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Piloting Your Small Business

You want to start your own business, but you do not know if it will succeed. Opening a business takes a lot of time and capital. You may want to reassure yourself that your business has the potential to be successful and that you have the potential to hit the ground running. Storefronts are a giant business leap that often comes with many expenses. Instead of taking a massive leap into completely opening a new small business, start by piloting your business. Below are a few ways for new business owners to test their business before taking the leap to create and establishing their own business.



Are you super crafty and love to create different things? Maybe you bought a Cricut and want to start your own business (I know I thought about it), or perhaps you are good at making crafts, or maybe you can sew and can make clothes. Whatever it is, Etsy is a super user-friendly site that tons of people go to to buy all types of things. Etsy allows you to see if there is a demand for the product you are selling. It will enable you to start getting an income from your small business without opening a storefront. If your business takes off, you will have earned money to open a storefront and an established customer base.  


Craft shows and Farmers Market

Craft shows and farmer’s markets are also places you can go and sell your products. Craft shows have a wide variety of products available. People typically come from all around to sell and buy products. Attending a craft show gives you the ability to show people from all over your products and help you create a customer base. They will also give you an idea of what products you have that are more popular and which ones are not as much a hit. 

Farmer’s markets are the same type of concept. They would be suitable for crafts, but farmers’ markets are also excellent if you plan on selling some food products. You can attend prominent farmer’s markets, but you can even sell products in your local farmers market to build a local customer base. If people like your products, you will get a returning customer base at the farmers market, helping you decide when to transition to a storefront.


Pop-up Kitchens

A pop-up kitchen is an event for a potential business owner to showcase the items they want to be on their menu. This event can be anywhere from one night to a few months. Sometimes, restaurants will let potential restaurant owners use their restaurant for the event on a night where the restaurant would typically be closed. You can set up a mobile kitchen or even use a food truck. If you choose this option, you need to make sure you are ready for potentially high demand. If people in your area like the products you are selling, it is a good sign that your restaurant would get traffic.


Rental Office Spaces

Suppose you plan on opening a business to provide a service like an accounting agency or legal services. In that case, the key is to first build a clientele before opening your own space. There are many office rentals available for rent that provide a workspace while keeping the costs very low. If this interests you, look into The Office Albion. Spaces like this allow you to save money while building a clientele. 

Additional Resources

About the Author

Tasi Martinez is a senior at Albion College majoring in Political Science and Business. Martinez is also a member of the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service.

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