Start a Guitar Shop with a Franchise
Many of us have dabbled in one musical instrument or another in our lifetime. Whether it’s the guitar, piano or saxophone, we need to buy our instruments from somewhere. It has been found that 85 percent of children and 74 percent of adults say they have played an instrument (ABRSM). Therefore, why not capitalise on the demand and start a guitar shop franchise? Guitars are a popular musical instrument choice because they are atheistically pleasing, you can learn songs and imitate your favourite rockstar and they are easily transportable so can be played anywhere.
As well as selling musical instruments, musical instrument retailers usually sell audio equipment, amps, keyboards and musical accessories. These might include sheet music, song books, replacement strings and guitar effects pedals. The industry currently generates a revenue of £440 million and has experienced a two percent growth from 2014 (IBIS). There are also roughly 3,900 people employed in and 1,680 businesses operating in the industry. The surge in growth can be attributed to an increase in people having music tuition and therefore buying musical instruments.
Over the past five years, online-based retailers have become more competition to the classic shop-front style businesses. Therefore, retailers may face more showrooming from customers that are actually going to make the purchase online. This might be something to bear in mind when starting your own guitar shop. You may opt to open an online guitar shop or you could operate from a traditional shop-front location but also sell online.
The location of music shop franchises depends on the local population, their disposable income and the customer demand. Therefore, in more populated areas, the demand for musical instruments is higher. The South-East accounts for the biggest share of industry establishments, predicted at 14.9 percent (IBIS).
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Franchise Route vs Independent Start-Up
If you opt to take the franchise route, you can sell your products under an established brand with an existing customer base. The franchisor will provide you with a proven business model and provide training and support in areas such as insurance, legal compliance, marketing and finding the perfect location. Franchisors also have buying power, which means they get preferential rates on equipment and any vehicles you need. This should help your business become as profitable as possible.
Who is right for the job?
If you are passionate about guitars or enjoy playing the guitar this will be a massive bonus because you can share your expertise with the customers. Also, you should be able to work with a variety of customers, from musicians just starting out to those who have been playing for over 50 years. Guitar shops will be noisy, with customers trying out the instruments. Therefore, you should be able to deal with loud noise and a hectic environment.
If you opt to open a shop-front style guitar shop, your typical day will involve selling guitars and their accessories, ensuring that the space is clean and tidy, keeping inventory records up to date and accurate, topping up the till with change, keeping on top of your marketing campaign, replenishing inventory and supplies and managing staff.
Study Your Competition
Look into your local competitors and observe what makes them successful. Then start to draft a business plan focusing on what will set your shop apart from the rest. It needs to have a clear vision and outline what you intend to offer and when you anticipate it will become profitable. You will need to explain this to banks or investors in order to get funding.
Choose the Right Location
Think carefully about where you locate your shop. You might find a spot with low rent but in a not very safe location, and if customers don’t feel safe or are worried about parking their car there then they are less likely to return. Also, you may find a prime spot right in the centre of town, but if there is absolutely no parking, this will also deter customers. So, if this is the case, try to choose a location near a public multi-storey car park or road parking that customers can use. Think about who your target customer is too and consider who will be walking past on a daily basis. With this in mind, you could locate your shop near local clubs where bands frequently play.
You could set up shop near a school as this would also offer you visibility to a potential market segment. Another idea is near family-oriented businesses, for example family restaurants and children’s clothing stores. Work with a sign franchise to create a building sign that features musical instruments and reflects your guitar franchise’s character.
Make Your Offering Unique
You could set yourself apart from competitors by opening the space for lessons; guitar repairs; training, such as how to use equipment; performances; and other events that help build customer loyalty and brand recognition. This, of course, also expands your sources of income as well as just guitar sales.
Think About the Customer
Think about the customers’ immediate gratifications when you design the store layout. Put top-sellers and high-cost items at the front where customers are more likely to see them. Imagine that a father and son are walking past your shop around the son’s birthday. If his dream guitar is easily seen from the window, there’s more chance of them coming in to find out more, so display more profitable items at the font and leave less profitable items at the back.
Hire Enthusiastic and Musical Employees
Place adverts for current or former musicians who are passionate about sharing their knowledge. Provide your staff with instrument embellished shirts that display your brand name. You could also run role-playing sessions that help staff create new approaches to helping customers with guitar needs.
Becky Martin, Point Franchise ©
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