How To Start An Aquatic Retail Shop
From Hobby to Business!
Many people want to start their own business and very often look towards their hobby for ideas. There is a very good reason for doing this - trying to make money out of something you are interested in and like is very much easier than from something you have no interest in whatsoever. Knowing something about a subject gives you authority and that helps with buying, selling and promoting any product.
The aquatic industry is world wide - it is a hobby as big in Asia as it is in Europe or the United States. Some parts of the hobby are traditionally geographically rooted - such as Koi Carp production and rearing in Japan and Discuss breeding in Germany. However, these days all locations appear to be just as interested in all areas of fish keeping.
Some say that moving from a hobby interest to a business destroys that initial love of a subject. However, most will agree that by developing your hobby into a profitable business opportunity actually adds a significan element to your overall enjoyment of the subject.
Discuss Fish With Brood of Juveniles
The Potential for an Aquatic Business
Setting up an aquatic retail store would not only be an ideal way for an enthusiast to turn his or her hobby intio a career, but might also provide a lucrative way to incoprporate an interest or knowledge of fish rearing into a business.
Setting up a home based ornamental fish hatchery as a sideline or even setting up a more commercial ornamental fish production unit is even more viable when done in conjunction with starting an aquatic retail shop.
By having a profitable retail outlet it means that you have staff on hand (even if you are one of these) for seven days of the week and this therefore means that you have cover for the highly technical rearing process. Also the cover is likely to be an enthusiast themselves if not simply knowledgeable in fish husbandry.
Supplies for the fish rearing business can be bought along with stock for the shop and therefore best prices obtained. The location of the rearing unit may even be within the same premises and juveniles can be sold through the shop alongside all the other species of ornamental fish that need to be bought in.
There are many benefits for incorporating some aspects of fish rearing into a retail outlet - including giving the new shop authority in the hobbyist marketplace.
Some ways to get started
It is almost certain that you will want to rent premises rather than buy to get started. However, even that can be prohibitive to the start up in many cases. Why not be creative?
An ornamental fish and fishkeeping outlet need not be positioned in a cityy centre. You do not need to consider how much "footfall" there will be by your front display window. Almost all serious fish and associated equipment buyers will be happy to make a visit to a dedicated outlet which is off the beaten track - so long as they know where you are! Plus this will have the added benefit of providing much more parking space thereby encouraging people to visit even more. (Who ever picks up a new fish tank or an expensive and rare living addition to your existing tank when visiting town with your family?).
Look at your nearest population centre - you might live in it or in an outlying village. Identify all the commercial parks, industrial estates and other business centres - there will be dozens if not hundred when you start looking (use Yellow Pages or other directories).
Visit these estates - have a walk round - see what is going on. You need to be able to find a low cost building to use for your business - and this might be renting part of an existing building that is being under utilised. See how many properties are vacant - it may be possible to do a short term deal with the landlord.
Alternatively, consider doing what many of the large aquatic retail chains are doing - renting space in other businesses such as garden centres - an ideal companion for such a business. You might be able to do a deal with a smaller outlet to provide a proportion of your turnover, rather than pay up-front rent.
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The next stage
Finding suitable premises to get started can be hard. Sometimes people have the property at the outset, and are looking to fit a new business into it - perhaps a previous business has failed.
It is much better to look for a property that suits best - close to population center but with plenty of space, including parking. Once you have identified it, you need to put together your business plan - the starting point being the capital expenditure on the shopfitting.
I advise starting this way round because at this stage you do not really know what the scope of your business will be. Now with say 2000 square feet of floor space and an office you can begin to get an idea of the scale of business you might want to set up.
Some might say this is a backward route - however if you started with your business plan - say looking for a bottom line profit of $100,000 - by the time you have created a plan you will project the need for a certain property in a certain location - tying to find it will be hard.
However, if going about it in this backwards way, you still need an idea of what you are looking for! So in a way you will have done some planning first - but in a way that means that you can be flexible when you happen upon a great opportunity.
So we move on to the capital requirements for an ornamental fish business in my next hub.