10 Steps for Starting a Boot Business From Scratch
When attempting to start a business, one of the most important things to consider is if your idea will be profitable over the long term. There are two main ways of going about this. The first is to solve a common problem that a substantial portion of the population is facing. The other is to create a product that almost everyone needs to purchase regularly. If you are unsure what problem you can solve, focus on creating a great product that many people will see as a necessity to function in daily life.
For instance, starting a boot business is a great way to ensure you will always have prospective customers. Since everyone needs to replace their footwear from time to time, you can rest assured a steady stream of business will always be available in this niche. Another convenient aspect of a boot and shoe company is the fact that you will already know a thing or two about what makes footwear comfortable from your own experience walking around in various modes of footwear.
To help you get started, we have compiled this list of 10 straightforward steps to get your business up and running in no time. With a bit of perseverance, you can create a plan that will secure funding and make your dream of owning a business a reality.
Step 1: Market Research
Your main source of competition will be from other shoe and footwear sellers. Study the most successful companies in your industry to see what works for them. The goal is to apply several best practices from various companies and to avoid a direct copycat situation. Placing your own spin on things is the best way to avoid legal trouble and gives customers a special reason to check out your store.
Identify specific items that sell well and look for a pattern. The underlying pattern will reveal why people are willing to spend on similar products. Once you understand the audience, you can create items that will draw in a steady stream of revenue.
Step 2: Finding Your Niche
A general boot and footwear business may prove ineffective in drawing a collection of loyal customers. If you want people to truly resonate with your company, embracing a specific niche is the way to go. Choosing a niche requires you to understand your customers while leaning into what you already know from your life experiences.
A solid method for tracking down specific markets is to analyze Google Trends to figure out what many people are already searching for. Embracing what the public wants will organically bring people to your website or storefront. You can also determine which demographics are interested in your niche, which will prove useful when developing business and market strategies going forward.
Step 3: Develop a Competent Business Model
When it comes to shoe stores, there are three main business models that work well. Once you pick one of the following structures, your goal should be to learn everything you can about your selection. Being able to efficiently run your business requires you to master the model you adopt.
A wholesale company buys large quantities of footwear from an external supplier. Since you save considerably when buying in bulk, you can turn around and resell each pair of boots individually at a much higher price per unit. The catch is you will need loads of warehouse space to store your inventory as it waits to be sold. However, once you establish a functional setup, this business model is relatively simple to operate and maintain.
Drop-Shipping and Print on Demand
A drop-shipping and print-on-demand model is ideal for newcomers with little capital or means of securing funds. You simply build the website and sales funnel while working on designs that will entice people. From there, you simply need to sell products and keep up with marketing. Each boot will be produced only when an online order is placed, meaning you will not have to store physical inventory in your home or a warehouse facility. Keep in mind that, because so much of the process is done for you, the profits per sale are smaller.
Manufacturing the footwear yourself via your own equipment will give you the most control over daily operations. Things such as quality control and impressive customer service will be completely up to you or whoever you hire to act on your behalf. This brings in many benefits such as far greater profit; however, the initial startup and overhead costs are quite substantial. You must also be actively involved in daily planning for several years to ensure this model is successful.
Step 4: Craft a Business Plan
Business owners make use of goals to achieve success in their chosen fields. A business plan is where you list your goals and strategize how to fulfill them within a given timeframe. Not only does this structured approach keep you on track, but a sound business proposal is just what you need to secure outside funding via loans or investors.
To draft your own business plan, you need to include all the financial metrics and projections you can feasibly obtain. Every little detail you add will help make your proposal more convincing. If you are starting a smaller shop or a drop-shipping business, you can likely get by with the lean business plan format. A lean business plan helps you get started quickly with a simple list or illustration of key ideas.
Step 5: Choosing Names and Establishing a Brand
Choosing a name is a significant step, yet you wouldn’t want to get bogged down by the vast number of options at your disposal. You can narrow down your search for the perfect name by analyzing your niche and your personal story. If you are aiming for a more luxurious demographic of customers, the title of the company should reflect that vision. Ask what would appeal to your customers, and create a list of your several best ideas.
