In the modern world, more and more people are concerned with having clean, white, healthy teeth, so teeth whitening businesses are thriving.
The key to starting a teeth whitening business is finding a product that actually works and appeals to a niche in the market while focusing on a killer marketing strategy to attract customers.
- Identify a Niche Audience
- Find a Niche Product
- Define Sales Channels
- Identify the Minimum Budget
- Form a Legal Entity
- Set Up the Shop
- Reach First $1,000 in Sales
How to Start a Teeth Whitening Business?
1. Identify a Niche Audience
The first step before you begin with any of the practicalities is identifying a niche audience. A niche audience is an audience with a specific set of needs or interests, and often people within the niche audience fall into certain demographics.
Millennials aren’t a niche audience, for example, but millennial influencers who want to be able to temporarily whiten their teeth before a photoshoot or content shoot are a niche audience.
The more niche the audience, the easier it is to create your teeth whitening business because there will be fewer other companies doing the same thing as competition, and it’s easier to provide a unique solution to the niche audience’s problem.
Here are some examples of niche audiences:
Example niche audience: Millenial women who use organic cosmetics as a means of relaxation and are Instagram influencers.
Example niche audience: Health-conscious small dog owners whose dogs are picky eaters.
1.1 Analyze Teeth Whitening Niche Communities
Having a niche allows you to narrow down your marketing strategy to appeal to a group of people with specific interests and needs.
A niche in the teeth whitening market, for example, is people looking to do DIY teeth whitening without going to the dentist, or to whiten teeth using natural products instead of chemicals.
The best way to find out more about teeth whitening niches is to explore and analyze teeth whitening niche communities by searching for them on forums and social media sites.
From there, you can analyze their interests, needs, comments, and ideas about existing products on the market for your teeth whitening brand.
Here are some examples of teeth-whitening niche communities:
1.2 Find a Problem or a Market Gap
The best way to approach a particular niche is by finding a gap in the market, i.e., a product that does not yet exist but provides a solution or benefit for your target audience. You can also look at problems that audiences have and identify how your product could fix that problem.
Researching niche communities is a great place to start, as is holding focus groups for people who would be interested in whitening their teeth. You can also research keywords that you think teeth whitening audiences would search for on Google, such as ‘how can I whiten my teeth safely?’.
Potential Market Gap: People who want to whiten their teeth using natural ingredients, not chemicals.
Potential Problem: The teeth whitening kits with the best results are very expensive.
Potential Market Gap: Teeth whitening aimed at older people to give a younger appearance.
Potential Problem: Teeth whitening takes too long, and busy people have limited time in their schedule.
1.3 Formulate the Niche Audience
Formulating the niche audience involves tying together what you’ve discovered so far. If your target audience has a problem, establish how big the problem is and whether there are products on the market that already solve the problem.
If those products exist, see what your teeth whitenings business can do differently, e.g. sell the products for a lower price. Defined your audience around the problem that exists or gap in the market, and this will guide you to selecting your products and cultivating a marketing strategy to match.
Here are some examples of niche audiences and the associated problem or gap in the market.
- Busy, affluent people with high-pressure careers who want to whiten at home with minimal time + they need high-quality whitening kits which offer dentist results from home in just ½ hour per day.
- People with sensitive teeth who have struggled with previous dental products + they need teeth whitening, especially for sensitive teeth.
- Influencers or people in the public who need temporary whitening for events and promos after eating or drinking + the problem is most of the products on the market work slowly over a long period.
- People with teeth that are discolored and misshapen but can’t afford Invisalign + all of the solutions currently on the market are too expensive.
2. Find a Niche Product
Now you’ve established the audience and the problem they’ve got, it’s time to create the solution. This is where your niche analysis comes in.
By looking at online forums and social media groups, you can get ideas from people wanting teeth whitening services and get a better understanding of the products they might want from your teeth whitening shop online.
You can also hold focus groups, which is when you gather a group of your target audience in a room, share ideas with them, and get their opinions. Here are some examples of niche products to solve the problem of a particular audience.
Example niche product: A pen that whitens your teeth immediately while on the go, perfect for busy professionals who attend regular events.
Example niche product: Teeth whitening strips that don’t contain chemicals and use bicarbonate of soda instead for health-conscious individuals or young people.
Example niche product: A teeth whitening toothpaste you can use after any meal or drink to remove the stains from the meal, perfect for coffee/red wine drinkers.
