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What About Finance?

What About Finance?

One of the sticking points I see again and again with my customers is finance. Building a new store takes capital and most small businesses do not have the spare cash to pay for a store fitout upfront or are seeking a tax effective solution when funding depreciating assets. The finance option you choose will be based on your financial position and what is right for your business.

As a small business owner, the finances of your business are usually quite closely linked to your own finances. It is common for first time business to be financed by personal capital or personal loans. This allows you to open the doors on your first business but also puts you at a high financial risk if your assets or home are tied to the performance of the business. As your business grows and you open more stores, this problem repeats itself as you need to find capital to open new stores.

I met up with Dane Nicholson from HSS Finance and Xavier Gene from Econex Consulting  to discuss the different finance options available for Hospitality businesses. Understanding your options and when you need to apply for finance will avoid delays in opening your new store.

Commercial Lending

One option for financing your new store is to go to the bank. I have found this is often the first option my clients consider. However, it is generally secured against your personal assets and you cannot be guaranteed that your application for finance will be successful. Your ability to access finance will depend on the risk to the financier. Opening a new hospitality business is considered a high risk for the banks. Because there are more hospitality businesses who open each year to the number that survives, it can be a challenge to convince the bank that your business is a good investment. This is particularly difficult for first time business without a track record of success.

Xavier from Econex Consulting clarified why this is the case. Financing a store fit out is not creating a saleable asset in the same way as building a house. If you borrow $200,000 for a fit out, it is difficult for the bank to recoup this money if you default on the loan. The bank is more comfortable financing assets which have a clear resale value. Usually the bank will ask for other property or assets as security against the loan.

Applying for a commercial loan can be more straight forward for established business and franchises who have a track record of success and can demonstrate to the banks that they have proven systems behind what they do. Even in these cases the application is in the name of the business owner or franchises and specific to the individual site. Working with an experienced finance consultant will allow you to include all the information you need to have your finance application assessed.

Operating Lease Agreement

Because it is notoriously difficult to get commercial loans approved for the hospitality industry, there are a number of other finance options that have been created to fill the gap. A popular choice for hospitality businesses is an Operating lease Agreement.

Operating lease agreements are most commonly used for equipment and furniture. However, some financiers will be willing to cover other areas of your fitout including stainless steel and joinery. Unlike a commercial loan, which is a set dollar amount, an operating lease agreement relates to specific assets.

Dane from HSS finance summarized the basics of an operating lease agreement.

“With a rental agreement, the financier maintains ownership of the equipment, assets or furniture, similar to a secured loan from the Bank. The key advantages to this however include the ability to claim back GST on the payments in each BAS lodgement and claim up to 100% tax deduction on the total payment compared to a Bank loan whereby the interest component is only tax deductible. It also doesn’t secure your personal assets. Essentially this allows you to choose the equipment to want and, rather than purchasing it outright, pay for the use of the equipment as a regular payment. There is usually a term for the agreement and an ability to purchase the assets from the financier and take ownership of the goods.”

The advantage some business owners find with this form of finance is it allows you to keep your capital to get the new store up and running. With some lenders, you may not need to provide a security deposit as you would for commercial lending. This allows you to open the new store and still have the cash you need to pay for wages and suppliers during the first twelve months, which is usually the most challenging time for a new store.

With an operating lease agreement, rather than the bank loaning you money directly, the financier sits in the middle and absorbs the risk. Typically this form of finance does have a higher repayment than a bank loan however has more flexibility and can have tax benefits.

Chattel Mortgage

Another form of finance that may be worth considering is Chattel Mortgage. With chattel mortgage, you select the equipment and furniture that you want to go into your new store and the financier lends you the money to purchase those items. As with a lease agreement, the chattel mortgage is linked to set assets rather than a dollar amount.

The key difference with Chattel Mortgage over a lease Agreement is that you take ownership over the assets. This allows you to claim depreciation and has some tax advantages. Typically, the upfront payment will be cheaper than equipment finance but you lose some of the flexibility as you will be locked into a fixed term contract.

What Do I Need to Apply for Finance?

Finance applications for loans from the big banks are the most thorough, and must contain enough information to allow the banks to assess their level of risk. You may choose to make this application directly to the bank or go through a finance broker or consultant who can assist you with the application process.

