5 Important Steps to Starting a Subscription Business


Did you know there are nearly 8 million small businesses in America? If you’re trying to make your mark as a successful business, you’ll want to cultivate a loyal following from customers. And one of the best ways to do that is through a subscription business.

Read on to learn the 5 important steps you should take before starting a subscription business!

1. Determine What You Will Offer

With any subscription box business, you need to start by knowing what your subscription will offer. You want to offer a product that is in demand and that helps your customer. In other words, if you’re offering a subscription to razors or other toiletries, you’ll save your customer a trip to the grocery store. 

As another example, maybe you’re offering consumable products, like coffee. In that case, you’ll need to determine a line-up that will satisfy customers.

If they receive a new box every quarter, what beans should you provide? You’ll need an adequate range of products to keep customers happy and surprised. 

Try to fill a niche that hasn’t been filled. Consider what problems exist and build a prototype of what you plan to offer. Then let small audiences review it. They can provide constructive feedback before you commit to larger-scale production.

2. Create a Platform to Sell Your Services

How will customers find you and your services? Unless you have a website and e-commerce platform established, they won’t. Before you go live, create a platform that is easy to navigate and visually impressive.

You’ll need to list your subscription offers, price points, and descriptions. Be clear about what comes with each subscription level and make payments easy. Turn to this helpful information as you get started. 

Further, provide an easy place for customers to reach out with questions. They might ask questions that you hadn’t considered, providing easy ways to tweak your service. 

Ultimately, you want a site that shows off your product, too. Invest in a professional photographer who can take pictures of each box and its contents. You’ll show full transparency to customers while showing off the great products you’re selling!

3. Plan Your Fulfilment Process

Once your idea is locked in, you’ll need to tackle the nuts and bolts of production. Start by creating a business plan where you map out costs so you can have a budget framework. As part of this process, you’ll need to determine which vendors are necessary. 

You also may need to hire staff to help with the fulfillment process. Start small, knowing that you always can grow. Factor wages and benefits of employees into your bottom line.

As you start gathering costs from vendors and seeing the process come together, think about pricing. You want to consider the cost of packaging, employees, and outsourced services. And, of course, don’t overlook shipping costs. 

Depending on your location, you may be able to provide free local pick-up. This can save both you and the customer some effort. 

Look at other subscription companies to gauge how much they are charging for their services. Don’t skimp on your price too much, even if it seems like that might win you more business. Instead of undercutting, focus on offering the highest quality product at a fair price. 

4. Track Your Inventory

With a subscription company, you’ll need to pay close attention to inventory. After all, if you run out, you can’t supply your customers with what they’ve paid for. This reflects poorly on you and may cost you revenue. 

You may need to secure a warehouse for your inventory, especially as your company grows. At the very least, you’ll want a designated space where you can store products. Use a clear system to track what comes and goes, too. 

For instance, if working in a warehouse setting, use QR or barcodes. Track what shipments go out using a software management system that other employees can access.

And if you hit any supply chain snags with vendors, have backup vendors. That way, you’ll minimize delays. And to show the utmost customer service, communicate any delays, and offer a freebie.

5. Market Your Subscription Company

Becoming an entrepreneur means making a memorable brand for what you’re offering. And if you’re a fledgling subscription box business, your packaging needs to be eye-catching. Sending generic brown boxes in the mail won’t exactly help you stand out from the crowd.

Go with printed boxes that feature your company logo. If you’re offering a subscription bread box, for instance, include some playful illustrations of loaves of bread on the outside of the box. And go with a sturdy box that shows you care about the product being shipped. 

Alternatively, if you’re offering men’s skincare products, go with a more subdued design. Use slate gray tissue paper to wrap the products and use clean, neat typefaces. You’ll create a modern vibe that will appeal to young professionals. 

And take advantage of social media as an easy way to spread the word about your business! Commit to posting about your services on at least two platforms multiple times per week. In addition, invest in targeted web ads to get your brand before more people. 

Plan Before Starting a Subscription Business

Before starting a subscription business, create a business plan where you outline what you’re offering — and the financial details. Line up suppliers and establish a fulfillment process. Finally, focus on marketing so customers will keep renewing their subscriptions. 

When you’re looking for more startup tips to increase revenue, check back for new articles!


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