If you love books, you might want to open a bookstore.It takes more than a love of the written word to operate a bookstore.Knowledge and understanding of business operations, management, and the retail industry is needed to start a bookstore.With passion and commitment, your bookstore will thrive, even though it is a challenging industry with low profit margins.
Step 1: Do you know your niche?
bookstores are a dime a dozen.You can thrive as a smaller independent bookstore if you focus on a particular genre of book.As well as your own interests, think about the interests of the community at large.You should have a passion for your niche and know something about it.You could start a feminist bookstore with fiction and nonfiction books about equality and women’s rights.You could start a bookstore devoted to comics and graphic novels or a children’s book store.
Step 2: Look for the right neighborhood.
When narrowing down a location, look for an area with a lot of foot traffic and other thriving independent businesses.A bookstore can be found in an area near a college or university.If you live in a small town, look at the downtown area.There is a lot of foot traffic as well as people waiting for appointments in courthouses and government offices.
Step 3: A business plan can be drafted.
Your business plan will help you figure out how much money you need to start your business.Financial projections will show you how long it will take for your bookstore to make money.To get funding for your bookstore, you’ll need to show banks and other investors your business plan.It’s okay if you’ve never drafted a business plan before.You can use online references.You can get free online resources from the U.S. Small Business Association.You could take a class on small business operations through a nearby community college.
Step 4: It’s important to have an online presence.
You can still get people in the neighborhood excited about your bookstore by setting up a website and social media accounts.If you want to start a business page on Facebook, you can invite your friends to “like” it and share it with others.Information about the opening and planning of the store can be found on the page.You don’t need a web developer to build a website.A basic site that’s easy to navigate can be built with a simple program.You can add pages for announcements, special events, and store policies.
Step 5: Do you want your space?
If you want to work with a real estate agent, you can find commercial space online.You have a budget if you’ve already drafted your business plan.It will be at least 4 to 6 months before your bookstore makes a profit.You should be able to afford the lease on the property.It is possible to start a small business with a few shelves.You can buy or rent a truck or van and have a mobile store for a while.
Step 6: You can choose the business structure.
Your ability to raise start-up funds can be impacted by the business structure you choose.Carefully consider your options.Determine which structure is best for your bookstore by consulting a business attorney.If you don’t choose a specific business structure, you’ll be considered a sole proprietor.If your business is not separate from your personal finances, you can be held personally liable for all business debts.A limited liability company protects you from personal liability.You don’t need partners to form an limited liability company.Legal requirements and fees are relatively low.A corporation would give you the most protection, but it is difficult to set up and maintain.You need several business partners to form a corporate board.
Step 7: Register your business name.
You don’t have to trademark your bookstore’s name, which can be a complex and expensive endeavor.Registering your bookstore’s name with your state government protects it from being used by others.Depending on the business structure you chose, your state or federal government may require you to register your business name.Check trademark and business name databases to make sure the name is unique.An attorney or small business advisor can help you with this.
Step 8: Receive tax identification numbers.
You’ll have to pay income taxes for your business, as well as sales tax on the books and other products you sell to the public.Tax identification numbers are needed to open a bank account.You can get an employer identification number on the IRS website if you have a U.S. bookstore.Information about yourself and your business is all you have to give.
Step 9: It’s a good idea to open a bank account.
You can open a bank account if you have a tax identification number for your business.If you run your bookstore as a sole proprietor, keep your business finances separate from your personal finances.
Step 10: You need to apply for licenses and permits.
Depending on your location, the licenses and permits you need to open a bookstore may be different.A local retail permit and business license is all a bookstore needs.If you want to have a cafe in your bookstore, you’ll need to get health and Sanitation Inspections.If you plan to host live music or other events, you may need additional permits.Check with your chamber of commerce or small business center to find out what licenses and permits are required.
Step 11: Get insurance for your business.
Accidents, natural disasters, and lawsuits are covered by business insurance.Minimum levels of liability insurance may be required by your landlord if you lease a storefront.
