If you're looking to set up a shop, cafe, or salon, creating the right mix for success will take some work. There is a lot to consider, from choosing the appropriate location, deciding the start up budget, designing the interior and exterior, branding, hiring the right staff, and much more. It's a huge commitment of time, energy and money, but when you put the effort into the right channels, the reward is seeing your dreams come to fruition.
Here's a quick guide to setting up your perfect shop and creating the ideal work environment.
Setting up in the right area
Choosing the location of your store is one of the most difficult decisions to make, as it can make or break your business. You'll be looking for the highest traffic area that you can afford, and you want to be sure that customers can get there easily and that there are no parking issues in the area. Research your competition on the street you've chosen. A similar shop a few doors down isn't necessarily a bad thing if it brings customers looking for what you're selling to the area, and there are key differences between your offering and the competitor's. A major factor to look out for is how businesses prosper in this location - do they come and go in the blink of an eye? Are there a lot of empty shops? However, sometimes problem areas eventually experience a regeneration, and this could be an opportunity for you to get on board a growing business district on a limited budget if your timing is right.
Determine your monthly budget
As much as you may want to establish your business in the best of locations, you will need to be realistic about your budget. While it's normal to give your business a year or two before you make back your investment and start to show a profit, many businesses fail quickly because their expenses get out of hand before they've even begun trading, and then stay consistently higher than what the shop is taking in; there's a point where you have to cut your losses. Weigh your investment with the potential income. If your funds are especially limited, a good rule of thumb is to start in a more modest, but visible, location, and then as your business grows you can consider moving to a larger building or to a more high profile area.
Your furniture and décor
The aesthetics of your shop will play a major role in how it is perceived by potential customers. First, the exterior is what will draw people in. An attractive colour of paint can work wonders, as well as a clever or pleasant business name and signage, and ideally, your shop window will display your offerings in a creative and eye-catching way. For the interior, determine what type of theme and mood fits your branding. You may want to consult a professional to help you with this; it will be money well spent if you choose the right person who understands your vision. When you have a plan, ask yourself if your shop design is one that would make you want to walk into and explore.
The right employees
Your staff is everything at the end of the day as they represent you and your business to the public. A great employee will bring in sales and make customers want to return, and work as a team, so hire with experience and a specific type of personality in mind. Then train them to carry through your values in every aspect of the business, and reward them for doing it well.
Loving what you do
If you love what you do you will be more productive and it will be easier to go to work every day and weather the tough times. People can tell the difference between someone who enjoys what they are doing and someone who is unhappy, and both attitudes will trickle down to the staff and affect the mood in the shop. If you lose motivation, you may want to rethink your business. There's no failing; it comes down to what makes you happy.
Consider a mixed-use building
The type of building that you choose will also play a role in the overall tone of the environment. It will be tricky to find one that is budget friendly and in a high traffic area, but it can be done. You could, for instance, choose a mixed-use development which is something that blends together commercial, entertainment and even residential use. For instance, your storefront could be on the ground level, while above you there are apartments. Given the advancements in architecture, these types of developments have become more common, especially in busy cities. You can learn more about finding this type of urban development online, as well as how architectural sunshades and canopies work together to create a flattering and industrial look.
Stay current and true
The type of products that you are selling should be true to your brand and represent what you want to achieve with your store. It's crucial that you stay on top of trends so that your business stays competitive, while maintaining your unique selling points. You want to offer what the public is looking for, but what will make a real difference is being able to offer something your customers didn't know they wanted when they came in. You want to be the innovator amongst your competitors, so forward thinking is imperative at all times. Finally, don’t be afraid to switch things up sometimes to keep things fresh, as long as you retain your brand identity along the way.
If you're not ready to commit just yet, you could consider pop-up shop events to test the waters and build visibility of your brand. This could even be your business model in the right circumstances!