Owning a candle business is a lot of hard work, and not everyone is up to the task. The difficulty of learning how to start a candle business is compounded by the fact that most traditional business advice is inadequate and faulty.
To make sure that you don’t waste precious time and money on a business that will likely fail, I’m going to teach you how to start a candle business using the lean startup method. Using the lean startup method to start a candle-making business can save you money, time and lots of effort, on top of being a more effective business startup method.
Author Eric Reis first introduced us to the lean startup method, and he later expounded on the idea in his 2011 book, The Lean Startup Method.
Before I start explaining the lean startup method to you, I’ll explain the steps to the traditional startup method, as well as the flaws in the method.
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The traditional flawed business startup process
When you’re given the steps to the traditional business startup method, they usually look something like this:
- Identify a passion or skill set you can cash in on (in this case, I’m guessing it’s making candles).
- Write a candle business plan.
- Fund your business.
- Choose a location.
- Choose a structure.
- Decide on a business name.
- Form your business formally: register your business, get tax IDs, apply for licenses and permits, and open a business bank account.
- Ultimately fail because this method is flawed.
Reading these steps you can easily see why so many people are fooled into thinking they provide a logical and effective way to start their businesses. (All except for that eighth step, which is usually left out of most traditional business advice.)
These steps can give you the false impression that if you come equipped with a strong business plan and funding for your business, all you have to do is choose a good location for your store and the money will just flow in, with no further work required.
Sure, this method looks good on paper, but the reality is that things don’t work this way in the real world. Just because starting a business should ideally be easy doesn’t mean it is. As a matter of fact, it’s so hard that four out of five businesses that use the traditional startup method fail within a year of opening their doors. This isn’t because the owners of these businesses didn’t work hard enough, or weren’t smart enough to figure it out. Businesses that use the traditional startup method fail because it’s made up of three very flawed assumptions.
Assumption 1: You have deep and intimate knowledge of your market.
If you want to learn how to start a candle-making business, you probably haven’t mastered the industry or learned the ins and outs of the market.
It’s really not possible to start a candle business and immediately possess this knowledge. You’ve probably worked for other companies that sold candles, which is a great way to gain some experience and knowledge of the industry. However, while you gained some industry experience, starting a candle business yourself is a lot different than working in someone else’s.
One of the flawed assumptions that the traditional startup method makes is that you already have master-level knowledge and experience upon starting a candle business. Of course, this isn’t true! It takes decades to obtain that level of experience, knowledge, and skill, but the traditional startup method assumes that you have it all right from the beginning. It’s like starting a new video game for the first time on expert difficulty.
The lean startup method allows you to get experience in the industry and learn about owning a candle-making business before you open a store. When you learn about your business and the industry before you open your store, your business will be more successful.
Assumption 2: Your needs and wants are more important than your customers’ needs and wants.
No matter what your industry, every business’s goal is to make money. However, if your company doesn’t appear to care about the feedback your customers give you, or about what they want, there’s no way your business will be successful.
With the traditional startup method, you consider all the reasons that YOU want to start a candle-making business, when instead you should focus on why YOUR CUSTOMERS would buy your products.
If your advertisements are little more than pleas for customers to buy your candles, you have a poor marketing strategy that might give your new business a bad reputation.
With the lean startup method you’ll learn about the candle needs of your potential customers, as well as building relationships with them. Do they feel that they need a candle business that offers heavily scented candles with lots of essential oils and fragrance? Do people have a preference about the ingredients candles are made with, such as soy wax, a soy beeswax combination, or wax wicks? Which types of candles do they primarily buy?
The traditional startup method fails because it makes the illogical assumption that your needs as a business owner outweigh the demands that your customers and target market create. Conducting market research to understand the needs of your community is a major part of the lean startup method. Customer feedback is very helpful when you’re starting a candle business because with feedback you can design a business based on your customers and their needs. Conducting market research before starting a business gives your new business a fighting chance of surviving beyond its first year.
Assumption 3: You have unlimited cash to burn.
Everyone wishes that money was an infinitely renewable resource. Access to a never-ending supply of cash would ease a lot of the world’s suffering. However, even the richest people in the world must invest their money wisely. Indeed, all entrepreneurs take a financial risk at some point, but that doesn’t mean you should be reckless with your finances.
