Although they can be expensive to get off the ground, sports stores can ultimately be successful and rewarding start-ups for sports enthusiasts. They offer a connection to community teams and a chance to help budding athletes. Before you open your doors, do your research. Consider how you can specialize your business, differentiate yourself from local competitors and attract a specific target market.

Identify your niche

Create a unique approach to customer service and product selection. Stock your sporting goods business with equipment and merchandise specific to the needs of your niche customers.

Write a business plan for your sports store

Research local competitors and determine who their target clientele are, whether they specialize in equipment for specific sports and what differentiates them from other sports stores in the area. Consider how you can set yourself apart from existing competition by focusing on equipment for certain sports, selling just sporting apparel, selling used sporting goods or offering equipment rentals or lessons. Other ways to specialize include focusing on outdoor sports such as hunting and fishing, winter sports or water sports. Research the cost of rental spaces and equipment. Determine how many employees you’ll need and how much you’ll pay them. Create a marketing strategy to advertise your services.

Accomplish all legal requirements of federal, state and local authorities

A new business will need an employer identification number from the IRS and may need to register with the state corporation commission. Check with your local government to determine the type of retail sales license needed to buy and sell athletic goods.

Check out the competition

Every business needs to identify their industry rivals in order to meet and manage customer expectations, charge competitive prices and stay current in the industry market. By understanding your competitor’s weaknesses you will be able to use them to improve your own business and avoid similar mistakes. Networking at industry specific events will enable you to get a deeper insight into your competition and the potential pitfalls to avoid.

Raise funds

Now that you’ve successfully set up your recreation and sports business, it’s time to raise funds. Mentioned below are some options to raise funds:

  • Microcredits
  • Crowdfunding
  • Peer-to-Peer Lending
  • Bootstrapping

Best way to raise funds for your start-up is to pull together small amounts in succession rather than trying to get a huge lump of capital when raising money from investors.

Get insurance for the business

All business owners should always consider the appropriate type of insurance to protect your business in case of an accident. Having an insurance policy is also essential for building trust with customers. Contact a local commercial insurance broker to find out how much it will cost to insure your business. Moreover, you should seek help from insurance adviser which one will be the best for the company.

Hire employees with sporting goods sales experience

Salespeople within the sporting goods industry should have a minimum of three years of experience in inside sales. Your sales managers should have experience as an athlete or sports enthusiast to assist your customers with quality service and product knowledge.

Purchase equipment and supplies

Do substantial research online to secure the best prices. Focus on wholesale sporting goods suppliers who offer better deals if you buy in bulk. Consider selling both new and used equipment to save money and attract a wider range of customers. Visit yard sales, estate sales, auction websites and local classified ads to find cheap, used equipment.