Creating a business plan is essential when opening a retail store. These tips will help you learn how to start a boutique to ensure your store is as successful as possible.
If your dream has always been to start a boutique, now is the time to do it. Some of you may have been forced to change careers due to the pandemic. Others may be sick and tired of the same old job and want to try something exciting.
Anyone can start a boutique. However, not everyone can start and maintain a profitable retail boutique. One reason is that they don’t understand the process of starting a business. They skip necessary steps that lead to success.
They do the fun stuff, like purchasing items to sell and decorating the store. While those steps may get customers in the door, they won’t make your business thrive.
There are specific steps that can help you reach retail goals. But before you begin the steps, you must create a business plan, a detailed description of your business.
How to Start a Boutique by Creating a Business Plan
Sure, you’ve spent hours thinking about starting your boutique. You can see the result in your mind. What you don’t see are numerous behind-the-scenes factors necessary for any business startup.
Creating a business plan helps you map out the thoughts and ideas in your mind by putting them on paper. Business plans help you get organized, see the bigger picture, set goals and priorities, and measure progress. A good business plan enables you to overcome obstacles, celebrate successes, and grow.
Here’s what to include in your business plan:
1. Key Partnerships
For your boutique to be successful, you will need to form relationships with key players in the business, like wholesale clothing companies, shipping agencies, and possibly investors. Provide details on your key partners and how you see them playing a role in making your company a success.
2. Target Customers
While this may change over time, when you first start a boutique, you know the types of customers who will purchase items. Describe your customers in detail in your business plan—list gender, age, sizes, preferences, and more.
3. Products to Sell
Document the products you want to sell in your boutique. Provide specific details. Do you want to sell high-end name brands or generic items? Do you prefer quality over quantity? Do you want to sell a product you are passionate about or one that is trending on social media?
Additionally, it’s essential to create a inventory management system for these products.
4. Marketing Your Boutique and Products
Create a marketing plan before you do any advertising by listing all marketing options. These may include social media ads, emails, billboards, television, radio, or word of mouth. Sales, discounts, coupons, and loyalty clubs may also be an option. You may choose a combination of marketing methods. Make sure you set a marketing budget and stick with it in the beginning.
5. All Potential Revenue Streams
Having more than one revenue stream for your business is wise. Like when the next pandemic hits the country, you won’t have to worry that your brick and mortar store will close because you do just as much business in eCommerce. Get creative with possible revenue streams and plan for them, whether a trunk party or a subscription box.
Although you may know how you want to run your business, putting into your business plan helps you work through the details, like the layout of your boutique, number of staff to hire, payment options, website upkeep, and hours of operation.
7. Financial Information
Follow a strict process when it comes to money. Keeping track of every cent coming in and going out of your business is crucial to success. If you don’t know your numbers, you can’t make good decisions regarding your boutique. Purchase software that makes budgeting, ordering, reordering, and expenses easy.
Add your short-term and long-term goals for the boutique to your business plan. They can be adjusted, but it is good to have a direction to move towards. Otherwise, you may feel stuck. Short-term goals are the things you want to see happen in the next year. Long-term goals are what you want to happen in two or more years from the start of your business. When writing your goals, include specific steps that will help you reach each goal.
As you reach milestones and experience success, it’s okay to reward yourself or your staff. However, plan for them. Set limits on spending. It’s okay to take your team on a cruise to the Bahamas if it fits in your budget and allows you to stay on track with your goals. Most staff are happy with a small gift of appreciation, which must also be in the budget.
Other Steps to Starting a Boutique
Once your business plan is complete, there are other steps you will need to take to start your boutique the right way. For example, you will need to register your business with the proper local and state authorities as a sole proprietor, LLC, or corporation.
You will also need to register for small business taxes, open a business banking account, implement an accounting program, and obtain business insurance that protects you, the products, and the customers.
You must continue to work on defining and promoting your brand using any source available, including social media, partnering with other local businesses for promotions, emails, and content blogs on your website.
Your website should be a priority in today’s retail world. People want to know you before they visit your store. All successful businesses have websites today. Make it easy to navigate, upload amazing photographs of your products and people wearing your products, and don’t forget to add contact information. Be accessible to customers and suppliers.
It is a big deal to start a boutique. Clothing and wholesale accessories will always be needed. You can do this successfully. While you may want to open the doors of your boutique tomorrow with just a ton of excitement, don’t do it.
Take the time to write a business plan and implement it step by step. You will be glad you did when after the first year, you are profitable and growing.