Surely, there are many more lucrative and less risky business decisions than opening a family-run bookstore. However, if you’re contemplating the idea already, that means your priorities are somewhat different. Only those with strong passion for their hobby can successfully turn it into something that their whole family will benefit from.
Starting a family-run bookshop is in many ways similar to any other business, but there are some specific considerations that need to be made. Let’s have a look at some of them that you need to address if you want to create a true family legacy.
Find your niche
In today’s world, when so many items are bought and even delivered online (just think about the success of the whole e-publishing industry), you simply have to find a niche that no other local bookstore is exploring. That means you have to be really familiar with the offer of your competitors and think about what would make your store stand out.
With people becoming increasingly interested in “added value”, it might be a good idea to have regular book-signing sessions or evenings dedicated to particular authors or genres. If you yourself have no ideas, feel free to talk to your friends, family members or even offer online polls to find out more about people’s reading habits and expectations from a bookstore.
Business, rather than pleasure
No matter how unfamiliar you might be with the basic concepts of running a company or how much entrepreneurial spirit you have, you’ll have to learn a lot about how to manage an enterprise. That means, among other things, that you need a solid business plan with attainable goals and sensible strategies for achieving those.
This is particularly important if you need to attract investors or apply for a bank loan. The financial part of the plan is probably the most important, so make sure you give it sufficient attention. Of course, if you’ve never written a business plan, find someone with more experience to help you in the process.
Location, location, location
Ideally, there should be no other bookstores around, but there should be a pedestrian zone that attracts a lot of people. If there’s no parking space in the vicinity, you can settle for good public transport connections.
Your store needs to be easily accessible, particularly if you target younger readers as well. Some of them like to wander without their parents, so your store need to be one of potential stops they can reach without much fuss.
Furnish the store
This is a segment where you might want to hire an expert to help you organise the space in a most effective and appealing way. You’ll probably need to opt for custom shelving storage solutions, as well as some comfortable chairs or even a table where kids can draw and play while their parents are browsing the offer.
When sorting the books, most store managers like to stack them by niche and genre. That helps customers find what they’re looking and cuts the amount of time they need to spend inside the store. Needless to say, the shop window should be given special attention, since it establishes the first contact with your customers.
What was once expensive and necessary has become affordable and crucial. Thanks to social media platforms and apps, you can let people know about a new bookstore with very little, if any, expenditure. Special deals and offers are a must, too, and you are expected to run a loyalty scheme of some kind, since every other bookstore does.
Naturally, the list of considerations and tips doesn’t end here. There’s so much more involved, but your dream of having a family-run bookstore is by no means unattainable. If you treat it as a business endeavour, but bring in your and your family’s passion into it, you’re more than likely to create something special. Even better, that something special can stay with your family for generations to come.