Why the fall is a great time to start a business
With the holiday season fast approaching, along with more calendar events than you can shake a stick at, the fall season is the perfect time to start a new business.
Last year, customers in the US spent 211.7 billion between November 1 and December 31 — an uptick of 3.5% versus 2021. In the US, around a quarter of all personal spending takes place during the Christmas/holiday shopping season, but the trend is true across most of the world. And that’s after we get through Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Black Friday/Cyber Monday — all key retail calendar events, especially in the US.
Think about what you’ve seen for yourself — malls and shopping centers packed with swathes of people clamoring over one another to get discounts — a burgeoning potential and eagerness to spend.
Let’s examine why starting your business in the fall ensures you will be primed to take advantage of the holiday shopping season.
Can I really get set up in time?
Starting a business online doesn’t take as long as you think. There are many ways to get started, with one of the best being to choose and register your website’s domain name. Then you can simply add the other tools you need, such as your hosting, which is also easy to set up. Services such as EasyWP can make the whole thing even easier, leaving your website ready in moments.
Consolidating your products by purchasing in one go has many benefits, but most of all, you can get your business off on the right foot because you can save money right from the start — if you go to the right place.
But first, you need to decide what type of business you want to start.
The best businesses to start during the holiday season
It’s always best if your business sells something that interests you and where your existing knowledge can add value. But this time of year brings added benefits that can help you. For example, commonly gifted items (sweet treats, cosmetics, experiences, and technology) are popular things to offer during the holiday season. Think about the kind of gifts you like to receive yourself, and you probably won’t be far off.
But we can narrow it down further by brainstorming items directly linked to Christmas or other winter holidays — think decorations, trees or menorah, cards, wrapping paper, and calendars for the new year. Or you can choose one of the other upcoming holidays (like New Year’s Eve) if Christmas doesn’t float your boat. The advantage of considering the winter holidays is that you know with certainty there’s a seasonal market for sales, which might remove the worry about potential demand.
Equally, seek out new trends for inspiration. TikTok and other social media might be helpful here. You might have seen the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt trend, where TikTok viewers discover products and buy them. The most common examples are make-up and skin-care products (which makes sense, as TikTokers can demonstrate them in the videos), but they can be almost anything. So-called ‘life hacks’ are also popular. Teeth whitening pen, anyone? Power Scrubber Brush? These and more products can become huge sellers during the holidays and after.
If selling products isn’t for you, you could take advantage of the upcoming seasonal events another way. Your time is worth money, and depending on what you do, it can be worth a lot of money. If you’re a specialist in something, you could promote or teach what you already do. Entertainment, catering, decorating, or party planning — to name but a few.
Now, you just have to focus on building a site and reaching your audience. But remember, for a business to have longevity, you should look further than the immediate future.
In other words, don’t be like Homer Simpson:
Do you have your idea now? Good. Now, let’s look at how you can put it into practice.
What kind of site do I need?
Using our two examples above — selling physical products or personal services — we’ll look at what this might mean in terms of a website.
The kind of business above (buying and selling products) is known as a reseller business. These can be fairly easy to set up, and with Namecheap, first-year domain, hosting, and security all come to scarcely more than the price of a coffee and a slice of holiday cake.
WooCommerce on WordPress is a common way to approach this. It’s an out-of-the-box solution that takes you through every part of setting up a store, piece by piece. This covers everything from checkout pages and store layout to setting shipping plans and payment methods.
Outside of the WooCommerce setup, there’s not too much to worry about. You’ll need to choose a theme that integrates well with WooCommerce, and then create listings for the products you want to sell. This will involve adding pictures and/or media to listings (people love to see what they’re buying), and creating some basic terms and conditions so customers know your process for returns. Don’t be put off by this — you can draw heavily on what you see on other sites, and especially at first, it will be a manual process anyway (where you speak to the customer directly), so you can feel your way through on a case-by-case basis.
