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Boutique Businesses have been traditionally seen as expensive high end stores that store international brands as well as exclusive national brands and where the masses are just not the target group of customers. This traditional notion has been changing for a long time. Today opening a boutique business is very simple and does not necessarily cater high end and ultra expensive products.
Boutique business can essentially be small retail outlets that store clothing and accessories of many local brands or other famous brands or may even create an in-house brand. It is not a very capital intensive business that can be started from grass root levels to develop and grow into a big brand name or even a franchise.
The essential part in starting a boutique business is to have a well structured business plan in place. Such a business plan will help the entrepreneur to secure the necessary funding via investment or loans from angel investors or banks, NBFCs and MFIs. Since boutique business falls under the MSME category, securing hassle free and affordable funds at lower interest rates from financial institutions will be an easy task.
About Boutique Business Plan
The business plan of the boutique has to first and foremost highlight the need or purpose for the business, the area of expertise or the market need that will be satisfied by the business.
The other basic contents or requirements that the business plan has to cover are mentioned below.
This section provides brief details about all the aspects of the business plan. The entrepreneur can also provide the details regarding the objectives of the business and the goals that the business intends to meet in the set amount of time. The main intention of the executive summary is to provide the potential investors and lender an insight of the boutique business plan and to engage them with the prospect of potential success.
Location and Space of the business
The location of a boutique is one of the many important factors for setting the tone of the business. The location of the boutique should be in line with the target customers. It should be easily accessible and clearly visible to the potential customers. Malls are a very good and preferred location for boutique businesses. However, the rent in malls is usually steep and is often not a feasible option for newly opened businesses. Thus, the ideal location will be one that fits the budget of the entrepreneur but also gives the opportunity to get maximum clientele.
Another crucial aspect is deciding the layout of the boutique. The interiors should be done in a way that looks very inviting. The placement of products and the display should be such that it would attract the passersby and turn him/her into a potential customer. If the boutique also sells accessories along with garments, their placement should be such that the entrepreneur can sell the whole look in a single sale.
Industry analysis is the basic step in starting a new business venture. The entrepreneur has to have a clear idea of the nature of the industry and the requirements as well as norms of the industry the business is part of. Industry analysis will also let the entrepreneur know the current market trends and the need of the current market that is best suited to be provided by the entrepreneur.
Business analysis first and foremost requires the entrepreneur to decide the type of products he/she wants to sell. This decision is dependent on many factors like the skills and the talent of the entrepreneur, target customers, industry analysis, existing competition, etc. Boutiques can be set exclusively for garments or can also provide a combination of complimenting accessories like bags, shoes, jewellery, sun glasses, etc. The entrepreneur can tie-up with high end brands to provide such accessories as well as local sellers or manufacturers for their quality products.
Customer analysis will help the entrepreneur to provide specific products that appeal to the target customers and thereby eventually create a brand name for the business. Such analysis will also help the entrepreneurs gain an edge over the competition.
‘A known enemy is always better than an unknown enemy’, although this notion being an extreme, does apply to the business in the sense that it is always better to know one’s competition. Competition analysis helps the entrepreneur to cater to his/her customers in a better manner and can also be useful in determining the correct pricing policy. It will help the business owner source better raw materials to provide better final products to the customers.
Financial plan is the most crucial part of the business plan from securing funds point of view. A well thought out financial plan takes into account not only the present scenario but also lays down a clear path and well defined financial goals for the future. The business owner can plan the expansion of the boutique business into more branches or a franchise by clearly defining the targets and budgets and adhering to them.
While financial plan is the basis for thriving in future, operational plan is the basis for survival and sustenance. A well defined operational plan will ensure that the financial goals set by the business owner are duly met. It also helps the entrepreneur to avoid any unnecessary situations like raw material wastages or not meeting customer deadlines, ensuring proper coordination with the tailors and accessory suppliers, etc. The operational plan will also help the entrepreneur in selecting the best suppliers of the required quality raw material based on the business requirement and the budget available.
Marketing and promotion
This is a very important aspect for any business, especially a boutique. A good marketing and promotional strategy will ensure an instant creation of a brand name that the customers can rely on for exclusive and quality outfits or specific event looks. Social media plays a vital role in marketing the brand and eventually creating a customer base for the business. Entrepreneurs can also provide many promotional offers like festive sale or end of season sale, discount on bulk purchases or on spending beyond a specific amount, membership cards for regular customers that can get them attractive offers or discounts or preference during the launch of new collections, etc.
This section highlights the details about the owners or the designers of the business. Any professional education in the fashion designing field or professional experience in this business has to be highlighted in this section. It will provide the lenders and the investors an additional assurance in the capability of the entrepreneur to make the business a successful venture.
1. Do boutiques always sell high end expensive products?
While it is true that the many boutiques sell high end and expensive branded products, there are other boutiques as well that sell affordable but quality products targeting a huge customer base.
2. Does the boutique business require licensing?
While there might not be specific licensing for boutique businesses, setting up any business will require licensing and registration under the prevailing Acts like the Shops and Establishment Act, MSMED Act. Registration under the MSMED Act will ensure that the business gets preference in government schemes like loans, subsidies, etc.
3. What are the ways to source clothes and accessories for a boutique?
The main ways of sourcing clothes and accessories for a boutique are,
4. Is social media a relevant tool in marketing a boutique?
Yes. Social Media is one of the most effective tools in marketing and promoting a boutique business. It is crucial in creating an online customer base and for online sales.
5. Can a boutique business survive by sourcing products from already famous brands without making any in-house products of their own?
There are many retail outlets that store already famous brands and have tie-ups to display certain exclusive collections. This also can be turned into a successful venture provided there are certain key factors like an adequate net profit margins and a loyal customer base.
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