My top 5 small business tips: Part One


I have been running Art by Lena for nearly two years now – something which started off really slowly at first and is now running at full speed! It’s been an exciting time so far but I know I have a while to go to reach my goal. However, there is much I have learnt in the two(ish) years as a small business owner – and so here are my first five tips to running your own business.

1) Expenses: You will need to keep a track of what you spend on your business (supplies, subscriptions etc.) - it will come in use when you do your taxes! Use a spreadsheet to keep track of each expense – and include as much detail as you can (date purchased, merchant name, cost of product, shipping cost, order number etc and it is also good to include unit cost if you buy paper or envelopes in bulk). When you purchase something that you will use for your business whether it is stationery or supplies, you must add it to the spreadsheet – the very same day. It is always good to keep on top of it to save time later.

2) Look back at the previous months expenses: When you start a new month, it is always good to review the past month’s expenses. The spreadsheet comes in good use for this exercise. When you look back at what you’ve spent before, you can pinpoint purchases that were excessive or not needed. You can then decide what you need to order for the current month and see where you can hold back on. This is a good exercise for packaging supplies – perhaps look elsewhere for cheaper alternatives or just hold back if it is cutting too much into your profit.

3) When you are starting out, it is good to spend wisely. Don’t make any huge expenses as it will be incredibly difficult to earn it back. However if you think you have enough savings from a side or main job then it may be worth it. It will still cut into your shop expenses – be aware! I am talking about big purchases such as cricuts (cutting machine) which are expensive as well as paying for all the tools. Or even a very fancy laptop – you can get good laptops which are affordable. Then when your business starts picking up in terms of revenue you can invest in higher tech gadgets. My printer is a cheap £60 printer, but I only use it for stickers and printing admin stuff. I could probably use it for other things too – and at the moment I am very happy with it. Also I only bought this printer almost a year into starting my business. Perhaps in a year or two I will be able to upgrade both my laptop and printer!

                    Related Post: 5 things I love about running my own business 

4) Research: You must spend a good amount of time researching suppliers and the best software/hardware for your needs. If you want to sell printed products – some printers/suppliers will charge in bulk and if you are starting out you would want to buy in smaller amounts which can be quite expensive. However there are places out there online or in a physical store that will have cheaper options. Also it would be good to research other small businesses and see how they run their shop/services. See what’s trending right now and what the general prices are for certain products. Etsy is a good place to have a roam around as well as small businesses on social media. If along the way you see something you like – buy it if you can! It is always good to support other small businesses.

5) Quality control: If you are about to sell physical products (notebooks, stationery etc) and you have to find a supplier for these – it is always good to buy single test copies or some places offer small sample bundles. It would be worth spending money on this – because quality matters if you want returning customers. You can add these costs to your expense sheet. I have tested different sticker papers which I use to print my stickers on. I have found one slightly more expensive than others – but the quality is amazing so I feel it is worth the price. However the cost of my paper isn’t over expensive – as in it doesn’t break the bank ( so all is well!).

These are my current 5 tips for small businesses… I hope you found them useful – and I will be sure to come back with part two!

Thank you very much for reading – please leave a comment below or feel free to ask me a question.

With love, Lena x


  1. This is a really helpful post for me as I am wanting to start a small business this year. It is great to receive the advice from someone who has been running their own business for a while. Thank you for sharing these really helpful tips Lena.


  2. Oooh it is great that you're sharing business tips from your expeirence. So important to spend wisely! Everything adds up so quickly!! I like the idea of looking at previous expenses - see where you can improve yourself too. Quality control is so important as well. This is how you get repeat customers and new ones based on good word of mouth!

    Nancy ✨


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