2.1 Analyze the Competitors
If there’s competition in the market already, that’s a good thing. It shows that there’s money to be made in the niche and that a demand exists for the teeth whitening shop. Analyzing the competition can also help improve your business. Look at what competitors are doing, and see how you could do it better.
Research typical prices of whitening products to see how yours can compete. You might, for example, decide to make your teeth whitening slightly cheaper to appeal to people wanting to whiten their teeth on a budget.
Here are three popular competitors in the teeth whitening field:
Crest 3D white strips: https://crest.com/en-us
Smile Direct Club: https://smiledirectclub.com/en-au/
Expert White: https://expertwhitening.com/products/insane-results-teeth-whitening-kit?currency=USD&variant=40221308453059&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=Google%20Shopping&gclid=CjwKCAjwzY2bBhB6EiwAPpUpZrpTotjfzam2Jrl65ZzUhT-KDpwIf9a568-I3Fbtvj6HkRudfiuvOhoClo8QAvD_BwE
2.2 Unique Selling Proposition
Like with any popular market, there are plenty of companies selling teeth whitenings for a living. That means, in order to convince consumers to shop with you instead of the other companies, you’ll need to differentiate yourself. The easiest way to do that is a USP – a unique selling proposition.
This is something unique to your company that sets it apart from others in a crowded market. Here are some examples of popular companies and their USPs.
- Costco: This shop allows business owners and individuals to buy products in bulk at cheaper prices than you’d find in a grocery store or superstore.
- Burger King: This fast food chain specializes in burgers that are quick and affordable.
- eBay: eBay is the biggest online marketplace for second-hand goods, small businesses, and bulk sellers.
- Meta: Meta owns most of the world’s most popular social media sites.
- BMW: BMW has a reputation for making high-quality cars that are expensive, but more affordable than other sports cars for affluent families.
Here are the USPs of the three competitors we looked at in the last section:
- Crest: Crest offers at-home teeth whitening that’s inexpensive but promises professional results.
- Smile Direct Club: Smith Direct Club’s products straighten and whiten teeth at the same time.
- Expert White: Promises to whiten up to 10 shades whiter without sensitivity.
2.3 Choose a Product
If you know what consumer problem you want to solve and how you’ll solve it, put that knowledge into action by choosing a product for your teeth whitening online store. Consider the budget for the product you want to buy and how much you’re able to spend in the first few months before landing on a decision.
For example, if your audience is regular coffee drinkers whose teeth get restrained every few months after whitening, solve the problem by creating a product that prevents stains rather than dealing with stains once they’ve appeared.
Another example could be people with poor dental hygiene who want to whiten their teeth but need to remove plaque first, and there are few products already on the market addressing this issue. Your product could be a kit containing cleaning equipment and whitening equipment.
2.4 Find Suppliers
Suppliers are companies that supply you with either your goods or the raw materials and resources needed to create those goods. They usually offer products in bulk, and they’re also known as wholesalers.
Suppliers are crucial for the success of your teeth whitening company, so it’s vital that you find a reliable one. If the supply times are slow or the products are no good, this will impact the customer service you offer. To find a good supplier, conduct online research and speak to other small business owners in your field for advice. Read reviews of suppliers, too, for honest opinions.
Here are some teeth whitening product suppliers to help you to source teeth whitenings to sell:
3. Define Sales Channels
A sales channel is the way you sell your product or service to consumers. One of the most vital parts of any business plan is figuring out how you’ll connect customers to your teeth whitening business online and how they’ll buy your products.
There are tons of options, so work out which best suits your situation. You can set up an eCommerce store using a platform, or even start by opening a teeth whitening business on Instagram.
If you have a network of business owners whom you can ask for advice, get in touch with them. If you don’t have this type of community, search for online forums and Facebook groups you can join to get contacts.
Here are some example of potential sales channels:
- Your personal: Facebook friends, Instagram followers, colleagues, schoolmates
- Paid advertising: Google ads, Facebook ads, Tiktok ads, Twitter ads, Pinterest ads
- Marketplaces: Amazon, Etsy, Ebay
- Communities: Facebook groups, Reddit, Quora, forums
- Other: Blogging, Craigslist, promoting in the real world (e.g. schools, workplaces, malls)
4. Identify the Minimum Budget
You don’t need lots of money for starting a teeth whitening business, but you will need a budget. If you’re unsure where to start, add up the cost for the number of products you’d need to sell to make $1000. You should aim to make this amount in your first few months.
