I’m starting to stress about the launch. Help!

Dear Aunty B,

I am starting a “men’s shop”. We will be carrying firearms, sporting goods, fishing gear and premium cigars in an upscale downtown location.

Thus far I have purchased the building and renovated it in cash. I am in the local papers daily as I have been voted onto several boards and am sponsoring a large not-for-profit children’s group. I have about a year’s worth of personal expenses in my personal account, and have $20k available as a loan to purchase inventory.

We will be a smaller shop focusing on quality items. Our square footage is around 1,000 square feet.

My question is, am I positioned wisely for success? Or am I totally screwing this up? Hours will be 10am to 6pm, six days a week, and I am positioned next to a high traffic coffee shop where the patrons are excited for me to open. I am a former mid level manager of a multinational corporation whose plant was closed for “streamlining” of the company’s debt. I am hoping to open within a month. Can you offer reassurance? Or can you see a pit I am about to fall into?

Thanks for your help,
Butterflies before the launch

Dear Butterflies before launch,

Here is the reassurance. Go for it! The most important thing to focus on now is your marketing plan. Got one? Yeah, sorry. That’s not a marketing plan. That’s a plan to promote yourself. Now all that is good. But the next thing you must focus on is promoting the business.

Now in your former life as a mid level manager you would have had budgets and goals so I am sure you have incorporated key KPIs into your business plan. Essentially you need to know how many people need to come into your shop and buy stuff in order for you to make a profit.

Next you need to look at your channels to market. How are you going to get those people into your shop? Being on a high traffic strip is only one channel. You need lots.

Third is your online strategy. When people search how are they going to find you?

Lastly, this all leads back to what is your positioning statement? What are you best in the world at? And no. It is not selling sporting or fishing gear or guns or cigars. There are plenty of people who are going to be better at that and do it cheaper than you.

You are best in the world at understanding the modern male mind. The modern male has a lot of stresses. He needs a place to get away. He doesn’t need a shop. He needs a Man’s Shed: somewhere to escape the wife (my husband has taken up surfing and golf), the kids (can’t take them into a gun shop) and the stresses of everyday life (retreat from the GFC).

You need fantastic people serving alongside you so there is always someone to talk to. You need to think about how you create that space, how you market it and how you will deliver on it.

You are not running a shop. You are helping men get their life back and look great in the eyes of other men.

Good luck!
Your Aunty B

To read more Aunty B advice, click here.

Email your questions, problems and issues to auntyb@smartcompany.com.au right now!


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