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    5 Replies Latest reply on Feb 21, 2010 12:11 PM by phanio

    Opening my first store. Need input!

    cbataille Newbie
      I am hoping to open a specialty running store in my hometown. We have a decent running community that seems to be growing. It is what I love to do, and what I have a passion for. But, to capitalize on my dream, I have to get past a few road blocks.

      1. I have never worked retail (but my wife has).
      2. Good competition about 25 minutes from my desired location.
      3. Need some $.
      4. How do I know suppliers will sell me their products?

      There are probably more problems that the ones I just named, but those are the ones I know about at this point. The one that worries me the most of all of them is #4. I mean, if Mizuno, Nike, and Brooks say NO you can't sell our products, then I am out on the street with nothing to sell. That is so scary to me.

      I guess my plan at this point is to write a business plan and really describe my marketing plan to the suppliers. And use the financial side of the business plan to get funding. I know I will need some money from a bank, but also family could provide a little too. So problems 1-3 don't scare me too much, it actually helps to write all of this down and think about it as I go.

      Please if anyone has any advice for me or thoughts that I should consider by all means chime in. I have open ears!

      Also, if anyone is going to say call the suppliers.. I have already talked with a few of them. They really can't tell me anything until I am ready with a business/marketing plan. The Mizuno guy actually told me that was the direction I needed to go in at this point.
        • Re: Opening my first store. Need input!
          amspcs Ranger
          I wish you all the luck in the world. I've worked with new business start-ups for many years, and the most imporrant advise I can give you is: First, do your homework BEFORE you take the plunge, and secondly--get professional assistance. Trial and error doesn't work in these hard times. If you have an SBA (Small Biz Association) office, or SCORE office, or college with business school in your area, those would be great places to start looking for mentors affordably if not for free. Feel free to drop me a line anytime you have a question, maybe I can help if it falls within my expertise or experience. BTW many years ago before I got into the payment processing biz, I was a small business consultant specializing in retail, and I also operated a successful retail store..


          • Re: Opening my first store. Need input!
            Vilnius Industries Tracker
            good luck with the buisness plan
            • Re: Opening my first store. Need input!
              businessSIR Adventurer
              First off congratulations on going forward with a new business. Alot of people starting out don't realize what they need to do to stay one step ahead of their competition.


              The very first thing you need to do is Market Research, which you can do yourself. Check out your competitors, is there a real need for a new business in your industry, their prices, their incentives for new customers and so on. Then see where their weaknesses are and try to see if your business can fill the gaps...every company has them no matter how big or small.


              Very few small business owners truly make good use of market research. It can actually help save you money in the long run by showing you what to focus on. If you would like, my web site is a consultation, don't worry its free, on how security, business intelligence and market research can help small businesses stay one step ahead of competitors and reduce profit loss. Alot of what we do is business referrals and networking events. The only thing we charge for is if you decide on putting together a loss prevention or auditing program or if you need training for your employees. Also we have a news letter on the site which is our online news paper. We are very proud of it and we interview everyone from marker research professionals to college professors to small business owners. We spotlight small businesses in their communities and how they started out and are competing in their markets. Check out the site and if you have any questions feel free to email me.


              • Re: Opening my first store. Need input!
                alytus Scout
                AMSPCS gave some sound advice, i try to do as much as i can, without, out sourcing every little detail. good luck !
                • Re: Opening my first store. Need input!
                  phanio Pioneer
                  Good advice here. You don't have to go this alone. There are many resources to help you research and develop your business and marketing plan. SCORE was mentioned and there are also Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) - both free to use. Plus, you might be able to find someone on the SCORE online that has recent experience in your industry on both the business owner side and the manufacturer side.

                  Other suggestion, find other stores in your area (not specifically those that you will compete with) and ask them how they got the manufacturers to sell to them. Most people love to talk about their businesses.

                  Keep in mind that each manufacturer you talk to will be motived by different needs. Thus, do your research on them prior to contacting them. Therefore, when you do pitch to them, you will have a presentation tailored to them individually - enticing them to work with you. Keep in mind that you need to approach this as a way for THEM to increase their revenue and brand image - not just what is in it for you.

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