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How to Start a Brick and Mortar Business

How to Start a Brick and Mortar Business

In today’s digital world, where online businesses dominate the market, starting a brick and mortar business may seem bold and unconventional. However, the enduring appeal of physical stores and their unique experiences continues to attract customers. If you have a passion for creating tangible connections and want to bring your business vision to life in the real world, this comprehensive guide on how to start a brick and mortar business is here to help.

Develop a Business Plan

A well-crafted business plan is the foundation of any successful brick and mortar business. It helps you define and articulate your objectives clearly and serves as a reference point to measure your progress and make adjustments as needed.

And since conducting thorough market research is a vital component of your business plan, crafting one helps you understand your target audience, analyze competitors, and identify unique selling points. This then puts you in a better position to develop effective marketing and sales strategies to gain a competitive edge.

More importantly, a business plan enables you to understand your venture’s potential costs, revenue streams, and profitability. Consequently, you can seamlessly assess the financial feasibility of your business.

Determine a Business Structure

Part of creating a sound business plan is choosing a business structure for your brick and mortar store. It’s an important step because the structure you opt for can have significant implications on aspects such as taxation, asset protection, setup costs, and flexibility.

Determine the Type of Store You Want to Open

How to start a brick and mortar business successfully depends heavily on the type of store you’ll open. The store type you settle for will shape your target market, product offerings, and overall business strategy. By carefully evaluating the different options, you can align your store with the needs and preferences of your potential customers. Some common options in commercial real estate include:

Convenience Stores

Convenience stores are small retail outlets that primarily focus on providing quick and convenient access to a range of everyday items. These stores typically operate for extended hours, including late nights and weekends, to cater to customers’ immediate needs. They often offer a variety of products such as groceries, snacks, beverages, tobacco, and household essentials. Their strategic location in easily accessible areas, along with the emphasis on convenience, makes them popular among busy consumers looking for quick purchases.

Specialty Stores

Specialty stores, as the name implies, specialize in specific product categories or target niche markets. They offer a curated selection of unique, high-quality, or hard-to-find products that cater to specific customer preferences or interests. Examples include boutique clothing stores, gourmet food shops, pet supply stores, and hobby or craft stores. Speciality stores differentiate themselves through expertise, personalized service, and a deep understanding of their chosen niche.

Department Stores

Department stores are large-scale retail establishments that offer a wide range of merchandise across multiple categories. They typically house different departments specializing in specific product lines such as clothing, accessories, home goods, electronics, and cosmetics. Department stores aim to provide a one-stop shopping experience, offering customers a diverse selection of products under one roof.

Register Your Business

Once you’ve developed a solid business plan and determined the structure and type of store for your brick and mortar business, the next crucial step in how to start a brick and mortar business is to register your store.

Registering your business is essential for legal compliance, establishing your brand identity, and protecting your interests. Registering your business also establishes your business as a legitimate entity, instilling confidence in your customers and stakeholders. Some of the key aspects you’ll need to prioritize during this step include:

  • Choosing a business name: The name you opt for significantly shapes your brand and offers potential customers an idea of your business. Your business’s name also reflects your strategy and culture, so choose wisely
  • Obtain business insurance: Securing an insurance cover protects your business from liabilities
  • Permits and licenses: Permits and licenses offer the peace of mind of knowing you’re running a business on the right side of the law

Remember to consult with legal and insurance professionals and local authorities before starting your brick and mortar business. Consulting ensures that you complete all the necessary steps for registering your business and obtaining the required permits and licenses.

Consider the Location

With your business registered and the type of store you want determined, your next stop should be identifying and settling on a location. The importance of location cannot be overstated in the process of how to start a brick and mortar business. The right location can significantly impact the success and profitability of your store, while the wrong location can hinder growth and make it challenging to attract customers. Here are some factors to consider when reviewing different locations for your brick and mortar store:

Visibility and Accessibility

A prime location with high visibility and easy accessibility is essential for any brick and mortar business. When customers are driving or walking by, your store should catch their attention and make it convenient for them to visit. The visibility of your store signage, storefront, and display windows can significantly influence foot traffic and the number of potential customers entering your store. Choosing a location with ample parking spaces, proximity to public transportation, and easy navigation can further enhance the accessibility of your store, making it convenient for customers to reach you.

Target Market and Demographics

Consider who your ideal customers are and where they are likely to be located. Are they young professionals, families, or seniors? Are they local residents, tourists, or both? By identifying your target market, you can analyze their preferences, behaviors, and buying habits to find a location that aligns with their needs. For example, if you plan to open a commercial fencing company selling custom fence installation services, you might want to choose a location in an area with a high demand for residential fencing and homeowners seeking personalized solutions.

Competition and Market Analysis

Evaluate the existing businesses in the area and assess how they align with your offerings. Are there direct competitors, or is there a gap in the market that your store can fill? Understanding the competitive landscape can help you identify opportunities and differentiate your business. Consider the location’s overall market trends, economic factors, and growth potential. Choosing a location in a thriving commercial area or an up-and-coming neighborhood can give your brick and mortar business a competitive edge.

