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Old 07-07-2005, 08:59 PM #1
PhoenixPhyre
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Hopefully opening a store...

Any advice guys, I'm fairly new to the business world, but I've been in paintball quite a while.

I managed a store here in my hometown until it recently went under. The store was profitable and doing quite well, but the owner got another job that paid more with less time involved for him.

I want to take over the reigns here and open my own place. I've got a business plan drawn up and now need to work on getting funding, if theres any advice in that area it'd be great, but any advice at all is more than appreciated

Just for background info the store will be in Greenville NC, 130k population, college town, with no paintball stores within a 65 mile radius.
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Old 07-07-2005, 09:37 PM #2
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make your store a hang out spot, really, add a couch and a couple of chairs and a tv. This will draw in people all the time. A local store here does that and it's awsome
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Old 07-07-2005, 09:57 PM #3
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we actually did that, minus the couches...we had a tv, video games, and movies goin all the time...there were always people just hanging out in the store...helped with sales as the customer got not only my opinion but those of people that didn't work at the store.
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Old 07-07-2005, 11:36 PM #4
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Look into finacing from some of the bigger distributors. Places Like NPS might have some funding available.

The downside to that is they will require a certainn percentage of your stock to be NPS product.
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Old 07-08-2005, 11:51 AM #5
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Newbies will power your business. Make sure you can accomodate their needs: CO2 tanks, CO2 fills, sell and service low end guns, and whatnot. Don't forget about tournament 'ballers, but don't rely on them for enough sales to support your store.
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Old 07-08-2005, 05:32 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DreadLock Doc
Newbies will power your business. Make sure you can accomodate their needs: CO2 tanks, CO2 fills, sell and service low end guns, and whatnot. Don't forget about tournament 'ballers, but don't rely on them for enough sales to support your store.
100% true the tourney ballers will always find what they are buying at the absolute cheapest price around, so you will never make rent on those types. but the rec-ball newbie market is where the $$$$ is at.
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Old 07-08-2005, 05:35 PM #7
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Ohh yea definitally know that and wanna cater to the newbies and rec players...theres tournament guys i wanna work with two, but i know they arent gonna pay my bills
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Old 07-08-2005, 06:58 PM #8
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Now I am not coming from a store owners point of view, but a field managers point of view. It IS the newbies you have to cater to. Focus on them, maybe move into the rental arena with jumpsuits they can get as a package deal to play at your local field.

An old paintball saying (Been in since 83) is after a player get's their gear, your revenue stream dries up....They shop paint, gear, mods etc etc....

Newies want the experince and to go home without the baggage...help provide it. Be newbie friendly, I find that locals can drive away newbies, make them your focus....
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Old 07-08-2005, 10:19 PM #9
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Another strategy is when buying items in colors such as masks/markers/clothing ect. buy black/grey instead of colorful stuff, or just buy a few colors because a local store near me had to sell a ton of really old stuff very cheap because they wasted their money on vibrant and non-popular colors like yellow and orange. Probably something youve already thought of, but its a tip.
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Old 07-08-2005, 10:22 PM #10
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Oh and advertise as much as possible!
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Old 07-20-2005, 09:42 AM #11
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A realistic inventory is key. A $700 Intimidator might net you $200 profit twice a year. $700 in 50 CO2 tanks can net you $500 in 30 days.

Grow SLOW. Track you COGS (Cost of Goods Sold) carefully. Don't buy more than you COGS. Quarterly, assess your overhead versus your profit. Pay out your profit quarterly. If you feel like increasing your inventory, write a check as an investment. Never use profit that hasn't been taken out of the business.

Preserve ALL your initial profit payouts (dividend distribution) until you have enough profit to pay 60 days of overhead. Keep t is is an emergency account.

Don't use debt to expand. Don't be afraid to cut an employee on a slow day.

Give new items 90 days to pay for themselves. If within 90 days a new item doesn't cycle enough to pay for itself, dump it for 90 days. If customers ask for it, be honest: explain it didn't sell. Offer to special order it. If the second time around it doesn't sell, dump it.

