How to open a clothing boutique

Starting a business is a huge decision and it involves a lot of complexities. The major factor that decides this is the opportunity. Next is the capital. The beauty of small businesses is that though it can appear small, it can actually give great returns. But before reaping the gains there are a lot of preparations to be done. Before getting into a venture, ask yourself why do you want to start a business. You need to have a strong motivating factor other than money. Profits are the products of your interests and efforts. You need to have a strong reason for opting the small business route. Once you identify the reason, the rest can be sketched out gradually.
The first and foremost step is to create an original business plan. A clothing business is in fact huge as there are many combinations in terms of clothes, colors, labels, price and desirability. You need to be sure which sector of clothing interests you. A boutique essentially means a store that specializes in a particular style of clothing. So these are the factors you must consider while drawing up the plan.

Business Plan: 
1. The vision and mission of the business:
The vision talks about long term goals of the business while the mission answers the question ?why do we do this business?'

2. The executive summary:
This gives the exhaustive details of the business. It answers all the general questions of why, what, how and when of the start up

3. The financial outlay:
This is the part where you have to work out the initial capital, working capital, start-up cost, maintenance costs and costs that are generally expected. The financial outlay will be continuously altered as you get the ground reality of your project.

4. Marketing plan:
This section discusses in detail about your customers. Who are we catering to? What are their needs? How does my shop fill their needs?

5. Operation details:
What is the operation plan of your business? Who is going to manage it? How to manage it?

6. Stakeholders:
Who are the interested party in the business and how will this impact you? What are your commitments?

7. Growth plans:
You should decide about your tentative growth plan. This is not a fixed column because your plans are based on guess work. In five years my turn over will be this much. Yet your guess should be calculated and reasonable instead of random. You also have to chart out your SWOT analysis (Strength, weakness, opportunities and threats) and act on them.

8. Competitor Analysis:
It is very important to evaluate competitors in the same line of the business as they will directly eat into your profits. Try to study them carefully and come up with unique ideas that might lessen the competition.
Theme:

Before starting on the interior work, you must decide on a theme for your clothing store. For example, if your store sells casual clothes for man and women you can have a beach theme and choose your decorations accordingly. Your walls can be painted with blue, green or yellow to give a casual look. Attention must be given to every aspect of the interior namely, the ceiling (natural or false) clothing arrangement (shelves or hangers), flooring (wood or tiles), lighting(bright or dim) , display (paneled or glass) and the walls (wall paper or paint). Every expense and idea has to be accounted and then carefully evaluated. The first look of the shop should be appealing to the customer. The customer sees the shop before choosing the clothes. The ambiance should be bright and welcoming.If your space is small, you can make it look bigger by placing mirrors and painting the walls with bold colors instead of subtle colors.

Style:
Before you indulge in bulk purchases you must be confident of choosing the necessary dressing style. The next step is to find out the various locations which are suitable for bulk purchases. Certain materials may be cheap of more appealing in one city than the rest. Find out such unique combinations that work for your store. All through the selection process, keep your target customer in mind and cater to their needs. The first time is always going to be tough as you do not have a clear ideas what clicks with the customer. Nevertheless, make sure you have a rough idea of what you are getting into.

Marketing:

In other words you have to think about the various marketing channels you can use to promote your new store. This depends heavily on your locality and the demographics you are dealing with. For example if you are customers are factory workers, an advertisement in the internet will not do anything to your business. Bear in mind that marketing initiatives can consume a lot of money. So make sure that the results are worth the money. Think beyond traditional advertising through banners, boards or flyers. If you want to give discounts to pull in the crowd make sure you have a plan in place. Word-of-mouth marketing is the most underrated technique. Do not ignore that. Though there are so many promotional activities, your shop's quality is the biggest marketing blessing. Make sure you earn the good will of the customer.
Price:

Another deciding factor for the success of the shop is pricing. This is a major governing factor for small businesses. The price when too low raises doubts about the quality of the clothes, while prices that are too high might discourage customers from entering the store. The price and the profit margin must be calculated based on the purchasing power of the average customer in that area. Also it should be more or less in the same area as that of competitors.
  
Location:

Selecting the correct location is half the job done. The store should be in a location of maximum footfalls. Remember that not all customers passing by come into the store, not all customers walking into the store buy. When the location is ideal it is easier to convert the footfalls into purchases.
 
D-Day:

The opening ceremony is the first face of the shop. So try creating a positive buzz before the important day. Come up with simple and beautiful incentives for your customers during the first couple of months till the customer is comfortable about the shop. If budget permits, host a party and invite everyone to step in for free gifts or discounts. Spread the good word to who ever walks into the shop and encourage them to do the same.

Final word:

When we talk about a small business, it need not ideally be a single line of business. For example, though the main line of business could be clothes, you can even focus on accessories or shoes to go with your clothes well. This will create a niche for your budding business in the market. It is also shown that customers are more prone to visit a single stop shop. But these ideas should be able to mix well with your main line of profits. Over whelming the customer might not prove to be good. Take it one step at a time and slowly expand.
 


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