[ Ever wonder how to start a boutique business in India? Look no further, we have created a list of tips on how to take your first stop towards financial independence. ]
The Indian entrepreneurial scene is witnessing the rise of women in business, with a lot of women going the start-up route, or choosing to start small businesses. Among the various small business ideas, one that has always been popular is the idea of owning a fashion boutique.
A boutique is a small store – usually related to fashion, and accessories – and starting one appears comparatively easy. But is it really so? In this article, let’s explore how to start a boutique business, and what can make it succeed.
We’ll discuss the key factors you need to keep in mind, and how you can minimize your risks in the fashion boutique business in India.
While branded clothing stores tends to follow or set trends in fashion to hold their clientele, a boutique typically has a niche of its own that makes its customers return to them, time and again.
While we agree that maintaining and growing a business venture is more difficult than starting one, but hey! Who said you can’t do it? Starting your boutique business is the first step, and here are a few tips to beginning the right way.
Here are 5 things on how to start a boutique business in India
- Choose your niche is important before you start your boutique
With the rise of boutiques in the recent decade, there is always a risk of running aground – being lost in the sea that is expanding. Hence, it is necessary to carve a niche out for yourself and your boutique. It would help you to stay unique, and offer your clientele products that are exclusive to your shop.
For instance, you intend to start a boutique that offers oxidized jewellery, but with Afghan glass; or, maybe a boutique that sells apparels that are dyed with natural colours. You have to find your speciality when you start your boutique, so that you stand out.
- Determining your clientele gives a head start to your boutique business
When you offer products, it is important to have a mental map of your client base – what type of customers do you imagine catering to when you start your boutique? It is always advisable to have a particular target audience while starting out, instead of jumping directly into the sea.
Does your chosen niche suit the young generation more, or the middle-aged tier? Do you intend to deal with the growing, undecided minds of the present day, or do you wish to work with customers who are well-aware of their choices? Gender, age, style preferences, income group – these are some factors to consider when you start your boutique business.
Simultaneously, it is also advisable that you look out for the weaknesses of your products, or service, and work actively towards making it better.
More often than not, boutiques lose their clients owing to their lack of initiative to look into the complaints of the users. Ask your early customers what they like about your range, or what you could do better on.
- Finances can be managed, but the GST of your boutique can be more difficult than you think
These days, banks offer various, reasonable loans and grants to small-scale business owners to give them the financial boost that they require. While the capital might not be as big of an issue, it is the GST – Central and State – that needs more focus.
With the introduction of the GST bill in 2017, the government has changed the entire taxation system of the country’s businesses, making a big impact on business owners – small or large.
Now even small-scale entrepreneurs such as boutique owners need to register their business for GST, if they anticipate an annual goods sale value of over Rs. 40 lakh. Maintaining proper invoices with GST is also useful if you plan to approach a bank for a loan at a later stage.
Though there is always an option of seeking help from a Chartered Accountant on such matters, it is important that you are well-aware of the procedures to avoid mismanagement of finances and tax compliance issues.
- Your boutique needs your social media presence
There is no escaping from social media, this is the best tool to boost one’s business’ presence. Social media helps create a business presence and also helps you reach clients from different geographic locations from the comforts of your store.
Through Meta’s (erstwhile Facebook) Marketplace feature, or Instagram stores, your online presence gives your boutique a larger scope of success, than an immediate offline jump. This place is always a good option to begin.
One might wonder if an online store would be limited and constricted?
Well, business models like SuTa– the growing favourite saree stop, or Beej- the unconventional yet sustainable jewellery venture are just two examples of the vast number of businesses that flourished due to their online presence.
However, if you’re not comfortable with the online mode, you can always use social media as a place to promote your shop. Attractive graphic designing, the right prices, and the right captions can be really effective in grabbing your clientele’s attention.
If technology is something that scares you, one could always seek help from family members, or hire a social media manager for the account.
- Figure out the geographic locations of your boutique store
While growing up, I always believed that boutiques are the space in the ground floor of your house that has huge shelves, and the products are stacked on them!
Time flies, and so did my perception of boutiques. I realized that they are also shops that demand the perfect geographic location to flourish. A store that is placed on the main road would have more visibility, and would attract more curious customers than a store that is placed in a by-lane.
While marketing is a big strategy in appealing to clients, equally important is the easy visibility of your store. If you wish to start it from the ground floor of your house, then make sure the address on hoardings, or business cards, have the address and easy directions.
If one has to hunt for your location, it is likely that you would lose the customer just as they lose interest in your boutique. Make sure you get your Google Maps business location right.
With a growing emphasis on women’s financial independence, irrespective of age, boutiques as a business idea are rapidly gaining popularity.
Such businesses provide women with not just financial freedom, but also give them a sense of independence and power that may otherwise be missing.
A sense of purpose.
Image source: Lara Jameson, free on CanvaPro
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