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Tips on Starting Your Own Business


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Velocity Motors 
Moderator - Posts: 12,487
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Joined: March 08, 2002
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Posted: April 01, 2013 at 12:01 PM / IP Logged  
I've been asked numerous times in the past about tips or what I did to start my own buisness and have compiled a few things that would help others in their quest to become their own boss. I'll add to this as I see fit and hope this helps.....
There are lots of tips ( take as needed since not all apply to every region ):
- Cash is KING.... keep as much in your bank as possible and use your suppliers as much as possible to hold inventory for you. Keep items that have a high stock turns instock ( wiring kits, CD Players, speakers, connectors, amp kits, etc )but only have one to go and one to show for larger ticket items like NAV deck, amps, subs, etc.
- Make sure you have insurance !! Disability for yourself and have garage insurance for your installer/yourself and have 3rd party for the building and property. All it takes is one accident and your screwed.
- Promote yourself, not your business. People will know of your business eventually, but having a great reputation extends to all aspects of your business and people will talk. Word of mouth can boost your business but can all devestate your business in the same context.... be honest and your business with thrive.
- Promote yourself through your personal social group, whore out your personal vehicle as a promotionary vehicle ( stereo, wheels, a high impact vehicle wrap, etc ) since all this is a writeoff against the business in the end.
- We use highway signs to get people to know about sales or promote events. There are different types of billboards, you will need to see what is available in your area. This has been the #1 medium that we've used for promotions bar none !
- After you get your business going ( about a year or 2 ) advertise heavily during the slow months, not the busy months. If your already busy, it doesn't make sense to advertise to get busier. Spend the money during the slowest times and this will get people in the door and then you can sell. If no one comes through that door, it's hard to sell to no one.
- Run events such as stereo competitions, burnout comps, car shows, or db Drags. One thing that has worked very well for us is cross promotions with other businesses or non-profit organizations. Talk with local businesses that can benefit from your event and ask them to come to it. This gets the other businesses customers to come down as well and through this connection will grow your event as well as get customers that would not normally come into your store.
- ALWAYS CHANGE....... this is the key to our success here in my area. I live in a town of 7500 people and we draw from a trade area of 30000 people in a 100 mile radius and we're less than 50 miles from the USA boarder but last year we grossed over $600K in sales ! Not bragging but it's a milestone for me since we started with $20K in our first year! This is highly due to the fact that we changed with our customers and listened to them and changed accordingly. We were strictly a tuner shop and custom stereo but we changed now to encompass truck performance and accessories, marine & home audio-video as well as we sell snowboards, skateboards and all the apparel from Burton, Volcom, RDS & lots more. Our business consists of less than 1 % tuner vehicles now but we still do the wheels and tires for the tuners, just not very much.
- Have a 3,6,9 and 12 month outlook plan for yourself as well as the business. Use this as a plan of attack for various aspects of your planning stage. Nothing worse than not knowing where your at as far as the business goes and not knowing where to go. Having a good business plan is life or death for a business in it's first year.
- Have faith..... nothing is more disheartening than $0 sale days but keep up the promotions, events, word of moutn and you will have fewer and fewer of these days as the years go on.
- Spend money only where it's necessary. When I first started, I had hordes of the local media salesman come in trying to get their peice of the " new kid on the block " pie and I just kindly told them that I have my budget and my own ways of promotions. Keep as much money in your pocket for your own events since these are the ways that your money can work 100% for you. Paper, radio and electronic signs are a waste of money for us. Websites are good to have a presence but don't over spend on these since most manufacturer's do not condone you to do internet sales. You want the customer to come into your store and buy from a person who can then sell the installation, wiring and the customer service.
- Have fun ! Don't turn a past time that you enjoy into chains that bind you to the business. It's no fun for you and not fiar to your family if your burdened with a business that saps the life out of you. Work to LIVE, not live to WORK !
Jeff
Velocity Custom Home Theater
Mobile Audio/Video Specialist
Morden, Manitoba CANADA
DYohn 
Moderator - Posts: 10,739
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Joined: April 22, 2003
Location: Arizona, United States
Posted: April 03, 2013 at 11:34 AM / IP Logged  
Excellent advice, thank you for posting this.
If you don't mind I can add one concerning brand choice. Study your competition and what they are already offering before you decide what brands to carry. Just because your distributor can get you Pioneer does not mean it's a good idea if there are two big box stores already selling Pioneer in your area. They can afford to sell for $10 over cost, you cannot, and if it comes to a price war you are likely to lose. Unless you have some very compelling reasons to justify higher prices to your customers, it just might be more trouble than it's worth to pick up the big mainstream name brands. At the same time, avoid the Kenword knock-offs that will only bring your reputation down and increase your warranty overhead. Choose brands that are not already saturating your area or are only represented by shops you know you can compete with, and try to offer something different to set your shop apart from the pack.