As a general guide, your application should demonstrate the experience of the business owner in the hospitality industry and your financial position. The financier or bank is looking to assess their level of risk, make sure the business is viable and that you have enough cash in the bank to support the business through initial setup.

Xavier from Econex Consulting summarized what usually needs to go into a finance application. “If you are making an application to the bank, they will usually want to look at your business plan, financial plan and cash flow forecast for the business. To determine your financial position, you may need to provide your tax records, bank statements and statement of position. You will also to need to show evidence of your contribution and security.”

In your application you will also need to include a heads of agreement for your lease and site information. The location of your site is important to the bank in determining the viability of the business and your lease also contains key information round your lease period and lease amount.

For a lease agreement, the process is usually less rigorous. To start looking at finance, you will need two things: a site and indicative pricing. You will need to demonstrate your experience in the hospitality industry and your current financial position. What the financier is looking to see is that the business is viable. You will still need to demonstrate that you have cash in the bank sufficient to run the business and pay for any parts of the store fitout that do not qualify for finance as part of the lease agreement.

Before you can get finance approved on a rental agreement, you need a breakdown of the equipment costs and the other parts of your building cost that you are looking to finance. There will be elements of your fitout that won’t qualify for equipment finance. It is usually straightforward to finance equipment, steel benches and canopies. Trying to get equipment finance on things like plumbing and electrical is much more challenging. With a breakdown of costs, your financier will be easily able to tell you what he can and can’t finance.

When Should I Apply for Finance?

Timing for finance can be tricky. You will need to have finance approved before your shopfitter can start on site. However, before you can have a finance application approved, you will first need to give your financier a signed heads of agreement for your lease and a breakdown of your fitout costs.

This means that typically you cannot get finance finalised until your shopfitter gives you an itemised quote for your new store fitout. This is usually just weeks before you are wanting to start on site, any delays with finance approvals at this point will push back your store opening as you may be waiting on finance to pay your shopfitter’s deposit.

What is the solution? You can work with your shopfitter and designer to put together an equipment list and budget estimate much earlier in the design process. This budget estimate will only be indicative for your building costs and services. However, it should be quite accurate for your equipment. Your shopfitter should be able to give you an estimate for things like stainless steel benches and canopy. The financier can then sit down with you and look at the indicative costs for opening the new store and how much cash you have in the business.

This initial conversation should give you clarity on the amount you are likely to be able to finance. Starting this conversation early will also make sure you have everything your financier will need to approve the finance. Once you have the final itemised quotes through from your shopfitter, you can then sit down with your financier to run through the costings and finalise your finance approval.

How is the Finance Process Different for Franchising?

Finance applications for franchise stores follow the same general process as detailed above. The key difference is the backing of the franchise does help with your assessment of risk to the financier. In a franchise system, the lender has the confidence that the business will have systems in place, and have head office support for training. There is a level of credibility associated with recognised franchise brands that the operator knows what they are doing and will have vetted their franchisees.

For Franchise brands, the finance applications are still in the name of the franchisee. The franchisor should be able to provide more detailed information about the store costings and cash forecast for the store, however, the financier will look at each site individually as well as each applicant. Some financiers have agreements with particular franchises. However, the franchisee will need to demonstrate their financial position and viability before they will have the finance approved.

 

 

 

Are You Ready To Open New Stores?

Brian Keen from How to Franchise Simply talks to Renew Design and shares three decades experience working within the franchise industry. We discussed a simple strategy to set your business up for growth.0aeebbc

There are a handful of key ingredients that must be in place before a business is ready to expand. When a business owner first looks at expanding the business, they need to look closely at whether they have the right ingredients to open a new store.

The first one is the demand for the product. You have to make sure that there are enough customers who are hungry to buy your product. Secondly, you have to make sure that the business is profitable. A lot of people go out to franchise because they’re desperate to grow and they can’t grow their existing business because it’s not profitable enough. This should be a warning signal. Lastly, once you know there is a demand for your product and that you can sell your product at a profit, you have to know your business model can handle volume.

Preparing your business for expansion is a process of refining your existing business model. As you move through the stages, you will define and clarify your ideas.

