Opening a brick & mortar business! Very scared, very excited, and need some advice.

28 replies
Hello everyone,

I am very excited because I am actually opening a live brick & mortar business. This will be my first in the offline world. I have been working out of my home for the last 11 years.

Does anyone have any checklists, or advice for my brick & mortar business?

I plan to do very similar things as I have always done, but I am very green when it comes to working offline.

I am thinking of getting a domain that will target my offline area, and start by slowely dominating the area. I looked at my competition today and there is about 10 other businesses, HOWever only 2 look like real competition in regards to quality, their websites, and their marketing efforts.

My main concern is being the "new kid on the block" and obtaining clients.
I have only ever worked with online clients in the past.

My business will offer online services, ie design, wp, multisite, programming, apps, marketing, etc.

Thanks for the advice,
Candace
#advice #brick #business #excited #mortar #opening #scared
  • Profile picture of the author mosthost
    Candace,

    That's an awful lot of products for a new business. You might be better off focusing on one or two things and being very specific with your marketing. I don't make a huge distinction between 'offline' and 'online' clients. Almost everybody with a pulse is 'online' these days.

    How do you plan on approaching potential clients?
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    • Profile picture of the author Thomas_Banks
      Congratulations Candace!

      I have 25 years worth of entrepreneurial escapades and 12 businesses to reflect on and every one of them delivered ample amounts of "Scared" and Excited."

      Until the last 5 or 6 years most of my businesses were either very modest successes or abject failures. About 6 years ago, the lights came on due to a thorough ass chewing from a mentor of mine. I started applying the contents of said ass chewing and, whadaya know, I learned some things that made all the difference.

      So here is my list of "things that make the biggest difference"

      1. Make sure there is an existing demand for your product and, more specifically, a demand for the RESULT your products and services deliver. Not a need for them. A demand, a WANT.

      2. Don't do anything in your business that someone else can't do. Wearing too many hats will break your neck. Morbid analogy, I know, but conceptually true.

      3. At first your goal will be to generate new customers. Generate new customers with the intent of making them life time customers and put a lot of thought and effort into making your customers want to do business with you again and again until 90% of your business comes from repeat business.

      I have actually found a way to make my clients DEPENDENT on my services (teehee)


      4. You are not in the business of doing the thing that you do. You are in the business of selling the results of the thing that you do. Make marketing your business the #1 focus.

      5. Learn marketing starting with copywriting.

      6. Learn more about marketing. Watch out for the horde of ad reps that will certainly be at your door. 99% of them are not marketing experts. They are not even experts on using the product they're trying to sell you. Do NOT take their advice! They are only experts in selling you advertising. Learn it for yourself and control your own advertising.

      7. Master the art and science of marketing.

      8. Load up on Dan Kennedy and Jay Abraham.

      9. Engage in massive local content marketing. Free live workshops, free consultations, webinars (the chamber will promote them for free), etc. this is how you will blast through the "new kid on the block" challenge. Doing this will actually make being the new kid an advantage.

      10. Plan out all of your logistical, day to day operational stuff, turn it into a process, and then hire people to take care of as much of it as possible. You are not there to sweep the floors, answer the phones, etc. You are there to do the things that only you can do like provide the highly skilled service that can't be delegated, market your business and generally "steer the ship" so to speak.

      These are the things that I didn't do for a long, long time (in fact did just about the opposite). These are the things that, once I started doing them, I saw nearly immediate success. These are the things that are most responsible for the (still unbelievable to me) success of my business now (which isn't a great deal different than yours).

      I wish you all the luck in the world and hope for you to learn the things that take luck completely out of the equation.

      Certainly it is a little scary, but you can do it.

      Take care and Adh mor ort,

      Thomas
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Candace, you might want to spend some time in the Offline section. There are some real pros hanging out there who could help you a ton.
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  • Profile picture of the author rwlowell
    Candace, have you done a real through business plan yet, I had a spa that we opened a few years back, it has now gone by the way of our current economic status here in the US, but what I found was that every one wanted to see your business plan, that is the road map ahead for you.
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  • Question: What is your main motivation for actually opening a live brick & mortar business, and what will you be able to accomplish as a business from (brick and mortar location) that you would not be able to do from out of a home office? (in exchange for the additional overhead and other costs).
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    Arnold Stolting - Stolting Media Group
    "I LOVE The Song! The Vibe Is Positive And Firm!" - Kymani Marley. (Son of Bob Marley)
    "Keep Up The Good Work!" Tony Lindsay - Lead Vocalist, Carlos Santana.

    "Very High Quality!" Jeremy Harding - Manager / Producer. Sean Paul.
    "They Are FANTASTIC!" - Willie Crawford.

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  • Profile picture of the author momtraders
    Thomas thank you so much! That is exactly what I was looking for. I am going to print your response out pronto, and glance at it everytime I feel off course.