If you were to get started with a candle-making business using the traditional startup method, you’d acquire a brick-and-mortar store, candle-making equipment and supplies (like soy wax, a soy beeswax hybrid, wax wicks, a double boiler, and fancy essential oils), and a slew of employees to help run the business. The second flawed assumption of the traditional startup method is that you have access to vast reserves of money to cover the cost of starting a candle-making business.
It can cost between $9,500 and $78,000 to get started with a candle-making business. The average cost is $44,000. Some factors that play into the cost of starting a candle business include things like equipment, supplies, insurance, business licenses and permits, and business software. Because the average person couldn’t afford to replace $44,000 in the event that their business fails, it’s not reasonable to assume that every small business owner has that much expendable money.
You’re encouraged to get started immediately with the lean startup method, as well, but you’ll do so in much smaller increments. Rather than spending thousands of dollars in equipment, you could contract out the candle-making at first. Or you could get started with an Etsy shop and use that platform for selling candles online, rather than immediately opening a store. By implementing creative business solutions, your startup costs will drop drastically. You’ll also have the opportunity to test various types of candles, methods of selling candles, and your business’s brand before you commit to any significant financial risks.
There’s only one way to avoid becoming one of the failed businesses that use the traditional startup method, and that’s to use a different startup method: the lean startup method.
What is the lean startup method?
The lean startup is a term given to a specific process that entrepreneurs use to start a business. There are three core ideals behind the lean startup method: build, measure, and learn.
With the lean startup method means you’ll conduct tests constantly and fiddle with multiple ideas, perform market research, and get feedback to evaluate your business ideas.
Using this method you’ll dive right in and get started developing your candle-making business (using several small baby steps). If you were to use the traditional startup method you would create a business plan and commit to it before even starting selling candles. It’s important that you choose methods that are the easiest, cheapest, and most effective to produce your candles, as well as supplying candles that will make money.
During the first phase of the lean startup method, which is the build phase, you’ll identify a problem that affects a large segment of your target market, then develop a solution that satisfies those affected by it enough that they’ll happily pay for it.
Are there no other local candle-making businesses in your area, only retail stores selling candles? Are people having trouble finding a variety of candles? Do people want scented candles with specific scents, or candles made with specific materials, such as a soy beeswax combination or a fancy new wick?
The measure phase is second in the lean startup method, and you’ll test the solution you created in the first step during this phase. This allows you to find out whether your ideas and products are successful, or if they need more work.
Are your scented candles meeting the needs of your customers? What are your business’s best selling candles?
The learn phase is the last phase of the lean startup method. During this phase you solicit feedback from your customers about your candle business, the candles you’re selling, and about the customer experience.
Are all your candles selling well, or is it hard to sell some of the products on your line? Are there any candles or scents on your product line that people complain about? How do people feel about your brand?
This process helps you analyze your products and marketing strategy to find which products and tactics work. You won’t spend time or waste money focusing on ineffective products and marketing.
Why use the lean startup method?
If a salesperson wanted to sell you an expensive product that has an 80% chance of catastrophic malfunction within a year of purchase, would you buy it? This is the reality of the traditional startup method. Four out of every five businesses that use the traditional startup method will fail within a year of opening.
With the lean startup method you circumvent most of these issues for two reasons. The lean startup method motivates you to seek out cheap and efficient ways to make candles and sell them, resulting in low startup and production costs. You’ll also create a community of customers before your candle business even opens, making your business more successful in the long run.
If you use the traditional startup method to start a candle-making business, you take significant financial risks to get started, with high initial investment. You’re also expected to immediately make money and start selling candles the second you open your store, without ever conducting market research to find out what sort of candles your customers want to buy.
But if you learn how to start a business with the lean startup method, you’ll enjoy an automatic advantage over other companies because you’ll create a community of loyal clients devoted to your brand, who love your candles and scents. These customers form your target market for your candle business.
