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Old 02-15-2005, 11:09 AM   #11
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that is a great idea. Put together a couple of kick-butt 180gal tanks. Make them your showcase tanks. Put in the bwst looking fish and corals to make people drool over them. It is more of a credability tank, then a sales tank. If y show people what you can keep, they will trust you a lot more. There is a LFS by me that have awesome super-colored zoos in the owners display tank. They are the nicest I have ever seen. I have offered him an insain amount of money for them and he has declined every time. He ust says, "nope, those are mine". I would not sell them either.
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Old 02-16-2005, 01:01 AM   #12
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The previous advice regarding a Business Plan will be the one greatest piece of advice you will receive. I would also recommend contacting your local chamber of commerce or small business association. They can help point you in the right direction as far as planning and help provide contact information to help start your business network going.

In addition to a general business plan, I would also recommend creating a separate marketing plan. Remember that marketing encompasses much more than advertising. It deals with budgeting, supply management, pricing. You need to think about things like positioning, location, etc. Your USP (unique selling point) will be very important. It is likely that you will NOT be able to compete on price with the chain stores so you will have to provide value in another way be it customer service, quality, etc.

When determining your location I would not eliminate the possibility of locating near other competitors. Oftentimes, locating near your competition can be favourable. THink of auto retailers. OFten they are all located on a strip of a particular area of town. I'm not saying it's the right answer and perhaps locations away from competitors will be best but it's just something to think about.

Just remember to PLAN, PLAN, PLAN. Also, while they can be intimidating, crunch the numbers to death. If you aren't good at accounting, budgeting, look for help from the bank etc.

Good luck.
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Old 02-16-2005, 10:05 AM   #13
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If you go to WetWebMedia they have a section on opening a business in the industry. I too have thrown this idea around, but when it all shakes out the effort and profit is just not there yet. The information is top notch and covers all the things that you would need so you can actually see what it takes and what you did not realize it takes. Good luck!
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Old 02-16-2005, 11:23 AM   #14
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What about the in house service contracts? My buddy is doing about $25k monthly with those.
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Old 02-18-2005, 01:06 AM   #15
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Definitly go to wetwebmedia.com. I did much research on that site before I started my store. Plan plan plan........ and check out other good stores. But you will always learn more later after you open your doors.
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Old 02-18-2005, 01:17 AM   #16
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hi, you might want to ask this question in the Freshwater section as well since you will get more and maybe even different ideas.

One thing, im not sure if it was mentioned or if you have thought about it already. Is you might be able to save in electricity if there was a separate, dark room for fish. There are two mom and pop fish stores in my area and one has their equipment part separated from the fish part and the fish room is lit up only by the tanks. While the other store has their tanks along the walls (lit up) as well as the over head lights. I personally think tanks look better when they are the only "glowing" thing in the room... then you have X amount of square feet that you don't have to light up. Does that make any sense?

I think a NICE, well educated staff is important, that consider fish just as pet-like as cats or dogs. Also, ive always wanted to see care-sheets for different fish given to costumers if wanted.

Good luck!
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Old 02-18-2005, 01:59 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lyquidphyre
There are two mom and pop fish stores in my area and one has their equipment part separated from the fish part and the fish room is lit up only by the tanks.
lyquidphyre....There is only one lfs in my area that is not part of a big-box chain. It is set up in this same way and it is awesome. I couldn't agree more. Not only do the fish stand out more and appear much more vibrantly colored, but it is much more peaceful in that room.
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Old 02-18-2005, 02:19 AM   #18
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i agree, i've been to one lfs with a dark room with about 50 tanks and it made me want to buy all the fish in the store. imo something like that will at least get people through the door even if they don't own fish. oh and they had a very nice planted tank in the back but i would put something like that in the front to catch everyone's attention
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Old 02-18-2005, 04:17 AM   #19
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if ur looking for your main tanks, Dutch Aquarium Systems have a lot of great looking setups and even sell good used units. We have them in our store and they look great. Again with the maintenances, its going to be the lifeblood of your store and what pays the bills, everything else in the store is just extra.
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