Before venturing into any kind of business, it’s wise to adapt a wide perspective first. You want to know where the pits and holes are before you land in both feet. Here are five of the things you should know and deliberately avoid about starting your own kiosk business.
- Don’t be too idealistic.
Just because it’s an acknowledged fact that a kiosk is relatively easier and simpler to manage than a regular store doesn’t mean that you should take it for granted. Reality check: A business is a business no matter what size or form it takes. If you think that running a kiosk is like lying around on the couch all day, you’re gravely mistaken. It may be the hub of budding entrepreneurs, but it’s not the type of business suited for lazy people who don’t expect to break a bead of sweat. In fact, no type of business is.
Take it from Daniel Butler, vice president of retail operations for the National Retail Federation in Washington, DC. He said, “One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that retailing is going to be one way, and their experience turns out to be very different. They’re not realistic about the challenges.”
- Don’t go in blindly.
Even if you’re pretty confident about your skills, it’s never a good move to just go into business without any knowledge of how it works, or any plans of how to combat the challenges you may face. Research is a key aspect in business. You need to know as much as you can about the trade before immersing yourself into it. Plus, research also puts you into a better position to create a good business plan. Your business partners will be more confident about you if you know what you’re doing. You will also feel more confident about yourself in the face of a trial if you have pondered over how to solve it even before it came up.
In the kiosk business where you can literally be elbow-to-elbow with competitors, location is a primary business strategy. The place where you do business can determine whether your sales will rise or slump.
- Don’t go against the wrong guys.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a small entrepreneur is to compete against big-box retailers before you’re ready. Ambition is a powerful thing. It can put thoughts into your head that you’re not ready to realize. Sometimes, it just seems right to go against the big guys head-on, but it usually isn’t a good idea. Instead of letting yourself be crushed by the business giants, why not focus on your edge as a small retailer? You have the upper hand when it comes to personalizing customer interactions and delivering high-value experiences — zero in on that. To use Bob Phibbs words, “Control what you can control. Look at your four walls. Unless you’re going to be like Amazon, stay in your own ballpark.” Bob Phibbs, better known as the Retail Doctor, is a leading business mentor and retail consultant.
- Don’t settle for a bad location.
Don’t underestimate the power of good location. In the kiosk business where you can literally be elbow-to-elbow with competitors, location is a primary business strategy. The place where you do business can determine whether your sales will rise or slump. That is why you need to decide if it’s a permanent location that will suit you well, or a mobile cart that will bring out the best in your business. You can stay in a place where you can build a solid clientele, or move from spot to spot to draw more customers in. Location is really an aspect that you have to watch closely.
- Don’t overthink or overdo.
Often, it’s easy to see who’s been in the business long enough and who’s just starting out. The store, the products tell it all. Usually, inexperienced entrepreneurs start their business with cramped-up store displays. They sell items of different variety, color, style, design, product type, use — the list goes on and on. They populate their inventory like it’s the end of the world. Obviously, this is a bad business strategy. If you want to create a business that matters, brand it. Make it stand out. Specialize on something, be the go-to store when a specific customer problem comes up, be the expert in one specific aspect. Business is not simple, but it doesn’t need to be complicated, either. Don’t overthink the game. Don’t overdo your moves.
Now that you know what you shouldn’t do, go ahead and do what you’re supposed to do. Kickstart your business career and get that kiosk all set up. (PA)