Setting Up a Successful Brick and Mortar Business from Scratch

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If you’re considering setting up a brick and mortar business, you could be onto something good. Setting up your own business allows you a lot more control over your life. You get to choose what you sell, who you sell to and who you work with. You also get to choose where you’re based, what hours you work, when you take breaks and when you take time off. In short, you get to lead a more free life according to what you want to do and what makes you happy. On top of this, you will reap the rewards of your hard work paying off. You don’t need to sit working hard, only for someone else to take the lion’s share of the profits you’re generating. Instead, you’ll be the main recipient of the profits that come flooding in. Of course, starting a business is going to be hard work, especially if you decide to go for a brick and mortar store of sorts. Here’s a complete guide that will help you to determine whether this is the right decision for you, as well as a few starter steps to get the show on the road!

Ecommerce vs. Brick and Mortar

First, you need to make sure that setting up a brick and mortar business is definitely for you. When it comes down to it, operating online is a lot easier and comes hand in hand with a lot of perks, which is why a lot of businesses – and startups in particular – tend to opt for this route. Here’s a quick comparison to make sure that you’re following the right path!

E-Commerce

Ecommerce comes hand in hand with a host of benefits for new start ups. First and foremost, Ecommerce stores are a lot lower cost to set up than brick and mortar stores. You don’t need to worry about paying for a commercial premises, security systems, furniture, points of sale or staff to manage the store while you’re taking a break or having a day off. You can also easily reach people from across the country, or even the world (if you’re happy to offer international shipping). This means you’re not limited to the people who can physically make their way into your store. People can shop around the clock, rather than being limited to store opening hours, and can have their goods delivered directly to the comfort of their own homes. Ecommerce can also be relatively non committal, as if things don’t work out, you can just shut down, rather than tyring to find a way to pay your commercial rent and bill agreements to the end of your contracts.

Brick and Mortar

There is, of course, still a place in the world for brick and mortar businesses and many of them thrive. Some businesses absolutely require face to face interactions to generate business. For some types, this is clear and logical. You may have a restaurant, a cafe, a takeaway, a bar, a club, a fitness studio or another entertainment venue that people actively want to go to and attend. Some businesses work better when people can speak to someone face to face for demonstrations of a product or to be able to test the product out for themselves. Think of people going to test drive a car. You can also find that, in the right location, a store selling items that could just as easily be sold online actually does really well due to being somewhere that easily accessible for the right demographic and through effective branding, merchandising and sales teams in store.

A Combination Approach

It’s good to remember that you don’t have to choose one or the other when it comes to Ecommerce and brick and mortar stores. You can quite literally choose to engage with both, benefiting from the best of both worlds. One doesn’t cancel the other out. Instead, you can run a brick and mortar store and manage your online store while you’re at work in your usual store. Sure, some investment will go into the creation of your page and you’ll need to outsource product photography and copywriting to independent freelancers, but once everything’s up and running you should find that it’s not too hard to maintain.

Financing

Of course, if you’re going to set up a brick and mortar store, you need to start with some money. It costs a fair amount to get one of these ventures off the ground. From putting down payments on commercial premises rent to fitting out a store, branding, advertising and marketing and more, your first few months are going to be pretty costly business. So, where are you going to get the money to fund this? Perhaps you’ve been dreaming of doing this for a while and have actually managed to save up the bulk of the money. If this is the case, you’re in a pretty good position. If not, you can always look into alternative means of funding. There are many grants out there, so look into whether you’d be eligible to claim any of them. Grants are great, as you don’t have to pay them back. Another option is loans. Various providers will agree to give you a business loan as long as you are able to present a good business plan that shows promising chances of you being successful and able to pay the loan back. Just make sure to use reputable and legitimate providers. This will ensure that you borrow safely. Also look for the lowest interest rate possible. High interest loans are extremely difficult to pay off and can just eat up your profits long term.

Choosing a Premises

Once you have your loan, you can choose a commercial premises based on various factors like location, size and cost. You should do some market research and look into where your target demographic spends time. You also need to take footfall into account. You could find a store in a great location, but if it’s tucked away behind another store or stuffed down an alley, a lot of people won’t even realise it exists and so won’t come in. You need to make sure that there’s plenty of footfall going directly past your space. Of course, you may find that higher footfall areas come hand in hand with a higher price tag, so you need to find the right balance between cost and prime location.

Branding

You need to make sure that you have branding in place. This is what will help people to recognise your store and its goods. Good branding can help your products to become a well known, or even household name. Most start ups decide to bring a branding agency in for help and assistance with this. Work with them to find a colour scheme, create a logo, choose a type face and more.

Furnishing and Fitting

You will then need to fit it out your premises. You need to think of every area. Start with the store like a blank canvas. You can look into custom printing for the walls. Choose colours that match in with your brand’s colour scheme. You will also need to make sure that you have easy to clean floors and plenty of storage and display units. This can include shelves, racks and stands in the center of the store. You will need a point of sale, such as a till or a portable table that customers can pay through. You will also need lighting and basic safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers. Don’t forget the outside. You’re going to need signage that will clearly indicate that this is your store.

Marketing

Once you’re ready to go, you’re really going to have to market your store to draw in as many customers as possible. You can have the best store in the world, but if people don’t know it exists, you’ll find yourself running into difficulty pretty quickly. You’re going to have to undertake plenty of different marketing campaigns that closely target your ideal customer and drives them to visit your store. There are countless options here and the best will depend on your budget, your target demographic and how much time you have available to dedicate to marketing. Some options that you might want to take into consideration include leaflets, promo staff, posters, radio ads, TV ads, online advertisements, partnerships with social media influencers and more. Remember that advertising and marketing will have to continue through the duration of running your business, but you probably want to hit particularly hard for your launch.

Launch Night

Most brick and mortar stores host a launch night when they first open up so people can see the premises, get familiar with the space and make some first purchases. Provide snacks and drinks. Send out invites. Get family and friends to come along.

Hopefully, some of the tips outlined above will really help you on your venture to becoming a brick and mortar store owner! This will take hard work, but it will all prove more than worth it in the end!

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, Founder of Inspired Marketing, Inc., helps overachieving women entrepreneurs conquer limiting beliefs and create marketing plans that grow their businesses. This includes one-on-one marketing plan development, digital product creation, web design and content marketing. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog, Entrepreneur-Resources.net.

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