    I am doing alot of thinking about my new "space". Right now, but I enjoy the visualization process... am hopeful this will keep me balanced so I can shake the worrisome feelings.

    I want to stay as positive as I can.

    As for the business plan, who will require to see it? Or is this more for my benifit? I do not require financing.

    Also the advice about not wearing too many hats is very helpful. I have worked myself into the ground in the past. One mistake I would rather not repeat.

    There is a definate demand for my service. BUT I do need to keep everything simple.

    Also, how do I generate new customers?

    My location is considered the best in town. BUT... Im still scared I will flop, and I know there will be plenty of downtime, so I guess that would be the best time to stretch my marketing muscles LOL.

    It has been years since I have done such a thing. BUT in the past I was very very good. So I am sure as soon as I really get serious about getting back on the horse it will be a breeze.

    Thanks again, I really really appreciate you sharing your knowledge.
    ~Candace
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    • Your future landlord may ask to see your business plan. I've rented office space numerous occasions. Some have just been happy to have any kind of paying tenant but others wanted to make sure they weren't getting a tenant who wasn't serious, might flake on the rent, make unauthorized changes to the space or operate illegally.

      Often there are municipal regulations about how many people can work in such and such a space. You'll have to get a business license (which you may have gotten away with not having by working at home) and the city often wants to know this as well. Municipalities are getting greedy: I paid nearly $500 a year for my last business license.

      At any rate, in this economic environment it'll probably be relatively easy to get the right office space but a business plan is certainly an indication of seriousness and will help you stay on course.

      fLufF
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    • Profile picture of the author Thomas_Banks
      Originally Posted by momtraders View Post

      Thomas thank you so much! That is exactly what I was looking for. I am going to print your response out pronto, and glance at it everytime I feel off course.

      ...

      Also, how do I generate new customers?
      There is a kind of short answer to this and a really long answer. I'll give you my best short answer. A sort of "What I would do if I were you"

      One thing that worked really well for me in the past (it actually still does although I'm not actively marketing my business is currently filled to capacity) is this:

      Take the biggest benefit, the biggest problem that you can solve and create some video content or a webinar outline (I have personally gotten much better response from live webinars). Address the problem, aknowledge their desired result (the opposite of that problem) and then show how creating a new website, creating a mobile app, etc. will solve that problem and deliver the result they're looking for. Then present your services as the best way to get that solution (be sure to aknowledge other ways they could get the solution and show how your service is unique, different, better). Then give a simple call to action at the end for the interested prospects to call or email or otherwise contact you to talk about their problem and how you can solve it for them.

      Go to your local chamber of commerce (usually the marketing director) and tell them that you are a new business in town and that you would like to generate some leads by promoting this valuable free information to local businesses and would they consider promoting it to the chamber members. If they won't (which sometimes they won't) find out why and see if you can work with them to get past the problem. Often times they will.

      Put up your lead capture page and send the leads to the webinar registration page. Follow up with the leads 2 weeks, a week, a day, an hour and 15 minutes before the webinar to remind them of it and to give them teasers of what is to come.

      You should get a number of new prospects from that one webinar. Continue to follow up via email with the webinar attendees that did not take the next step. Many of them will contact you in the future. Keep doing that with different content and before too long you will be rocking.

      And, yes, that WAS the short answer.
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  • Profile picture of the author momtraders
    Well stoltingmediagroup ,

    I have been working from home for a really long time.

    I have always wanted a brick and mortar location, but always settled on the idea that it is more financially sound to work from my home office.

    Last night I was pleasently surprised with an offer I can not refuse from a loved one, and a friend.

    I have looked over my finaces, and even with my hesitation, my loved ones are rallying around me to take this next step.

    I don't know if you believe in divine intervention, but have you ever expereinced those moments in life where you feel like you are drudging ahead, not successful other than your person journey, and then to have an instant where the world smiles happily upon you for your efforts?

    That is exactly what is happening. So... there ya have it.
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    • Originally Posted by momtraders View Post

      Well stoltingmediagroup ,

      I have been working from home for a really long time.

      I have always wanted a brick and mortar location, but always settled on the idea that it is more financially sound to work from my home office.

      Last night I was pleasently surprised with an offer I can not refuse from a loved one, and a friend.

      I have looked over my finaces, and even with my hesitation, my loved ones are rallying around me to take this next step.

      I don't know if you believe in divine intervention, but have you ever expereinced those moments in life where you feel like you are drudging ahead, not successful other than your person journey, and then to have an instant where the world smiles happily upon you for your efforts?

      That is exactly what is happening. So... there ya have it.