The lean startup method allows you to get started with your candle-making business using low-cost materials and candle-making methods, which will lead to low startup costs. The traditional startup method has higher startup costs because it assumes that most entrepreneurs have enough money to create a large-scale candle-making operation—but most small business owners just don’t.
Small business owners choose traditional startup methods because they’re either not aware of its shortcomings, or they’re under the false assumption that other business methods are less auspicious.
Truthfully, the lean startup method is so much more effective that you’ll enjoy business and financial advantages over business entities that use the traditional startup method.
How can I tell you so confidently that the lean startup method will work for you and your business? I’ve used the lean startup process to start five different businesses. I sold three of them successfully, and I still run two of the five businesses to this day. I’ve also helped thousands of people get started on the path to fulfilling their business dreams, and I can definitely teach you how to start your candle-making business using the lean startup method, as well!
How do you use the lean startup method to start your candle business?
Each time I start a new business, I use the lean startup method and complete the build, measure, and learn phases. Using the lean startup method to start your candle-making business, you’ll notice that it grows and thrives from the solid business foundations you’ve laid, rather than using a startup method steeped in false assumptions and outdated business advice.
The first phase in the lean startup method is the build phase. The main objective of this phase is brainstorming ideas about your candles, materials, and scents as you build your company. Some of the tasks involved in this phase include identifying a problem that many people have in common, creating a community for your candle-making business, exploring different solution opportunities, and developing a solution.
Step 1: Identify a problem
You can’t jump into developing a solution until you’ve identified a problem.
There are too many candle-making companies on the market selling scented candles already, and customers can’t afford to spend money on each company’s candles. It’s a far better marketing plan to think of a good reason people would want to buy your candles.
Finding this reason is tricky, however.
People who consistently experience a particular problem will desperately seek a solution to it. One of two things happens in this instance: either the customers will come up with a solution on their own, or they will pay someone to provide a solution for them. No matter what the problem is, ideally the answer should be something involving your candles.
As a small business owner who has decided to learn how to make candles, it’s not a good idea for you to sell the same candles and scents as other candle shops. Instead, you should find a problem that people have involving candles.
Do people want more online shopping options so that they can easily buy candles? Do they want specific scents in their scented candles? Are people dissatisfied with the quality of the materials that other candle makers are using (such as the wax, essential oils, or molds used to make candles)?
Talk to people in your area and learn about other candle makers. If people are seeking out a candle maker that provides large candles in various scents, that should be the basis of your brand.
Perform market research by asking people what they want from a candle maker, and what they would like to see in your online shop if you were to decide to sell candles.
Do they want scented candles in their favorite scents? Do they want candles made from organic or vegan materials, such as quality soy wax? How much do candles from other shops cost, and are customers satisfied with the price? Do people want to purchase their candles online, either through an e-commerce shop on a company website, or through online Facebook stores or Etsy shops?
Asking people about their shopping experiences is a great way to obtain the information you need. Consumers are usually more than happy to talk about their experiences for free—all you have to do is listen.
As a matter of fact, identifying a problem isn’t difficult. The hard part is choosing a problem to address because you’ll be presented with so many.
How do you choose which problem to focus on?
Most of the steps involved in the lean startup method come with clear instructions. Alas, there aren’t specific instructions for choosing a problem. Here are a few tips that should make it easier to choose a problem:
- Choose the problem that affects the most people. If it’s not bothering people, it’s not a problem, and if it’s not a problem, it won’t make for a good business idea. Are people having trouble finding a local business that sells quality candles? Does a competing store have a limited product line that doesn’t include the type of candles that customers want?
- Choose a problem that expresses a pain point. A “pain point” is a business term that describes the amount of pain or distress a problem causes. If people experience enough pain, they will seek a remedy. Is no one making candles in your area? Are customers disappointed with the candles sold in retail stores because they don’t come in fan-favorite scents, or because they’re low fragrance?
- Choose a problem you can easily solve with your business. If people want to choose from thousands of candles with different scents and long-lasting fragrance, that may not be something you can feasibly provide. However, you could do a monthly special where you introduce a new scent each month.
The key tasks to completing this step are to identify a problem that affects a lot of people, and to determine whether the problem affects people enough that they would pay you to provide a solution.
