18 Dec 2018

How to start a mobile business

The end of the year is around the corner – maybe you’re feeling like you need to start on a fresh venture in the new year but you’re not sure what or how.  Maybe you should go mobile!  Here are a few tips on how to start a mobile business ……………

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How to start a mobile business: advice from the experts

The Guardian

“From food vans at music festivals to pop-up shops in town centres, mobile businesses are booming. The appeal for small business owners is clear, starting a pop-up business, rather than one with a permanent site, means overheads are reduced. But there are also challenges associated with this type of enterprise. For example, where should you set up your business? How do you make an impact in a short space of time? We held a live Q&A on the subject and a panel of experts answered your questions. Here’s a selection of their top tips:

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Where should you locate your business?
Pop-ups thrive on being visible, so should you go for the most popular area in a town centre or head somewhere with fewer competitors? Nikki Kitchen is the managing director of fashion marketing agency Purple Riot, and they curate a pop-up called Love Fashion: Manchester: “Location is absolutely key, especially for fashion pop-ups. We’ve tested a few very high footfall areas and we’ve been surprised with the results. Just because an area has high footfall doesn’t mean it’s the right footfall for your product so I would suggest researching your target audience thoroughly.”

Becky Jones, who heads up Pop Up Britain and freelances for Start Up Britain, said: “If you’re looking for a space for a destination concept (e.g. a yoga studio or anything pre-bookable) then you’re typically better off looking at less prominent units – you’ll get a much better deal.”

Elliot said competition from shops selling similar goods shouldn’t put you off a location: “Ignore the competition – you want to get your idea/product in front of as many people as you can in as short a time as possible. The busier the better in my eyes.”

How to stand out from the crowd
Nikki Kitchen advised businesses to get creative. “We encourage all of our designers to be as creative as possible with their stand space, and freebies and giveaways always help! A few of our designers have tied in with indie food brands to offer nice little touches like free cupcakes or branded sweets.”

Building your brand
If your business isn’t around permanently it can be challenging to build a brand. Nanette Rigg, founder of City Showcase, said: “Your brand is all about you. Great service, prompt and friendly. It is all about people: if you are great to work with and have a super work ethic and a great quality product, your brand will grow organically by word of mouth.”

Becky Jones said: “Successful pop-ups focus on creating a great experience for their customers. Can you add something interesting to their day? Try to create a few quirky social media moments that customers won’t be able to resist sharing with their followers. We tend to find that free food and drink works wonders.”

The best thing about running a pop-up?
Elliott said: “One of the key advantages of having a mobile business is being able to test your product without investing huge amounts in a permanent site. We certainly learned a huge amount about pizzas during our pop-ups. Also – you are usually more directly connected with your customers in a pop-up – so you can get more feedback.”

Becky Jones agreed: “Startups can test new markets, price structures and marketing tactics, hone visual merchandising and retail skills, grow their customer base and interact with existing online customers in the real world, and see live customer feedback on their products – all while making sales.”

For some of our other panellists, cost was the main reason they would recommend running a pop-up over a bricks and mortar venture.

Alan Donegan, founder of the Business Pop-Up School, said: “By working remotely and doing pop-up events you reduce your overheads. You can sell and make an initial profit without having to have an expensive store that you have to pay for every month.””