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Old 09-03-2018, 12:07 PM   #1
Bugsy_Malone 666
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Default Starting your own VW related business?

So I have been working for the corporate machine for about 20 years as a facilities person, in the past 12 months I have been getting more and more frustrated with rude staff, we arent talking the general public, we are talking people who work for the same company and people who are unwilling to listen. Apparently you dont need all the wheels going in the same direction to achieve a goal, some days it grows a little tiresome.

So more recently I have been thinking about making some bits and pieces selling them within the VW realm as its what I've been part of for 20 years. Not exactly giving back to the community, but maybe finding a way to fill some gaps

I'd say hand made products, vehicle type accessories, only a few ideas at the moment, but enough to keep me busy if I had spare time if they were popular enough.

So I wondered how people start out? and in the case of coming up with a new idea thats popular quickly, how they managed it?

I guess I should say that initially I dont plan on it being my main goal in life is to run a business, I was thinking of doing my day job, then trying out a few things and doing it as a side business thing, which maybe once big enough and demanding enough, change what I do as my main job over and pack in my FM job.

Also I wondered separately what sort of things the VW community think is missing for stuff they want to buy, Sky hooks and rocking horse poo are not things that I am thinking I need in my product line due to supply availability
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Old 09-03-2018, 03:13 PM   #2
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First off, I think you have a good plan with regard to the way you intend to grow your business in a strategic way.

Ie, put your toe in the water, and only fully jump in when it has reached an ambient temperature

Most business I know that are successful, have been grown while maintaining a full, it part time job - nothing like having a steady income while you develop your product and gain experience in your chosen market.

If what you are doing is successful, then it will become obvious when the time has come that the regular job is just an irritant getting in the way of your business, and you can afford to totally sever those links and swim untethered, without the security of a salary.

As for what to make?

Who knows, that is down to market research - and you just started that, here today - with this thread

Good luck.
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Old 09-03-2018, 04:25 PM   #3
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it will become obvious when the time has come that the regular job is just an irritant getting in the way of your business
Pretty sure its an irritant in the first place

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As for what to make?

Who knows, that is down to market research - and you just started that, here today - with this thread

Good luck.
I have a couple of ideas of product, one which relies on my graphic design skills, another which is something I need to build one, do some testing before I go down the route of offering them for sale. The second idea would probably be a money earner if I can get it built to sell at the right price.

I suppose Market research is the hard part in some degree, I guess its trying to find stuff that people might want but just isnt made yet, but also falls into the potential manufacturing methods of my other 2 product ideas

So for example I think a gap in the market that I see super regular is beetle gutter end repair panels just above the engine lid where it always rusts out, I see it all the time people looking for good shell cuts, however while I can metal work to fix my own cars, its certainly not a line of product I want to offer as its just not what I'm good at.

Something else that would be useful to understand is actually becoming a small business, eg like a limited company where you dont have to make any money and stuff like that. I guess I am thinking of keeping it fairly casual, but want the option to expand and create an empire of awesome vw stuff. I think if I was making VW key rings, people never get tired of those or just anything with VW on it according to what I see people buying at Santa pod
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Old 09-03-2018, 04:44 PM   #4
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Try a few test batches of bits on ebay? You won't get better market exposure for the £ it costs.

It will take a while to find that niche but at least you have the interest in the vdubs anyway.

Good luck.
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Old 09-03-2018, 04:48 PM   #5
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After 12 years working for someone that didn't really appreciate me I started my own business insurance brokerage 6 months ago.

You need to be confident in the product(s) or service before really jumping ship. Even as a part time tester business you should put a business plan together. Something on a sheet of A4 will be enough. Its easier to expand on your initial idea for setting up that try to remember why you started.

Get support in all its forms from people you trust. Paul who runs the main financial advice company here has been amazing. My wife and ex colleagues have all been great too.

Research your competitors. Look through their products, how they manufacture, how they market themselves and can you improve on it.
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Old 09-03-2018, 07:34 PM   #6
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Something else that would be useful to understand is actually becoming a small business, eg like a limited company where you dont have to make any money and stuff like that. I guess I am thinking of keeping it fairly casual, but want the option to expand and create an empire of awesome vw stuff.
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Try a few test batches of bits on ebay? You won't get better market exposure for the £ it costs.

It will take a while to find that niche but at least you have the interest in the vdubs anyway.