A great company name is easy to remember and easy to spell. Likewise, a distinct name will make it easier to search for your company on various web browsers. Make it as easy and simple as possible for people to find, recognize, and remember your brand. Doing so will greatly improve your odds of landing a sale each time one of those prospective customers needs a new pair of boots.
Step 6: Scout for the Perfect Location
The location of your business is key to bringing in organic traffic. This can be prime land for real estate, or you could adopt the online approach. When going the retail route, be sure to access the local population trends and physically travel to the area to investigate. If you prefer the online strategy, then focus on choosing a URL that will make your website easy to discover.
An online business is easier to start, and the potential reach is far greater than that of a physical storefront. However, this low barrier to entry means some customers may not consider your business reputable. A physical presence will lend credibility to your operation, but the overhead costs of owning and maintaining real estate come into play. That said, owning a real location gives you far greater control over quality and daily operations than if you run everything from a computer.
Step 7: Registering Your Business
In order to take full advantage of programs and benefits for business owners, you will need to register your business with the proper authorities. The process involves choosing your business type and establishing a way to pay taxes at the federal and state levels. While not every type of business needs to be registered if you use your own name, chances are your legal name is not an ideal candidate for a boot and shoe store.
As for business types, you can choose between a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company (LLC), a partnership, or a corporation. This usually depends on who you plan to go into business with. It’s best to learn more about each entity before making a decision.
Step 8: Open a Business Bank Account
With a legal entity established, you will want to create new bank accounts and credit lines solely for the business. Using your personal banking accounts is not advisable due to the liability you incur. To create a business account at the bank of your choice, you will need your company registration documents, any partnership agreements you have signed with others, and an EIN or SSN to establish your creditworthiness.
Business banking will then allow you to acquire insurance for your company. As the total value of your business assets grows, having some insurance backing it all up is essential for peace of mind. If your state or jurisdiction requires any additional permits or licenses, fill out the relevant documents to complete this step.
Step 9: Offer Products People Will Cherish
The backbone of any business is the products on offer. The bulk of your time will be spent improving your lineup to achieve more sales. There are two primary ways of going about this. The first is to design and manufacture everything in-house. A hands-on operation takes more effort but is the ultimate way to ensure the best quality and run your business exactly as you see fit.
The second way to create products is to outsource the manufacturing to a print-on-demand service. This frees up time but reduces profits since you need to pay the middleman. Since you cannot guarantee quality when someone else makes the boots, you must craft impeccable designs that will endear customers even through manufacturing mishaps that may occur. Regardless of which method you opt for, keep in mind that you may need to go back to the drawing board several times before landing on a winning product that will fly off the shelves.
Step 10: Marketing Your Brand and Attracting Sales
With a few products on offer, it is time to let everyone know you are open for business. In the digital age, the two main ways of doing so are via social media and email marketing campaigns. The first method involves creating social media accounts on all the major platforms. Posting interesting content there will help you attract fans completely for free. You can also opt for paid boosting of your posts once you find designs that are guaranteed to sell.
The other way to attract customers is to send promotions and offers to their inboxes. You can acquire an email list by offering something useful in return for a sign-up. For instance, you can offer to email a list of tips for keeping boots clean. A relevant and helpful bit of info is just the encouragement people need to share their email addresses. From there, you can gradually increase the probability of converting a sale through regular emails. Keep in mind that sending too many emails will cause people to unsubscribe, so focus on quality over quantity in your marketing campaigns.
Go Forth and Prosper With a Business Loan Today
By following the above steps, your business will get going with enough effort. If you require help with startup funds and loan money at any point in your journey, check out our convenient business loan programs. At American Business Credit, we assist startups, agricultural firms, retailers, veterans, franchises, restaurant owners and anyone else with a great business idea.
Simply log into our website and fill out a loan application to get started in minutes. Should you prefer an over-the-phone consultation, our representatives are standing by to answer any questions you may have about securing a loan for your boot business.