How to Succeed in Opening a Computer Store
For the computer aficionado, there is no greater thrill than the idea of opening and operating a successful computer shop. While computer store can certainly be profitable and enjoyable businesses, the owner must clearly understand the dynamics of running a successful business in this space. No longer can a shop keeper simply put up a sign and sell hardware with an expectation of success. Operating a computer store these days takes a more sophisticated plan, but it can still be a great way for you to make a living.
Manage your cash
Plan your computer store with an expectation that you will need several months to build an income. It is imperative that you begin your business with the financial resources to go with little or no pay for the first few months. Further, you need to be certain that you can fund the businesses ongoing expenses as you work through your start-up phase. One of the most common reasons for business failure is lack of proper funding, so don’t become a statistic as you begin to build your computer shop’s clientele.
Spend a little extra on the shop’s appearance
Your shop will become your greatest calling card. All too often, computer store owners try to build a shop with slat walls, tables and counters. You must keep in mind that computers are a commodity, and as such, you are not selling a box, you are selling your store and your services. Make the shop feel welcoming without the antiseptic feeling of many computer shops. While it will cost a bit more on the front end, the investment in a pleasant, comfortable shop will more than pay for itself over the long run. Apple was roundly criticized for their retail concept and the expense associated with their aesthetic, but they have become the world’s most profitable retail stores on a per foot basis. Learn from the apple model.
Use sales collateral from suppliers to add spice to the shop
Your wholesale suppliers will have all sorts of promotional material that you can add to your sales collateral. These materials are almost always free, and they can enhance your shop, and help sell your products.
Build the business on ancillary services
Build the business on ancillary services, not hardware sales. Because computers are a commodity, you will need more than just product if you intend to succeed. Your computer shop must add more value than its inventory. Find several niches and fill them through your store. If your town or city lacks computer repair service, add those. If you don’t have a used apple store in you city, fill that need with your store. You may also want to consider services beyond the walls of your store. For instance, you could offer network administration service to small businesses, or setup and install services for home users. Classes are another great opportunity to spread your name, get people into the store, and develop an additional revenue stream. Regardless of the ancillary services you choose, you simply must do more than offer boxes for sale.
Manage inventories closely
Computers have a shelf life slightly longer than bread, so you must manage your inventory closely. In a technology field, inventory management is as sacrosanct as cash flow management. You product will spoil quickly, so manage inventory with than in mind.
In the end, a computer shop is no different than any other. You must manage your cash, create a value added offer, and service your customers well. If you are able to master these skills, you are likely to do very well with your new shop, and hopefully, begin living your dream.
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