      Candace,

      Coming from a background of spirituality and being very open minded, (believing in phenomena considered to be well beyond the scope of sanity) plus a passion for creativity such as songwriting, music production and everything else artistic, which you can probably tell from our signature below, the short answer would be yes, I believe in divine intervention and have made many decisions in the past based on "intuition" "faith" etc.

      The question posed earlier was merely related to your statement that you have been working at home for the years, thus I was wondering how you came to the decision of adding an additional overhead expense such as a brick an mortar location and how you justified it business wise. (I do understand the other "heart / gut" part of the decision) but sometimes we tend to become a tad blinded by our emotions. (Experience talking here).

      Good luck though. Proud of you!

      Arnold Stolting.
      Signature
      Arnold Stolting - Stolting Media Group
      "I LOVE The Song! The Vibe Is Positive And Firm!" - Kymani Marley. (Son of Bob Marley)
      "Keep Up The Good Work!" Tony Lindsay - Lead Vocalist, Carlos Santana.

      "Very High Quality!" Jeremy Harding - Manager / Producer. Sean Paul.
      "They Are FANTASTIC!" - Willie Crawford.

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  • Profile picture of the author momtraders
    Oh, forgot to mention, as far as my accomplishments from being outside, versus being here in my office.
    For one my location is considered one of the best in my County. I also will be given time away from all of my children, with set hours. The benefits outweight the risks really.
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  • Profile picture of the author mosthost
    Good luck with your new venture. Taking the plunge is obviously the first and most important step.

    If you ever need any help with cloud web hosting, website builders, or managed WordPress, please keep me in mind.

    Based on your enthusiasm, I think you're going to be a huge success!
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    Here's some stuff you might consider doing:

    ~Website
    ~Flyers
    ~Brochures
    ~Visit Business and Civic Leaders Explaining Your Services.
    ~Business Cards
    ~Magnetic Business Cards
    ~Write An Editorial With A Byline Mentioning Your Biz
    ~Radio Spots
    ~Newspaper Ads
    ~Offer Discounted Gift Certificates For Service
    ~Local Press Releases (this can be very powerful)
    ~Online Press Releases
    ~Join The Chamber of Commerce and Other Civic Organizations
    ~Newspaper Classified Ads
    ~Place An Ad In The Local High School Yearbook
    ~Holiday Theme Promotions
    ~Bandit Signs
    ~Become A Guest On A Talk Radio Show
    ~Call Talk Shows And Subtly Pitch Your Stuff
    ~Sponsor Drawings For Discounted Services At Various Businesses In Town
    ~Sponsor A Sports Team
    ~Attend Fairs, Trade Shows and Other Local and Regional Events
    ~Offer Incentives To Your Present Clients For Referrals
    ~Magnetic Vehicle Door Signs
    ~Print Up A Mini-Booklet With Useful Info And Include A Back Page Ad For Your Biz. Distribute Them Everywhere Along With The Message: Compliments Of_________
    ~Door-to-Door Sales and Solicitation
    ~Sponsor or Hold A Contest
    ~Create A Signboard and Have Someone Walk Around Town With It
    ~Print Bookmarks and Leave Them at the Library, Senior Center, etc.
    ~Leave Info About You Biz On Answering Machine, eMail Sig, etc.
    ~Purchase Ads In Co-Op Coupon Books and Leaflets
    ~Sponsor An Essay Contest On Citizenship, No, Make That Pop Culture
    ~Get Inexpensive Advertising on Restaurant Paper Placemats
    ~Free CraigsList Ads
    ~Distribute Newspaper Flyer Inserts
    ~Get Your Own Internet Radio Show
    ~Get Your Info On Matchbooks & Leave Them At Smoke & Candle Shops, Clubs, etc.
    ~Yellow Pages
    ~Produce An Inexpensive Catalog
    ~Get Newspaper And Other Co-Op Ads With Non-Competitive Biz Owners In Town
    ~Teach A Class or Seminar
    ~Give Your Service Away Free In Exchange For An Influential Endorsement
    ~Print Promo Info On Balloons and Distribute Them To Sporting Events, etc.
    ~Come Up With A Cool Logo And Slogan For T-Shirts And Sell Or Give
    Them Away
    ~Use Specialty Advertising Like Calendars, Pens, etc.
    ~Offer Discount Coupons
    ~Get Dated Magazines And Donate Them To Doctor's Offices, etc. with A Sticker Reading: Compliments Of________ And Include a Blurb About Your Biz
    ~Visit Student Centers and Leave Your Brochures and Flyers
    ~Leave Your Promo Materials With The Town Welcoming Committee
    ~Leave Promo Materials at Job and Employment Fairs
    ~Advertise on Public Access Cable TV - It's Very Cost Effective
    ~Offer Employee Discounts To Local Businesses
    ~Create Useful "Tip Sheets" For Various Hobbies, Sports, etc. With A Message Reading: Compliments Of_________ And Include a Blurb About Your Biz
    ~Supermarket Bulletin Board Postings
    ~Network With Local Church Organizations
    ~Leverage Your Marketing Efforts by Offering Your Service As a Fundraiser and Donate a Percentage of The Proceeds To a Worthy Cause
    ~Word of Mouth
    *
    After You've Done All That, Join As Many Of These Groups As You Can