  1. Firstly, you have to design the concept of your business. This is your brand messaging, customer experience, marketing strategy and your organizational chart.
  2. Then you need to define your business model a bit more by developing budgets and your territories.
  3. Once you have a clear understanding of your business model and figures, you can develop the detail of your operations manuals and store style guides.
  4. Finally, you are ready to deploy and open new stores.

Develop the Concept for Your Business

Expanding the business is basically taking what you have done and learnt and starting from scratch and saying;

“How will I change this?”

“What will it be like now?”

You may find you need to eliminate some things because they are not profitable. When you expand, keep it really simple. Most successful businesses that grow have a simple flow to them. Break it down to the minimum.

To simplify the operations of your business, start by putting an organization strategy in place. Usually in a small business, the business owner will be wearing several different hats. Before the business is ready to expand, you need to break it down into different segments. For instance, they may be administration, marketing, sales, production, and so on. You then need to describe very simply what those roles are and then list down the key five or six tasks under each one.

Breaking the business down and understanding the key tasks will form the beginning of the operations and procedures manuals. However, before you sit down and write your operations and procedures manuals you need to make sure everything works as effectively as possible.

Define Your Business Model

Once you have simplified your business model, the next thing you need to do is test your business model. Really look at the processes and expenses for your new store and how this will differ in the new stores to your existing store. Consider store setup costs, suppliers, wages and overheads. Allow for an additional marketing and advertising budget for each store.

For store setup costs, some of those figures won’t be viable when you are doing your preliminary budgets and you will need to revisit them later. Budgets for store fit out will vary for different sites however you should start with a realistic budget figure and refine this as you develop your business model.

Who are your customers? The key thing that most people overlook when opening a second store is understanding the demographics of the area in which you are opening. You need to do some research on the demographics, on the statistics, find out about the profile of the customer you are looking to attract.

There is an idea that is often used in marketing called your avatar.  Your avatar is your ideal customer. Profiling your ideal customers before you set up another store allows to look at the demographics in the new area and see how many of your target customers are in the area around your new store. Understanding who your customer is helps you to define your brand messaging and create the experience you want to offer to your customers. This will affect your marketing messages, the language you use to talk to your customers, and the look and feel of your stores.

Develop an Operational Strategy

Once you have defined your business model and customer, you are ready to document your operations manuals. The purpose of your operations manual is to allow you to communicate and train your staff in the operations of your business.  You will usually need two types of manuals, comprehensive training manuals and quick reference checklists.

In Franchising, it is pretty much accepted that you need to open a pilot store when you open your first franchise.  When you open your first business you still have things to fine tune. You need to test your store design and operational systems with staff. You need to see what works and pressure test your systems to find the holes and the things that you have overlooked.

Open New Stores

In the first few months of opening your new store you will be testing and modifying things. You will test the manuals, equipment, layout and business model to make sure it works as effectively as possible. When you open new stores, you need people who can assume significant responsibility, these may be managers or franchisees. You want them to step up to the mark, not because you’re paying them but because they love being involved with your business.

When you have opened your second store, you need to treat it like a newborn baby. What I mean is, monitor it very, very closely. Bad habits set in quickly, and having a system for monitoring the performance of the business will allow you to have the peace of mind everything is on track.

Expanding your business and opening new stores can be rewarding. Asking the right questions and planning in advance will help to keep the process simple.

Just Opened: Beefy’s Pies Mango Hill

Since opening their first store in the Sunshine Coast in 1997, Beefy’s commitment to creating award winning pies and connection with the local community has seen the business thrive. Last month, Beefy’s opened their eight store in Mango Hill  with a fresh design inspired by the history of the brand.

IMG_5397

Taken during the construction of the new Beefy’s store.

Designing the new store was not just about selecting colours for the walls, rather it was uncovering what works for the existing stores and creating a new store design that tied into the existing brand. Renew Design worked with Beefy’s Managing Director Mark Hobbs to define the experience Beefy’s create for their customers. Rather than starting with a blank canvas, we looked at the tradition and values of the brand to define what Beefy’s were already offering to their customers to make the stores a success.

Shopfront

The new Beefy’s store in Mango Hill.

The Beefy’s experience is first and foremost about enjoying a great pie. The idea of the pie is the subtle inspiration for many elements of the fitout. From the detailing of the entry to the warm timbers, the experience is designed to feel warm and homely. Quirky touches with a sense of humour  include the “ floating pie” lights above the shared tables.  The inspiration for the detailing of the new store interior came directly from the product.

