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Mark 17th July 2005 10:22 PM

Help Me Start A Business
 
I dream of opening a pro audio shop right here in Leicester. That might sound like a nightmare to a lot of you (hello Fletcher), especially as I have no previous experience of running a business; let alone one selling big ticket items. And my only experience with pro audio is reading about it.

So, even though I sense you're probably going to tell me not to bother, here are some questions.

1: What kind of start up costs am I looking at?

2: What kind of premises should I be looking for?

3: How do I go about getting stock?

4: Should I employ a technician?

5: How much of my SUC should I budget for the above plus any other expenses?

6: What else do I need to know?

7: What would you like to know?

I'm probably barking up the wrong tree as usual :(

MarkS 17th July 2005 10:30 PM

i liked everything of your thoughts, but one thing puzzeled me - that you want to run a pro audio shop without having first hand expierience on the gear ?
huh, i think selling the gear is just secondary. i prefer to buy from people that have first hand expierence and can give me primarily their suggestions on different gear from their own working expierence. i think, expierience is your primariy service that attracts and keeps customers satisfied and comming back.


of course, this not ment as an offence, but as an personal point i would like you to know (a tip ???).

however, i wish you best of luck, and please please please stock great river, averill and some of the american stuff that is quite difficult to get hold of in europe. :D

Mark 17th July 2005 11:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MarkS
i liked everything of your thoughts, but one thing puzzeled me - that you want to run a pro audio shop without having first hand expierience on the gear ?
huh, i think selling the gear is just secondary. i prefer to buy from people that have first hand expierence and can give me primarily their suggestions on different gear from their own working expierence. i think, expierience is your primariy service that attracts and keeps customers satisfied and comming back.


of course, this not ment as an offence, but as an personal point i would like you to know (a tip ???).

however, i wish you best of luck, and please please please stock great river, averill and some of the american stuff that is quite difficult to get hold of in europe. :D

Yeah, it's pretty hard to get that kind of experience here. Plus I really need to find a better source fo income than the dole and I'm pretty much totally unemployable :(

Sides, I figure folks here can give me a good idea of what would constitute a good start up inventory and then I'd work from there.

cdog 17th July 2005 11:27 PM

You can save yourself 10 years by just declaring bankruptcy and spending your last $200 on crack NOW.

hidz

Mark 17th July 2005 11:29 PM

I don't have $200 and I hate drugs.

Surely the latter must give me some kind of advantage? heh

AngeloClematide 17th July 2005 11:30 PM

"6: What else do I need to know?"

Mark,

you need a vacation, go to Italy, it's beautiful there in autumn, and eat some pasta with that money.

sleepwalker 18th July 2005 01:45 AM

If you don't have $200 then you shouldn't be doing this. I had an online music store a couple of years back. My only advice is to think hard before doing this. It's pretty darn hard to make money. Rack gear has almost 0 margins so good luck making money there. The only thing I made money on(I carried it all) was microphones.

If you're a real storefront then you can at least pad your sales by selling strings and other accessories.

I think $25,000 is a minimum to start and that doesn't include the lease. That's just initial stock. Even then, your stock will be pathetic.

Good luck

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark
Yeah, it's pretty hard to get that kind of experience here. Plus I really need to find a better source fo income than the dole and I'm pretty much totally unemployable :(

Sides, I figure folks here can give me a good idea of what would constitute a good start up inventory and then I'd work from there.


XHipHop 18th July 2005 02:09 AM

Maybe you should open one of these...

http://www.musicgoround.com/

They have franchises and will help get you started, find used gear to sell, etc. Then once you establish the business you can move on to other brands you want to carry.

Fletcher 18th July 2005 02:27 AM

Dude... get a "Subway" franchise. I've seen damn few of them in the UK and they're one of the hottest franchises out there. If you really have a hard on to get into the "pro audio" game... at least work at a shop for a while and get the feel for it, maybe some contacts.

The UK has lots of great shops, with knowledgable people and great service... what on earth do you think you can do in a better/more unique manner than any of the rest of them?