    ~Kiwanis
    ~American Legion
    ~VFW
    ~4H Club
    ~Either Political Party
    ~Rotary
    ~Boy and Girl Scouts
    ~Humane Society
    ~Little League
    ~Alcoholics Anonymous
    ~NAACP
    ~Salvation Army
    ~Local Bowling League
    ~Lions Club
    ~Moose Lodge
    ~Elks
    ~Red Cross
    ~Habitat For Humanity
    ~Shriners
    ~United Way
    ~Lady GaGa Fan Club
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  • Profile picture of the author momtraders
    My landlord is a long time family friend, so I have no worries there. As I said my friends and family are making this happen for me.
    I did not ask for it, it is simply being blessed to me.
    As for the business plan, I do have one, have had one for years. I was just wondering who other than the bank requires such a thing.
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  • What do you mean by brick and mortar?

    You could easily run a local business like this from a home office...
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  • Profile picture of the author momtraders
    fLufF
    --

    I appreciate your humor, I too enjoy a good laugh, but not when it is at someone else's expense... but NO, I meant it. I have been working from home.. not outside of the home. So I am asking how to generate brick and mortar customers.
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    • Originally Posted by momtraders View Post

      I appreciate your humor, I too enjoy a good laugh, but not when it is at someone else's expense...
      Humor? What humor? I asked for a clarification, since you posted something I had trouble believing.

      Now that you've explained that you don't know how to get customers, I understand.

      fLufF
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  • Profile picture of the author momtraders
    Most host, thank you! and yes I will keep you in mind.
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  • Profile picture of the author momtraders
    travlinguy, Thank you! Your post will also get printed out
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  • Profile picture of the author mosthost
    Travlinguy, you really outdid yourself with that post! And boy can you type fast
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  • Profile picture of the author momtraders
    travlinguy, I am just blown away by all the ideas on your post!! Still reading but wowy! Today is my lucky day. Thank you again.
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    • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
      Originally Posted by momtraders View Post

      travlinguy, I am just blown away by all the ideas on your post!! Still reading but wowy! Today is my lucky day. Thank you again.
      That stuff comes from some research I once did for a marketing book that I never published. Glad you found it useful.

      I really like the one about gathering up magazines and distributing them free to doctors and other businesses that have waiting rooms, especially if you're in a good sized city with lots of doctors, dentists chiropractors, optometrists, etc. Print up a nice little sticker with "Complements Of..." on it and you'll get tons of exposure for just a little effort.
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      • Profile picture of the author Thomas_Banks
        Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

        That stuff comes from some research I once did for a marketing book that I never published. Glad you found it useful.

        I really like the one about gathering up magazines and distributing them free to doctors and other businesses that have waiting rooms, especially if you're in a good sized city with lots of doctors, dentists chiropractors, optometrists, etc. Print up a nice little sticker with "Complements Of..." on it and you'll get tons of exposure for just a little effort.
        Hey travlinguy,

        That really is a great list. Business owners really tend to get in a rut of thinking only about the advertising and promotional vehicles that they have traditionally used. Reading through a list like that could really help business owners and sales folks to jolt that old noggin a little bit and start thinking outside their rather small boxes.

        Would you mind if I used your list for my clients? I would certainly credit you with it's creation.

        Thomas
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  • Profile picture of the author momtraders
    Arnold,

    Thank you ... As you can probably tell I am still hesitant... BUT, from what I understand my location is prime with over 10k cars driving by daily. So the location alone is a deciding factor.
    When my husband and I did the finances we realized that there is risk only in the fact that the business could fail. BUT that is a risk we are both willing to take.
    All of our bills will continue to be paid, we are not cutting ourselves short. We are simply taking an opportunity and the monthly overhead will not be missed nor regretted if anything goes wrong.

    I never like to throw away money, but I find value in giving myself this chance I feel loved by others giving me this chance.

    And honestly I believe having a location will provide much more revenue than working from home.

    ~Candace
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  • Profile picture of the author Jordan Rhodes
    The only piece of advice that I can offer you is: "Acquire much information about your venture as you can from the Internet, devise a strategy, apply it and continually modify it." Success should be within your sights.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bruce NewMedia
    Candace, I hope you do well, it sounds like you have the right attitude and skills to make a run for it. :-)

    Since you are paying for space, I'd try to use it for small free events, seminars, workshops etc. ...Particularly since you're in such a busy location.
    _____
    Bruce
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