Thought I'd share a few things I'm learning as I go along in the store opening process for those of you that thought you might want to open a small store some day. Most of this is common sense that I knew would be true and guess what it is!
First, it has taken more of everything than I'd planned: more money, more time, more energy, more flexibility, you get the idea.
Some background on me - my day job is as a Firm Administrator for a regional CPA firm. This means I run the day to day administrative functions of the firm: payroll, recruitment, financials, personnel, etc. I have had this job for 15 years so I'm pretty adapt at business management.
I've run my booth space for three years so I have had experience with placing orders, stocking, pricing, etc., but there are still a thousand things that I did not have to do that I do have to do now that I'm a storefront.
Here's some suggestions:
- Start with a good business plan and budget. I don't know how many times I've gone back to that to stay on track.
- Stay true to your budget. This does not mean I've not had to move money around in categories, say for example, when the previous tenant took the light fixture - I had to buy one b/c I did not want to use the one the landlord offered. Money from marketing went over to supplies but the total budget remained the same.
- Have the support of family, friends, other retailers. I have wanted to bounce ideas off all kinds of folks along the way. It's hard when you are the sole decision maker. Get to know owners of similar shops so you can run things by them.
- Stay true to yourself. I think it has been tempting to try new things, copy what another store in the area is doing, etc. but I have not done that b/c I want my store to reflect my taste and vision. I think I offer nice products at reasonable prices and in the end the public will decide if that's good enough by either shopping or not.
More later as I go along . . . have to go now and price three boxes of fall inventory!!