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Old 19th May 2005, 12:29 PM   #1
Tawnya
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Default Questions on starting a Business

Okay I have a lot of questions so please bare with me I am very serious about starting my business.

I want to open a New bookstore.
My questions include:

1.) How do I know what schooling I am going to need to run this kind of business, do I need a full 2-year general business diploma. Or just a course, or neither.

2.) How do I know where the best location for this type of store would be, perhaps there is a demand in another country or state or province. How can I find out.

3.) Do all small businessí go into dept to begin with?

Finally anything else important that you think I should know.


Last edited by Tawnya; 19th May 2005 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 19th May 2005, 12:51 PM   #2
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Hi Tawnya,

What a great business - I love books!

As to question #3, no, not all small businesses go into debt to get started. For some it is necessary, for others it isn't.

If I was in your shoes, here is what I would do...

First, I'd get a job in a used or small bookstore (not a big Barnes and Noble type store) to get some hands on experience working in one and learning about the business. The reason I'd pick a small bookstore is so you can learn their "angle" for competing against the giant bookstores. Work as much as you can, ask questions, and take notes on what you've learned when you get home. If you can get two jobs in two separate bookstores, all the better because you'll learn different things at each.

The second thing I would do is start an online bookstore today. I'd pick a name and start selling books on eBay (and later on Amazon.com as well). This will give you exposure to online operations and will allow you to start your business right now, without any money. Don't be in a hurry to grow huge. Instead spend all the time you can learning from other sellers. Learn about where you can get books, learn about shipping, etc, etc.

It costs next to nothing to get started selling on eBay and you can get a PayPal account for free. A PayPal account will allow you to accept credit card payments from day one.

Also, if you are limited in your funds for education, what I would do is take classes to learn an accounting software package. For example, purchase a used copy of Quickbooks and see if a local community college offers night courses in learning Quickbooks. It's very important to always know the financial condition of your busines - regardless of how small. In fact, when you are small is the time to learn good financial habits and be super diligent in your financial bookkeeping.

That's my two cents for starters.

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Old 19th May 2005, 12:58 PM   #3
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I think that was hilarious. For one I work in a small bookstore, which is part of indigo & chapters. I am currently selling a book on ebay, & I don't think I could make money off of doing it online. For one most of used books I buy are 3.99$ at the cheapest thatís what I'm selling it for on ebay no ones biting and two I'll also have to pay shipping costs. It doesn't seem like a smart thing to do to me.

So you suggest I take an accounting course as opposed to a business course. I have 10,000$ saved that I am going to use to get this business running weather the money goes to my schooling or my actual business, I'm just having a hard time organizing everything, I need a plan. And I don't feel that I have enough to start a business but I know I'm going to have this bookstore regardless, you know what I mean.

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Old 19th May 2005, 01:32 PM   #4
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Great minds think alike?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tawnya
For one I work in a small bookstore, which is part of indigo & chapters.
You're on the right track for getting experience.

Quote:
I am currently selling a book on ebay, & I don't think I could make money off of doing it online. For one most of used books I buy are 3.99$ at the cheapest thatís what I'm selling it for on ebay no ones biting and two I'll also have to pay shipping costs. It doesn't seem like a smart thing to do to me.
This is exactly why you need to learn more about online sales. If you are paying too much to make a profit it means you are buying from the wrong places.

Also, if no one is biting you need to ask why. Is it because the price is too high? Is it because your sales pitch is wrong? Is it because you don't have enough positive feedback for people to trust you? Is it because you don't have your own unique spin?

Because it is a tough environment is exactly why I encourage you to continue to learn from it and pursue it. If you can't succeed online, I think you are in for a rude awakening offline simply because of the fact that your overhead is going to be sooo much higher in your brick and morter store.

Also, don't forget that you competitor down the street IS going to know how to successfully sell online as well as in her store which will give her another revenue stream and advantage that you won't have.

Quote:
So you suggest I take an accounting course as opposed to a business course.
If you can do both, that's even better. If you had to chose one, I'd go with the accounting course. You must understand the hows and whys of your businesses finances.

Quote:
I have 10,000$ saved that I am going to use to get this business running
Wow! That says a lot about you. If you've been able to save that much money, I believe you can be successful. That is really excellent!

Quote:
And I don't feel that I have enough to start a business...
You have about $10,000 more than I did when I started. You have enough.

But, I would encourage you to create a plan to launch your business based on the assumption that you have $0. This will force you to be creative and stingy - two excellent traits for an entrepreneur.

Quote:
I'm just having a hard time organizing everything, I need a plan.
You are probably doing a better job organizing things than you realize. Take the time to start writing everything you think of down.

Quote:
I know I'm going to have this bookstore regardless, you know what I mean.
I know you will too.

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Old 19th May 2005, 01:38 PM   #5
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Wow, I can't believe how supportive you are. I appreciate that immensely.

