Questions for the Retail shop owner
Posted in: Opinion
You should look up your local SBA (Small Business Administration), SCORE (Retired Execs), and possibly SBTDC (Small Biz Technology Dev Center.) All of these resources are free and can help you shape a plan, pro forma, and logic in running a business. They are great to bounce ideas and vet your thoughts. Our local SBA holds monthly classes on financing to marketing, YMMV but well worth looking into.
1. Finances don't lie often, extrapolate your current sales and run numbers that show what would be necessary to be successful in a shop. If you don't feel you can hit those numbers figure out what would be necessary.
2. It took us a year and half to lock down the funding. For our area and department requirements it took us nearly 5 months. We had a slew of stupid people working the permit desk and that caused error, then architectural issues and a few inspector slow downs. Rule of thumb is double your expectations and then add a few more and you might be in the ballpark.
3. No, blew out the budget due to mechanical planners over planning without consent. Builder built to spec. We got lost in the middle. Ride your project like a madperson.
4. NPR, Social Media, Farmers Markets, word of mouth
5. We are a chocolate, confections, cake shop. Having sit down would have made us Health Dept, we fly under the Ag dept. Much easier rule sets. YMMV.
6. Not much yet.
7. More money. You need at least an 8-16month cash flow ability. Our blow out on budget set us down to a 4 month window. That hurt a lot. If your opening date slides past certain seasonal periods you open in a rather large wasteland and year 1 survivability is key.
8. Good products? Never stop marketing.
9. Do your due dilligence, form an advisory group of peers, vet vet vet your plan and don't go down the road until you can really and truly secure it. Doing something on a whim, opening without enough reserves, or a myriad of other errors can cost your your sanity, wallet, or worse. Like any real business endeavor just make sure every i is dotted and t is crossed. Hire lawyers to proof your contracts and have an accountant ground your books. You can never have enough advice, even if you don't want to take it all, if they all say the same thing it might be worth listening to.
We spent 3 years at area farmers markets and now have a shop. It's not easy, it's not always pleasant, and you don't always get to pay yourself, but it is very rewarding.Good luck in your endeavor.