How to Make Your Liquor Store into a Thriving Business
Copyright (c) 2009 Richard K Parker
In my many years of helping people buy businesses, I have noticed something interesting about people who are selling their liquor stores. They’re usually suffering from extreme burnout!
If you tour a number of liquor stores that are for sale, you’ll discover what I mean. The places are usually dingy, and there are bottles on the shelves that could have been sitting there for years. The lighting needs replacing, the walls need a fresh coat of paint, and boxes of really old stock are stacked up in storage rooms. I have even seen injection-molded plastic signs on the walls for brands of beer that aren’t even available anymore.
Sounds dismal, right? Well, not really, because all those factors can spell opportunity just for you, a smart buyer.
Here are the steps to turn that underperforming liquor store into a money machine!
Step one: Make sure you purchase the correct store!
First things first… You have to buy a store with untapped demographic potential. It could be an older “mom and pop” liquor store in a neighborhood that has recently been transformed by the arrival of younger, well-to-do professional consumers. It could be in a part of the city where new office complexes are planned. Whatever it is, it has to have growth potential.
Avoid buying a liquor store in an area that’s in decline. Sometimes such stores can be generating positive cash flow by selling half pints of liquor and flask-style bottles of inexpensive wine, but let’s face it; a store in an area that’s improving will always offer you more potential for growth and increased profitability.
Step two: Cater to a more upscale clientele!
If you’re in an area that is attracting a growing number of professional people, start building an upscale inventory that will appeal to them. Don’t wait for people to ask for more exclusive wines, get those products on your shelves in anticipation of popular demand.
Then we get to the issue of customer service. If you want to capture an upscale customer group, you’ll have to be able to answer questions about various wines – which wines are highly rated, or which go best with a particular kind of food.
One way to provide this service is to hire knowledgeable salespeople. Another way is to hire enthusiastic people and train them, or perhaps become a wine expert yourself. Your choice of strategy depends on your budget, your sales and the size of your establishment.
Step three: Make your upscale store look the part – from day one.
If your store needs renovation or freshening up before it can appeal to your new clients, make sure you budget for this – and always reserve a realistic amount of money for fix-ups. Come to a reality-based total for how much everything will cost, and make this point a significant aspect of your calculations as you negotiate with the Seller for the most reasonable purchase price. Remember, you cannot appeal to an upscale clientele by slapping a fresh coat of paint on dusty shelves. Look at windows, lighting, floor areas, wall coverings and more. Even your cash registers need to be up-to-date and spotless.
Step four: Expand your product offerings beyond alcoholic beverages.
Over the last decade, upscale liquor stores have begun to offer gourmet cheeses and other food products. It makes sense to expand in this way. If people are looking for a good bottle of wine, or some excellent beer to compliment a good meal, why not offer them cheese, olives, crackers and other elegant appetizers? Remember to check local ordinances and zoning to be sure you can sell foods at your location.
Step five: Hold in-store events to attract more of your target clients.
Hold wine tastings, cooking classes and cheese seminars in your store. If an author has recently published a book on wine or cheese, have a book signing on your premises.
Events do more than sell products. They give your store the feeling of a community – and a destination.
Step six: Build an Internet presence.
Set up a store Webpage where you recommend wine, liquors and beer. On your Webpage, make sure to put a sign-up form where customers can subscribe to a professional email newsletter, in which you distribute detailed information about your products.
Also, in your newsletter, include coupons for discounts on wines, beer and other products, and try to be inventive about finding new ways of making it easy for your customers to recommend additional subscribers to you.
Always present your Website visitors with the opportunity to order products strait from your Website store. You can offer local delivery if you have a vehicle, or low cost shipping to a wider area. Be aware, however, that you may be prevented by law from shipping alcoholic beverages to other states, and make sure to check this out before you buy your store, so you can get a realistic idea of the business’s true overall profit potential.
Richard Parker is the President and founder of the prestigious Diomo Corporation – The Business Buyer Resource Center. His celebrated materials, seminars and consulting have encouraged thousands of business buyers from around the World to pursue their dream of buying a business. Want to discover more about impressive business buying success strategies that really work, then look no further than=> http://www.howtobuyaliquorstore.com/