Thinking about opening a music store? We tell you what you need to know to get started.
Music Store Startups: Niche or General Retail?
The decision to go niche or general retail is one that every new retail entrepreneur must make based on market conditions and their unique business circumstances. In the music retail field, either approach holds the potential for success -- provided the startup entrepreneur has accurately read the market and applied sound business principles, rather than allowing personal emotions to sway his decision.
A general retail approach works best in underserved markets where the entrepreneur is capable of delivering a one-stop music experience for consumers. These startups offer everything from CDs to instruments to apparel and are attuned to trends affecting the entire industry.
In more competitive markets, a niche approach is a virtual necessity. Since larger and more established competitors make it difficult for general retailers to compete on price or product selection, savvy music store entrepreneurs craft a strategy to dominate a segment of the marketplace, offering greater depth in service and product lines.
If ecommerce or online retail is part of your startup plan, the decision is a no-brainer. The presence of brand retailers like Amazon, Ebay and Apple iTunes means you'll need a niche approach to gain visibility and traction with online consumers.
Creating a Music Store Community
Brick-and-mortar (and even virtual) music stores are more than retail outlets. They are community hubs where music enthusiasts gather to share ideas and discover new things about music. As a new music retailer, here are some of tips you can apply to create a community around your startup.
- Music lessons. Smart music store entrepreneurs know that lessons are a win-win concept. With the right instructors and pricing plan, in-store music lessons can provide a small trickle of additional revenue for your store. More importantly, lessons drive sales of instruments, supplies and other retail products.
- Events & concerts. By sponsoring music events and even small concerts (think local indie bands, not U2 or Lady Gaga), you communicate volumes to your community base. Unlike big box retailers, your store is committed to the local music scene and interested in coalescing a community around shared musical interests.
- Discussion boards. You don't necessarily need to be an online retailer to offer discussion boards on your store's business website. Although it's important to pull a decent volume of online traffic to your site, there are a number of ways you can leverage discussion boards to nurture community in an online environment.
Best Practices for Writing a Music Store Business Plan
Many new music store owners feel unprepared for the challenge of writing a business plan.
Fortunately, you don't have to tackle your music store's business plan by yourself. There is a broad range of resources available for solo entrepreneurs who face the daunting task of writing a business plan from scratch.
Our Business Plan Help section discusses some of the business plan resources other entrepreneurs have found useful.
How to Become a Local Success
New music stores have to be intentional about gaining backing from their local communities. In contrast to other types of businesses, music stores are focused and localized operations. If local residents don't view your startup favorably, it could be difficult to achieve lasting success.
Investigate the Competition
Prior to launching a music store in your area, it's a good idea to determine how strong the competition is. Try our link below to generate a list of competitors in your area. After clicking on the link, type in your city, state and zip code to get a list of music stores near you.
Is the established competition doing a good job? It's important to understand their strengths and weaknesses and think through how you'll stake up against those established businesses.
Learn from Others Who Are Already In This Space
After you've evaluated your local competitors, you really ought to speak with somebody who is already in the business. Local competitors are not going to give you the time of day, mind you. The last thing they want to do is help you to be a better competitor.
However, an entrepreneur who owns a music store in a different city may be willing to share their entrepreneurial wisdom with you, once they realize that you are not going to directly compete with them in their community. Indeed, many experienced entrepreneurs enjoy offering advice to startup entrepreneurs. It can take a while to find an entrepreneur who is willing to talk, but it's well worth the effort.
Do you know how to find somebody who runs a music store that lives outside of your area?
Here's how we would do it. Try the useful link below and key in a random city/state or zipcode.
Pros & Cons of Buying a Music Store
Although there are significant benefits to buying a music store (rather than launching a startup), it's important to weigh the pros and cons before you commit to a purchase scenario.
BENEFITS: Acquired music stores should be profitable right out of the gate; they should also be capable of demonstrating a loyal customer base, brand identity and operational efficiencies.
DRAWBACKS: On the downside, music store acquisitions can be difficult to adapt to your unique business philosophy so it's important to make sure the business is capable of achieving your ownership goals before you initiate the buying process.
Is Franchising the Right Option?
If you don't want to have to do everything on your own, your best bet may be exploring whether it makes sense to franchise instead of doing everything yourself.
If your goal is to start a music store, you would be wise to assess whether purchasing a franchise might alleviate your startup process.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.
If you sell to music stores, you're in the wrong place. These resources are more appropriate for you:
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