Getting ready to expand your business? Here is what you need to know
In this modern age, many businesses start online. Whether they are born at a kitchen table or in a garden shed, they then flourish on the internet. If you have such a business, you might be getting ready to move it from just an e-commerce business into your own fledgling brick and mortar store. While this is a big moment, it can offer plenty of challenges you will need to overcome. Here are some of the things you should think about when expanding your business.
How Much Will It Cost?
Undertaking an expansion of your company is always going to be expensive. Whether you are taking on more staff or moving to a new location, you can expect an upswing in your monthly outgoings. What’s more, expanding your business from the internet to real-life has its own collection of costs.
Your previous rent will likely be a fraction of what you will now need to pay. On top of this, you are going to have to pay for everything the new store needs. From decorating to choosing furniture and adding crucial items like tills and security equipment, you can expect a large bill which might take you a while to deal with.
Opening a physical store will also need its own staff and marketing strategy. From finding the right employees to serve as the face of your brand to developing a killer marketing campaign to make your grand opening a success, you are going to have to sink some finance and hours into getting them right.
Have You Got the Right Location?
When expanding your business, so much emphasis is placed on ensuring that you have the right facility. Many people think that they simply have to find the right building with the facilities they need. However, they do not think about whether or not they are also in the right location. You might have your dream layout for your store but, if it is in a bad location, you might get little to no footfall.
You need to make sure you are doing some serious market research to see if the store you like is in the right place. Visit the street at different times throughout the day. This will give you an idea about how busy it is likely to be and how much foot traffic you can expect. If there are a lot of people constantly passing by, you can expect things to be a little more hectic than they would on a quiet street. Connections to public transport or major roads might also be a plus if you need to rely on picking up business from passers-by.
There are a number of other considerations which need to be made. For example, you need to consider whether or not your customers will need off-road parking. Depending on the nature of your business, searching for a location with its own carpark might be beneficial to both you and your customers.
Can You Offer Incentives?
Some businesses like to offer their online customers incentives if they are willing to stop by the new store instead. There are many easy ways to do this which could generate some great leads for you. For example, including a voucher in the email newsletter is a fantastic non-intrusive way to suggest that they swing by the store.
You can also drum up interest through your social media channels. Most businesses have a grand opening when they open a new location. It is an opportunity to showcase the new store and offer a taste of everything your business has to offer. Social media offers you the ideal chance to get your customers excited about the opening of your first physical location. If spaces look to be filling up quick for the opening night, hold a few back and run a competition for the last ones. You could also put together some gift bundles for a competition and offer sneak peeks of what is going on behind the scenes as you prepare to open. Social media is one of the greatest tools a business can have in the 21st century, so make sure you take full advantage of yours here.
Will the Online Business Cope?
In making the transition from a purely online business to one with a physical storefront, you are likely to find yourself pre-occupied with the changes. Therefore, it is crucial that you are certain that the online business can cope if you are not able to respond to every crisis that might head its way.
You will have likely been working with your team for the online business for quite a while. The best teams should be able to operate on their own initiative. If you feel like yours is currently not at the standard you would like, you should take the time to motivate and improve the team. If necessary, you could bring on a manager to take over your role in the online company.
The store is likely to occupy your attention for quite some time. You might have to spend a lot of time in your working day helping out and checking that everything is going to run smoothly. It is extremely important that you know that there will not be any dip in service from the online store. If you can be certain that everything will keep moving smoothly, no matter what, you can instead concentrate on making sure the expansion continues without a hitch.
Start Making Plans Today!
Trying to expand a business is always going to take time. You need a concrete plan and schedule to ensure that everything happens with as few issues as possible. Running a physical store is a much different experience to doing everything online and you have to be confident that both aspects of the business will flourish properly. Sit down and start working out a timeline for your expansion today! Before you know it, you might be standing in your own storefront getting ready for your opening night!