby business than anything else, that kept me occupied when I spent so much time at home, but as I've got busier outside of the home, it has taken a toll on any profitability.
Christmas trading this year was way below what I normally manage, mainly due to the fact that I made some changes to what I sold that didn't really work out for the best, I spent a lot of time at the CS not really applying myself to the business and the fact that there is just more competition out there than when I first started. A steep and disappointing learning curve, that I just put down to experience for this year.
After procrastinating over my tax return yet again in January, I started thinking that I might close down the business by the end of the financial year, so that I didn't have the hassle of it, but I'm now thinking that I might continue with it a little longer, as I still have stock to sell, stationery to use up and I still need to file a tax return to voluntarily pay my National Insurance contributions each year, so maybe continuing isn't such a big deal and does have the bonus of bringing in a little money.
I'm not, however, spending much money on new stock, nor any longer printing and sending out business cards (a total waste of resources and money for me, as I don't even have a website) and I am generally trying to run the business super efficiently and cut out any waste, literal or financial. I'm still thinking about diversifying slightly, but haven't found the right products just yet.
One product I did diversify into has been selling quite steadily and is now bringing me in some profit, so I'm still looking for other opportunities. I do enjoy the challenge of it, but I don't think I'll ever make a million from it, put it that way.
I will probably continue doing most of my trading over the Christmas period and then just keep it ticking over the rest of the year, unless I find a particularly popular product to sell that sells well all year round. I'm happy enough with this arrangement for the time being and when I've got time and feel inspired, I like to try to find new products if I can find them at the right price.
The whole process of starting a small business has been an interesting and wholly positive one. It's not something that I ever thought I would have done, so I'm glad I did, as it has given me an understanding of lots of different things that I otherwise wouldn't have had. I was so scared at the beginning, but there wasn't really any reason to be, so long as I kept my spending in check and did what was required of me by law, such as filing my tax return and generally keeping my customers happy.
I'm not a big risk taker, so any business I do run will have to grow gradually as income allows. I'll keep you posted if things take off beyond my wildest dreams (I'm not sure they will), but for the moment, things are just plodding along nicely and if I make any money from and can reduce the stock that I am currently holding, then I am pretty happy, as it's not really costing me anything.
Who says that business has to be big to be worth anything anyway? I will always argue that it has been good for the experience that it has given me if nothing else, although I admit that I am speaking from the privileged position of not having to turn a great profit to live on. I do, however, have nothing but admiration for those people that do manage to do this, as it is definitely not as easy as one might think.