Do you already have a thriving store and are thinking about expanding your business and open more stores? This crucial step can be exciting, but also daunting, as it requires meticulous planning and thoughtful implementation. However, with a solid strategy and proper preparation, opening a second store can become an incredible opportunity!

Opening up a new store is a long process and will require a lot of time and effort on your part. It may sound laborious, but by following these steps, you can start a hugely successful chain of stores.

  1. Evaluate the current business
  2. Conduct market research
  3. Develop a business plan
  4. Secure funding
  5. Find a location
  6. Write down all your procedures and policies
  7. Define the store layout and design
  8. Estimate inventory needs and restock products
  9. Hire and train employees
  10. Prepare your marketing strategies and apply them
  11. Make a grand opening

By following these steps one by one, you will be well on your way to a successful growing business!

1. Evaluate the Current Business

The success of a first store does not guarantee the success of a second. There are many factors that can impact the success or failure of a new store. It is for this reason that nothing should be left to fate. Do research to confirm that the business has the means to grow and open more stores.

The Signs That You Are Ready

Even if you want to open up more stores, you may not have the ability or the need to do that right now. Here are some signs that you are ready to open up more stores:

  • Due to your success, you are currently unable to meet the demand of all your customers.
  • You often find yourself short of space or your store is often crowded.
  • You have identified a new customer base that you want to conquer.

If you recognize yourself in these signs, a new store is not just a dream: it is a necessity!

Current Performance

Before making the decision to expand, assess the performance of the store you already have and its stability. Make sure it is running efficiently, generating enough profit, and that you have a good team of employees and a solid customer base. You must have solid foundations to hope to grow your business and acquire more stores

Financial Viability

Assessing the financial viability of opening more stores is critical to success. Consider the costs associated with the lease or purchase agreement, store layout, inventory, recruiting, marketing and ongoing expenses. 

You also need to ensure that the new store is always generating revenue. To do that, you can conduct a financial analysis, which includes sales forecasts and an investigation into store profitability.

2. Conduct Market Research

Before opening more stores, you need to make sure that the demand is indeed there for what you are offering. Also identify your target customers if you haven’t already. For this, you need to conduct market research. You might be familiar with the context of your first store, but settings differ from one branch to another, and this understanding may not necessarily apply universally.

The goal is to determine where the demand for your products and services is greatest and to identify potential locations. A market study is also done in order to know if there is indeed a market for your store where you will set it up.

Market research is used to understand your target audience and its potential. A market analysis consists of analyzing the following aspects:

  • Demand for your products and services
  • Your target customers (who they are, what they like, what they don’t like, their purchasing power, etc.)
  • Market size
  • Market trends
  • Competition
  • Your positioning in relation to competitors and what will differentiate you from others;
  • Economic factors (growth potential, employment rate, interest rate, etc.)
  • Prices and availability of raw materials and other resources you need for your store;
  • Inventory needs;
  • Socio-demographic data;
  • Foot traffic.

Research indicating a promising environment with unmet demand suggests that this is a favorable situation for opening a new store. If research shows an unfavorable environment, customers and profits will not be there.

You will use this knowledge to select THE ideal location that will attract the maximum number of customers and revenues. If you don’t conduct market research, you could end up with more expenses than income. This is not something that you want when you open new stores!

Risk Assessment

Even if the conclusion of your market research is that the situation is right for you to open another store, there are still risks to consider. So you need to do a risk assessment. The goal is to identify any obstacles you might encounter when opening a new store. Here are some risk factors to consider:

  • Market saturation
  • The competition
  • Economic conditions
  • Statutory and legal requirements
  • Operational risks

Assess the risks and the impacts they may have on your business. You cannot foresee everything, but this assessment will still allow you to have a plan to mitigate the risks and their impacts.

3. Develop a Business Plan to Open More Stores

When you are confident that your business has everything it needs to open more stores and be successful, the next step is to write a comprehensive and effective business plan for your expansion.

When you develop your business plan, define your goals, strategies and financial projections. Include full details of the target market, your marketing strategies, operating procedures, and your staffing and funding needs. Your business plan should also outline all the risks (and ways to mitigate them).

The business plan should include a forecast of all your expenses, profits and revenues for the next 6 to 12 months. You need to anticipate how you will finance your new store and how you will make money.

A business plan is essential to provide you with proper guidance to open up more stores. You cannot succeed without a good plan!

4. Secure Funding

Once you have anticipated the financial resources you need, it’s time to seek financing. To open up a store, you need to have a lot of money on hand before you even start.

Indeed, there are many expenses to plan for rent, buying everything you need to set up your store, salaries, inventory, taxes and other hidden expenses. Make sure you plan all your expenses well so that you have as few unpleasant surprises as possible. Moreover, this anticipation gives you the upper hand in securing financing elsewhere.

There are several ways to acquire funds:

  • Self-financing
  • Fetch an investor
  • Obtain a loan from a financial institution or bank
  • Crowdfunding
  • Government funding programs
  • Ask friends or family members (as a last resort)

If you are going to seek financing from investors or financial institutions, present your business plan to them. A well-thought-out business plan increases your chances of getting financing from them.

Each of these ways has advantages and disadvantages. Analyze them well to find the most advantageous sources of financing for you. Do not hesitate to explore other means of financing too!

5. Find a Location

When you have your financing, it’s time to find the perfect location for your new store. This is surely the most important step, because location directly influences a store success – or failure

Use what you know about your first store and what you’ve learned through market research to choose a location for your second. Define your budget and your specific needs. Determine which elements are mandatory and non-negotiable and which elements would be nice to have but could be dispensed with.