Counter

Since opening their first store, Beefy’s have built strong connections to the local community. Regularly sponsoring local sports teams, schools and charities the stores are local in the way the operate at every level. Each of the Beefy’s stores are family-owned and operated and this sense of family extends to staff and customers. Supporting local charities and events is a big part of what allows Beefy’s to connect with their local community. This was something we wanted to convey in store to make it visible to customers

The new store sees a fresh take on the experience of visiting a Beefy’s store and the friendly welcome and first delicious bight of a Beefy’s pie as as good as ever.

 

How to Control Cost and Open a New Food Business

Cost is one of the major concerns business owners face in the process of expanding their businesses. Knowing how to control cost when opening a new food business or expanding an existing one puts you in control and avoids the stress of unforseen budget blowouts.

The fit out cost for a hospitality business usually comes down to three parts namely: equipment and services; approvals and consultation fees and shop fitting.

Services and Equipment

The hidden cost that many business owners do not see when selecting a site are the services. The services usually required for a Food Business at minimum are a grease trap, mechanical ventilation, electricity and gas and refrigeration. Understanding the services that are required for your type of business and getting expert advice on the services that are already available on the site you are considering can save tens of thousands of dollars from your cost.

Before you start a fit out put together a list of all the equipment you will need to operate your business. Look at your menu and the functions you will need in your kitchen area and counter and work with a good equipment supplier to provide details and costing of your equipment.

Knowing the total cost of the equipment and your financing options will help you manage your cash flow as usually equipment is one of the largest expenses in a hospitality fit out.

Design and Approvals

Having a realistic fit out budget and working with a designer who can work with your builder to manage cost is the second key to keeping your store fit out on budget. The types of finishes and furniture selected as well as the layout of the store can have a large impact on your final build cost. Your budget will need to allow not only for the cost of the construction and equipment but also any consultants you will need to work with and required approvals.

Fit out

To put together a price your builder will need accurate and detailed drawings of your store design. Usually pricing is only given once the design is complete. However, not having an upfront indication of what the fit out will cost often leads to budget blowouts, problems with financing, and delays in the construction and more. The solution to this problem is involving your builder in the design process so that he can offer feedback on the design and construction cost and anticipate and budget problems as your store design develops.

An understanding of the costs associated with your new store fit out will allow you to be prepared with sufficient financing and build to budget.

 

Managing A Food Business Fit Out

Are you one of the many business owners who want to grow your business and open new stores but you are not really sure where or how to start? Working closely with over a hundred food business owners in various stages of growth has helped me learn and understand the process of replicating the success of an existing profitable hospitality business. This is no formula for success but there are certainly and certainly tricks and tips that may help you along the way to growing your business.

The three common problems which hold business back from opening new stores are: lack of time, knowledge and capital. In this article, I will go through some of the knowledge on selecting sites that I have found to be missing in business that are struggling to take the leap moving from one store to many.

Business expansion doesn’t happen in a snap of a finger. The process of systemising your existing business ready for expansion, research into locations demographics and available sites and finally taking the leap to opening a new store may take months or even years. Much of this time is in research and planning. However, planning alone will not get you where you want to be, you have to put your plans into action if you want to make that dream of opening up a new store come true.

Site Selection

This is one of the most crucial stages in the process of expanding your business. It is at this point that you need to decide where you want to open up that new place. Some things that you might want to think about should include the following: target market, foot traffic, lease incentives and rent, and the services you will need.

Location is an important factor in the success of a business. Knowing and understanding the desires of your existing customers will help you to choose a location that appeals to the same demographic. It may be helpful to profile your existing customers. Where do they live? What areas do they work in? What is it that makes them visit your store? Thoroughly understanding your customer and the need your business fills for them will give you clarity in your choice of areas in which you can fill the same need.

It is also important to consider how easy it is for your customers to come to your store. Is the location accessible enough? Does it have enough parking space to accommodate your customers? Is it on the busy side of the road? How much pedestrian traffic is there? Minimising the effort that your customer has to make to visit you seems like a small issue but can have a big impact on your new business particularly in the early days. If you can locate yourself so that you are already surrounded by potential customers you will have higher visibility and a greater likelihood of attracting customers who are regular passers-by.

