Looking to turn your passion for archery into a business? Almost anyone can start a business, but its success and profitability is up to you.
Although some people have “business” flowing through their veins, others shudder at the word. Either way, business journeys demand time, money and energy, and require you to consider factors you’ve seldom or never thought about before.
To remove the guesswork from out-of-sight, out-of-mind business requirements, the Archery Trade Association compiled some business “best practices” to help you get started and reach more customers for archery and bowhunting.
First things First: Is there a Need?
Entrepreneurs must do their research to ensure their area offers enough potential business and demand to support a shop. They should check out potential competition and talk to other independent business owners in the area to learn what to expect. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.
Gary Kinard, president of All Star Archery and Marine Electronics in Dallas, suggests you make sure your area needs an archery store.
“Many shops open based on the heart and not because of good business decisions,” Kinard said. “It takes more than passion to have a successful archery shop.”
Entrepreneurs must do their research to ensure their area offers enough potential business and demand to support a shop. They should check out potential competition and talk to other independent business owners in the area to learn what to expect. Manufacturers and industry representatives might also know if the area has legitimate needs for a pro shop. Reach out to them for more information.
In addition, some manufacturers – especially bow companies – maintain territorial restrictions. Careful research can yield locations with multiple opportunities for product selection. Make sure you understand the area’s obstacles and opportunities before jumping in.
Yea or Nay: Next Steps.
If you get lots of negative feedback, or realize you aren’t proposing a business for the right reason, it’s probably best to put that arrow back in your quiver. Wait for a better time or find a new location.
On the other hand, if the road looks clear, proceed by creating a business plan. This step and those that follow require more research, but you’ll find plenty of good resources to help, including Inc., Forbes, Entrepreneur and the Small Business Administration.
Also join your chamber of commerce, an association that promotes and protects the interests of the business community. You’ll find many reasons to join commerce groups. They offer benefits and discounts, and keep business owners informed on important issues and trends within the community and marketplace. They also generate valuable referrals.
Another good business resource is SCORE, an organization that works with the SBA and has local chapters nationwide. SCORE offers free mentoring for small businesses, and believes everyone should receive the necessary support to thrive as a small-business owner.
These resources will help you create a sound business plan, which helps you reach long-term goals. A business plan is an essential roadmap for success and outlines the route a company should take to grow revenues in the years ahead. The SBA’s “Write Your Business Plan” page includes helpful suggestions for the plan’s executive summary, company description, management objectives, services or product lines, and marketing and sales.
Establish Business Operations
Before opening your own archery shop, you should decide how much and what types of equipment you’ll sell, or if you’ll offer small amounts of inventory while emphasizing programs. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.
Your business plan is an all-encompassing document. Crafting original ideas and answering questions about your operations help you prepare for the future.
Determine if your store will be a pro shop, specialize in bowhunting, or include target and recreational archery. You should decide how much and what types of equipment you’ll sell, or if you’ll offer small amounts of inventory while emphasizing programs. It’s important to know what products you’ll carry and what your overhead will be.
Therefore, it’s crucial to know your audience and the area’s emerging demographics for archers/bowhunters to tailor your business to their needs.
After you’ve decided what kind of store you’ll run, you must determine where to locate your shop and if you should buy or rent a building. Also identify everyday business operations, such as which days and hours your shop will be open, how many employees you’ll need, and which tasks they’ll handle.
Besides hiring staff, you must hire professional services to protect your business. Inc.com puts it bluntly in this article, “Want to Grow Your Business? Hire These 2 People Now.” These two individuals are your attorney and accountant. They’ll help you understand your legal and financial obligations to state, local and federal regulations.
Talk to your lawyer about obtaining a business license, and ensure your state and federal permits are in place. They can also help you write and file articles of incorporation, a set of formal documents filed with the government to create a corporation.
Talk to your financial adviser about federal excise tax responsibilities when manufacturing archery gear, in addition to standard state and federal taxes. Your type of business determines which income-tax return form you should file. Some towns also impose mandatory taxes. Accountants and financial advisers can help you obtain good insurance for your business. They help you understand these processes, and help set budgets for the years ahead.
Hiring professionals is a strategic move that protects your investment and ensures success. It also decreases financial risks and liability issues you might encounter later. After all, “It’s your Business, so Take Responsibility for Everything.”
An Inc.com article, “15 Things That Need to be Squared Away Before You Start Your Business,” provides a checklist that ensures you stay in the fast lane to your destination.
If you're looking for more tips and resources for running an archery business, check out these business and marketing practices, and the exclusive services and resources for ATA-member retailers. Through these services, our outreach staff will work to put you on the fast track to bowhunting and archery growth and profitability. Contact Kurt Smith, ATA's senior manager of retail programs, for more information.
Also, keep your eyes peeled for Part 2 of this series, which publishes on August 15. We’ll dig deeper into resources that ensure your archery business gets started right.