Of course, you have to consider the purchase price or the rent, but you also have to consider the following aspects:

  • Accessibility on foot, by car and by public transportation
  • Size (you don’t want your new store to be too big or too small)
  • Whether the space can be changed to look like your first store
  • The landlord (are they trustworthy and open?)
  • Ease of access
  • Security (is the neighborhood safe? Is the building secure?)
  • The demand in the area (is it sufficient for your products and services?)
  • The number of stores similar to yours in the area that will compete with you
  • Local regulations

You have to make sure that there is a balance between the traffic around your store and the rent. For example, there is no point in having very low rent in a neighborhood with few new businesses and where almost no one walks around. A large number of people walking around is also useless if the rent is very high and makes it difficult to keep the store open.

To find a location, you can search online, use a specialized real estate agency or search for local communities on social networks. Then talk to the landlords and visit several locations that interest you. Choose the one that best suits your needs.

6. Write Down All Your Procedures and Policies

When you open a second store, you will not always be there in case of problems or to show the procedure to follow in different situations. The new store should work exactly the same as your first one. This helps maintain your reputation with your customers.

You should write down all of your policies and procedures. Also document your corporate culture, your mission and what you want to accomplish. These documents will serve as a resource for the new team. They also serve to standardize procedures across your stores.

Writing down all your ways of doing things helps to standardize the identity of the store, the customer service, the quality of the products and the atmosphere in the store. Consistency is the key to retaining customers and building customers’ trust in your business.

Training New Employees

When you open a new store, it is essential to know how you want to train your new team, who will train them (you or your current team?) and the documents you want to provide them to show them how to do their job well.

Establish a training program and create training workbooks to explain how to manage the POS system and other systems you use. Have someone review them to make sure they’re easy to understand, especially when you’re not around.

The Complexity of Multi-Store Management

The more stores you have, the more complex the management becomes. Logistics and inventory and supply chain management can be particularly challenging with more than one store. It takes great organization and good systems to ensure consistency between stores, product availability and to maintain inventory levels.

A point of sale software designed for franchises and chains, like Alice POS, can help you tremendously in your expansion. Find out here why Alice POS is the ideal solution for you and the expansion of your business.

The Legal Aspect

Opening up a store is also a legal headache. You know this if you already have a store.

Even if you have already chosen a legal structure for your business, it is relevant to ask yourself if you want to keep the same or change. Consult a lawyer or accountant for all the legal and financial implications of legal structures.

Opening a new business also requires obtaining permits and licenses to operate your store legally. Be sure to research the ones you need in your country, state or province, and town.

7. Define the Store Layout and Design

When you have found your location, plan the layout of the store. The atmosphere and layout of the store should be as similar as possible to your other store. Your new store must also be attractive both inside and out.

When you open a new store, there are many things to consider when planning the style and layout of the store:

  • The space you have
  • The resemblance to the first store
  • The shelves and displays
  • Counters for the point of sale system
  • Lighting
  • Customer flow

The layout of your store must also be functional and contribute to making the customer experience exceptional. Circulating in the store and browsing the products should be easy. Find out why you should pay extra attention to displays here.

8. Estimate Inventory Needs and Restock Products

Make a list of all the materials needed to open the store (equipment, furniture, raw materials for production and products intended for sale). 

Then, find suppliers, if you can’t do business with those you already have. Choose local suppliers to be more eco-friendly.

9. Hire and Train Employees

Now is the time to find your new team!

Recruit qualified employees for your new store. These employees must be able to learn quickly, have initiative and be able to take care of the store even when you are not around. Write a description of the positions you offer, conduct interviews and do background checks, if necessary. This will help you select the perfect people to make your new store a success.

Once you’ve hired employees, show them your sales techniques, procedures, and how to use your systems. Train them to maintain consistency between your stores.

10. Prepare Your Marketing Strategies and Apply Them 

The next step is to set up your marketing strategy to promote the grand opening of your new branch. Use multiple relevant channels to reach as many potential customers as possible. Make as much noise as possible! There are several ways to let the world know that you are opening a new store.

Increase Your Online Visibility

Since people use Google and Facebook a lot to find addresses, all your information should be up to date there. To have customers, they must first be able to find you, and this is mainly done through search engines and social networks. Update your business profile on Google and Facebook as soon as you open your new store.

The internet is effective in creating excitement around the opening of your brand new store. Emails and social media content can be very effective in generating discussion around your store and eventually attracting customers.

Find a Way to Get People’s Attention

You have to find a way to get people’s attention to your new store opening. This can happen through media coverage. Do not hesitate to contact journalists to invite them to your grand opening or to give them a first glimpse of what you are planning for this event.

But it’s hard to get the attention of the public and journalists just by saying it’s a new store. Try to find another angle to capture people’s attention, hook them. This angle can consist of the compelling story of your company or the creation of jobs. Explore several possibilities and take notes on which ones work for your business.

Current Customers

Do not hesitate to tell your current customers about you open new stores. Encourage your most loyal customers to spread the word around them. Giving them an incentive to recommend your store to their friends is a good way of getting the word out about your store, especially at such an important time.

Also, don’t forget to encourage your social media followers to share your posts.

11. Make a Grand Opening

The moment has finally arrived. After several months of hard work, it’s the official opening!

But to make sure your store is indeed ready for the official opening, first make a more private opening. Collect feedback from customers and employees and make any necessary adjustments. Then, organize an event for the official opening of your store. This kind of event helps create excitement and attract customers.

Commit Yourself

Opening more stores will take a lot of your time. For the early days/months, your attention will have to be almost exclusively focused on the second store. For effective strategies for successfully managing multi-stores, click here.

However, you should not forget the first store. Each of your stores is unique and special in its own way!

In conclusion, opening a second store can be an exciting and rewarding step. However, it requires careful planning and strategic execution. With the 11 steps we’ve covered in this article, you now have a complete guide to successfully open more stores!

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