A house is abode and a place of shelter. As the famous one liner states – roti, kapda aur makaan, a house is one of the essential factors needed for survival, along with food and water. A house is a place that everyone either has or aspires to have, whether their own or a rented place. But what is it that makes a house a home. Otherwise an empty, space, a house attains its true meaning thanks to the furniture within the house. Furniture adds character to a house and without any furniture a house would be just like any other vacant place like a store house or a godown. Furniture thus adds meaning to a house and to all its various rooms. Furniture is very important, without which, where would the residents sleep, where would they sit, where would they eat or where would they store their belongings.
Furniture is defined as the movable articles that are used to make a room or building suitable for living or working in, such as tables, chairs, or desks, which reveals how important furniture is for any space. People will always require furniture whether for a house or an office or a store or even a recreational facility. So, entrepreneurs passionate about design and making their own furniture or dabbling in the field of furniture can go ahead and make a name for themselves in the creative and profitable field of furniture. However, being passionate about and interested in furniture does not suffice to start a business that deals with furniture. There are several essential factors that need to be kept in mind while contemplating about how to start a furniture business, which includes picking out a speciality or niche segment to concentrate on and excel in, consider the logistics and operational details of the business, plan a marketing strategy for the business to stay on top of the competition and several other factors.
How To Start A Furniture Business
Identify A Niche Segment
The furniture business is quite huge and consists of a lot of segments. For an entrepreneur to start a furniture business, he or she needs to decide their niche segment that they wish to specialise in. For instance, they can choose to deal in only office furniture such as desks, cubicles and cabinets or create only bedroom furniture such as beds, bunk beds, dressers, wardrobes, cupboards or specialise only in a specific type of furniture such as sofas of all kinds, like two seater sofas, L-shaped sofas, sofa cum beds, recliner sofas, etc. There are several other segments as well, such as living room furniture, furniture for kitchens, kids room furniture, outdoor furniture such as for patios and gazebos or around a pool. Further furniture for restaurants or hotel rooms also differs from the home furniture segment and is a lucrative option. There are various segments that an entrepreneur must consider and choose to specialise in any one segment, making it the business’s niche product range and thus creating a specific target customer base.
Additionally, while specifying their niche, entrepreneurs can also define the material they wish to specialise in, such as manufacture only wooden furniture (with further specialisation such as using only oak wood or teak wood or mahogany, etc.) or deal in wrought iron furniture or make cane and bamboo furniture or start a plastic and fiber furniture business, or manufacture furniture using mixed materials, etc.
While identifying their niche, entrepreneurs must also decide whether they want to manufacture their own furniture or source it from several sources and dealers. Additionally, while manufacturing the furniture, entrepreneurs have the choice to either make customised furniture as per the customer’s requirements and demand or make various furniture items in bulk and display them for customers to choose from. When deciding to manufacture the furniture on their own, entrepreneurs also need to define where and how the furniture will be made, such as the location of the manufacturing unit, the procurement of raw materials, who will design the furniture, the machines and tools required for manufacturing, the logistic details of transporting the finished furniture to the stores or to the customers, the pricing of the furniture items, etc.
These factors are important to identify the exact nature of the furniture business that the entrepreneur has envisioned. The budget and scale of the business are also interdependent on the exact nature and segment of the business.
Define The Business
After identifying the exact type of furniture that the entrepreneur wishes to specialise in, the next step in learning how to run a successful furniture business is to define the business. This further includes several factors. The first bring defining the nature of the business, that is whether it will be a standalone exclusive furniture store or it will be an online business that conducts business only through its website or whether it will be a business that just concentrates on manufacturing the furniture and supplies to various showrooms for them to sell the furniture. Another trend that is quite popular nowadays is to have a physical store where customers can only view the furniture and products and imagine them in various surroundings but the furniture can be purchased only online, thus combining the benefits of a physical store and online retail presence. The choice of the location of the furniture business, whether a brick and mortar store or an online store, will also depend on the capital at hand to start the business and the budget defined by the entrepreneur while deciding to start the business.
Another aspect of defining the business means identifying the business structure and the business entity that will be suitable and advantageous for the business and the entrepreneur and going ahead with the appropriate business entity. There are several business entities such as sole proprietorship, partnership, one person company, limited liability partnership, etc that each have specific conditions and criteria to define them. Most of these entities help give the furniture business a separate identity of its own, which is different from the entrepreneur’s and also relieves the entrepreneur of certain liabilities and responsibilities, thus being beneficial to the business and the entrepreneur. Additionally business entity provides a structure to the business and therefore an entrepreneur must define the nature of the business by choosing the best business entity as found suitable for their furniture business.
Arrange For Funding
Funding is crucial for every business, especially the furniture business, that requires capital for manufacturing the pieces of furniture or for sourcing the furniture pieces from various sources, for setting up a store, whether a physical or virtual store, procuring the various licences and registrations required for the business, such as business structure registration, GST registration, Shop Act License registration etc., for paying the staff recruited for the business, to market the business, and to meet the daily miscellaneous expenses of the business. All the capital requirements of the furniture business need to be jotted down as creating an accurate budget for the start-up is crucial to making it successful. Also, precisely itemizing the expenses makes it easier to communicate with banks and investors, which are the recommended sources to obtain funding from. Banks and investors are willing to fund the business if the goals and vision of the business are clearly defined and for this the entrepreneur needs to have a perfect business plan in place too along with defining the nature and type of the business.
Market The Business
Once an entrepreneur defines the exact type of furniture business they want to start, including who will handle the business, how will the business operate and where will the business be located, the next important factor to ponder upon is the marketing of the business. A furniture business needs to first analyse the market, study the competitors and the needs of the customers and try to fulfill the customers expectations and meet the competition by creating the products sought after by the customers and pricing them competitively. This study of the market is essential to also carry out marketing of the business. Basic marketing strategies that can be applied include exhibiting the furniture at various furniture and lifestyle exhibitions and events or displaying it at galleries.
Apart from this various marketing mediums can be used to spread the word about the business, such as newspaper advertisements or billboard advertising. For a detailed list of various marketing options, entrepreneurs can download marketing material checklist and with this knowledge and information, can plan their marketing strategy accordingly.
These are some of the important criteria that an entrepreneur needs to keep in mind and work upon while planning to start a furniture business. However, often for an entrepreneur who specialises in their specific field, such as designing unique and affordable or innovative furniture, in this case, they might require help with the other aspects of the business, which can be provided by deAsra Foundation who are always willing to help entrepreneurs start their dream business.