Whatever your passion, be it fashion, books or coffee, your dream is to share it with the world by opening your own shop.
Not only will you get to spend all day, every day talking about your favourite hobby, you’ll actually earn money doing it – or that’s the hope, anyway.
But before you can start making sales, first you need to splash your own cash on new premises.
And as you take into account business rates, rents, stock, and every other startup cost involved with launching a shop, you’re quickly realising that they don’t come cheap.
Don’t worry, though. So long as you’re strict and don’t get carried away in the excitement of it all, you’ll be able to open the doors on your first business without breaking the bank.
Here are a few top tips that’ll help you keep your budget on track over the next few months.
#1: come up with a plan
Before you start looking at premises or buying stock, put together a business plan with a detailed budget. It may be boring, but it’s essential.
What can you afford, what do you need and how much will those things cost? Be honest answering these questions and try to be realistic with your estimations, it’s the only way you’ll be able to control your spending further down the line.
#2: pick the right location
Your future success will all come down to location, so researching the best place to open the shop deserves your full attention.
Whether you’re sticking to your hometown or venturing further afield, get out there and have a hunt around. Look at the busiest streets, where your competitors are, the parts of town your target customers love, and come up with a shortlist of your ideal locations.
#3: look for premises online
Once you know where you want your shop to be, you can finally get to the exciting part – finding the perfect new premises.
We recommend using an online database like Shop Property for this part, because its filters let you narrow down the search results according to both budget and location. Whether you’re looking for a shop to let in Manchester, London or elsewhere, they’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
#4: handle renovations yourself
To save money, don’t go for the prettiest, most modern premises you see. The ones that require some imagination and hard work to get into tip top shape will usually come much cheaper.
Source storage, shelving and other fittings second hand (Gumtree won’t fail you), and instead of hiring professionals, go for a DIY approach when it comes to decorating and installation.
#5: be sensible with marketing
Once you’re all set, you’ll be desperate to get the word out there, but be careful not to get caught up in the excitement and rush key marketing decisions.
Don’t commit to things like logos or colours quite just yet, you’re likely to change your mind about what you want in a few months. Give yourself some time to naturally develop a brand identity before hiring expensive graphic designers to create business cards and packaging.
The number one rule is to think before you buy – be patient, take your time and you’ll open your new shop completely within budget.