If you can't make your shop a unique experience, like a KMR for example... then don't bother. Compete on price... there's a genius idea... how about you work from your Mum's basement and sell hardware at 5 points over cost? Well you'll make a ton of friends... and no where near the return on investment you'd make with a Subway franchise.

If I had it to do all over again, I'd do the Subway franchise... but remember, we started in 1989 doing used equipement in a way that wasn't really done before... we made a niche... which has mutated business models half a dozen times in 16 years to the present model which is under attack [as had the previous models] and is in the process of mutating again... so, if you think it's like running some kind of normal shop, you're wrong... if you think you want to invest a few hundred thousand quid and have a hardon to work 80-100 hours a week... gimme a call and I'm sure I can help you on your path to real poverty.

Best of luck... look into that Subway franchise!!!

nobtwiddler 18th July 2005 02:41 AM

Include a cold pint
 
As my buddy Fletcher said...
A Subway franchise, but maybe you could find a way to sell pints along with the subs....
Now that'd be different.

Paul
www.MillbrookSoundStudios.com

Larrchild 18th July 2005 04:51 AM

With Gearslutz, there is a seeker born every minute. Look away from the Light! Before you are like us!

Thermionic 18th July 2005 01:07 PM

I respect Fletcher as an audio professional, but when it comes to fast-food it's patently obvious he's a hack - anyone who knows their onions (literally) will know the UK is screaming out for Taco Bell franchises :-)

I'm not even going to reveal the country this outfit is based in (I'm that paranoid), but trust me that this info is 100% true:

A friend of mine is a reputable Tech. He was present at the office of a "well known" gear dealer a few months back when the accountant was visiting. He overheard that the company had turned over £3,000,000 in the previous year...



Profit on the £3Mil???









After paying staff, rent etc, that would be £14,000.......................................



I kid you not!

I'm not suggesting it's a dead-end business - the likes of DV manage to keep their share-holders happy, but unless, as our resident fast-food expert :-) noted, you can offer something KMR or R+W do not offer, Taco Bell is the way to go - I'm being honest, please don't think I'm being condescending.

Regards,
Justin

(PS: Nando's could be worth looking into)

(PS: To paraphrase the film "Trainspotting": choose life!)

matt thomas 18th July 2005 01:26 PM

people I know that own/work in stores always get frustated that they sell mostly the low end of the scale consumer gear like, all the behringer, samick, edirol. Their dream at the beginning is for selling big ticket items but end up with customers bringing in their guitars all day saying "can you tune it for me?"

matt thomas 18th July 2005 01:28 PM

check out www.hell.co.nz

its a pizza franchise started by a teenager a couple of years ago and it is taking over and totally kicking pizza huts ass. Bring that to your country, you'll make a bomb. (pay me a percentage too!)

Jose Mrochek 18th July 2005 04:12 PM

is there a Tony Roma's restaurant in london ? ribs, yummy : )

max cooper 18th July 2005 04:41 PM

It seems to me that a misguided leap into gear resale would be dreamt by someone with large amounts of cash to burn.

Not quite the first thing that comes to mind when I'm broke.



So what makes you unemployable?

Mark 18th July 2005 04:48 PM

No real or relevant work experience, no skills, no references, bad exam results...

You name it, the cards are stacked against me. Especially in an unemployment blackspot like Leicester.

jordan19 18th July 2005 04:51 PM

any drop-shipper audio gear manufacturers out there? jkthtyrt

max cooper 18th July 2005 04:57 PM

I used to be the king of doing odd stuff to make a buck.

I'd get a bicycle and a cell phone, then post a bunch of flyers around Leicester U. and deliver condoms and ciggies all night. jkthtyrt

max cooper 18th July 2005 05:06 PM

By the way, I thought to mention that while there are plenty of places to buy recording gear in LA, there's hardly any place in Austin (which prides itself on it's music scene.) I think that if there could be a dealer, there probably would be (I'm not counting Misty Hill since you can't walk in and buy a load of microphone stands or 421's or any such stuff...great place, though!) Plenty of stores that support live music gear, but no recording stuff. Couldn't find a D.I. beyond a Countryman the other day! (Not slagging the countryman, just wanted a BSS.)

