Are you looking for a way to combine your love of the outdoors with a business you can really sink your teeth into? Running an outdoor supply makes perfect sense. You already understand the audience because you are the audience—and what’s more, you know what makes a difference to your own outdoor adventures.
You won’t be swayed by fads or trending products – and you can deliver that to your own customers.
But when it comes to starting a store, there are a couple of things you’ll need to keep in mind.
Who, What, Where?
The first thing you need to think about is who you will be. What is your business name, and what does it convey? Make it count. What will you be selling? Perhaps you want to work with specific brands that you enjoy, or perhaps you want to go into a deeper niche, where you hand-make (or a team makes) outdoor goods with materials from Rockywoods. Where is important too? Will you be online? Or is a brick-and-mortar store your big dream?
Answer those questions first before you start planning anything else, and once you have them solidified, register the business legally.
Money, Money, Money
Any business that will hold stock is going to need to have some capital to start with. You might have your own savings that can be put towards it, but most of the time, businesses will need investors and loans/grants to start up. Each of those has its own pros and cons, and your personal financial situation will have an impact on what you can and cannot apply for.
You’ll need to factor in:
- Storage &/or shop rental
- Fixture and shop kit
- Website, marketing, and signage
- Phone systems, computers, and internet
An online-only store has significantly fewer overheads, but you will still need to factor in storage. Price up all of the materials costs, and when you have a figure, you can start to look at start-up financing. Try to avoid doing things on personal credit, and keep business and personal accounts separate.
Perhaps the reason you are keen to open your own outdoor store is because you have seen a substantial rise in them. You’ve seen a gap in the market and have an idea of how to make your brand stand out. Long-established outdoor store brands have been around for a while for a reason, and there is a lot to be learned from them. However, you should always be looking at what they lack and what your USP is.
Take some time to look into who you’d consider to be your competition, both locally and nationally. Spend time in their stores, look at their social media, and use all of their public data as research. The more profoundly you understand your competition, the better you will be able to make a dent in their customer base and find where you fit and how best to market yourself.
A mistake that many start-ups make is that they focus on one type of marketing, but your customer base might need a mix; here are some tips for choosing the right marketing for you: Traditional Marketing vs. Digital Marketing: Which Approach is Right for Your Business – Advisory Excellence.