You’ll also need to invest time into marketing in order to attract and maintain customers, as unlike a business with a fixed location, people are less likely to simply stumble across you. This is where social media and word-of-mouth can really take you to the next level.
A good example of this is Knafeh Bakery (aka the Bearded Bakers), who run a pop-up bakery from a portable converted shipping container in Sydney and Melbourne. Every day they update their Instagram account with their current locations, and with nearly 63k followers, that is quite the customer base to keep in the loop!
One of the major perks of running a mobile business is the ability to pick up and move if your chosen location isn’t working out. You’re not tied down by a lease and you don’t need to pay rent; you’re the boss and you can go wherever you please – or at least, where you are authorised to operate. You can also start slow, perhaps working only on weekends while you test the waters to figure out which areas you should be targeting, and at what times.
Another great benefit for mobile businesses – especially food-related businesses – is their popularity with festivals and events. Once you are established and make contact with the organisers, it’s likely you will start to be invited to attend events regularly, which is great exposure for your brand, and even better for sales.
On the flipside, if you’ve done your research and determined a location that seems perfect for your business, you may indeed be better off with a fixed location where you’ll spend more time serving customers, instead of looking for them.
Learn on the job.
If you’ve never run a business before, a small-scale mobile business can be an excellent opportunity to learn the skills required to run a larger operation. By starting out small you can learn all there is to know about marketing, branding, organisation and administration, which are some of the key elements that drive successful business.
Costs and risks.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 60% of small businesses will cease operation within the first three years of starting [Source: Huffington Post] But don’t let this deter you! By establishing a comprehensive business plan and considering each move before you make it, you can substantially lower the risks.
What’s great about a mobile business is that there is less risk if things do go wrong, thanks to the lower start-up costs and absence of a lock-in lease. Though that’s not to say the costs involved are by any means small. Generally speaking, the biggest single expense for a mobile business is the vehicle itself, and in some cases the equipment that needs to go in it.