Once you have narrowed down a location you can start looking at individual tenancies.

Other things that you need to think about are the terms of the lease agreement. Is it fair? Is it beneficial to you? Getting someone to review this with is a smart move that you may want to make before closing the deal with the lessor.

You will also need to go over the property that you will be leasing. Does it need plumbing? How is the ventilation? Check also the pipes and lines, as well as the emergency exit. It should be at this point that you will know what needs to be fixed and repaired. If you’re not sure, you can always find someone to help you.

 Design and Approval

This is the part where you are required to work with a retail design manager to get a design assessment; and coordinate with the council to get a food license approval.

At this stage, you will be focusing more on how you want your store to look like and how it operates. Visualize your new store. How do you want it to be? What colour scheme do you prefer? What design or theme do you want to use? A commercial designer can guide you with this, and can also help you utilise the space for maximised profit.

Fit Out

It is during the fit out process that the builders get involved. To ensure that the fit out process is right on track, there should be proper coordination and open communication between the business owner, the builders, and the design team.

Working with a design firm will be an advantage because they can provide all the assistance you need starting from the selection of a site up to the opening of your new store.

If you want to get started, you can call our designer, Alisa, at 0415 199 466 for creative advice and more.

 

Creating Consistency in the Look and Feel of Your Stores

Expanding your business is no easy feat. In fact, growing a business and duplicating your success form one store to many is a challenge that many business owners struggle to master. If you are a franchisor or business owner I’m sure you will agree. Working with business owners who have five stores or fifty stores I have noticed that some of the challenges and objectives are the same.

  1. Firstly franchisors want to have a strong and recognisable brand image and a constant look and feel across all of their stores.
  2. Secondly franchisors want the look and feel of the stores to remain fresh and appeal to their target customers.
  3. Finally (and this is the big one) every business owner wants a point of difference, something that creates a “wow” moment for their customer or is memorable enough to make the customer come back.

Let’s talk first about creating consistency. Have you noticed how the brands that we all recognise as household names all have a signature look and feel? Take McDonalds for instance, their stores follow the same colour scheme, red and yellow. You can globe-trot all you want but you still won’t see a single McDonalds store with pink and blue walls.

The secret to creating your signature style and achieving consistency across your stores is to create a design strategy before you get to far along the road to growing the business. The Design strategy will detail the branding, interior design, colour scheme and store layout as well as the “big picture” vision for the business. Having a strategy for not only the initial design but also the store refits is important in creating consistence.

The ability of a store to attract customers directly affects the profitability of the business both for the franchisee and the franchisor.To keep your brand fresh and maintain your customer appeal it is important that this design strategy isn’t just prepared once and then left on the shelf.

Working ongoing every year or two at most with an experienced designer to review your current brand and set a new direction for future stores and refits keeps your brand alive and ahead of market trends. More importantly it keeps things fresh and interesting for your customers.

Finally, creating your point of difference and that “wow” customer experience. There are no rules for this. I am a firm believer that you are the one who already knows what makes your brand special and unique. It may be a family run pie shop that makes every customer feel like they are part of the family. If may be a café that serves up a little slice of Europe to their clientele. Whatever your point of difference is, I believe it is already there you just need to work with the right people to uncover and create it.

How Remarkable Design Can Help Your Business Grow

Business owners who are looking into expanding their hospitality business should start thinking more of the benefits a remarkable design could provide them. Artistry, as shown in the unique interiors and beautifully painted walls of multiple retail stores and franchises has become one of the growing trends today. Clearly, design correlates to the success of the hospitality business.

Dynamic Team Play

Business expansion entails a lot of hard work and collective efforts from a team of individuals with a unique set of skills and expertise. You will need the help of a financial analyst to manage your finances; a lawyer for the legal framework and franchise documents; an interior designer for the aesthetics and documentation of the concept design; and builders for the actual construction and fit out process.

The Power of Aesthetics

We cannot deny the fact that beauty has a way of attracting people. This also applies to newly opened branches of your hospitality business or retail and franchise stores. The more your store exudes beauty and uniqueness, the more people will be attracted to it. This basically means more income for you.

