We all like to spend on ourselves but in different ways. I can think of a dozen items that people buy almost every day and on other special events such as anniversaries, weddings, valentine day, Christmas and birthday. What better way to pursue your dreams than to open your own gift shop, it will be fulfilling and at the same time you can use your creative skills to come up with different types of gifts to stock. Starting a gift shop business in Zimbabwe is very profitable.
Who doesn’t want to earn income and at the same be happy and excited to wake up to work at something they love. The times are tough but this is one perfect opportunity to be happy and be stuck in a career you love. This article will help you to resist your fears and be confident. Gift giving has grown into a major tradition in Zimbabwe. People spend on various gifts on anniversaries, graduation, birthday, engagement, baby shower and on weddings. You need to carry out market research and have a good gift shop business plan before you start this business.
What you need
Develop a concept for your gift shop business and choose the type of gifts that you wish to sell in your shop. For example traditional, modern, feminine or masculine type of gifts. Perhaps your shop may have a theme or carry a particular type of a brand or a class of gifts.There a variety of products you can offer in your gift shop. Products include mugs, shot glasses, perfumes,t-shirts, local handicraft, jewellery, artifacts, household items, souvenirs, handbags, hats, scarves, photo frames, toys, ornaments, key chains, teddy bears, greeting cards e.t.c. You can also include stationery items in your gift shop to diversify the kind of product you sell.
Go through different ideas of exactly what the shop will specialize in. Make your concept rare and provide products that are hard to come by. After developing your concept, search for manufacturers or distributors for your products. The internet has become useful in providing information and you can select from a wide variety of products. You can get some of your gift products from local manufacturers in Harare. Other products you might have to source them outside Zimbabwe e.g. South Africa, Mozambique, Dubai and China.
Develop a website for your Gift Shop Business
Technology helps create awareness at an accelerated rate. Developing a website will help market the business and you can also spur interest to the website by advertising promotional products and offer discounts. For example the first twenty customers who buy a particular product can get a complimentary gift. Use the social media to make more people aware of your gift shop business. It is a must to have a facebook account for your gift shop business. Run several advertising campaigns on Facebook targeting different groups of people.
Select the right location
Gift shops usually don’t sell well in invisible and not easily accessible locations. Find a location that stands out (storefront) and makes the shop distinct. A clean environment with visible signage is attractive and it makes customers keen to see the type of products in the shop. Your shop can be in a mall, booth or a kiosk. Also locate your shop according to what you can afford. If you are selling quality products, your shop will attract customers even if the location isn’t perfect. Word of Mouth referrals is a great source of customers to your gift shop business.
You need to apply for a shop license from the Local government authority/City council. Your shop should have a licence as this is a requirement by the Zimbabwe Government, otherwise you will have problems in your gift shop business.
Widen your target market by providing a wide range of products which are suitable for all age groups. They are certain products which are suitable for both young people and older people such as types of perfumes, roses, make up kits, gift bags and wrapping paper. Zimbabweans love showering each other with gifts. There is usually a high demand of gift products during the valentine period, as lovers spoil each other. You should ensure that you have the right products during the valentine period.
Management and employees
The number of employees you need will depend on the size of your gift shop business. You will need cashiers, sales assistants, purchasing staff, finance & accounting staff. If you are starting small, you can start your gift shop business with only 2 employees: a cashier and a sales assistant. You can then have oversight of the business and manage all other issues such as banking, getting supplies and maintaining the books of accounts e.t.c. You may take time to fully run the business until the business is making profits.
Tips for running a Gift Shop Business
In the first few months of operating your gift shop business, plough back all profits back into the business and not for personal use. This helps you to fully establish the business and be able to fully manage your costs and save up cash to that can cover at least three months operating expenses. Maintain a cash box and write down all transactions. A bank account may come in handy. Bank all cash from sales to avoid diverting it for personal use.
From the onset, if you are capturing all transactions it will be easier for you to estimate stock movement. Moving forward, you can create budgets for stocks, sales and the target customers you expect to come purchase your product. All these analysis tools can help you to employ viable strategies to improve the state of your gift shop business. With time you can increase the type of products. A wide selection increases sales and hence profits.
Marketing and advertising
Continuously market the gift shop business and your products. Improvise by making sure your website is up to date and introduce new products. Improve your customer service for the shop by attending to all your customer queries. You can have a customer query and suggestion book. On the website you can have a help desk. Expand the business by doing online business. A delivery van will then be useful in helping to transport your products around the city.
Profitability and costs
The amount of capital you need will depend on the size of your business. You can start a small gift shop with $5000 or less. You should minimize costs if you have limited capital. Find a location with affordable rent. You can always move to the expensive locations after you have tested your concept. Order a limited amount of the products to analyze the initial rate at which stock is bought. This will help you in stock management in future. Profits may range from $1000 a month depending on the volume of products you manage to sell. The costs involved in running a gift shop business include rentals, salaries, purchasing the products, advertising, insurance shop licences e.t.c.
Is this business viable?
Yes a gift shop brings in steady income and has less risk for someone who is risk averse. The amount of initial capital required is manageable such that you may not need to get a loan but probably take time to save for a few months before starting the business. To add on the work doesn’t have much pressure. You can still work and get free time. Although initially you may have to put in more time and extend the shop’s working hours.
You can spice up the business by focusing on products that you are knowledgeable of. This helps when customers want detailed information about your products. This type of business is enjoyable for those who are creative enough and have many ideas of how to communicate and sell. If you are good at pitching then you definitely can sell more and convince customers to purchase your products. Be your own boss and open your gift shop now. When you fully get to understand this business you can consider expanding into other businesses e.g. events planning.
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