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Starting a Small Business/Startup: Question on inventory and pictures


Hi there,

I am setting up my furniture workshop with three workers. I am planning to make 5-6 samples. I am targeting online customers by my own website. I have a couple of questions:

1) Inventory: Since I own the workshop, I don't want to maintain big inventory and I want to make furnitures on order basis. So I am thinking of putting some sample images (after talking to my workers) so that I can accept order. Is this a good idea? I don't see any point in making items for which I don't have orders. Wat do people do and what do you think?

2) Pictures of items which are not yet built: How can I do this? Can I use pictures from internet and mould them to my taste/design? Or can I post photoshop created images (these will be sketches)?

Please advise.

A number of questions here so I am looking at your problem as a prospective purchaser.

I think you very much need to have samples of your work in order to not only advertise your wares but also to demonstrate your skills as a furniture maker. Unless you are a very famous furniture maker you are unlikly to obtain orders with nothing to show people.

Secondly having pictures is available chairs etc., helps people understand what you are offering and also helps people choose what furniture they require.

So to the question of whether to have pictures, absolutely yes you must have them and are unlikly to sell without them.

The question of where to get your photos. Copying other photos you find on the Internet is illegal and will probably be found out by someone searching for furniture.

You should use pictures of actual furniture that you have made.

Your website is your store front and you need something there.

You say there will be four of you. That is plenty of people to make some sample furniture.  Take good photos, do not touch them up and display them on your web site,

Also, web site sales take a while to get going, so look to sell locally as well. Contact wealthy people, hotels, shops, restaurants etc.. You might also try those seeking to marry.

If you cannot afford to build full size furniture, why not build models that are 1/3 or 1/4 size? The photos will be the same if you take them properly. The models will be easier to carry around on your sales run.

Lastly also advertise on sites such as eBay, gumtree, etsy etc, or your county's equivalent.

Good luck with your venture.

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Lee Lister


If you are a serious entrepreneur and want to set up your own business or ensure that your existing business is more profitable then let me assist you. I answer questions on business start up, business strategy, business models, business planning, marketing plans, marketing strategy, branding, business tune ups and business improvement. I do not answer any legal, tax or accountancy questions - you should see your own professional adviser about these. If you cannot be bothered to read and rate my answers - I can't be bothered to answer yours! If you have a small internet based company, I would welcome your help in completing a survey and helping me with my Masters Dissertation. I am researching how a small company can build its brand and grow quickly using social media marketing. The survey takes 4 minutes and all information is confidential and will NEVER be used for marketing purposes. Thank you in advance. The link to the survey is below:


Over 20 year’s management, IT and business consultancy experience with businesses large and small as well as being a serial entrepreneur.

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BA (Hons) Economics MSc Marketing Management , studying for DBA. Numerous business qualifications.

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