If there’s one thing that keeps Indians united, it is sports. From M.S. Dhoni’s winning six that took India to victory in the 2011 world cup finals to the iconic penalty shootout win for Argentina in the 2022 FIFA world cup, it has only motivated many young Indians to make their name in sports.
Then no wonder the sporting goods industry in the country was at a massive $3.94 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow steadily in the coming years. Safe to say, if you’re thinking about starting a sports equipment shop, there’s no better time than the present.
So how to start a sports store? Well, establishing a new sports shop business is more than just looking for a new space or knowing how to purchase and sell sports goods. Here’s everything you need to know about starting your own sports store in India.
1. Market research and planning
Before you jump into the sports goods business, it is important to gather as much information as you can about the industry and market. This involves understanding the niche, and customer preferences, identifying any under-represented sports you can target, and being up-to-date with the latest industry trends.
For instance, the increased demand for home workout equipment during the pandemic or outdoor activities after the pandemic can lead to new sportswear and equipment demand. Understanding these trends will help you stay one step ahead of the competitors and tap into new opportunities that might come your way.
2. Find out about the competitors
Another aspect of market research and planning involves competitor research. It is essential to know who your competitors are and what their business strategy is. You can start by visiting different sports shops in your targeted locality to help understand their product, pricing, and customer strategy.
Next, analyse their key performance indicators compared to yours and identify what you can do better in your business. Additionally, research your local market to see which sports activities and hobbies are popular in your targeted area. For instance, if there is a park nearby, outdoor activities like biking, cricket, or badminton could be in demand.
3. Identify the niche
Once you better understand the market, audience, and preferences, it’s time to identify your target customer and niche. Instead of focusing on the general market, you can target a specific customer group like teenagers, amateur athletes, or even professional athletes by offering high-end equipment at your sports shop.
Similarly, you could pick a niche market with less competition and tremendous growth opportunities, like a sports store specialising in sports souvenirs or selling golf, hunting, or fishing equipment. This will help you carve a place for yourself in the market and stand out from the competitors.
4. Develop a business plan
Now that you have covered the market specifics and identified your niche get started with a business plan to complement your research. A business plan describes your mission, vision, and business goals. In addition, it lays down the strategies to reach these goals, the costs, and the resources to get the required investment. All in all, this plan will map out the specifics of your sports equipment store.
Not to mention, it will act as a crucial document if you decide to opt for a business loan.
5. Take care of the funding
How do you plan on funding your sports store? Starting a new sports equipment shop requires a lot of capital – from shop lease and inventory to working capital, salaries, and daily cash requirements. Safe to say, it’s not easy to fund these capital needs from your own pocket.
Here, choosing an affordable business loan is your best bet. Most financial institutions in India offer hassle-free business loans at competitive interest rates and minimal documentation. Do your research and look for a lender that offers you the best terms on a loan.
6. Look for an ideal store location
The location of your business operation can make or break your growth opportunities. A sports shop that is easily accessible, spacious, and located in a crowded locality is a good choice. For instance, consider opening a sports store near parks or a sports academy to make the most of your business. For this, refer to your market research to identify your ideal location and talk to a real estate agent to check out different shops.
Also, consider transport accessibility and that the rent and overhead expenses are within your budget.
7. Register your business
Next, you must register your business and fulfill the different legal formalities before officially launching your sports shop. The process can be different depending upon your location and state laws and typically involves the following aspects-
- Identifying and establishing your business as a sole proprietorship, partnership, franchise, or a limited liability company
- Registering for taxes and acquiring a GST certificate
- Obtaining a business license from the authorities
- Opening a business bank account
- Setting up business accounting
Since this can be a lengthy process, it would make sense to hire an attorney to take care of the legalities and paperwork.
8. Stock up on inventory
Once you have registered your business and are ready with the sports store location, stock up on inventory. Depending upon your niche and target market, items like sportswear often change with changing trends and seasons. Further, identify the brands you would like to sell at your sports equipment shop and find a reliable supplier to get started.
9. Hire employees
Depending upon the size of your business and expected customer traffic, you will need to hire a staff to take care of the inventory, customer orders, and sales services. Having a good team of employees – one that is knowledgeable, friendly, and has excellent communication skills will help your business grow.
On the flip side, you can even avoid hiring staff if your business is small and you can handle everything efficiently.
10. Promote your business
Now that your sports equipment store is up and running, the next step is getting more and more customers through the doors. But how? If your budget allows it, consider hiring an advertising firm to promote your business through local print or media outlets.
Alternatively, make use of social media to create a buzz around your sports shop with paid ads, engaging videos, or posts. You can also organise local sporting events or offer promotional deals to new customers to spread the word about your new business.
11. Establish an online presence
Since most purchases today start with a simple online search, having a robust online presence is the way to run and grow your business. Make it easy for your target audience to find you – create a well-optimised business website where people can know about your business location and timings, make online purchases, and leave feedback or concerns.
Now that you know how to start a sports shop in India don’t wait any longer to make your entrepreneurial dream come true. Apply for a quick business loan with Tata Capital at attractive interest rates, flexible repayments, and longer loan tenure to establish a successful sports business.
Check out our website for more details.