Step 12: Start-up funds are raised.
It can cost up to $50,000 to start a bookstore and keep it open for a while.You may need loans and investments from both public and private sources if you don’t have a lot of savings.If you don’t have a background as a successful small business owner, you may not be able to get funding from traditional sources.Credit cards and personal loans can be used to start a business, but be careful with too much debt.Crowdfunding can be used to raise funds and build support in your community.Someone who invests a small amount of money to open a store will be more likely to shop there.
Step 13: Become a member of professional associations.
You can network with publishers and other booksellers through a professional association.You will have access to resources and the chance to attend trade shows.In the U.S., you can join the American Booksellers Association before your bookstore opens.The ABA has information on how to open a bookstore.
Step 14: You can buy furniture.
If you want to sell books, you need a place to display them.Unless you were able to find a space that already had shelving available, you’ll need to buy lots of bookshelves.If you can afford it, hire a local carpenter or craftsman to build your shelves and fixture.Potential customers will appreciate that you provided work that was done by local professionals.A retail designer can help you create a style and vision for your store.Even if you don’t have a lot of money, your store should be comfortable for customers to visit.
Step 15: The point-of-sale and inventory management systems need to be setup.
A bookstore is a retail business.Don’t count inventory and cash registers.A single, cloud-based system that runs through tablets may be the most efficient option.Talk to other small business owners and find out what system they use.Ask them what they think about the system and if they would recommend it.
Step 16: Hire people.
It’s not likely that you’ll be able to do everything yourself.Start with people who are passionate about books and literature.Good customer service can be provided by people who have retail experience.Knowledgeable, conscientious employees will make your store stand out.
Step 17: Purchase books.
Depending on the niche you’ve chosen, how you build your initial inventory will be different.You can either contract through a large wholesaler such as Baker & Taylor or contact independent publishers directly.You will usually have to pay up-front for your initial inventory.Since you can’t predict what will sell, start with a lot of back stock.
Step 18: Prepare for ancillary products.
The customers who come to a small independent bookstore aren’t necessarily looking for a bargain, even though books have a low-profit margin.Provide your customers with an experience, and offer other products to reinforce that experience.You could add a wine bar.Food and drink has a higher profit margin.Selling branded coffee mugs, t-shirts, and hoodies can help you make money as well as promote your store.
Step 19: Have a grand opening
Positive local media coverage for your new bookstore can be achieved through a strong grand opening event.Free food and drinks, contests, and prizes should be arranged.Everything will run smoothly if you start planning your grand opening 2 to 3 months before the date.Press releases can be sent to local newspapers and TV news outlets.You want to send invitations to influential book bloggers.If there are any well-known authors nearby, invite them to the grand opening or arrange for a book signing.
Step 20: You can connect with local craftsmen.
If you have blank walls in your bookstore, it’s a good idea to lease the space to local artists.Local bands could be invited to play.Community support for your store can be built through open mics and writer nights.
Step 21: Sponsor events in the area.
Partnering up with other small business owners or your local library is a good way to attract new readers as well as establishing your bookstore as an active part of the neighborhood.Another chance for partnership is offered by schools.You could partner with a local school and provide a discount for parents who buy books at your bookstore to fulfill their child’s summer reading requirements.Gift cards are an incentive for charity drives.
Step 22: Don’t be inactive on social media.
Keep your readers informed of new releases and upcoming events by keeping a quick response time to any comments on your social media pages.You should keep your main website up-to-date.Whenever you have an event or host an author, take a lot of pictures and post them on your website and social media.Regular customers should contribute book reviews.
Step 23: It’s important to give back to the community.
A good impression of your business among locals is created by charity drives and book giveaways.If you care about your neighborhood and people around you, people will be more likely to shop at your store.You can run a promotion where the store donates a book to needy children for every purchase above a certain amount.Provide opportunities and encourage your employees to volunteer.You can tie this into your niche.If you opened a feminist bookstore, you could work with a women’s rights organization.