If your business is online or maybe a catalog-only company, you may want to create your first retail location to enter the time-honored world of running your own brick-and-mortar store.
In terms of pros and cons, brick-and-mortar enables you to interact in-person with your customers, and that may be a big benefit if you believe you can better influence their buying decisions that way. This old-school channel can also help you create more of an attention-getting presence in your community. Another way to say this is, since you have a physical storefront, people can literally see that you exist – and this can provide marketing and awareness benefits off the bat. Contrast that with a Web site – unless people are searching for you, they’re not likely to bump into you, your brand or what you offer.
Be aware that the brick-and-mortar channel also comes with light bills, merchandising demands, lease payments, people, etc., that must all be tended to constantly. Once you go down this road, expect fixed expenses to rise in your business, and probably variable expenses as well.
Add New Locations
What are the ingredients that have made the current location of your business succeed? Can you replicate those ingredients at another location?
If you’re already a brick-and-mortar business, a classic growth strategy is to open additional locations. If that interests you, consider the following pointers:
Choose a location that doesn’t “poach” customers from your current one
You want to be sure you tap a new group of customers to get total revenues cranked up.
Choose a location you can get to easily from your existing location
The more difficult or time-consuming it is to travel between locations, the less time you’ll be on the premises and ensuring things are operating as intended.
Choose a new location only if you’re sure you have or can get a superstar manager
The true magic in brick-and-mortar businesses comes from having great people onboard. Because a second location will necessarily split your time, you’ll need capable management who can always be there making things happen.
Remember this, too - even though you’ll gain efficiencies between the operations of existing and new locations, you will also experience new fixed and variable operating costs. Be prepared for that financially.
Weigh the Franchise Opportunity
Just as in “Add New Locations,” before you consider franchising, you have to know what’s working in your current business. Then you have to assess whether those things are replicable and practicable in other locations by other people.
Consider the following:
Certain businesses lend themselves to being franchised
They’re typically those with an offering that can be standardized and delivered in a systematic way by other entrepreneurs.
Streamlined and successful
Your current location or business concept has to be absolutely streamlined and successful before ever trying to create a franchise opportunity built on your business.
When you franchise, what you do day-to-day changes
You become more of a manager and marketer, and less of the entrepreneur you probably were while building your very successful current location(s).