Add up the cost of those products, any money you’ll need to spend on marketing, and the cost of an eCommerce platform (if applicable) – that will become your budget to start with. After you’ve made the first $1000 in sales, you can look for ways to fund more money, such as a credit card or applying for a bank loan.
4.1 FFF and Personal Money
If you’ve got savings, it’s a good idea to set some of your personal money aside to start the business. This is especially true if you don’t have previous business experience, as having little experience can make the bank less likely to lend you money.
If you don’t have any savings of your own, try the FFF method – friends, family, and fools (naives). Borrowing from friends and family is self-explanatory, and the ‘fools’ refers to people with little investing experience.
Get in touch with all acquaintances and extended family to see if they’d be willing to chip in for the first few months of operations, marketing, and inventory.
4.2 Bank Loans
Bank loans can be hard to get, especially if this is your first business and you’re asking for a large sum of money. Don’t let this put you off, however, if you have no other financing method. The banks want to take as little risk as possible, so by providing them with a costed business plan for your teeth whitening dealer business, you’ll reassure them that your business is sustainable.
Bear in mind that if you opt for a bank loan as your financing method, you won’t only have to pay back the bank loan, but also the interest on that loan. Remember this when figuring out your affordability for any loan.
4.3 SBA Guaranteed Loans
Banks can be reluctant to lend money to people in case the loan doesn’t get repaid and if the person doesn’t have collateral. Collateral is an asset, such as a house, that you can promise to the bank in the event that you’re unable to repay your loan.
The SBA (a government entity) can make it easier for you to get a business loan from a bank by promising collateral on your behalf. This guarantee makes the bank less nervous about lending you money to open a teeth whitening shop because there’s less of a risk involved, increasing your chance of borrowing money.
4.4 Government Grants
If your teeth whitening business will be run nonprofit or you’ll be conducting research and development, you may be eligible for a government grant to sell teeth whitenings. A government grant is money from the government that you can use to set up and run your business and don’t have to repay. Some other types of businesses can receive government grants, too.
This method is great when you’re not eligible for a bank loan and don’t have adequate personal savings to get started. Find information about government grants and discover if your teeth whitening business is eligible on this link.
You’ve probably heard of crowdfunding from friends or family members who have raised money for charities or another good cause. You can also use crowdfunding to raise money for your teeth whitening business.
For the funds to get into teeth whitenings, create a crowdfunding website or page that anybody can contribute to. Popular crowdfunding sites include ‘Kickstarter’, ‘GoFundMe’, and ‘Patreon.’
Once you’ve set up a page, send an email to all your contacts explaining why your need the money and ask them to forward the email to their contacts. Share the page on your own social media page as well as on local groups. People in the community like to support new, small, local businesses.
5. Form a Legal Entity
It’s absolutely crucial that your teeth whitenings small business is set up as a legal entity to avoid any lawsuits, fines, or even prison time for going against state or federal legislation. Forming a legal entity also gives your teeth whitening company more legitimacy, so consumers are more likely to trust you, and other businesses are more likely to work with you.
Forming an LLC (a limited liability company) is a great way to minimize potential liability, and a popular business structure for small businesses like yours. An LLC protects the business owner (in this case, you) from the company’s debts and liabilities.
5.1 Business Name
The options for teeth whitening shop names are endless, but choosing the right one can help create a strong brand identity for your business. Look at competitors to see what other teeth whitening business names exist. Establish if they have a commonality that you can draw inspiration from.
Once you’ve decided on a business name, discuss the idea with friends, family, and anybody else supporting your small business journey. Ask for their honest feedback to get an insight into what consumers will think of the business name. If your business name doesn’t match your brand identity within the first few months, you can change it.
5.2 Choose a Business Structure 100
If you want to sell teeth whitenings online, you’ll have to decide on a business structure to suit your teeth whitening company. Here are the most common options:
- LLC: A limited liability company is allowed by state statute, and the owners are called members. LLCs allow for flexible taxation.
- Sole proprietorship: A sole proprietor is someone who owns an unincorporated business by themselves.
- Partnership: A partnership is a relationship between two or more people who enter into business together.
- Corporation: In a corporation, prospective shareholders can exchange money or property in exchange for the corporation’s capital stock.
- S corporation: S corporations can pass corporate income, losses, credits, deductions, and losses through to their shareholders for federal tax purposes.
5.3 Register for Taxes (EIN)
Every business needs to register for taxes as a legal requirement for selling teeth whitenings online. Failing to register for and pay taxes can land you in legal trouble, so don’t miss this crucial step when setting up your business.