What I’m trying to say is, if you create a store that is attractive to the naked eye, chances are, you will attract more prospective customers to visit your place, and actually try the products and services you offer.

Work with an Interior Designer

Working with an experienced interior designer is beneficial to your growing business. Delegating the task of embellishing your otherwise plain-looking store to someone who actually has an eye for details and design is a smart move.

You can contact our designer, Alisa Newey at 0415 199 466 not only for creative advice, but for other things as well, such as the documentation of the entire process of replicating your success through the opening of new branches of your retails stores and franchises. She can also introduce you to the people who can help you in the expansion of your fast-growing business.

Visualise Your Ideas and Make Them Happen

More often than not, business owners who want to expand their business already have an idea of how they want the new stores to be like, or how they want these stores to operate. They may not necessarily rebrand and adapt a new concept but they do have visual images of how they want their retail stores to be recreated.

It is the job of the interior designer to put this image into reality, and that is why it is important to work with one who will not only put your idea on paper, but will actually help you make your dream store a reality.

Interior design may be an important tool in attracting new customers but this should not jeopardise the efficiency of the store or the establishment. It is still very important to properly utilise the space to maximise your target profit, and this is where the interior designer’s expertise come in really handy.

How Much Does It Cost To Start A Restaurant?

Starting a Restaurant Business

Starting your own business can be a little overwhelming and exciting at the same time. Opening up a small café or restaurant takes careful planning to achieve the plan or goal you have in mind. The first step involves a lot of brainstorming, until you come up with a solid business plan. This is where you decide what you want to achieve and how much you are willing to shell out for your business. That being said, it would be best to figure out how much it would cost you to start a restaurant.

Lease and Tenancy Expenses

First on the long list of expenses would be the rent, assuming that you don’t own the place where you will be opening up your restaurant. The amount of money that you will be spending for the lease agreement would depend on the location and the size of the place that you will be renting. It’s ideal to have at least three options before deciding which location would be best for your business.

Renovation and Interior Design

After you have decided where to open up your business, the next set of expenses that you will incur will be for the renovations and interior design. This includes materials for the renovation, furniture and equipment necessary for the business to be up and running, as well as the labour cost for the experts that you will be hiring to do the renovation and the interior design.

You may ask, is this really necessary? As a matter of fact, yes. Most often than not, aesthetics can affect your business. Beautiful interiors tend to attract more customers as compared to those that are not.

Feel free to contact our designer, Alisa, on 0415 199 466 for some creative advice to get you started. She can help you decide what concept, design or style would work best for the restaurant that you are looking into opening, and she can also help you document the entire process for future references.

Build your Restaurant Staff

As soon as you have finished renovating the place and making it aesthetically attractive to the naked eye, you can start managing your finances to cover the expenses for the restaurant staff that you need to hire. The basics would include a chef, an assistant, the waiting staff, dish washer, cashier, and other relevant positions that need to be filled with qualified candidates.

How many people do you need to keep the daily operations running smoothly? How much will they be earning? What are their responsibilities? What is the sitting capacity of your restaurant and how many waiting staff do you need to cover this? These are just some of the things that you need to think about.

Stock up and Start Serving

After you have successfully sorted out the finances that you will be shelling out for the restaurant staff, you can now begin to set aside the money for the restaurant stock. This means that you will have to decide when to stock and restock. Think about how much you need to spend for the ingredients so you can start stocking up and serving your customers with dishes that will make them crave for more.

Advertise and Market your Restaurant

As soon as you have everything you need to open up your new business, you can probably spend a couple extra bucks for some decent ads and fliers to give your business some exposure and let your customers know that you’re ready to serve them. To save money, you can also make use of social media platforms to reach out to your target market.

If you need some help, don’t hesitate to call our designer, Alisa, on 0415 199 466 so she can introduce you to the right people.

 

New Trends in Office Design

Office trends come and go. What may be popular today may no longer be the trend tomorrow.  In office design, it’s important to not only make the office look pleasing but to ensure that the office space is fully utilised as well.

Many office designs today lean towards space-saving as a primary goal. Working with an experienced interior designer can help you make your office look beautiful and at the same time be conducive to work. If this is something that you think would be beneficial to you, please feel free to give our designer, Alisa, a call on 0415199466 for further assistance. She can help you redesign and reinvent your office to give it a fresh new look to maximise productivity and workflow.

