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Business plan writing: Advice on approaching stockists for figures to work out costing(6 Posts)
Currently a sahm, have a toddler and primary schooler. I don't have any business experience. However I have an idea for a business. I have a special interest in products which are in a growth area, no training in the area but have gained loads of knowledge due to my personal interests and hobbies.
I want to start a high street, independent retailer to sell products and have identified a niche in the market in a local town.
And I have identified brands I would like to stock, already have researched and used brands.
Mainly looking for advice on how I can approach brands for wholesale/stockist enquiries? I want to work out costs for my business plan, but am in very early stages. Not really sure best way to ask 'how much would it costa to buy stock/wholesale'.
I am very new to this and want to build good relationships with stockists so would love advice on this too.
Also any tips on working out costs for a retail business plan would be appreciated too. I am fortunate my partner runs his own business so can help with some aspects. But his business is completely different and he has no retail knowledge
Thanks in advance!
It has taken me years to build relationships with wholesalers and to find them. You will find your prices aren't far off RRP if you don't have big buying power. You will also find it very hard to get prices from companies without an actual business. Some companies may send you a price list if you just ask. An email usually does the trick, outlining your plans. Expect large minimum order quantities if you want the best prices.
Starting a retail business is one of the hardest businesses to start, particularly if you are wanting to stock a bricks and mortar shop. Are you aware that you will have to sign a lease for a minimum number of years and if your business doesn't work out you still have to pay that lease?
The only way is to phone the stockists and ask them. Most will have sales/marketing departments and will be getting prospective retailers phoning them everyday. If they don't sell directly to small retailers, then they'll have wholesalers or distributors and will give you their details to phone.
Obviously, manufacturers and wholesalers don't put price lists on the internet nor make them readily available for all to see. Moreover, they'll have different pricing/discounts for different types of customer, i.e. the more you buy, the lower the price. Many also have restrictive practices, such as only having one retailer in a particular town/area, or only selling to retailers with a proper shop, or only selling to big enough retailers, or only to retailers who'll offer support services such as repairs/servicing, etc.
One thing though. You'll have your own ideas of which products you REALLY want to sell - your A list. Don't contact those first. Contact your "Z" list first - the ones who you aren't that bothered whether you stock or not - use them as a learning curve to talk to, find out minimum order quantities, find out wholesale pricing structures, find out about returns, etc. If you say or do something stupid, it won't matter if they're suppliers you're not bothered about. Save your A list until you really know what you're talking about - you'll come across more confident and knowledgable and your "A" list suppliers will take you more seriously.
I don't mean to sound negative but I have 20 years experience at senior and store manager levels in retail - it is really tough at the moment and hard for retail to do well especially if you are running a shop (staffing, building costs etc etc)
If it is niche, (therefore a destination shop) would it. It be more suitable
Online? Personally I would start online and see how that goes. Having staff are a nightmare - often unreliable, you really have to invest in them to be great, passionate and excellent at selling and this is harder work than sourcing a great product as the success often lies in their hands.
I would question what solid research you have conducted on how you have "identified" this growing area and also why a shop in the specific town would do well. Have you considered the footfall of the town? High streets are often dying - I would go online first personally.
Good luck and it's good to have a go but massive Amounts of research are key in my opinion!
Thanks everyone for info!
Yes aware of other points and regarding leases, some offer short term but some long.
I live in a 'parochial' area and high street shopping is still a massive thing amongst the population, which is mainly retirees and parents but with a decent wage who like to wander around and shop (both will fall into my bracket), this town also attracts Tourists who will increase footfall during summer to give a little boost. So footfall is definitely something I have considered, just working on more solid figures. 95% of the shops/businesses in the town are local/independent and some have been here a while. Hard to find a chain around here, unless you drive to a big town/shopping centre. Like I say, small/local businesses do better here.
People like to shop 'local' around here, and the council are offering massive help to start-ups that can potentially create jobs, including grants and mentoring support.
I am aware of the struggles of starting a business, my partner runs a business and so do several of my friends (including independent retail). I am prepared for the slog!
Online element is not an issue I am very IT savvy, my partner can build stunning websites so yes will also open online. However, there is a massive 'shop local' element to where I live and the council want to build that, so I want to take up the opportunity to do it where I live. (I am in Scotland and I don't know if that makes any difference?)
I just came on here for some 'human' advice, perhaps someone could offer more insight than my friends regarding working out stock figures for a business plan.
Thanks Kazzy that's really useful. Suppliers are UK based and pretty small themselves, so there is definitely potential for relationship building, but will start with my 'Z' list in case of doing something stupid!
I have a 'business plan' workshop coming up with the local Business Gateway, so would like some idea of stock costs to present. Luckily there is loads of Startup/New Business support for free in Scotland don't know how it works in rest of UK, so I am not completely alone.
Buddy my 'niche' is in a market that has grown massively in the UK in last few years (percentages show clear increase in market), but my area lacks a high street retail shop to support this - yet other areas have it. As my area is massively about 'local independent retailers', I want to open a retail space for it. Nationally my figures are pretty solid, but I just need to finish with local figures regarding the market, I have some idea but the local Government Gateway department will help finalise these and (hopefully) solidify viability of business. Will speak to them at workshop. However need to finish rough business plan before workshop
I am still in early stages of development, but not completely in the dark.
Thanks again for advice! Appreciate any info
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