Can I ask you what inspired you to start your own business and have you ever looked back and wanted to do something differently, or maybe not do it at all.

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Old 19th May 2005, 01:40 PM   #6
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You know the book store business better than we do. Ask yourself what could you do to make your's stand out? What could you do better and deliver more of what customers want.

My wife has a week end flea market booth next to a high end artwork booth. Folks look at the other paintings going for over $100, and then they stop by her smaller selection priced at $30-$75. She makes sales on that niche market.

Brick and mortar traffic seems essential. One trick a mentor told me was to look at where the big fast food chains are set up. They have the resources and have already determined where are the best concentration of people.

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Old 19th May 2005, 02:04 PM   #7
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That is a very good point!
I know thta the only thing I want to do is own my own new bookstore. But then I think, Coles, Smithbooks, Chapters and Indigo are all over my city and they are all one company., Is it possible for an independant company to do well in comparison to all these as well as have Barnes & Nobles in my city as well.

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Old 19th May 2005, 02:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tawnya
Wow, I can't believe how supportive you are. I appreciate that immensely.
That's what we're here for! It may be kind of corny, but I really get excited hearing people talk about their dreams and what they are doing to make their business work. It gives me a boost and helps keep me motivated.

Quote:
Can I ask you what inspired you to start your own business and have you ever looked back and wanted to do something differently, or maybe not do it at all.
My first "business" was when I was in high school, I created a monthly magazine about Punk music and Conservative politics (odd combination I know, but hey, I'm a bit odd and that's what I like) because I thought it would be fun.

The writing was terrible, I literally cut (with scissors) and pasted (with glue) my pictures in, and would make photocopies of each page, fold them over and staple them together. I put a price of 50 cents on each and I was really nervous when I showed it to my friends. They half thought it was cool half laughed at it. But, I was able to sell about 30 copies the first time to other kids in school.

After doing it for a couple of months I worked my courage up and went to a used record store that had some pretty radical owners and patrons. I asked the owner if he'd let me leave my little "magazine" on the counter in exchange for half the profits of any he sold (a whopping 25 cents). I was amazed when he said yes. Maybe he just thought I was goofy (not many kids wore Black Flag tshirts with Ronald Reagan buttons on them ), but for whatever reason he said yes.

I never sold very many at that store, maybe 10 or 15 a month, but that was enough to give me the entrepreneurial bug.

My next venture was being a lawn guy when I was 18. I bought a used station wagon that was not in the best shape and it didn't even have air conditioning (and it gets HOT here), but the engine was good and there was lots of room in the back. I'd do any kind of lawn work - mowing, trimming shrubs, digging out stumps, whatever. I didn't make a whole lot but I also had a job at a courier company so I'd use my lawn money to upgrade equipment whenever I could. Without going into all the details, I did that for about 5 years and finally got to the point where I had 4 guys working with me and two trucks.

Then I got a computer to help with the business and I loved it. I was constantly trying to come up with an idea that I could use to start a business using computers. I finally did and I closed my lawn company and within a year or so my new business crashed and burned big time. I lost all the money I'd saved, was in terrible debt and I really let it get me down. I made the mistake of letting my failure get to me for a long time.

I got a job with a real estate company working on a BBS (computer bulletin board system) the owner wanted to launch. I'd played with Prodigy and Compuserve before, but that was my first exposure getting to operate something "online" and I loved it.

Unfortunately, after a short time, the owner decided he didn't want to mess with it anymore so I was out of a job. But, I bought the computer and modems from him and went home and set up my own BBS. I also set up a web site. The BBS failed a somewhat natural death as the web site started to grow a bit. This was in 1995.

Anyway, I'm really rambling and giving more details than I'm sure anyone would care to read. But, I just kept at it and tried lots of different things and failed lots of times. But, I came to the conclusion that I love running my own business and I could be happy even if it was only marginally successful. I wouldn't be happy if I didn't keep trying.

One final thing - the biggest mistake I ever made was letting my failures get to me. You've got to learn to brush them off and just keep chugging along.

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Old 19th May 2005, 02:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tawnya
I know thta the only thing I want to do is own my own new bookstore. But then I think, Coles, Smithbooks, Chapters and Indigo are all over my city and they are all one company., Is it possible for an independant company to do well in comparison to all these as well as have Barnes & Nobles in my city as well.
Absolutely! I live in Houston and we have every major bookstore you could imagine here. And, there are a ton of mom and pop bookstores that are thriving here as well. Within a 10 minute drive from my house there are 5 used bookstores that I can think of and we visit regularly.

I don't shop at the big Barnes and Nobles- type stores for two reasons...

1. I think they are too expensive.
2. They aren't as much fun.

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Old 20th May 2005, 12:22 AM   #10
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Oh I agree there are plenty of thriving used book store in my city but I dont want a used book store I want to sell new books. Thats a totally different market. And I would be competeing with chapters and all those such stores.

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