10 top tips to turn your great idea into cash

So you have a great idea… what next?

A GREAT IDEA is only the first step towards a successful market based business. There are many things you will need to consider before you can turn that great idea into a profitable enterprise. Markets are a highly competitive situation with many people, just like you, hoping to attract the attention – and business – of the passing crowd.  How can you maximise your chances of success? How will you make a profit? Below are 10 top tips to turn your great idea into cash.

1. DO YOUR RESEARCH

A little bit of research goes a long way.  Once you decide how far you are willing to travel, you’ll need to decide which markets you plan on targeting. Check out our directory. Then visit each market in situ to see what competition there is. Try and be objective and evaluate your competition in ALL it’s forms. How will you stand out? What will your unique point of difference be? Don’t forget to talk to the market organisers and see if there’s a waiting list, how to register, what their requirements are, as well as what costs may be involved.

2. TAKE TIME AND BE PREPARED

Nothing beats being well-organised. Assuming you are offering a product, or a range of products, you will need to consider how to store, transport and display them effectively. This is vitally important for many reasons. Of course you want to appear professional and trustworthy, but you will also want to make sure your products aren’t damaged before they are on display.

Have you considered what equipment and infrastructure you will need for your market stall? Depending on what you are offering for sale, you may need tables, stands,  clothing racks, or other types of displays. Every choice you make will leave an impression on the passing crowd. So choose wisely. Your stall is your shopfront, and a professional appearance will help you stand out from your competitors.

Don’t forget to protect yourself and your investment from the weather. Many market stall holders opt for a tent/gazebo, and if you plan on attending markets regularly, this is one item you shouldn’t be without. Not all are quality made, however, so it may be worthwhile to take note of what other stall holders are using. And don’t forget your tent will need to be secured and weighted. Shop around for a good deal, but don’t forget the old saying: ‘you get what you pay for’.

gazebo

A good quality tent or gazebo is essential to protect yourself and your investment from the weather

Protect yourself from litigation. Public liability insurance is essential for market stallholders. While some market organisers offer PLI for an additional fee, many will require you have your own. Avoid disappointment and be prepared. A great place to start is with your current insurance provider.

And finally, know your product. Be prepared for all sorts of questions. You’ll be negotiating with the general public, so anything can happen.

3. SIGNS, BANNERS & BUSINESS CARDS

Not every marketeer will benefit from point of sale promotional material, but  it never hurts to clearly identify who you are. Of course, if you plan on trading outside of market hours, or you have a website, making sure you’re potential customers can find you again could be vitally important. However, not all signs are created equal. If you are capable, you can design your own and have them printed either locally or via an online company like Vistaprint. Either way, you’ll want your signs and cards to reflect your brand and appear professional.

4. DISPLAY THE PRICE

People dislike having to ask for a price. You can use tags or stickers (as long as they are easy to remove). Don’t let that potential sale get away because they didn’t feel comfortable to ask for the price.

5. IS THE PRICE RIGHT?

There’s a lot to consider when deciding on a reasonable price for your item/s. If your items are handmade or unique, you will have to consider the costs and time involved in preparing them for sale, as well as a profit margin that will make it all worthwhile. However, most people are looking for a bargain, so there’s a fine line. If you are reselling an item, you should be aware what it might retail for online or in store, and be able to offer it at a competitive rate/discount. Again, you need to make a profit. There’s little point in going to all the effort unless you come home with some money in your pockets.

Also be prepared for haggling. Don’t accept the first price offered… negotiating is a skill and it does get easier with practice.

6. THE EARLY BIRD GETS THE BEST SPOT

Arrive early if you want your pick of the casual spots

First in, best dressed as they say. Regular stall holders will generally have a reserved position, with the rest being open to casuals. It sounds obvious, but if you are hoping for a prime location, you’ll need to arrive early.

7. HAVE A FLOAT

The size of your float (cash for change) all depends on what the value of the items you are selling. You’ll learn from experience, but a good rule of thumb is $100. Make sure you have a mix of notes and coins, and keep it secure, preferably on your person.

8.BE PATIENT AND POLITE

Greet your potential customers with a smile and let them know you are available to help, but don’t be pushy. Answers any questions politely. There’s no harm in trying to close a sale, but make sure you always act with integrity and ethics.

9. WINDING DOWN

As the markets begin to wind down for the day, you may wish to offer additional discounts, eg. buy a second item for 1/2 price. If you are offering perishable items, this will be particularly important.

10. GET TO KNOW THY NEIGHBOURS

Take a minute to introduce yourself to other stall holders. Most are friendly and happy to chat if they have the time and opportunity. You are likely to pick up some invaluable information and tips, and networking can be priceless.

Get to know your neighbours. Vanessa Brown (left) from It's Jam Packed.

BONUS TIP: GROW YOUR BUSINESS ONLINE

If you haven’t already done so, create a business page for yourself on facebook. It’s ridiculously easy and absolutely free. You may also like to consider a website or a blog. Whatever your online presence, you’ll need to actively maintain and promote it or you’ll be lost at sea.

For a limited time, we are giving small businesses and market stall holders like yourself the opportunity to register to be a featured stall holder. We’ll be featuring a stall holder each week on our blog, as well as on our rapidly growing facebook page. There are no costs involved, so register now and enjoy the benefits.

Got any comments? Any ideas to add? We’d love to hear from you.

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2 responses to “10 top tips to turn your great idea into cash

  1. strawberryshrapnel

    Brilliant information, so much of what one thinks is obvious, often isn’t.
    We are new to markets, in our genesis, and so a lot of this applies to us 🙂
    I really hope this site takes off and I shall post it on my facebook page.
    Keep up the good work! Jack

    • Thank you for your kind words. Being a newcomer stall holder myself (since July 2011), I have learned a few things the hard way, and for other things I have been fortunate to have the support of other market holders, who have offered some great advice – helping me avoid some of the mistakes. But I had to make a few myself!
      I guess my number one tip should be to talk to other stall holders. And when you become a seasoned pro, offer your support in turn.

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