Good luck.

Everyone has the option to fill in a self assessment tax form, so I guess in the early days while still having a PAYE salary, you can simply fill in the 'additional income' box, fess up to your profits and pay the tax like that.

Marketing through eBay would give you the best possible product exposure, but just as importantly give you a head start with making a balance sheet to work from with regard sales etc.
Book keeping is a simple enough process to do yourself on a small 'part time' scale - keep track of your direct expenses, add in your incidental expenses, deduct that figure from your gross turnover (sales) then you have a nett profit liable to tax.
The most important thing is to keep accurate records, backed up with invoices, receipts, bank statements etc.

When you grow to the point when you feel you can stop being part time, then you will need a professional accountant. He will be best placed to advise you when and how to become VAT registered, and when and if to become limited company.

All just my personal opinion.
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Old 09-03-2018, 08:13 PM   #7
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If you're thinking of producing parts for the VW market, certainly fulfil a need. Whether that's due to rarity, or a problem solver or q high quality version of something commonly poorly made could be good.

I'd take Butty's Bits as an excellent example of how a business grew out of a problem solving high quality product that fulfilled a need. Simon's splitty accellerator linkage was one of his first products, think he made wheel spacers and lowering parts as he couldn't find what he wanted in quality and price....so he made his own.

Very part-time to start, attending/trading at VW events his reputation and that of his self made products spread and he quit his day job and runs his business full-time.

I started Royal County Auto Supply to provide high quality parts and accessories to the Aircooled market, namely Protech Shocks which were so good when I fitted them to my lowered '71 bug I decided to sell them as I know they work.

Good luck with your venture.
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Old 10-03-2018, 10:47 AM   #8
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Mr Slug touched on it but my only advise is to let it grow organically, if it's a good idea it'll grow and you might even find yourself having to pull the reigns a bit as it takes off.

I've found that when you feel yourself constantly pushing a pea up a hill to get things off the ground it's usually because it's not going to happen. I'm lucky to have two successful businesses and both of them have taken off by themselves because they were either good ideas, or in good locations, etc, so they just needed guidance to become successes.

So many startups go through the hoop and land the owner in the shit because of misplaced confidence in the product or service and the notion that 'if I work hard enough and/or chuck enough money at it, anything's possible!' - bullshit, businesses don't succeed purely because the owner wants them to.

My worry with a VW (assuming internet based?) business is that it's a hugely saturated market, I would imagine the percentage of VW startups that go tits up is pretty high and really it's those that got in there early (i.e 15 years ago) that have the best chance of making money, coming up with something that hasn't already been done (and not because there's not enough of a market for it) is the key, and as said if there's a big enough demand for whatever it is you're doing then it'll take off by itself fairly rapidly.

All just my opinion by the way! Good luck with whatever it is you start up!

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Old 12-03-2018, 10:26 AM   #9
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Mr Slug touched on it but my only advise is to let it grow organically, if it's a good idea it'll grow and you might even find yourself having to pull the reigns a bit as it takes off.

I've found that when you feel yourself constantly pushing a pea up a hill to get things off the ground it's usually because it's not going to happen. I'm lucky to have two successful businesses and both of them have taken off by themselves because they were either good ideas, or in good locations, etc, so they just needed guidance to become successes.

So many startups go through the hoop and land the owner in the shit because of misplaced confidence in the product or service and the notion that 'if I work hard enough and/or chuck enough money at it, anything's possible!' - bullshit, businesses don't succeed purely because the owner wants them to.

My worry with a VW (assuming internet based?) business is that it's a hugely saturated market, I would imagine the percentage of VW startups that go tits up is pretty high and really it's those that got in there early (i.e 15 years ago) that have the best chance of making money, coming up with something that hasn't already been done (and not because there's not enough of a market for it) is the key, and as said if there's a big enough demand for whatever it is you're doing then it'll take off by itself fairly rapidly.

All just my opinion by the way! Good luck with whatever it is you start up!
Some excellent advice.
Pay attention to the details, Copyright design right etc, you must also know when to quit as I have seen a few people in trouble for just carrying on thinking it will be better next month!
Oh make sure no one can make a claim on your house vehicles etc if you do go under.
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Old 12-03-2018, 11:18 AM   #10
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Bugsy, if you could make OG quality steel wings at a reasonable price for bugs "this time next year you could be a millyonaire"!
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