Register to pay your taxes here. While every business must pay taxes, there are a few business structures which allow for more flexible taxation. An LLC is an example of this. An LLC’s profits are taxed as if it’s a partnership rather than being taxed twice like other business structures. For advice on which business structure is best for tax, look online or consult your accountant.
5.4 Bank Account & Credit Card
Having a business bank account to open a teeth whitening shop is beneficial for multiple reasons. It allows you to distinguish your business earnings from your personal money, you can establish credibility with clients, and it makes it easier to organize business records.
Having a business credit card has advantages, too, such as allowing for emergency credit when you’re short of cash flow and boosting your credibility with consumers and clients. Most of the biggest banks offer business bank accounts and credit cards. If you’re happy with the bank you already use for your personal finances, ask whether they offer business accounts, too.
5.5 Insurance & Accounting
Every business needs insurance, and this is especially true for your teeth whitening business. When opening a teeth whitenings shop, you’re selling a product that alters somebody’s appearance, often using chemicals. If this goes wrong, it leaves you open to a lawsuit, which is why it’s so crucial to source teeth whitenings to sell from a reputable supplier.
Look into general liability insurance, business owner’s insurance, professional liability insurance, and tax liability insurance to keep your teeth whitening business protected from legal challenges. Hiring an account can also help you keep on top of legal compliance by advising you on business structures and taxes.
5.6 Permits & Licenses
If you’re using chemicals or pharmaceuticals in your teeth whitening products, there’s a good chance you’ll need to apply for a permit or license from the federal or state government. If the products you’re using are regulated by a governmental body, you need a license.
To check which permits or licenses you need from your local government, check the rules and regulations at the state level. Bear in mind that permits and licenses can incur costs anywhere from $50 to hundreds of dollars, so factor in this cost when you’re selling out your budget. To check whether you’ll require a license or permit, check this page.
6. Set Up the Shop
Now comes the fun part – setting up your website. You’ll need to establish how you’ll create the website, whether it’s using a WordPress plugin like WooCommerce or a hosted eCommerce platform such as Shopify, and whether you need to download any integrations.
The shop should reflect your brand identity and give consumers an idea of what your product does from the homepage. If you have little previous experience creating graphics or writing copy, ask for help from family and friends who are talented creatives.
This is also the stage when you’ll decide on your pricing and order the products yourself before the shop goes live.
6.1 Define the Pricing
Pricing sets the tone for your shop, so consider your demographic and target audience before setting your pricing. If your target audience is affluent, for example, you can set your prices a little higher.
If you’re appealing to a market on a tighter budget and competing with affordable brands, set your prices lower. Either way, make sure your prices are set high enough that your small teeth whitening businesses can make a profit.
If your pricing ends up being too high or low, you can always change it at a later date, so don’t panic about getting your pricing exactly right. Remember that holding sales and discounts can attract customers, so price your products high enough to do that.
6.2 Create an Online Store
Although you can set up a physical store for selling teeth whitenings later down the line, it’s much easier to start with an online store, and they’re not as difficult to set up as you might think. The most straightforward way is to use an eCommerce platform like Shopify.
With Shopify, you can design a website in line with your brand identity and customize it with your own personal theme or one of Shopify’s. There are plenty of integrations available, such as marketing and shipping integrations. These apps and integrations can be useful for improving functionality and expanding your income streams with features like affiliate programs.
6.3 Order Inventory
To sell teeth whitenings online, you’ll need the actual products themselves, so you’ll have to order inventory from your supplier(s). Ask how long products usually take to arrive before you order them, so you can time the launch of your store to be in line with when you’ll have stock.
Don’t go overboard by ordering too many products in the first instance because there’s a risk you won’t sell enough. Instead, start by ordering the amount of inventory you’d need to make $2000 in sales. Ask your supplier or wholesaler for a discount for ordering in bulk to cut down on costs.
7. Reach First $1,000 in Sales
If you’ve followed all the steps until this point, you’ll have the plan for a successful teeth whitening business on your hands. At this point, your main focus should be to reach the first $1000 in sales, and that’s it.
Once you’ve managed this, you’ve established a brand identity, and the bank will be more likely to lend you more. The easiest way to reach $1000 in sales is to ask your family and friends to buy your products and forward them to their extended family and friends by email.
Create free social media pages and follow tons of people for follows back, and ask friends and family to post pictures of the results of your teeth whitening product online for free marketing, or send some samples out to influencers in return for a mention on their social media account.