It's not really always fun and games / passion and love. Let's talk business. You're more than importantly expected to have a business plan in place BEFORE you take the plunge.
Here is an honest confession- we didn't have a great business plan despite being an excellent business student. ( and no, this is not something to be proud of)
In December 2015, we started with three flavours of truffles, in three different sizes of boxes. Each piece of truffle priced at Rs.75.
All we knew was working with good quality ingredients, best couverture chocolate and simplistic yet elegant packaging. We wanted to spread the word out for " Chocolate as Knowledge ". With each flavour profile, we spoke about how it is made, where it is coming from and what differentiates pure couverture chocolate from commonly, widely available compound chocolate in India.
We made a lot of effort to "prove the value " of the truffles we were selling. This automatically meant spending a lot of time and money on communications and marketing. We would prepare truffles in small batches and send them out to people and even participate in shopping markets at malls/ hotels.
It would be almost post midnight by the time we would return from our pop-ups, we would sit with the cash box and realise we have barely covered the costs.
After all, each piece of truffle was selling for Rs.75/- (without discounts! - let's talk about discounts, later).
Nearly two years into the business, we had more flavours and products on the menu. However, we were still on the journey of " proving the value ". This continued to mean that, more spends on communications and marketing.
Reality was and still is that
1. A consistently good product > sustainable business plan
2. Don't be afraid to spend on intangible assets. If you are spending Rs.1000 on marketing today and you believe in your product, be assured that these Rs.1000 will come back to you with more business.
3. Count every penny. Know how much you are spending and where. Align budgets to every expense from day one.
If you are borrowing money, ensure to keep your loans small. Pay these back in short spans of time - even if this means you will have to quickly re-borrow. Rather have nothing saved, than have savings that are not yours! Count how much you owe to people you need to pay / pay back before you make any future commitments.
4. Save. Start early even if this means you are starting small. Every penny counts. But remember, choose wisely between saving and investing into building a fortune!
Last, but not the least - count your blessings :) In today's time, anyone who is able to start / run a business is truly privileged. Make the most of it!