The first thing anyone going into business must do is to WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN.
After that is done, you have to determine your LOCATION. That will be one of the most important decisions you will make.
- Is there ample parking?
- Be familiar with the neighborhood: the levels of income, buying habits and ethnic makeup.
- Check out the traffic patterns, both pedestrian and vehicular.
- Who is your competition? Check out their proximity.
- How long is your travel time between home and your store?
- Where should I look: free standing store, a strip mall, or a shopping center.
- Look for the space that you can afford. You may have to choose a place less than your ideal location. You can always move once the business is established.
- How is the storage? Does it have a basement? What is involved in repairs? Check out the condition of the building or space: the roof, floors, power requirements and parking lot conditions.
- Check the zoning ordinances and Health Department requirements.
- Approvals are required for outdoor signs.
- Importance of a lease: negotiate with a reliable lessor. Use an Attorney who is familiar with retail leases.
Before you go any further you must ESTABLISH A LINE OF CREDIT with a local bank.
How much money will you need? Whatever amount you planned for, add an additional 10% for unseen expenses.
- Find a name that identifies with the products you are selling. The outside sign must be descriptive of your store.
- You must register that name with the State and County, and obtain an ID number for taxes.
- Order your initial stock. Try to buy on consignment and at the right price.
- Be distinctive with window and floor displays. You may need professional help.
- Hire the staff and train them thoroughly. Establish pricing policies. All the goods must be marked and priced.
- Advertise your Grand Opening. Use a local agency, they are familiar with your area.
The beginning is the toughest. Work hard and you will prosper.
This article was prepared by Milton Malkin. A Fifty year veteran of the Appliance Industry. He owned and operated three Appliance stores. He is a member of the Small Business Advisory Committee, a voluntary organization of the Huntington NY Chamber of Commerce. Business advice is available free to everyone. Call 631-423-6100 for an appointment.