Step 2: Build a community
After identifying a problem, you must next create a community of people affected by the problem. Thanks to our technology-driven society, you can easily complete this step using various social media platforms. Create a Facebook group, Reddit forum, or an account on Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter.
When you create and build an online community using social media, you gain followers, create a pool of potential customers, have access to a platform where you can develop your brand, and provide a way to test out various marketing strategies. If you had used the traditional startup method to start your business, it would take you three steps to accomplish all of this. But with the lean startup method you can get it done in one simple step.
It’s a good idea to diversify your community to include both online and offline options. It’s easy to create offline community options by creating clubs or meetup groups that gather regularly at other small businesses. Offline communities have advantages over online communities, including the fact that customers typically favor face-to-face interactions because they’re more intimate and they feel like they’re really getting to know both you and your brand. It’s also far quicker to receive feedback in real time with customers face-to-face than waiting for online comments or survey results to roll in.
It’s also a good idea to check out local business groups. Consider visiting such groups, like your local Chamber of Commerce, because of the benefits that they can typically offer any small business owner.
Reasons to build a community:
- You’ll get more information about the problem you’ve identified in the first step, such as the number of people affected by the problem and the severity of the discomfort caused by the problem.
- Creating your community is an excellent way to develop your marketing strategies and your brand.
- Once you open your business, your online community will become potential customers already familiar with your brand and your candles due to your social media efforts.
- It will be easier to get funding and support to make your candles while your small business is in its infancy.
How to build a community:
- Start a Facebook group. You can stimulate growth by creating discussions about various types of candles, designs, colors, scents, different trends involving candles, various candle-making materials, the pros and cons of each type of wax, and DIY or tutorial videos to let other people learn how to make candles. To generate community growth you’ll need to consistently post, start discussions, and generally interact with community members.
- Create a Twitter account and use it to make interactive polls. Interactive media of this sort makes consumers feel like their voices are being heard. And it gives YOU free feedback from potential customers, and teaches you how consumers feel about different candles or scents.
- Create a community on Instagram by posting pictures of candles, videos for people who want to learn how to make candles, discussions about how to sell candles online, pictures and videos of the candles people are selling at local craft shows, and some of the materials you use to make your candles, like a double boiler, soy wax, and fragrance oils. Posting on Instagram builds a customer base, generates interest in your business, and develops your marketing early on.
- Network using your social media profiles. One of the best aspects of social media is connecting with other people, especially in business. You can reach out and meet other people who are making candles and selling them online, and small business owners in other industries. This is helpful because you’ll learn a lot of things about running a candle business, like making candles, creating a product line, developing your brand, creating a website to sell your candles from. Networking can also teach you tips about different types of business insurance, which supplies you should use, like quality soy wax and fragrance oils, and which scented candles are most popular.
When you create a community for your candle business, you’ll rally support for your company and brand, as well as gaining valuable customer feedback for free because consumers usually take advantage of platforms designed for them to share their opinions.
You won’t have to pry information from clients. They’ll tell you everything you want to know, such as their satisfaction with other companies, what fragrances they look for in scented candles, what candle designs they’d like to see, trends in candle making that they’re interested in, and what sort of atmosphere they would like in a candle store.
It’s important to complete this step before launching your line because the information is so vital to the creation of your company. It’s important to establish an online presence for your company as well, because this serves as free advertisement.
As your community members comment on your social media posts, interact with each other and your brand, and give positive online reviews, your community will steadily grow. And it will grow even more once consumers realize that your brand makes changes to its candles, candle-making techniques, and services at the request of your online community.
When your online community grows, your website and social media accounts will become visible to more people, leading to further growth.
Step 3: Identify a solution opportunity
Identifying a problem doesn’t solve it, unfortunately, so there’s still work to be done.
You’ve been not only learning how to start a candle business, but also conducting market research, as well as creating a community to talk to your clients online and familiarize them with your brand. Now it’s time to identify a solution opportunity.
It’s a good idea to start learning about your competition, too. Ask your community what types of candles they currently buy, what scents they seek out when they buy scented candles, which scents other companies don’t stock, and their feelings about other companies.
