I went through my brain-storming session, where it's important not to be negative.
I've been going through my motivation phase all along, and will eventually really sit down and decide -- even if the project pans out -- if I really, really want to do it.
Now its time to look at all the minuses.
Minus One: Really high rent. Yes, it's less per foot, but it's 2.2 times the space.
It's higher than the spaces nearby, it's higher than my wife's store which is actually a better location. I understand the landlord has to pay for his improvements through higher rent, but that shouldn't be MY problem. I've already gotten a bunch of concessions from him, and got him to lower the rent a bit. I'm pretty sure that he won't want to go down too much from where we're at. I've tried to arrange it so we'll be open for a Grand Opening in November, be open during the busy holiday season, have the concessions kick in during the slow winter months. So I'd have a couple month before summer to absorb, and then into the busy season.
Minus Two: The visibility isn't really equal to my wife's. There's trees and cars blocking the vision from the intersection. The space is still raw, and I'm having to visualize the improvements.
Minus Three: The cost. Well, duh. But once I decided I wanted to keep both stores, I realized it would require a real investment in inventory. Plus, if I'm going to do this at all, I want to store to look nice. As long as I'm buying new fixtures, I want them to be modular and consistent.
Minus Four: Employees. Always a risk. I'll have four months. I'd probably hire 2 or 3 different people at 20 hours a week and distribute them through both stores, and see which ones are really interested in continuing.
Minus Five: Work and stress. I had a moment of clarity this week. I was exhausted, dropping things at the store because I was trying to hurry, not quite keeping up. That's O.K.; it was Wednesday, shipping day, and it's always that way a bit. And then yesterday, a normal day, feeling overwhelmed by customers even though the sales didn't really reflect that. And then the thought of ADDING to that -- sobered and scared me.
The cost of walking away. The existing problems at the current store continue. Future problems will still have to be dealt with. Feeling foolish at changing my mind in front of the whole world. De-motivating my current employee who seems really jazzed about being manager. Having to tell the landlord that I've changed my mind -- not wanting to leave him hanging. Because of that, I probably only have 10 days to 2 weeks to make a firm decision. Or at the least, to tell him I'm wavering and he should continue to market the space. (I sort of assume he's already doing that, actually....)
I'd basically have to do about half as well in sales as I do in the downtown store, with twice the space. The economy of scale, the savings in buying merchandise, is such that it pencils out at much lower numbers than the original store. But I don't want to do it half, assed either.
Because I'm leaving the P1 unchanged, it will probably take much, much longer for P2 to gain enough of its own customers to be profitable. But once it does, it will be addition to the customer base instead of substitution. There will be some synergy, some money spent by current customers in both stores, but I'm not counting on that. I know that Linda's store, while paying the bills from the very beginning, also took a year and a half to two years to really get solid.
I know that our little 300 sq. ft. space in the Mountain View Mall generally did only about 60% of the downtown numbers, non-fad years, despite all the foot traffic. Christmas brought that up a bit, but it certainly shows that a second space isn't a sure thing when it comes to sales.
Those are the negatives as I see them. Pretty intimidating. So I'll need to be clear that I will have ways of overcoming those negatives, and the desire to work it through.
4 days ago