Starting a small boutique and looking for business ideas

B

bi-lo

#1
I will open a boutique soon. I would just like to hear some general discussion of what it involves, mainly establishing controls. Can anyone share sample forms on inventory, sales report, purchasing forms, etc? And any ideas, of course. What are the other important things to know and do? Does anyone own a boutique or a store? How did you set up your accounting system?

Thank you in advance!
 
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Pancho

wikineer
Super Moderator
#2
Welcome to The Cove, Bi-lo.

Here are a couple of ideas. They may be too simple, yet...

(1) Write a business plan:
The first step in starting any business is your roadmap. A good plan describes your market, offering, team, strategy and finance. Do you have one already? If not, the SBA has great advice for you. In fact, the SBA has lots of other resources for starting and managing your business.

(2) Get an accountant:
Accounting is a basic skill required to run any business. If you don't have any background in it, then you need to find someone that does (fortunately, lots of folks do). You need one of them, and perhaps only one day every month. Do get someone that advices and keeps books for similar businesses. Make sure that he or she helps you with a running cash forecast. This is likely the most important report you will need for the first few months (or years) of your business.


Exciting stuff, what you are getting into. Good luck!
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#3
Good advice from Pancho, especially about SBA resources.

I've dealt with over a hundred startups in all types of business. In addition to an accountant, you need to find an attorney who is experienced and proficient in dealing with startup businesses. A typical "business attorney" can be a deal killer, but one who is experienced and proficient in startups can help avoid a lot of blind alleys and be a great deal maker.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but talking about a "boutique" without knowing merchandise, location, store size, startup capital requirement, and how long you can realistically expect to have to spend capital before you reach are able to break even and begin making profit is a sure path to failure.

Location, of course, is crucial to enable your target market to find you if you plan to open a brick and mortar location. If you are strictly an etailer, you have to find some way to set yourself apart and create a "special" location on the web compared to the tens of thousands of other etailers on the web.
 

Mikael

Quite Involved in Discussions
#4
Where in the world are you? Like in Denmark there are some centers that can help you with basic things, sometimes for free.

Of course it all depends on your concept and what you wanna sell, but in general place/location is crucial as pointed out by Wes. It is a part of the old socalled productmix, where the basics are price, promotion, place, product(s).

Overall you can make two approaches, try to imitate the large companies, making fine business plans, market research etc., or you can trust in the fact that you spotted a need which is there at the moment and then keep trying until you find out what works, be close with your customers.

Both are with risk and they can be time and ressource intensive. Must academic people will argue for the first approach, that everything else would be crazy.
 

Rickser

Involved In Discussions
#5
Welcome Bi-lo. Pancho nailed it. There are countless businesses that have failed because they didn't have a busimness plan and they did not have an accountant. Not to give a commercial plug here, but one of the simplest accounting software packages to use is Quickbooks. There are many others such as Peachtree that are good also. Here, we have the Economic Development Council that assist startup businesses at no charge. Ours offers free office space for up to a year. They call it the "incubator". There are also many other resources available such as retired CEO's, COO's and CFO's that would be glad just to "get back in the game" at little or no cost to you.
 
B

bi-lo

#6
Thanks for the responses. Unfortunately, I don't a business plan. However, I am using SBA website as my guide thought my store is located in the Philippines. I checked with the concerned government agencies in the Philippines some business laws and regulations. I am on the process of hiring my first employee. I have learned that I am required to pay the minimum wage and am likewise required to pay myshares for my employee's SSS, PAGIBIG, and PhilHealth based on the monthly salary of the employee. I am also required to deduct the withholding tax per employee. I am also securing my licenses and business permits. My store is soon to open. Hopefully next week.

 

pearson114

Involved In Discussions
#7
I wish you the best of luck, without a business plan, targets, objectives, marketing plan, etc etc, I fear you may need it.

Keep us informed on how you get on!
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#8
:topic:
It occurs to me to mention that there are various "microloan" programs available in the US and many other countries, especially developing countries. The United States Small Business Administration has some information about just one of the many programs in the US.

One of my Canadian correspondents is a regular investor in one such program through a NGO (non government organization) he supports and recently reported he had actually received a return on his investment so far.

The beauty of these programs is that they "force feed" sustainable business practice knowledge to loan recipients which is germane to their locale and culture.

One charity I support, Heifer International, does something similar for recipients to raise livestock. In Heifer's case, we "investors" don't get a return, but the recipients are duty bound to "pay it forward."

There was a time twenty-five or thirty years ago, when I was at the height of my investment banking career, that I was VERY cynical about such programs which dealt in relatively miniscule amounts, but successful history of many of these programs has changed that opinion.

I agree the odds are stacked against any budding entrepreneur who enters into a venture without a plan, but it could work out if the entrepreneur is a quick learner and willing to change course in midstream based on new information received during the startup period.:cfingers::cfingers::cfingers:
 

Mikael

Quite Involved in Discussions
#9
Btw: on youtube you can find guides about how to set up a website within an hour with Wordpress or perhaps even Drupal.

Be aware of your skills and limitations.

:cfingers:
 
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