Ask about the products other companies sell. What sizes of candles do they offer? How much do their scented candles cost? How do consumers feel about the product line of your competitors? Is it easy to buy candles from their websites using a debit or credit card? Are their websites confusing or difficult to navigate?
Here are some other questions you should ask about your competition. What are the most popular candles in your top competitor’s line? What sort of supplies and wax are they using to make candles? How does the quality of their candles compare to yours? Is the cost of their candles more or less than yours, and if they’re more expensive are they worth the price?
The answers to these questions will help you come up with solution ideas.
Step 4: Develop a solution
During the fourth step, you’ll develop a solution that you can feasibly provide with your candles, one that meets the needs expressed by your community. Coming up with this solution shouldn’t be taken lightly or rushed. The right solution has to tick all the boxes to meet the needs of your target clientele, create a market demand for the candles your brand will eventually sell, and be a solution that your community feels so satisfied with that they would happily pay for it.
How to develop your solution:
- Carefully consider all the solution ideas you’ve formulated. If people have been voicing that they can’t find a particular type of candle, then that’s the first candle you should introduce in your product line. If people have said that they want a warm and inviting atmosphere when they enter a candle store, then that’s what you should center your brand around.
- Ask for feedback about your solution ideas. Because your clients are an essential part of your business, they need to be your focus. Determine whether they want to buy your candles and if your solution fits their needs. It’s important that your community agrees that the solution satisfactorily meets their needs. It’s a good idea to talk to other candle makers, and local small business owners, as well. They can help you determine whether your solution is feasible.
- Create and develop your MVP, or Minimum Viable Product. The MVP is a product or service that you can produce easily, will cost the least to produce, and provides you with the most profit.
You’ll know that the solution you’ve chosen is right when it adequately solves the problem you identified in the first step, requires the lowest production cost, and can be easily delivered. It’s important that you develop your MVP because it will reduce the cost of candle production. Your company will flourish without being weighed down by unnecessarily high production costs and the financial burdens typically imposed by the traditional startup method.
The second phase of the lean startup method is the measure phase. I mean “measure” in the scientific sense of the word, so think of it as an “experiment” or “test.” During this phase you’ll perform tests to determine if your solution realistically applies to the problem.
Step 5: Test your MVP
Now that you’ve identified a problem, developed a solution to the problem, asked your community about whether they like your solution idea and developed your brand’s MVP, it’s time to test your MVP.
The lean startup method relies heavily on experimentation, and you’ll frequently perform tests on your candles and various parts of your company throughout the life of your business, so you should get acquainted with this process early on.
There are a lot of factors to consider when you create your MVP, like which candle-making supplies to use (such as soy wax or other types of wax), the sizes of your candles, a marketing plan, shipping costs if you choose to sell candles from your website, and what sort of insurance you need to make and distribute your candles.
One of the best aspects of the lean startup method is that it allows room for failure. If any part of your business doesn’t work—whether it’s something to do with the candle-making supplies or wax you use, or your marketing—you can just scrap those ideas or methods and start the process over again. This allows you to focus your energy and finances on successful strategies and products rather than ideas and products that fail.
Testing the MVP is scary to most new entrepreneurs, but it’s an important step for both you and your business. Think about it. If you were a loan officer, would you be more likely to give funding to an entrepreneur who came in with only a business plan and a hope that their business would succeed, with no market testing or proof, or an entrepreneur with a stellar business plan, a community of potential clients, extensive market research, a developed marketing strategy and proof that people will buy their product? It’s a no-brainer. Of course most financial institutions would favor the tested business rather than taking a risk on an unproven business concept.
It’s quite easy to test your MVP, and it’s a big component of the lean startup method. It can also serve as free advertisement for your company.
One of the quickest and simplest ways to test your MVP is to give out free candle samples. This is a step that many candle makers skip. Set up a table at a local farmer’s market, flea market, gift shops, craft fairs, local events or festivals, or shopping malls. Get feedback about your candle products to find out how consumers feel about them.
Come prepared with a variety of candle colors and scents in free sample sizes.
You should ask a number of questions about your free candle samples. Do customers appreciate the candle quality? Are they satisfied with the type of candle wax you’re using? Do clients like your colors and scents? Did customers ask if you would sell your candles in upcoming craft shows or on your website?