Cost and Infrastructure

Your budget should align with the location’s cost to ensure long-term sustainability. So, take into account the rent or purchase price, lease terms, and any additional expenses such as utilities and maintenance costs. Furthermore, assess the infrastructure available to ensure your target audience has seamless accessibility.

Get a Premise

Once you have identified the location for your brick and mortar business, the next crucial step is to secure a suitable premise. A premise is simply a dedicated physical location where your store will operate; without it, you cannot open your brick and mortar store.

Having one communicates your commitment to quality and professionalism. It serves as a tangible representation of your brand values and sets the tone for the customer experience. Here are some tips to help you select a good premise:

Consider the Size and Layout

Evaluate the space required for your operations, including the sales floor, storage area, office space, and any additional facilities like a commercial dumpster or HVAC system. Ensure that the premise provides adequate square footage to accommodate your current and future requirements.

Consider factors such as the flow of customers, ease of navigation, and accessibility for people with disabilities. A well-designed and functional layout can enhance operational efficiency and contribute to a seamless customer experience.

Evaluate Lease Terms

Lease terms can significantly impact your overhead costs and long-term viability. Consider the duration of the lease, rent escalation clauses, renewal options, and any additional fees or obligations. Discuss thoroughly with the landlord or property manager to clarify expectations and address any concerns.

It’s also important to review the lease agreement carefully and seek legal advice if necessary to ensure you fully understand the terms and conditions. Negotiating fair and flexible lease terms can provide stability and allow for future growth and adaptation.

Set Up Your Commercial Infrastructure

How to start a brick and mortar business is not just about the products or services you offer; it’s also about the overall shopping experience you provide to your customers. That’s why creating an appealing, functional, and comfortable store environment is essential. Here are some key components that require attention when setting up your brick and mortar store:

Store Layout

A well-designed store layout creates an inviting, organized environment that enhances customer experience.Checkout some elements to prioritize when planning the layout:

  • The floor plan: Carefully consider the floor plan to maximize the use of space and create efficient customer flow. Determine the placement of essential areas such as the entrance, checkout counter, aisles, and product displays. Optimize the arrangement to encourage exploration and easy navigation.
  • Point of sale(POS): A well-designed POS area ensures smooth customer interactions and efficient sales processing. Set it up where it is strategically placed for seamless transactions. Consider factors such as counter space, accessibility, and integration with inventory management systems.
  • Size and placement of aisles: Well-arranged aisles help customers easily locate products and encourage browsing, consequently driving up sales. Ensure that aisles are wide enough to accommodate customer traffic, shopping carts, and people with disabilities.

The HVAC System

Proper heating, ventilation, and air conditioning ensure that customers feel comfortable throughout their visit, regardless of the outside weather conditions. A well-functioning HVAC system also contributes to indoor air quality, preventing issues such as stuffiness or excessive humidity.

So, if you’re seeking to learn how to start a brick and mortar business and want to set up your store, get a good HVAC company to set up an HVAC system and ensure you seek commercial air conditioning services like maintenance to keep your HVAC system operating efficiently.


A good roofing system is vital for protecting your brick and mortar store from the elements and ensuring the safety of your customers and inventory.

A well-maintained roof prevents water leaks, structural damage, and potential hazards. It also contributes to energy efficiency by providing insulation and reducing heat transfer. Regular inspections and prompt repairs or replacements by a commercial roofer help maintain the integrity of your store’s roof. Evaluate roofers in your local area to pick the best match for your project.

Good Windows

Commercial windows serve as a visual invitation for potential customers, enticing them to step inside. They provide a glimpse into your store, showcasing attractive displays and merchandise. Secondly, windows allow natural light to enter the store, creating a pleasant and welcoming atmosphere. Incorporating energy-efficient windows can also help with insulation and reduce heating and cooling costs.

Dumpster Management

A good commercial dumpster system ensures that garbage and waste materials are appropriately contained, preventing odors, pests, and potential health hazards. Regular waste removal and adhering to proper disposal procedures are important to maintain a clean and inviting environment for your customers.

Design an Eye-Catching Website

The internet has transformed how businesses operate, and customers now expect to find information, browse products, and purchase online. In fact, approximately 97% of consumers search for local businesses online before making a purchase, while small and medium-sized businesses with websites have a higher rate of success and increased customer reach compared to those without an online presence. So, while taking all the steps in our how-to-start a brick and mortar business guide, work on having an eye-catching website setup.

Remember, your web design is a digital extension of your brick and mortar store. It allows you to reach a wider audience, provide information around the clock, and generate additional sales. Creating an appealing and functional website can effectively complement your physical store and enhance the overall customer experience.

Final Thoughts

Determining how to start a brick and mortar business requires careful planning and attention to various crucial steps. From developing a solid business plan to selecting the right location, securing a good premise, and creating an appealing website, each aspect contributes to the success of your venture. Following these guidelines and incorporating the necessary infrastructure can lay a strong foundation for your brick and mortar store and thrive in today’s competitive business landscape.

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