And one last thought, a friend of mine once had a sign in his install bay that read: "Free Installation Isn't." :)
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howie ll 
Pot Metal - Posts: 16,466
Pot Metal spacespace
Joined: January 09, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posted: April 20, 2013 at 11:32 AM / IP Logged  
Some extremely good advice, the most important being the first and second paras.
Reference DYohn's last phrase, I always liked Renner's line:-
"My service is cheap, quick, and good - pick any two".
t&t tech 
Platinum - Posts: 2,594
Platinum spacespace
Joined: October 05, 2008
Location: Trinidad and Tobago
Posted: June 21, 2013 at 11:14 AM / IP Logged  
As a 12 volter who has been endeavouring for years to acquire necessary funds to open buisness, i appreciate this info very much,.and as i am still in the process of getting there, i will put this info to practical use.
Thank you.
Velocity Motors 
Moderator - Posts: 12,487
Moderator spaceThis member has made a donation to the12volt.com. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Electrical Theory. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Fabrication. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Mobile Audio and Video. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Mobile Security and Convenience. Click here for more info.spacespace
Joined: March 08, 2002
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Posted: June 24, 2013 at 5:03 PM / IP Logged  
It's always good to hear success stories that we all contributed to in the forums. Which reminds me of another point that I will add with another post.
Jeff
Velocity Custom Home Theater
Mobile Audio/Video Specialist
Morden, Manitoba CANADA
Velocity Motors 
Moderator - Posts: 12,487
Moderator spaceThis member has made a donation to the12volt.com. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Electrical Theory. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Fabrication. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Mobile Audio and Video. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Mobile Security and Convenience. Click here for more info.spacespace
Joined: March 08, 2002
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Posted: June 24, 2013 at 6:47 PM / IP Logged  
- use resources from the internet ( the12volt.com ), forums, friends, suppliers & most importantly your local businesses like dealerships, car lots, marine shops & general businesses. Having good standing relation with your local businesses has saved me in the past in getting an installation finished and started in some cases. Having this good relation also gives you referrals for future jobs that can keep you busy through the slow months.
- Dead stock = dead business !! This is especially true on our clothing side where fashion changes as often as my wife's wardrobe. This will make or break your business in the long term so don't sit on old inventory. Keep an eye on trends from the manufacturer and make sure that when you see them change SKU's or delete SKU's from their lineup, you do the same and get that inventory out of your shop. Even if it means selling for cost but make money off the installation because if you don't you'll be selling it below cost if you wait too long.
- Keep an eye on events that can boost your sales and take advantage of these events. We've been involved in a local trade show for the past 2 years and have had very good exposure from these shows. An example of a large event for us is in March 2014 there will be Manitoba Winter Games and this will draw thousands of people to the area and we jumped on advertising on the large billboard by the highway. These are normally booked 4-6 months in advance and we have first dibs on 3 premium locations for this time frame allowing us to promote our shop to tens of thousands of people in a month's time.
Jeff
Velocity Custom Home Theater
Mobile Audio/Video Specialist
Morden, Manitoba CANADA
forbidden 
Platinum - Posts: 5,352
Platinum spaceThis member has made a donation to the12volt.com. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Mobile Audio and Video. Click here for more info.spacespace
Joined: November 01, 2003
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posted: April 04, 2014 at 11:39 PM / IP Logged  
My advice that I found out the hard way totally by accident.
HAVE AN EXIT PLAN.
I had no idea that one day an opportunity would arise that I just could not say no to. I took that opportunity and left the 12volt world behind. What I did not have time to do though was to liquidate inventory, shut down the store myself, say goodbye to friend and clients. What I ensured was done was to make 100% sure that my friend, my installer had a safe place to go. Look after your staff, they are looking after you.
You never know when a change can happen, be it a business purchase that I made that took me to a new province, perhaps it is cancer that claimed the life of my friend at his sushi bar next door. Change can happen at any time, be prepared for it.
Top Secret, I can tell you but then my wife will kill me.
t&t tech 
Platinum - Posts: 2,594
Platinum spacespace
Joined: October 05, 2008
Location: Trinidad and Tobago
Posted: April 11, 2014 at 11:47 AM / IP Logged  
Great advice.
cvsct698 
Member - Posts: 45
Member spacespace
Joined: July 19, 2006
Posted: October 03, 2014 at 6:40 PM / IP Logged  
Something that has helped us lately. Be mobile. We started offering on-site service, and at least in our market, customers are loving it. It provides additional convenience to them, and makes them feel important. Plus, if you are starting up, you can focus on being mobile and significantly cut overhead over being brick and mortar. This recent change has given us a significant increase in work, especially for dealerships.

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