There are few things that will never go out of demand and are considered the basics for living, such as food, shelter and the third is, ‘clothes’, so important that they even named a movie after it – “roti, kapda aur makan”. Clothes, apart from being a basic necessity to protect us from the harsh climatic conditions, are also items that help make an impression and be in sync with the current trends.
Boutiques are an even more profitable venture to consider at the present time as giant retail stores with mass-produced clothing items are making way for niche, small scale clothing stores with unique designs, with locally sourced materials, thus making them highly in demand. Also, the cost of starting a boutique business is not too high and is a perfect choice for someone who is creative, has an eye along with knowledge for fashion and is looking to turn an entrepreneur by starting a small independent business.
Planning A Boutique Business
As for any small business, the first thing to remember when starting it is to get a business plan ready. A business project report helps to procure loans from banks and financial institutions and can give a vision to the rough ideas that an entrepreneur has for their boutique business. A business plan checklist needs to cover all the necessary details regarding the business and ideally must include –
- Information regarding the business entity that the entrepreneur plans to opt for the boutique business.
- Mission statement highlighting the vision for the business along with the proposed ways to fulfil the vision, way of carrying out the business, plans to tap the market and to cater to maximum customer requirements. This could even include the estimated employees needed and marketing plans for the business.
- Details regarding the proposed location for the boutique (if not already finalised) along with the plan regarding the purchase of the space or renting it and possibly even the layout of the boutique keeping the needs of the customers in mind.
- Necessary information and steps to complete any requisite compliances and procurement of licences or registrations pertaining to the business, such as Shop Act, etc.
- Details regarding proposed plan to procure funding, from where and the exact use of the funding amount for which aspects of the business, either as capital investment for purchasing or renting the boutique premises, procuring equipments and raw materials, or plans to utilise the funds for the day to day functioning of the business, such as taking care of wages and various bills or using the funds for future expansions of the boutique or simply maintaining it as a safety cushion in case of an emergency.
- Keeping all the documents ready whether they are required for the application of a bank loan, or for registration of the business or for licences and registrations such as Shop Act or similar compliances.
- Include details of competition study carried out where comparisons between similar businesses and unique features of the proposed boutique business are highlighted.
Ways To Build The Boutique Business
Since boutiques are a popular and profitable small business idea, many creative minds can harbour the same dreams of starting a clothing boutique. However to stand out amongst the crowd and to create a recall value among the customers, there are certain tips that can be kept in mind and applied to the business to ensure its successful growth.
- Trying unique and new marketing strategies- Marketing is key for the success of any business, irrespective of its type. While looking for the business to grow, an entrepreneur can apply new marketing strategies to draw in the customers, such as advertising on social media platforms, posting videos which are an indirect form of advertising such as tutorials on how to take care of clothing or Instagram stories regarding styling tips or marketing via social media influencers.
- Creating a loyalty program- customers who are returning to the boutique can be rewarded with a loyalty program which makes them feel special and the special treatment and rewards will ensure that they come back again and probably even spread the word, once they have benefitted from the loyalty program.
- Participating in local events – A boutique when starting out can cater to the local audience itself and thus a great way to get noticed by the local crowd is by participating in local events such as flea markets or exhibitions or participating in causes connected to the business or interesting events where crowds make a note of the business and interact with the owners of the business.
- Conducting sales- the word ‘sale’ excites customers everywhere, irrespective of age or gender. A great way to help the business grow and to attract customers is to hold big sales where attractive offers are provided. Sales are also a great way to clear all the inventory in order to make room for fresh stock.
- Maintaining customer feedback- Often at boutiques, there are visitor’s books kept for customers to enter their details and provide their feedback and suggestions. These feedbacks are valuable resources to understand the needs of the customers as well as give an insight into the areas that have a scope for improvement. Feedback is to be viewed as constructive criticism that helps the business make right anything that is ‘wrong’.
- Hiring the appropriate staff- A boutique with clothing for the youth having a salesperson who is in his 50s is inappropriate as they as a salesperson will not be able to help the customers. Hiring the right employees is equally important for the growth of the boutique business. The salesperson and employees must be knowledgeable and personable and be capable of proving the customers a personal experience while shopping.
- Applying digital technology– In this age of digital revolution, for the boutique business to seem with the times it is important to embrace digitalisation wherever possible. Apart from having a presence on social media platforms, creating an app or providing e-services like e-store or allowing for payments via various digital methods can create a tech savvy image for the business and impress customers by keeping their convenience as a priority.
These business planning tips and growth strategies can be kept in mind before starting a boutique business.