The newest and hottest item will rarely be worth it. Focus on tried and true. Ions make me decent profit, but they instill high tech costs. Tippmanns still make me way more money. Remote coils sell better than Tadao boards.

As you grow, thank customers for their loyalty. We have 1000 customers who return regularly at one of our stores. We have 4000 who don't. Big mistake.

Don't put down other stores. Embrace the Internet as a source for information. Don't denounce products you don't sell. l love Wal*Mart, they bring in a ton of newbs that find us.

Don't sponsor. Don't chase tournament players. Focus on families.

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Old 07-20-2005, 07:09 PM #12
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Thanks for the Info Dada...very helpful

Update: I've got everything ready for my store...just gotta get to the banks for funding now..which with my new 50hr/wk job coming up with time for that is gonna be the problem
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Old 07-20-2005, 07:47 PM #13
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I'd consider your time & money situation carefully. Before opening a store, I'd recommend having 6 months to dedicate strictly to the store. Expect zero income, so you'll need 6 months of personal savings to live on.

Loans are fine if you can get the business profitable quick. Our first store took 12 months, second took 3 months.
We dedicated 80 hours a week to each.

--dada
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Old 07-21-2005, 01:34 AM #14
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The one lesson I learned talking to Geno of NPS and Pev of Pev's Paintball is to NEVER, EVER, EVER up sell. If a player comes in asking for the cheapest gun you have, sell him it. Yes you'll only make $20 on it but they will be back next year to get a Tippmann, then a cocker, then a timmy. You just made 4 gun sales off the same customer instead of instantly trying to force him into the cocker or timmy which would have been too much for him to handle anyway.
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Old 07-21-2005, 10:19 AM #15
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We've often DOWN-sold to save customers money. I will always try to get a newbie better goggles even if it means cutting back on the marker. Same is true with paint -- almost all my customers skipped buying a barrel after they found better paint shot amazing in what they had.

Our goal in retail is to make our profits on a customer over years, not just one visit. Retention is key.

--dada
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Old 07-21-2005, 12:33 PM #16
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What about a Grant? Get a business grant for the store. I don't think you have to pay it back. Just as long as you spend all your grant on the store.
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Old 07-21-2005, 12:53 PM #17
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Be careful of grants. You're using government to try to make a profit, and you'll fall under a TON of regulations. I recommend doing it with your own money set aside -- I dislike the idea of loans and debt for starting a small business.

--dada
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Old 07-21-2005, 01:48 PM #18
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Read the fine print And i thought u didnt have to pay back a grant.
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Old 07-21-2005, 04:08 PM #19
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Some grants you dont have to pay back, but honestly for a middle class 20 something white male starting a business grants are pretty much a no go.

dada...I hate the idea of loans too but its the only way I'll get the business open. I'm still in college right now and work another job, but saving the amount that I'd need to open the store and have enough to hold me over for a while would honestly take me years. I'd really like to get the store open as quickly as possible because our local shop with plenty of customers just shut down. (I actually managed the place, owner just up and got another job then quit) We were profitable, and doing quite well with our customer base. Now I've got a ton of customers, which are like friends really that have nowhere to get their supplies around here.
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Old 07-21-2005, 04:56 PM #20
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PP,

Have you tried purchasing the business from your previous owner? Perhaps a profit sharing thing where you ultimately take over ownership but he makes some money for doing little or nothing?

I started Compulsive between my freshman and sophmore years. However, I had a complete summer's savings to start the business with. If you have no cash, then you're going to be hard pressed to hit the ground running. Most banks are conservative and aren't interested in startups (although banks that help startups are definitely out there). Any bank that talks to you will want a co-signer with some assets.

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Old 07-21-2005, 05:00 PM #21
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Well everything from the previous business is gone and done with...the owner wants nothing to do with paintball anymore. As far as finding a co-signer thats no problem, I've got a LOADED aunt that will sign for me...actually offered me the money I needed to start but I just can't take money from my family...it'd be too weird.
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