How to Start a Variety Store Business

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Few experiences can match owning your own business and knowing that you are in control of your own financial destiny. There are many businesses that you can start, including operating a variety store business, also known as a "convenience" store. With the right amount of effort, as well as planning and research, you can either create your own variety store business from the ground up, or you can buy into an existing franchise.

Talk to existing business owners. Don't use businesses in the area where you want to start your business, however, since you'll be seen as competition. Go into a different town and ask the various owners and managers about their businesses. It's a good way to find out if this is the right business for you. You might find out that what seems like a lucrative option is actually going to be more work than you'd like to take on.

Contact local merchants who have items that you can sell in your variety store. For example, having fresh produce from local farmers will give you an advantage that your competition might not possess. You can also go to local bakeries and try to work out an arrangement where you can sell some fresh baked goods from local sources in your store.

Visit other stores in the area and study their inventory, taking note of which areas they seem to be weak in. Use the areas that are not being serviced by those stores to assist you in finding out what inventory you'd like to supply. If you are in an area that has any kind of high ethnic population, think about catering to that population by having a section of your variety/convenience store dedicated to the local ethnic group.

Calculate how much money you need for the initial start-up costs. Typically, you will need to have at least two months' worth of rent, as well as a security deposit, in addition to inventory costs. Since things seldom go as planned, you should also have an "emergency cash" fund for those unexpected problems that might arise. Ideally, your emergency cash should give you four to six months of breathing room, if needed.

Procure memberships to stores specializing in bulk sale items, such as Sam's Club or Costco. Many of the items that you'll need to make a success of your business can be found in those stores, at prices that are very close to wholesale.

Set up an accounting program, either one that you can operate yourself or by using an actual certified public account. Owning your own variety store business means that you'll be responsible for such things as collecting sales tax, paying employee wages, as well as quarterly business taxes.

Sign up for memberships in local business organizations. This is a useful way to get local businesses to send customer traffic in your direction, as well as providing you an opportunity for meeting others who might be in similar situations. You can gather a great deal of useful "life experience" material from these organizations and might even potentially find someone who wants to act as a mentor. Offer the individuals and organizations a discount on items in your store to help as an incentive to driving traffic to you.

Tips

  • Make sure that your records are always current. Spending a little time each day to keep the data accurate will pay off later on, when you need to fill out quarterly reports.

    Decide if you want your store to be an independent store or part of a franchise. Franchises usually require more capital to begin but have the advantage of an established "name brand" recognition already in place. There is also usually an organizational structure already in place.

References

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