You’ll know this test was successful if people ask for the website where you’ll sell your candles in the future. You’ve chosen a viable solution option if a number of people inquire about more candle sales. People usually show up in droves for free samples, so if they don’t want your free candle samples, something is wrong, and you should go back to the drawing board.
Step 6: Sell your MVP
You’ve now tested your MVP and learned about the industry and your potential clients in the process. Now it’s time to sell some candle products. However, it’s much different to sell a candle using the lean startup method, and it’s definitely a far cry from selling candles in the quaint candle store you’ve fantasized about. Don’t expect to sell any top-of-the-line designer candles at this stage.
This is the last step you need to complete before you obtain customer feedback to improve your services and create your business plan. It’s important because it gives you an advantage over competing companies that started with the traditional startup method. After you’ve tested and sold your MVP candle product, you’ve proven that your business will be successful.
Once you’ve established a proper candle store, the way you sell your products will change. However, because you’ve completed the previous step, you already know which candle in your line is most popular, you just need to find a good spot to set up shop and sell your MVP.
You could rent space at a local flea market, craft fair, art festival, farmer’s market, or nearly any type of event open to vendors. It’s also possible to set up a permanent stand or kiosk, but you have to find a good location first. If you’ve chosen to sell your most popular candle at a stand or table for a one-time event, you should be able to get quite a few sales. A permanent kiosk is not only a good way to get sales but also to get repeat customers and build up a group of loyal clients who love your candle products. These loyal clients will tell people about your company, and you’ll notice more candle sales because of it.
Another method for selling your products is through online distribution. You can set up a website with an e-commerce store, or let another website, such as Etsy, handle your sales. Etsy is the preferred website for many craft makers selling products online. No matter which option you choose, selling your candles online means that customers can use a debit or credit card to make their purchases and have your products shipped to them conveniently.
Selling your MVP is important when you’re learning how to run a candle business. It gives you the chance to determine how difficult it is to get sales with your products, learn which candle in your line is most popular, develop your brand, and start building a group of clients who love your products.
The final stage of the lean startup method is the learn phase. This step involves getting feedback about your products and your business to use the information for improving and growing your business. It will also improve your customer satisfaction levels, which is always good business practice.
Step 7: Get feedback on your product idea
Each of the previous six steps has helped you build your business up. During this step, you’ll ask for feedback from your clients about your business and your products.
Here are some tips on how to get feedback and use it for business growth:
- Ask which of your products are your customers’ favorites, what they like best about your company, which products offered by competitors that they like better, and about products that they would like to see in the future.
- Carefully consider the information that your clients give you. How is your brand’s reputation? Are people satisfied with the experience they’ve had with your company and its representatives? Are there any products they don’t like? Are they satisfied with the supplies that you use to make your candles (such as wax)? Are there colors that your clients prefer? What is the most popular product in your line?
- Use the feedback that clients have given you to make feedback-inspired changes to your business. This way, you customize your business to meet the desires of your community. When you create a business whose products, brand, and marketing are aimed at increasing client satisfaction levels, you’ll establish a good reputation, leading to more business success for you.
This step uses the community you’ve created in previous steps. You can now gain feedback through your social media accounts and your website. Get creative and design polls on Twitter or Reddit, create a survey to display on your company website, and ask for customer opinions on Instagram and Facebook. Online reviews typically provide a wealth of information, as well, which you can use to improve your products or services.
Take this information and analyze it to find what you can change. After you understand the desires of your customers, you can begin making changes to your products and your company.
You should also pay attention to the advertising efforts of your competitors. Every time a competing business launches a sale or uses a new marketing tactic, this is an attempt to solve a problem that your community is currently experiencing. You can use what you learn from their marketing practices on your own business. If their sales are succeeding, consider employing similar tactics. But if a product or marketing scheme fails, you’ll know that’s one to avoid.
Now you’ve proven to the world that you have what it takes to run a successful business. You’ve built your business up, performed vital market research, and even solicited feedback from customers with which you can improve your services. Because of your work in the previous steps, your business has a good shot at success. Now is the time to consider expanding your business.
