Starting a small business with several sales channels maximizes your chance of success
In those tender first few years after you start your small business every sale is significant. It’s unfortunate that many entrepreneurs attribute a small start up budget with a single outlet for sales. In the past this may have been true. Few entrepreneurs had enough capital to open even a single store. Two or three stores in different neighborhoods was well beyond most budding entrepreneurs. Today, there is no end to the different sales avenues available to imaginative start up retailers, despite limited budgets.
Channel One: Start a small retail business with a mall kiosk
Don’t let the high cost of starting a bricks and mortar store keep you from making sales to live customers. An attractive kiosk can be purchased for less than a decent used car. Utility and Maintenance costs are also inexpensive. Mobility is an added bonus. If one location fizzles out you can always pick up and move.
Internet options may be less expensive to start up but they also take much longer to be noticed. Depending on your experience, they also take a lot longer to build. A well placed kiosk can be fully operational and generating income the moment you wheel it in the door.
Channel Two: Start a small retail business with an ecommerce site
Once you have your kiosk in place, you’re going to find yourself with a lot of free time between customers. You could spend this time talking to your neighbors or reading the newspaper. You could also boost your future sales potential by starting an online store.
Ecommerce sites can be created quickly but they do take time to fine tune. Once you’ve worked out all the bugs it may still be a while before many customers start to notice your small retail business. There’s no reason you can’t handle an ecommerce site from a notebook at your kiosk.
If you merely started an ecommerce site, you would have to wait months until your site was noticed or pay for expensive advertisements. Instead of sitting in your basement, frantically checking your server log, you could be positioned at your kiosk with an opportunity to speak face to face about your products, and hopefully sell some of them.
Not only can you continue making money while you start your ecommerce site but you also get a chance to promote it at practically no extra cost. Stamp your small business website address on your kiosk, shopping bags and reciepts. Be sure to mention the site to everyone that stops by your kiosk. Even offer a chance to browse, or beta test, your ecommerce site from your notebook.
Channel Three: Start a small retail business selling products on E-bay
E-bay and Pay-Pal take a hefty chunk out of your profit margin but E-bay still has some redeeming qualities. Almost any product you put onto their website will be noticed. In addition, once you’ve completed several transactions successfully your seller profile will indicate that you can be trusted. It takes a long time to build up trust for your ecommerce site. Like your kiosk, you can advertise your ecommerce site at no charge.
Unlike your kiosk and online store, your products can be sold on eBay with practically no startup cost. Also, there are a lot of savvy internet shopers that make online transactions exclusively through auctions. By opening up this third channel your potential customer base skyrockets!