Congratulations on your plan to open a new music store. You
are about to enter into an industry that has its own special
set of problems and frustrations, but also has the potential
to offer many rewards. There are many that have lost
out on this idea, and there are many that have enriched their
lives both monetarily and emotionally.
United Sales Associates
can prove to be a positive factor for your new endeavor. Our
staff welcomes your questions and will consider it an honor
to be of service to you and your future employees. In
the following paragraphs please allow us to present some ideas
that we think you might find helpful.
your hometown banker an ally. Before you put a retainer down
on the building (if possible), develop a relationship with
a bank. This can be accomplished by borrowing small amounts
at first and then paying them off immediately. The credit
line can be gradually increased until it is large enough to
be of help to you. The idea is NOT to use the money for
any purchases or commitments, but rather to show your good
intentions for paying your bills in a timely way as a business. After
a credit line is established, never, ever avoid paying your
bank debt even one day late. If you follow through on
this idea, the bank will help you make the critical business
moves when you need to.
Location can mean the
difference between success and failure. Some considerations
regarding location are:
Where are the other
retail music stores located, and how well are they fairing
at those locations? Is there planned population
growth for your area?
How safe is the
neighborhood for your proposed new store? Will people
feel comfortable coming to the area for purchases and
service? Is the police and fire protection adequate?
always a question. You can have a great looking store
that is stocked with great gear, but people are “mall”
spoiled and for most part are unwilling to drive around
the block for fifteen minutes trying to find a parking
space. If possible, chose a location that includes
some of its own parking facility. A lack of parking
can be a major growth killer for a music store.
is usually not considered by folks entering into our industry,
however if you become successful (and we are anticipating
this) growth and the need for expansion will become a
major factor sooner than you might anticipate. In fact,
more times than not, your business will grow to an “up
or out” level. Growth potential and the resulting
space requirements should be considered.
yourself to someone on the zoning or building commission. This
person should look at your proposed location and store
design BEFORE you sign a lease. If you are planning
to include teaching studios this is absolutely mandatory. I
can introduce you to dealers who were “surprised” with
sixty thousand-dollar additional expenses because they
failed to check things out beforehand with the zoning
board. There are many rather complex codes regarding
fire exits, hall width, etc.
county plan commission. Inquire about proposed new
community projects or county and state roadway projects.
This will help you avoid opening a new exciting store
and then realize that the road in front will be under
construction for the next year!
Have the building
checked out by professionals. The relatively small
fees for this service can save you a ton of money and
most importantly sleep. There has been more than
one dealer who has lost several weeks of good business
because of leaking roofs, flooded basements, malfunctioning
air conditioners, and non-working furnaces.
So now you’ve done all of the above
and you have your location. You are looking at bare walls
and trying to decide on where to display what. There
is no one alive who can tell you the absolute best way to
design your store layout, however, listed below are some ideas
is generally understood that the closer one gets to the
entrance, the more valuable the floor space becomes. The
thought regarding this idea is consumers will usually
only go into a store as far as they need to in order for
them to satisfy immediate needs or wants. Professional
store design engineers usually compensate for this by
placing “common” or “need” items as far away from the
entrance as possible. Groupings of high profit and
high-ticket items are usually closest to the entrance.
Please take a moment
to refer to the merchandising “tips” article provided
by United Sales Associates on our web site or in our dealer
business seminar booklet. You can learn about some
of the more effective merchandising concepts in that publication. These
concepts can be adapted for your new store and hopefully
save you some time.
Take a trip. That’s
right! Sorry, not a vacation, you’re going to be
much too busy! Visit other music stores both big
and small. You can learn a lot by visiting these
other music retailers. Sometimes you will discover
things that you want to copy and you will also notice
some things to avoid. Try to take some notes and
bring your camera to record the outside appearance and
window displays. While you are “on the road” visit
other retail outlets (non-music industry). The consumer
electronic stores, new style motorcycle stores, and sporting
goods stores compete for the same kind of dollars that
you will be trying to earn. These guys are generally
very effective in their displays and store design. Copying
is the greatest compliment of all. Most importantly,
be a critic and a consumer in your travels. Try to
note the displays that interested you and helped make
you want to buy.
music industry trade shows (NAMM). Companies spend
large amounts of money to display their products effectively.
You can take advantage of top notch display designs for
free if you just bring your camera to NAMM!!
Manning the store is a dominant
factor. All of the above are contingent on the way they
relate to your ability to observe and service your customers. There
is also security to factor in (unfortunately). A very
high percentage of your clientele are really fine folks, however,
once in awhile a bad actor comes on to the scene. You
will never stop all petty theft. If you are going to
worry yourself sick over occasional shop lifting occurrences
then you probably shouldn’t consider any type of retail business.
However, you will need to attempt a realistic and reasonable
attitude towards minimizing losses due to theft. Strategic
placement of your normal work area and cash register can help
reduce theft losses. Man power management, especially
during busy hours will also prove to be the main preventative
This discussion is in no manner
meant to be the defining word on opening a new music store,
however, it may prove to give you some solid ideas and some
considerations that you hadn’t thought about on your own.
Again, please allow United Sales Associates to extend a helping
hand to you. Welcome aboard and BEST OF LUCK!
the late Jim Matthews of JCBE Marketing - Greencastle, IN.