Multi-function Work Stations

Many offices today prefer low-panelled cubicles for easier interaction rather than the traditional solitary, walled-in work stations. True that the latter offers more privacy but for jobs that require frequent interaction, the former is more suitable and has become a popular pick for most office designs today. This is especially true for projects that need plenty of collaborations. Need some alone time to finish a report? You can always throw in an extra work lounge or two and a quiet room to make the work place well-utilised and suitable for work.

Clean and Green

Ever noticed that work seems to be a lot easier if you are in a good mood? Keeping the office space clutter-free gives it a more positive vibe. Adding some live plants will give it an earthly feel, and more often than not, this results to increased energy which in turn makes work easier.

Wide Open Spaces

This type of office design is perfect for jobs that require a lot of brainstorming and interaction. Using a sturdy table and a lot of chairs to accommodate a number of people is the main goal here. Installing whiteboards give employees the opportunity to visualise their brilliant ideas. An open work space helps build dynamic team plays and promotes a sense of camaraderie because the opportunity to interact with others is always present.

Bold Colours Scream Confidence

Gone are the days of the boring white walls. Fashion and design-related jobs tend to create an environment that can trigger all the senses to work sharper than ever. Putting together art pieces and bold colours can inspire the workers to unleash their creative side and spur-of-the-moment ideas. There’s no room for boredom for this kind of office space design.

Revamping your office to give it a new look is a good idea if you want to re-define who you are and what your company is all about. Who knows? This could actually bring you more prospects. Not sure where to start? Call our designer, Alisa on 0415199466 for some creative advice.

 

Starting a Retail Business

Are you thinking about starting your own retail business but you’re not quite sure where or how to start?

The good news is, there are people who can help you in taking the initial steps to starting a retail business of your own. You just have to know who to call.

Creating a successful retail business usually requires a number of people with specialized skills. A retail designer will help you put your ideas down on paper and create the right look and feel to attract your target customer. You may also need to work with a graphic designer to develop your branding, signage and marketing materials. A shop fitter will give you an idea of timeframes and pricing for your design and build your new store. You may also need to consider marketing, finance, leasing and your legal agreements.

So where is it best to start?

The person who will guide you from the start of the design process right through to opening the doors to your new business is your retail designer. Call our designer Alisa on 0415199466 to discuss where you are up to and the best way forward.

Create a Name and a Tagline for Your Retail Business

Before you start a store, it is vital to have a clear idea of who your business is and how you communicate this to your customer. For starters, you can sit down and start brainstorming until you come up with a creative name and a catchy phrase that will suit your business.

Make sure to pick a name that is easy to understand, spell and pronounce. Avoid using negative sounding words and those that are strictly generic. Your tagline should give your consumers an idea of who you are and what you are selling. Ask for some feedback from your family and friends to ensure that you have chosen the best one for your retail business. Once you have a name you are comfortable with, you may want to start working with a graphic designer to develop you branding, logos and concepts for the signage that will be used in your store.

Find a Location and Target Market

Choosing a location for your store is one of the essential steps in starting a successful retail business. When considering a location, take note of your target market because these two factors usually work hand in hand. Finding an area that already has a  large number of your target market makes your job easier in attracting your initial customers.

Who are your target customers?  What sort of products do they already buy and where do they buy them from?  Who is your direct competition and what works and doesn’t work about their business model?  What will be your price point and is this relevant to the demographic of the area? Is the location accessible? How will your customers get to your store and how easy is this for them? Is there parking or is it located in a busy pedestrian area?

These are some of the questions worth pondering over.

It is also important to carefully consider and negotiate the terms of your lease. Most agents and landlords offer a rent free period as part of your lease to allow time for you to fit out the business and get up and running.

Once you have chosen your location and signed the lease, you can start planning your store layout. Work with a good retail designer to visualize the concept and design that you want to bring into life. A good store design will not only be appealing to attract customers into your store, it will also work functionally for your staff and products.

Decide What Products to Sell

Your product and target customers will directly relate to the geographic area that you choose to locate your store in. Decide what products to sell or services to offer and start planning from there. Keep in mind that it’s best to stick with those that are in demand. The products should not just be profitable, they should also be something that you would enjoy selling. After all this is your new business.