Report Starting Up "business" in Solidbody Guitar and Bass Chat Posted February 9, 2012 In general, with any business startup - the advice should be the same. Quality goes without saying, and all the advice here so far is excellent - don't skimp or settle on products or tools that affect your quality and reputation. You can't buy a reputation, so the good news is a good reputation doesn't have to cost you a cent, but a bad reputation can cost you everything.. Beyond quality though - check out a few business books. I'm in the marketing business so the stuff that comes to mind to me goes for any new startup. Whoever said "stand out" is dead on. In sales, this is your unique selling proposition, or unique value proposition. What makes your guitar any better than the next guys.. maybe there is a certain niche you are catering to, maybe you've figured out a better way to build a mousetrap, etc. Look at Tom's shoes.. they make an ugly, utilitarian shoe that looks like something you'd see worn in other parts of the world.. not america.. BUT they tap into our rapidly growing cause-conscious generation and hit them up with a very unique sales pitch You buy a pair of shoes, we'll give a pair of shoes to someone in another country that can't afford any. They have skyrocketed and other companies are scrambling to cash in on their unique business model. I'm sure someone told them that the shoe market was flooded and not to get their hopes up.. Markets are always flooded, but the sub-sections of the markets aren't always flooded. Within the custom builder market - look for subsets that appear to have a need. Listen to consumers conversations and get in tune with their needs. The kits you are mentioning - could be you are onto something. That market is a little tough, depending on what kind of kit you're wanting to look at. Look for needs though. The custom market is flooded with weird exotic looking guitars and with strat / tele copies, true.. but there are so many other approaches out there. different finishes, materials, etc.. The only advice I would give about the kits is to consider what the maximum price is that the market would handle. if you have a great reputation and build a custom guitar to order - you can sell that for anywhere from 1000-1500 for basic stuff, upwards to 2500 or more for carved and exotic stuff. Given the time and work that goes into something like that, it's still a decent profit margin. You build a body and a neck - unless you have automated machinery, you could be sinking more time into the construction than you will profit from in the final sale. Kit buyers tend to be looking for a bargain. So at that point you have to be thinking about volume. A good guitar builder might build 15-20 a year and do very well. Selling kits, you could potentially have to sell hundreds of them to make a good profit. And all that goes into the advice someone else said - write up a business plan. You have to. At the very least, run through some income projections using a spreadsheet. Enter your cost of materials, time to build, figure out how many you can make and sell each month - you'll have natural production barriers based on available time, resources and ability. Compare your projected sales with projected cost and see if the profit works out to be worth it. The business stuff can be boring, but you have to do it. Don't lose sight of the goal or the dream, but make sure you aren't headed down a path to hardship before you even get started. Many times you'll uncover other ideas that make the business idea even stronger! Best of luck!