Would you like to open an independent bookstore? About half of all new bookshop businesses close within the first five years of opening their doors, largely the result of poor planning and failure to recognize in advance the challenges inherent in this line of work. However, about half do succeed, and yours can be one of them!
You CAN successfully open an independent bookstore and avoid the costly mistakes made by those who fail. Here are 3 great tips to help you start out on the right foot:
1. Recognize that a bookstore business is a retail business, and retail is hard work. You may love to read, but as a bookshop owner you may have less time to read than ever before! Along with choosing a location, setting up shop, and stocking freshly printed books, you'll need to become familiar with every aspect of retail, from scheduling employees and handling payroll to understanding income and sales tax laws.
Also, don't underestimate how physically taxing retail work can be - more than likely you'll be on your feet all day, lifting, carrying, sorting, and serving your customers with a smile in spite of simply wanting to curl up with a good book!
2. Be prepared to wait for your first pay check. Financial success in this sector does not come overnight. Most new businesses average around 3 years to turn a profit. Even if you do most of the work yourself, you may find there is little left after meeting your monthly obligations to pay yourself for quite some time. You'll want to make sure that you have the resources to proceed before cutting the cord to your current stream of income.
3. Take advantage of the insightful resources available for those wanting to open an independent bookstore early in your planning. There are many involved in the book selling business who are pulling for you - authors, publishers, printers, distributors, consultants and more all need for you to succeed in order to succeed themselves! Although they may be very busy people, most would be willing to give you a few minutes of their time; you can learn a lot from such conversations.
Organizations such as the American Booksellers Association are also a great source of information as you investigate what it really takes to open an independent bookstore. With forethought and a realistic assessment of this industry, you CAN open a bookshop and succeed!