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    10 Replies Latest reply on Feb 12, 2009 9:52 AM by artforart

    Where's the beginning?

    alynnc25 Newbie
      I want open my own Bookstore/Cafe/Lounge but I do not know the first step to take and when I say first step I mean I do not know the first thing about owning my own business! It has always been my dream to own my own little shop but I thought it was something that was unrealistic for me. I'm tired of thinking that way and I am ready to get my business up and running. I need advice on what the first things I should do? I am lost....

      Much appreciated!!
        • Re: Where's the beginning?
          amspcs Ranger
          A couple of good starting points for you would be SBA (Small Business Adminisration), and SCORE.
          They may be able to tutor you and offer other kinds of assistance. Make sure you educate yourself
          BEFORE you commit yourself to anything--preparation is the key, particularly in a tough economy.

          Good luck.

          • Re: Where's the beginning?
            LUCKIEST Guide
            Where's the beginning, Welcome Anna

            How soon do you plan on opening?? Do you have a location??
            Have you developed a Business and Marketing Plan??
            Do you know about SCORE?? SCORE is FREE and can help you succeed.

            Good luck, LUCKIEST

              • Re: Where's the beginning?
                alynnc25 Newbie
                Hello Luckiest!
                I do not have a planned time of when I want to open or a location. Of course I hope soon but I have tons of work to do.I have visited SCORE and it has helped me some. I do not have a business or marketing plan. Is there an outline I need to be following? What material needs to be in it?
              • Re: Where's the beginning?
                Iwrite Pioneer
                You have gotten two great pieces of advice. We are all lost but some of us are better at pretending we know what we are doing.

                Relax, think things through, plan them out with help, talk with family and friends and get as much information as possible. Your local college or university may even offer a small business course.

                Welcome and good luck!

                  • Re: Where's the beginning?
                    artforart Wayfarer
                    I like this line very much, "that we do pretend to know what we are doing", (Iwrite) because it is very true. Admission of one's dream to own a business is an excellent start to being where you want to be. Pretending can be fun, it goes with imagination and finding one's dream. It's OK not to know everything, I've learned something everytime I hear the words "I'm lost", it tells me I'm lost half the time too, and only my good friends can tell if I am pretending. artforart
                      • Re: Where's the beginning?
                        Iwrite Pioneer

                        Thanks. I find it is a lot easier to not know everything - it is less of a burden than knowing everything and people like you more.

                        I once asked my mom how my dad learned to be should a great dad, and she responded, "Are you kidding?!! He's been pretending his way through since your older sister was born, we both have! We were kids ourselves when we got married, and we didn't have a clue so we started acting the way we thought we should. And all three of you turned out okay. But don't tell anyone."

                        That changed my whole world, she freed me to chase my dreams like I knew what I was doing. There are tons of business formulas and plans out here but in the end, you have got to do it your way or it isn't yours.

                        I like you artwork by the way. Interesting. Bullfight speaks to me.
                          • Re: Where's the beginning?
                            artforart Wayfarer
                            Anna: You have touched on a very sensitive business subject which has sparked the interest, and support, of the entire community; and as if we can already visualize your Bookstore/Cafe/Lounge, our encouragement, it would appear to me, comes from our own: "Been there, done that, bought the T-Shirt" and while it was hard to find, and get to, it was well worth the effort. What is so personal, for me, is that fact that I too, even while in business, am expecting to expand into a drastically horrifying public service/product business that will require not only website capabilities but the old fashion, walk in buy, type situation. No matter what the demographics are, it boils down to "self". There has been a suggestion of incorporation; not a bad idea for cold feet. Two heads are better than one, and all that sort of stuff. At best, all I can offer is encouragement, but you have been wise in looking for profession advise and support. Please keep us informed of your developments, who knows, next time I am in Tampa, Florida, I may look for a good book to read and a nice place to sit down for a cup of coffee. What are your ideas on decor, wall hangings, I have an interesting painting entitled "Bull Fight", which might go well in regard to the business market today. artforart
                      • Re: Where's the beginning?
                        SME_ally Adventurer
                        Hello alynnc25,

                        Here are some big picture steps you can take to help you with starting a bookstore.

                        1) MARKET RESEARCH
                        Primary: go to a nearby bookstore. Monitor how many customers it gets, how many customers buy there, what the bookstore offers besides books, shop layout (is it comfortable, does it look like a library?). Take notes on what it does well and what it lacks that you want to have in your own bookstore. Maybe if the bookstore is privately owned, you can have a candid conversation with the owner and ask him/her about the do's and don'ts of setting up a bookstore. Make sure you don't say you want to open one next door to his/hers. :) Should do at least two in your neighborhood.

                        Secondary: Check the internet on the bookstore industry, is it growing, declining? Can the industry be broken down by niches? For example, if your neighborhood (within a 10 mile radius?) has a high percentage of fashion designers living there, then you may consider opening a bookstore that has a huge inventory of fashion mags/books that other bookstores don't stock. The US Consensus Bureau is a great resource for this.

                        2) BUSINESS PLANNING
                        You conclude that opening a bookstore is feasible through your research. Now you'll need to work out your finances. Do a 3-year projection on how much you can make and how much your costs will be. Calculate your initial investment. If it's more than the cash you have, then look to banks, friends, family, P2P lending, for the remaining balance.

                        3) EXECUTION
                        It's time to find a location, contact book distributors, find an interior designers to help with shop layout, buy furniture and fixtures and get a merchant account. The biggest part to this is negotiating a lease for your shop. Hopefully you can find a good real estate agent who can help.

                        4) MARKETING
                        You can do this in tandem with step 3. How will you let people know you're opening? Send emails to friends and ask them to send their friends and so on. Post an ad in a local newspaper? Or do nothing and let the people driving by notice your "Bookstore Opening Soon" banner?


                        I do not own a bookstore but these are the steps I would take. Again, there is no one better to speak to than a bookstore owner about this. It's a huge project so you should consider taking up partners.

                        Hope this helps. And if you decide to open one, I'd like to hear about your experience. Best of luck!
                        • Re: Where's the beginning?
                          zanshin1ad Wayfarer
                          Step 1 establish your business vision and create your vision statement
                          Step 2 business plan
                          Step 3 marketing plan

                          All greek? I can help. Seriously what i can help you with will change your view of business forever. I can help you be in business FOR yourself but not BY yourself.

                          is it your missing piece?

                          Alex D
                          • Re: Where's the beginning?
                            Incorporate, pick a plan, and establish business credit.




                            Ilya Bodner
                            Small Business Owner
                            Initial Underwriting Group