Wondering how to start a stationery store? We take you step-by-step from start to success.
Making A Stationery Store Profitable
A stationery store may sound like a startup idea whose time has passed, especially now that email and social media have become dominant modes of communication. But when people need wedding invitations, graduation announcements, resumes and other high quality documents, the need for a professional stationery and print provider becomes a priority.
Still, it's important to realize that a stationery store is a high-risk business concept, at least until you have established yourself as an experienced provider. To minimize the risk, we suggest starting a small, home-based stationery business before you invest in a storefront or professional office space. Many stationery providers operate exclusively from their homes, meeting with specialty clients on-site or at neutral locations.
Things to Think About
From the outset, you'll need to decide on a specialty or niche. For example, if weddings are going to be your thing, you'll need to focus your initial stock and business relationships on the wedding industry. Once you have selected a specialty, you can begin to experiment with different paper stocks and typefaces to create a catalog of products. By nurturing relationships with local suppliers and printers, you can secure discounts, delivery times and quality assurances.
Next, you will need to create a portfolio (with samples) and a website. These resources represent the heart of your business because they give prospective customers a sense of the things your business offers -- so don't skimp! Armed with superior quality online and offline portfolios, you can begin to solicit customers within your area of expertise. Initially, you may get the best results through word-of-mouth, but don't neglect the value of social media, consumer fairs and other marketing venues.
Elements of a Stationery Store Business Plan
Every business plan is unique. Yet good business plans universally hit on sound business plan elements:
- Mission Statement – A foundational statement of your company's direction and strategy.
- Goals & Objectives – The end results of your company's business activities.
- Financial, Marketing & Action Plans – Each of these plans covers a specific aspect of your stationery store's strategy and direction.
Tapping the Local Market for Customers
Local customers will likely determine whether your stationery storeis successful. As such, it's a good idea to run the numbers to make sure there are enough local customers to support your new business. Get educated on business site selection, and make smart decisions about where to locate your new stationery store.
Don't Overlook Competitors
Before you open a stationery store in your town, it's essential to see what the competition looks like. Try our link below to find competitors in your area. After clicking on the link, type in your city, state and zip code to get a list of stationery stores near you.
Is the local market large enough to support another stationery store? If not, you had better be sure that you are doing things much better than the competition.
Talk to People Who Are Already in the Business
If you are seriously contemplating launching a stationery store, be sure to learn from folks who are already in business. If you think your local competitors will give you advice, you're being overoptimistic. Why would they want to educate a future competitor?
However, a fellow entrepreneur who has started a stationery store outside of your community will be much more likely to talk 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.
How do you go about finding a stationery store manager who is willing to talk to you but doesn't live nearby?
It's not that hard. Just use the handy link below and enter in a random city/state or zipcode.
Three Arguments for Buying a Stationery Store
For years, street-smart entrepreneurs have known that whenever possible, it's more advantageous to buy an existing stationery store than it is to start one from scratch.
Due diligence and other business buying requirements are essential. But there are several reasons why buying a stationery store may still be your best bet.
- Proven Profitability. Startups struggle to bring in revenue right out of the gate while existing businesses usually have a steady stream of income.
- Established Operations & Processes. When you're shopping for a stationery store, be sure to look for ones that have all of the necessary processes and systems to ensure seamless operations from your first day of ownership.
- Capital Acquisition. Lenders, investors and other funding sources almost always prefer business purchases to startups.
If you want to tap into an existing brand name and a proven system, your best bet may be exploring franchise options in your industry.
Prior to making the decision to open a stationery store, a smart move is to assess whether purchasing a franchise might be the right move for you.
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.
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