This means upgrading to a brick-and-mortar store. It also means you’ll need to obtain things like business permits, licenses, and insurance.
Because of your experience in the candle industry you’ll be able to create a business plan and obtain funding for your business easily. It’s vital that you create a structured business plan before you apply for financial assistance from a bank, but since you know the inner workings of your business, this task will be easy.
Once you’ve taken your business plan to a loan officer and received funding to purchase your store, you still have several objectives to complete.
You’ll need to apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS so that you can hire employees for your store. It’s time to open a business bank account, too.
You should choose a good business structure for your company, as well. Several business structure options are available, like a partnership, corporation, or LLC. Many people like LLCs because they protect their personal finances and separate them from their business assets. For more information about LLCs, check out my article about How to Form an LLC.
You’ll need a registered agent, too. A registered agent accepts service of process, mail, and legal documents on your behalf. To learn more about how a registered agent can benefit your company, check out my article about the Best Registered Agent.
One of the most important aspects of any physical store is its location. Choose a popular spot away from other candle companies that gets steady foot traffic. It’s a good idea to choose a location close to stores in similar industries, such as furniture, interior decor, health and wellness, and metaphysical or new age stores.
Here are some of the tasks you’ll be required to complete once you’ve chosen a store location:
- Hire employees: It’s important that you build a team of employees that you trust. Here are a few of the positions you should consider hiring for: cashiers, sales manager, inventory specialist, various production positions like production manager, assistant, laborers and planners, quality inspectors, warehouse managers, and marketing strategist.
- Follow state requirements: Requirements vary from state to state and according to industry. It’s important for legal reasons to find out about the requirements in your state. You’ll likely need to obtain a business license from your state government, but you may need to obtain business licenses and permits from your local government, as well.
- Find the right manufacturers: At some point you’ll need to delegate the job of making your candles to someone else because the volume of your orders will be more than you can take on yourself. Finding the right manufacturer depends on several factors, such as their ability to make bulk orders and deliver them in a timely manner—without sacrificing the quality of the products.
- Obtain insurance: Since your products are flammable, it’s a good idea to have insurance on your store and factories, as well as your company and the products themselves. Types of business insurance you might look into include general liability insurance, product liability insurance, and premises liability insurance. A business owner’s policy is probably your best bet in this instance because it will bundle several types of insurance together.
- Switch on the utilities: It’s time to switch on the utilities at your new store! Here are some of the services you’ll need: water, gas, electricity, wifi, central heating along with good ventilation, and a solid security system.
- Seek legal advice: All entrepreneurs could use legal services and advice. The good news is that it’s easy to obtain thousands of customizable and printable legal document templates, as well as legal advice and document enforcement services from online legal services. To learn more, read my article about the Best Online Legal Services.
- Business software: Every business can benefit from the right business software. The best types of business software can help you keep track of sales and inventory, help you out with taxes and employee payroll, and more. Check out my article about the Best Business Software.
Congratulations! It’s difficult and scary to start a candle business. These fears are amplified by chilling statistics about the traditional startup method, like the fact that 80% of businesses that use this method will fail during their first year of business. However, the lean startup method will give you and your company a higher success rate. These are the steps needed to start a candle business using the lean startup method:
- Identify a problem.
- Build a community.
- Identify a solution opportunity.
- Develop a solution.
- Test your Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
- Sell your MVP.
- Get feedback on your product idea.
You can’t just give up upon completion of the last step. Instead, the lean startup method is a continuous cycle, and you’ll complete the cycle countless times from the beginning to the end of your business. The recurring tests, expansion, and refreshing of your business will lead to its success.
Of course, it’s difficult to start a candle business no matter which method you use to start it. But if you’ve dreamed of being the next big name in candles, rivaling the Yankee Candle Company, from the time you made your first candle, and you’re excited about your supplies, wax, and scents, it’s likely that you’ll have the fire and drive necessary to push yourself and your company to new heights. And when you couple that drive with the success rates associated with the lean startup method, your company has a good chance of surviving well beyond its first year.
Congratulations again on making the decision to start a candle business, and best of luck with your business career!
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