So I guess any gear shoppe has to do most of it's business thru shipments unless it's in one of a few select areas.

theother 18th July 2005 05:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fletcher
Dude... get a "Subway" franchise. I've seen damn few of them in the UK and they're one of the hottest franchises out there. If you really have a hard on to get into the "pro audio" game... at least work at a shop for a while and get the feel for it, maybe some contacts.!

I don't know when you've been over here the last time but Subway's are all over the place like the plague since last year. They must have opened thousands in London alone!

Mark 18th July 2005 05:55 PM

Yeah, there are at least three in Leicester.

Along with about a hundred other sandwich shops diddlydoo

Jay Kahrs 18th July 2005 07:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by max cooper
I used to be the king of doing odd stuff to make a buck.

I'd get a bicycle and a cell phone, then post a bunch of flyers around Leicester U. and deliver condoms and ciggies all night. jkthtyrt

Don't forget the drugs & alcohol!

I'd think about getting a paper route for the A.M. and then you'll totally be on the vampire schedule LOL

How about a Dunkin' Donuts franchise?

lordmiguel 21st July 2005 12:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thermionic
I ...He overheard that the company had turned over £3,000,000 in the previous year...

Profit on the £3Mil???

After paying staff, rent etc, that would be £14,000.......................................

I can't confirm or deny the margins of such business in the UK, but most proprietors draw all the profit out of their business each year in salary (various tax and other reasons), so it wouldn't be uncommon to see the owner taking home 100k off those figures.

That being said, retail is a low margin and high failure business, if you're not an expert in the gear OR business then you've got yourself an expensive hobby. Money is made through the alpha factor in any business, so find yourself a partner. Boring ugly businesses do well. become a plumber, they make bank in the states! better yet, get smart and go for an internet porn business. its a 5 gajillion dollar market growing at about 800 bajillion percent a year.....um, not that i've ever surfed for porn or anything, i'm just sayin hypothetically......

AlphaDingo 21st July 2005 12:12 PM

Quote:

...and I hate drugs
You're in the music biz why? gooof Just kidding. If you're serious about it, do a business plan.

theother 21st July 2005 12:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lordmiguel
.....um, not that i've ever surfed for porn or anything, i'm just sayin hypothetically......

Of course...

Ziggy!! 21st July 2005 12:22 PM

If you have zero business training, you are barking up the wrong tree. Atleast if you try and do this solo.

If you really want to do it, go and discuss it with a professional consultant. The business plan alone is not an easy thing, and thats before you even sign for any money or a lease and the hard work actually starts.

GYang 21st July 2005 02:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark
No real or relevant work experience, no skills, no references, bad exam results...

Man, I employed some guys with really bad history (we had multimedia production center acquired recently by major producer here), but at least they had very ugly, dangerous faces, so I could take them with me to meetings with debtors (and it worked). Now they run well organized corporate security company (partially owned by them, too).

In same time we kept nice stock of some gears for studios and musicians.
The result, all in all, everything related to music and equipment made me no profit, but on the other hand having some good stakes in telecommunication and real estate development companies I could afford such kind of venture.

In your case, be happy to find at least somebody already in business to help you capturing some real life experience, otherwise already awful new business failure statistics will just add one more case.

GYang

BenF 21st July 2005 10:47 PM

How to make a fortune in audio is like...
 
how to make a fortune in the wine business. The quote is an old one:

"How to make a fortune in the wine business? Start with a bigger fortune!"

Try it! It really works!

Seriously, whatever you do, make sure you do know something about it before you do it.

Hope all turns out well for you (and all of us, too).

Ben

Jose Mrochek 21st July 2005 10:54 PM

How do you make 1 million dollars in Audio ?
 
Invest 5 million : ) I remember reading this here some time ago. Very true.