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    • Total posts: 8

    Hello every one, I’m after some advice on a business I was aiming to start up, I’m a cabinet maker by trade and was looking into starting my own joinery business, so I started Dave’s Joinery, I built a website, bought a bit of advertising products like business cards and stickers.

    Recently I’ve decided to also produce wooden children’s toys. Now at the moment, the few toys I’m selling are sold over the internet, but thinking long term I thought it would be best to sell these toys in a shop under a name like Annetts (my last name) rather than a joinery name like Dave’s joinery.

    So I stopped here, I ponded the question for a few days and realise I would be best to get information off a professional.

    Should I split the business, have Dave’s Joinery and Annetts (for example)? This would include double of everything, abn’s, websites, accounts like Google, Gmail, eBay,etc. Double business cards etc.

    Or should I keep them under one name? Any ideas or suggestions would be great, and if anyone knows of any examples.

    Thanks everyone.

    • Total posts: 18

    Hi Dave,

    Welcome to the forums :) Your businesses sound exciting!

    I’m no marketing expert, but I do have personal experience with splitting a business. I have found it’s more expensive, due to the doubling up of things that you mentioned (you’ll still only need one ABN if you’re operating as a sole trader, but you’ll need two business names, trade marks, domain names, business cards, separate advertising etc.)

    However, it’s been a great move for my businesses, as the audiences for my two sets of services are different enough. I feel it’s let me bring in profit and clients more easily than if the businesses were still combined.

    For you, it may not be such an issue, as both your products are wood related, however the audiences are different in some important respects.

    Let me ask you: do other wood shops (your competitors) sell a range of products, from furniture to toys to decorations, etc? Or do they focus on one type of product?

    Perhaps a marketing guru can chime in with their more knowledgeable opinion. But for now, I’ll share with you my experiences.

    Here’s my story to serve as an example of splitting businesses:

    When I started, I had one business called Heroic Coaching & Consulting, which is focused on business and life coaching. I also offer trade mark advice, but I hadn’t thought about or planned that business as fully when I started the coaching business, so I originally just added a line about trade marks to my Heroic business card.

    I soon discovered that this was confusing for customers and complicating the marketing. How could I project a clear idea about my business if it was really two businesses? How was I supposed to appeal to my target audience, when they were really two different audiences with different values and needs.

    I quickly split the trade mark side off into Canary Trade Mark Assistance and haven’t looked back. I now have two very different websites, social media feeds, business cards, and impressions for the two businesses. I feel both businesses are much stronger and more focused being allowed to go their own directions and have their own identities and audiences.

    Yes, there may be some overlap in the audiences, but that’s just a great cross-promotion opportunity :)

    Let’s look at the differences in your businesses:

    With Dave’s Joinery and Annett’s wooden toys, you may wish the visual identity and the impression they make on consumers to be very different. Perhaps with Dave’s Joinery you might want your signage, logo, store front etc. to give off the impression of well-made strong, reliable, goods; perhaps even a rustic or workshop vibe (up to you!).

    However, with Annett’s, you might want a more colourful impression to appeal to parents and kids. Or you may want to focus on how the toys are unique and lovingly crafted. Even if your cabinets are like this, too, you can see how a lovingly crafted cabinet gives a different impression. Again, signage, website, logo, store layout may be quite different.

    When you’re operating as a single business, I feel it’s much more difficult to convey these different feelings to your audiences.

    Other things to think about:

    Perhaps you don’t want or need to the stores to feel so different, though? Have a think about it. Who are your audiences? Do consumers of joinery products look for wooden toys as well (and vice versa)? What do you competitors do? How’s it working for them? If they have dedicated joinery or toy shops, what do they look like, who are their customers? How do they appeal to those particular customers?

    Also consider with your toys business if you intend/expect it to be a viable and profitable business in its own right. If that’s the case, splitting may be best. If it’s more of a hobby, then the cost of doubling up on things may not be worth it if it won’t turn much of a profit.

    In any case, I hope my story, examples and questions help. I’m happy to go into more detail if you’d like.

    Best of luck with the businesses, Dave.

    Dave Gillen – FS Concierge
    • Total posts: 2,554

    Wow Jarrod, what a generous response. Thanks for being here and sharing your experience.

    Dave welcome aboard the forums. :) Jarrod’s story makes a pretty good case for splitting the businesses I think (i.e. two different audiences).

    As already mentioned, you can use 1 ABN and 2 business names. You can use a single Gmail account using forwarding and aliases, a double-sided business card (one biz on each side), etc. And maybe on ebay the actual business name doesn’t matter so much (use either)? So it won’t necessarily be double the admin.

    Good luck!


    Dave Gillen - Client Acquisition | Brisbane | (07) 3180 0288
    • Total posts: 8

    Wow, Fantastic, thanks know you for the response, I’m thinking I might be best to split the two, as I think you’re right, although both sell wooden products, they are aimed at two very different markets, the reason I originally bought this up is I’m having trouble merging the two ideas together.

    A good example is in my online joinery store I see products that can be painted what ever colour the customer likes, in my online store for kids toys, that wouldn’t be so. They would be sold exactly as they were built.

    As for money reason, I didn’t know I could run two business names under one abn. So for the sake of money, should I calculate all income and expenses separately for the individual business or should I calculate them all together?

    Thanks again for your amazing response, really did help.


    • Total posts: 18

    Hi David,

    Glad you found my response helpful :)

    Unfortunately, I’m not sure on whether you should calculate your income and expenses separately. I started business last year and have been recording mine separately, but I haven’t actually gone through filing my taxes since then (we’ll in come tax time).

    Perhaps an accountant will drop in to answer this question for us.

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