Open Your Own Paintball Store
First things first when it comes to opening any type of business, let alone a paintball one; location location location. A bad move could be setting up too close to another well-established store. It’s going to take time for customers to find you. When they do, will you have what they are looking for? If you do, your prices better be competitive with those at the other store. A well-established store can keep its prices low, so you may have to sell something at a low price despite buying it for a higher price since you're the new guy. You'll have to sell more volume in order to be competitive. So you’re really undercutting yourself, not the local store. A store location is not something that can be picked overnight, and you shouldn't limit yourself to only one option, because you have to accept that things will not always go to plan. Let’s say you find the location of your dreams. That doesn’t mean it’s the ideal spot for paintball. You can’t be sold on a location based on looks alone, so here are some things to consider:
- How far are you from schools (potential players)?
- How far are you from other stores?
- How far are you from other fields?
- What kind of street traffic do you have (Cars) ?
- What kind of foot traffic do you have (People)?
- What type of people shop near there (Rodeo Drive or Main Street)?
- Do your prices reflect your neighborhood's economic realities?
- What is the Rent, Triple net or cam charges compared to other locations?
Pick a partner/ Staff your business
<>Some people will take this venture solo with a good staff, thinking all they need to do is sit back and collect checks. If you think starting a business is that easy, stop reading this NOW. This article is not for you. You are, however, more than welcome to start your business at, say, Disneyland, or on the moon. Here is the downfall in having employees. At least at the start, you'll probably only be able to afford to pay them enough to survive, so in return they will only give back what they feel you deserve and will never put in the same effort as you do. The incentive simply doesn't exist. Given that you accept this and you do find someone you like, do you trust that person? (Bear in mind that 85 percent of theft is internal. Ouch!!!) Find someone who doesn’t ask you for a job, but loves to help out. Mold that person into a mini you and they will be loyal forever. Having a partner can also be good help because you both will have the same drive and can feed off each other to get things done faster.
Set up a dealer account and get product
Setting up a dealer bank account is really easy. All you need are a business license, seller's permit, and store pictures. This doesn’t cost you a thing, so set up with as many vendors as possible this way so you can keep in touch with all the people in the industry and have more options to buy at low prices. Salespeople work on commission, so the more you buy, the more love you’ll get. Just make sure to make them fight for you, to keep your prices low. When you’re ready to order, make sure to ask if there is a first-time minimum order. This will give you an idea of how much you have to spend with however many different companies to get started. Don’t be afraid to ask about specials, discounts or even free shipping, because no matter what they make or sell, they work for you, so use that to your advantage!
Here is the biggest factor in a business, and it should be neither overlooked nor overdone. How do you get people into the store in the first place? Many people think you have to heavily advertise your store in the newspaper, pennysaver or other local publications. The fact is, word of mouth is the best form of advertising. That said, take some of the money you would spend in a paper and give it back to your customers. Give them promotional stickers, shirts, hats, pens, wristbands, keychains and calendars. This way, you use them to bring you business because they become walking ads and they don’t even know it. Everyone likes free stuff; even better, everyone talks about free stuff, so if it has your name on it that’s a plus for you. Here’s a little secret: Sponsor anyone who wants to be sponsored. Let’s just call this a store membership card that gives discounts but says "sponsored player." What do you think the talk in all the local schools will be (your store, maybe)? If you plant this seed right, you won’t be able to stop your store's growth.
Take your time and make a plan. Paintball isn’t going anywhere but we do need your help to make it better.
Try to combine orders from other stores so you can purchase at their prices to keep your costs down and profits up.
Work with local schools to get clubs started (Students, not teachers, have full control of what type of clubs they want at their school), so you can imagine what you can pull together if you put two rival schools on a paintball field. WOW!!!
Remember, “B.E.A.R.”: Belief—Energy—Action—Results
Don’t let kids overrun your store. There will be a lot of kids who will hang out, and you will make friends with them. Just remember that you’re running a retail business and not Romper Room. Think of the customer who walks through the door and sees kids everywhere. Appreciate that kids will be kids, but it’s up to you to control them in your store..