And what would this business look like in reality? If you sell small, easily-mailed items, the day-to-day reality of having an online store could be as little as a few unintrusive boxes at first that you can tuck into a wardrobe and a few visits to the post office per week. The only time the commitment goes up from your side is if things are going well — a win-win situation.
Websites for this could be much simpler than above. You’ll probably want to feature a bit about yourself, explain what you’re selling, what experience you have, and why you’re looking to do it, as well as a table of your fees in relation to what you do. Don’t forget to pepper the pages with images, but don’t worry — you can use Namecheap’s Stencil to help create most of these (more on this below).
The advantage of this over reselling is you’ll need pages and less media, you won’t need to buy a lot of surplus stock that you may not sell, and you won’t need to implement a selling platform (which takes time and effort). Instead, you could take payments in person or install a simpler payment system on the website.
Progressing beyond a basic website
This is where Namecheap shines compared to other companies. Our services don’t end with you getting your website online. We’re here to support you every step of the way. After all, our mission is to help you make more online for less, no matter what business type you settle on.
You don’t need to be daunted by tasks that come later in the process or are ongoing as your business evolves — such as logo or graphic design. Our Visual tools help novices design logos and create graphics easily and for little or no cost. Logo Maker helps you narrow down thousands of options for your all-important identity in a simple click-through process, while Stencil will help you compose those functional graphics that can help you sell products or make your site look consistently great.
SEO and social media
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process that involves making your site more attractive to search engines. It can seem daunting and complex if you try to figure it all out yourself. But luckily, we have a tool that makes it easy. RelateSEO can help you find product gaps in search engine results that will allow your site to rank well, despite its newness. It also gives steps on how to improve and nurture your SEO. It’s currently free to try, so there’s no reason not to take full advantage. You should also check out our 101 guide to easy SEO as well.
And there are other tools waiting when your business is a bit further along. Later, you can use other Relate products to bolster your social media presence and even build your reputation by gaining positive reviews. We also have plenty of articles that will help you understand your audience on social media, or even generate content ideas easily. But these are all waiting for you, whenever you need them.
Once you have your website running, social in place, and a steady stream of customers thanks to immaculate SEO, you might have the occasional business question you need answering. Whether you should start a TikTok presence, how to use social media, or anything else, the Namecheap blog and Guru Guides are full of business tips and advice as you grow.
Getting the word out
Once you’ve finished your website, you’ll want people to find it quickly — especially because this season, time waits for no man.
RelateSEO and developing a social media presence are great for building your audience, but they both take time. For more immediate results, you might also want to consider Google or Microsoft ad platforms. These search-term-based platforms are great for getting your products in front of the exact people who are searching for them at the time. It has to be one of the most efficient types of advertising in history, and they’re accessible to anyone on a budget.
You should also encourage family and friends to share your new venture — or go back to more old-fashioned methods like fliers or business cards. Basically, try anything to make noise about your business.
And right from those first few customers, try to instill some kind of brand loyalty. This can start off as simply as placing a thank you card in their parcel promoting your business and offering them 10% off their next purchase. But, of course, you can develop this over time into mailing lists, newsletters, and even loyalty schemes.
But don’t worry about any of this yet! A good rule of thumb is to worry about tomorrow’s problems tomorrow. When you’re in it for the long haul, there’s always enough time for everything. Pace yourself, and make sure you allow yourself to enjoy each success as it arrives.
What are you waiting for?
With such a sumptuous season just around the corner, incredible prices in our Back to School sale, and the ability to get a WordPress site up and running in under a minute, the time is now! By getting everything with Namecheap, everything will integrate easily and save a lot of time. Plus, with all the know-how you need to get going and our human Customer Support available 24-7 to help, you’ll know you’ll always be able to ask for guidance.
Our Back to School Sale runs from September 5-11, 2023. Save big on all the elements you need to build your first website. If you’re looking after these dates, check out our latest promos.