In this article, we share our experiences and advice on every aspect of opening a baby products and services business.
Baby Product & Service Industry Overview
Business is booming for providers in the baby care products and services industry. Although the U.S. birth rate has been steadily declining since 2007 (start of the recession), the cost of raising a child has been on the rise. By some estimates, the cost of raising a child from infancy to age 18 is more than $225,00 -- and that doesn't include college or other post-secondary expenses.
The marketplace has responded to industry demand by offering a diverse spectrum of baby-focused products and services. As two-income families have become the norm, entrepreneurs have more opportunities than ever to sell products and services that make life easier for busy parents.
Key product categories include baby furniture, strollers, apparel, bottles and other items designed specifically for infants. While some entrepreneurs choose to act as manufacturers or wholesalers, others specialize in retail or ecommerce. On the service side, small businesses are achieving success by providing childcare, diaper service, baby food service and more.
Becoming a Player in the Baby Products & Services Market
Despite rising consumer spending on baby products and services, the process of launching a successful, baby-focused business won't be easy. But if you're up for the challenge, there are several strategies you can employ to capture your share of the marketplace and steadily grow your startup.
- Differentiation. Right out of the gate, you will have to contend with Graco, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and other major brand names, not to mention retailers and service providers already entrenched in your local market. The way startups compete against larger and more established competitors is through differentiation. By targeting a smaller slice of the marketplace, you are able to offer specialized products and services that your competitors simply can't provide.
- Personalized Service. In recent surveys, consumers have expressed strong preferences for product and service providers who know their names and tailor their offerings to their unique needs. As an emerging infant product or service provider, it's imperative to emphasis a personal approach in customer service. Inevitably, a personal touch will lead to improvements in customer retention and customer acquisition, incentivizing consumers to make pricing a secondary buying consideration.
- Customer Responsiveness. Parents of young children form a community around their shared interests, i.e. the health and well being of their babies. Playgroups, daycare centers and other clusters are fantastic feedback mechanisms, allowing baby product and service entrepreneurs to connect with their customer base and receive input about how they can improve their product and service offerings.
How to Write a Simple Baby Products & Services Company Business Plan
Haven't created a business plan for your baby products and services business yet? You could be in big trouble.
At Gaebler, we advise new business owners to keep your business plan simple. Ultimately, your business plan is intended to be a resource for you, the business owner.
As your company matures, you can circle back to your business plan to make revisions and adjustments.
Evaluate the Competition
Well in advance of opening a baby products and services business in your town, it's essential to find out how you will fit in the competitive landscape. Use the link below to generate a list of competitors near you. Just enter your city, state and zip code to get a list of baby products and services businesses in your community.
Is the local market large enough to support another baby products and services business? If not, you had better be sure that you are doing things much better than the competition.
Talk to People Who Are Already in the Business
If you are interested in starting a baby products and services business, you really ought to have a conversation with someone who is in the business. If you think your local competitors will give you advice, you're being overoptimistic. What's in it for them?
However, a fellow entrepreneur who has started a baby products and services business on the other side of the country may be willing to share their entrepreneurial wisdom with you, given that you don't compete with them in their area. Indeed, many experienced entrepreneurs enjoy offering advice to startup entrepreneurs. In my experience, you may have to call ten business owners in order to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.
Where can you find a baby products and services business founder that lives outside of your area?
Here's one way to do it. Just use our link below, find somebody and call them.
Advantages of Buying an Established Baby Products & Services Business
Spurred on by dreams of a future big money buyout and an undeniable entrepreneurial impulse, many would-be baby products and services business owners are driven to pursue startup strategies.
Yet a healthier and safer strategy may be to purchase an existing baby products and services business.
Existing baby products and services businesses are proven operations with dependable revenue streams. When you buy, you also gain the ability to sidestep all of the trial-and-error that comes standard with any baby products and services business startup.
Don't Forget About Franchising As an Option
A new business startup presents a number of challenges, not the least of which is the creation of policies, procedures and workplace routines. A good franchisor can arm your startup with the procedural assets it needs to function smoothly from the start of operations.
With many baby products and services business franchise opportunities to choose from, we recommend visiting our baby franchise directory to determine which franchisors are consistent with your vision and goals for your startup.
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If you currently own a baby products and services business, these resources will come in handy:
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If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.