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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:08 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:07 pm
Posts: 4715
Location: Sheppey, Kent
I've asked for advice on here as well as seeking much advice and researching loads into this and now it has begun....

In my bid to make a go of working for myself I am moving Stallion Cycles from the garden shed to a commercial building opening myself up to the public.

I started these two threads:
http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewto ... sc&start=0
and
http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=213432

The advice has been invaluable many thanks to all that contributed. Sincerely.

Today I discussed with the landlord what is available for me to hire the result is a rather small 6.5ft x 21ft unit. Long and thin, no windows, a single door to the front, more garage/ workshop than shop but hey ho it's cheap and workable, it will do for now (other units will become available in the future. Lease agreement is being prepared by a solicitor for me to peruse.

Tomorrow I'll see if I can grab a few pictures of the unit and surrounding area.

My main aim at the moment is to keep overheads to a bare minimum whilst I try to get myself established locally. Online sales will continue.

Due to the compact size my main focus of the shop is spares, repairs and servicing. I'll also have a handful of used, refurbished bikes for sale in stock and a selection of new bikes available to order. Current projects will also be kept in there too.

Stock will consist of mainly consumables and used parts of varying quality i.e for repair of local BSO's upto quality used parts that people on here would be interested in.

Next step is to get some public liability and contents insurance.

I need help!

....in more ways than one but I'll settle with your input on the shop for now :)

Being long and thin I am trying to work out the best layout to have. I'm thinking that the workshop area should be at the front as this is the main focus of the shop and the stock should be at the back.

The floor is cold hard concrete. Subject to lining with ply I was thinking of having a rubber/ metal (or even cushion flooring) in the workshop area and carpet in the stock area.

If anyone does want to check it out on Google maps the postcode is ME11 5AD. In the picture it shows the main building as "The Multi Coloured Drop Shop" the part I have is the long wall section where the van is parked which is accessed via the blue steel gates.

OMG there is so much to do! Do you ever do stuff and then think what the hell am I doing!? Seems to happen to me quite a lot!


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:14 pm 
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Location: Sheppey, Kent
I managed to save this picture from Google Maps.

The area has the islands biggest factory (my place of work) which employs circa 350 people. There are a few other industrial places about but none as large as that. The "High Street" is not much of a high street at all as it barely contains any shops. There are two/ three pubs within easy walking distance plus a Yacht Club. The harbour is just round the corner and my house is not too far away :)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:26 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:49 pm
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Location: Lincolnshire
I've had a few good nights in the old House at home, lived in foxley rd in the 90's just around the corner. javascript:emoticon(':D')

Hope it all goes well Tel.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:29 pm 
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Blimey really!!! My sister in law lives round there. Ha! Shame you're not still here I could repair your bike and you could buy my stock :D


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:43 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:49 pm
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Location: Lincolnshire
Yes shame I'm not there anymore, not been to swampy land for a long time.

A249 looks like its been improved since I was there, even a new bridge. No more waiting at the Kingsferry bridge then.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:52 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:59 pm
Posts: 349
Location: Chez Vegas, Derbyshire
I've been following your threads with interest as I started selling mainly cycling clothing about a year ago as it is something I've always wanted to do.

I chose to go online only as I like to keep my weekends free for my family (and riding). I operate from a business centre, but as I don't have a retail counter several of the distributors are not interested in dealing with me. (Inconvenient, but at the end of the day you learn to work round these problems).

At the moment I still do my 'day job' in the morning - grounds maintenance, but the long term plan is just to do my cycling business full time as it's kinder on my back.

I still use my LBS for bits and pieces though and speaking to one shop owner I know well he says that repairs and servicing are where the money's at.

Here's a suggestion for your bike storage (if your any good at woodwork): http://www.instructables.com/id/Vertical-Bike-Rack-from-2x4s/

As for insurance, I found the NFU reasonable and pleasant to deal with.

All the best & good luck with your venture Tel.


Paul


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 4:31 pm
Posts: 740
Every small shop I know is busy with repairs . Why not try to up your profile with as much free advertsing as possible. Maybe a local paper might print a bit. Is it worth letting local clubs know you are there? Finally try to aquire without spending money any posters etc that attract the attention. It will look nicer than bare walls and maybe make people realise what is behind those doors.
Good luck.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:01 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:17 pm
Posts: 3775
Location: Norn Iron
Tel,

just a thought, i have noticed the advice about advertising and good though that may be, it may not be good for you right now. Perhaps a slower bild up of customers/clients etc may suit you best.

My suspicion about why LBS are busy is that people need STI gears adjusted and new chains more often than in my day. If you can afford it, i would start gently and build gradually, allowing you to find your feet and get an idea of the actual 'business' end of things, then go hard at the marketing.

This may seem an odd attitude, perhaps that is why i am not on Dragon's Den!! If you got overwhelmed with work and book-keeping it could spell disater for your proper job!!! Maybe in future, your proper job will be an LBS owner!!!

I re-read your first post, as it says that you are 'long and thin' the shape of the shop should suit your build!!!!!!

Good luck,,

Richard


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:20 pm 
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first of all , get rid of those signs on the wall and get a sign made up to promote the business . Gill on here could do you a banner .

you could even stick a few old bikes on the roof !

workshop at the entrance only if going to be tidy at all times .


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:48 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:41 pm
Posts: 8230
Location: Cumbria
Personally I'd stick the workshop at the back and invite customers to see where the work is done. Build wheels near the front if you want to show some work in progress as it's clean :)

Best of luck


Shaun


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