Location, Location, Location
The location of your new shop is absolutely critical and will determine who your main target market is and what products and services you need to offer, plus what if any competition you may encounter.
Location will also have a big impact on your finances as prime locations don't come cheap but will likely have a greater traffic flow versus less prominent locations which may require expensive promotion to attract customers.
A good local property agent should be retained to help you with your search and acquisition of the right location.
Thorough research of any proposed location is very important.
When researching the site consider important questions such as:
- How accessible is the site, for customers and deliveries / collections etc?
- Is there space for test rides of new bikes?
- Is there ample room for cycle and car parking?
- Is it near other shops, schools, railway or other leisure / high footfall areas?
- Where is the nearest other bike shop and what sort of shop is it?
You must carefully analyse any other shops in the area - what products and services do they offer, what are prices like, what type of customers do they attract and how well established is the business. What do these other shops do well and where do they fall short?
Ideally you do not want to be competing head-to-head with any other shops and preferably working together will help your business in the long run. Remember that premium bike brands often operate "territories" which means if another local shop has the brand you want, you may not get supplied.
If there are no other cycle shops locally ask yourself why that is.
How many people (approximately) live within 5 miles of the shop?
5 miles is considered to be about the average distance someone will travel to their 'local' bike shop - however enthusiasts will often be prepared to travel a lot further. Local council and tourism websites often have this information. What is the level of local support, provision and involvement / interest in cycling? For example, are you part of a Cycling Demonstration Town or is there a good network of cycle routes / paths or off-road riding facilities etc?
Many towns and cities have strong cycling cultures and local councils are increasingly keen to promote cycling. Local cycle routes etc are also great opportunities for shops to capitalise upon.
What are the different demographics of the area? Are people generally affluent or are incomes lower? This will help decide what products and services you offer and at what level you promote your shop. Are there any local restrictions on deliveries, access or opening hours?