By Nate Frieberg on December 14, 2021

How to Open a Convenience Store in 5 Steps

So you’re thinking about opening a convenience store? Congratulations! Opening a new business is a significant undertaking and a decision that you shouldn’t take lightly.

Did you know that all of the most successful business store owners and managers share one thing in common? It’s true! The very best convenience store owners and managers follow a proven formula and blueprint for success. In most cases, it’s all about using those businesses that have come before you for inspiration.

When Quick Service Mart owners in Mountainville, TN were looking for the perfect convenience store point of sale (POS) system for their business, they knew that they wanted a system that would give them the rich insights needed to finetune their checkout process. In their search for the perfect point of sale system, they relied on other businesses to help guide them.

Their search brought them directly to POS Nation.

How to Open a Convenience Store: 5 Simple Steps

The importance of investing in a best-in-class convenience store POS system cannot be overstated. However, we know that it’s not the only essential step you need to take to open a successful and profitable business. 

Here is a list of the steps that all growth-oriented business owners and managers follow to launch a thriving business: 

  1. Select the Perfect Location
  2. Write a Business Plan
  3. Obtain Licenses and Permits
  4. Open a Business Bank Account
  5. Start Marketing

Keep reading to learn about the mission-critical steps that you need to take to launch and scale your business into the stratosphere. 

1. Select the Perfect Location

Every business owner knows that selecting the right location is crucial to the success of their store, but what makes a location “right” for your unique business? There are a few bottom-line features that you must prioritize in selecting a location for your new convenience store: 

High Foot Traffic

Some of the most successful convenience stores are located in downtown areas. Customers walking down the sidewalk may decide to stop in to grab a drink or pick up a pack of cigarettes on their way home from work. The more people that walk by your storefront each day, the more customers you can draw into your store.

Low Competition

This suggestion may seem obvious, but it’s a good idea to prioritize locations that are a fair distance from your competitors. Additionally, we recommend selecting locations that are far enough away from grocery stores. This increases the chances of landing customers that just need a few essential items, including milk, bread, soap, and toothpaste.

Favorable Traffic Patterns

We’ve talked about foot traffic, but what about traffic from cars? A convenience store is a welcomed reprieve from a road trip or long day at work. Study your target demographic. How frequently do they make a pit stop going to or coming from any given location? Ensure that your store is conveniently located along their path.

2. Write Your Business Plan

We’ve found that many of the most successful business owners and managers have plenty of capital to launch and scale their convenience store. To get a small business loan, you’ll need to present the bank with a bulletproof business plan.

Of course, the importance of a business plan goes beyond the bank’s requirements. Your business plan is also key in establishing and meeting business goals.

Here are the primary components of an effective business plan

  • Executive Summary
  • Business Goals and Objectives
  • Market Analysis
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Marketing Strategy

RELATED READING: The Best Business Plan Checklist for New Owners

3. Obtain Licenses and Permits

With a location selected and your goals laid out, your next step is to obtain the licenses and permits you’ll need to operate your store legally. At a minimum, you’ll need a business license, occupancy permit, and to register for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS. If you plan to sell tobacco products or products containing alcohol in your store, you will also need to learn how to apply for a liquor license and tobacco license. Of course, license and permit requirements vary by state and locality, so ensure that you understand the requirements for opening a store in your location. 

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4. Open a Business Bank Account

The quickest way to send your business in a downward spiral is failing to separate personal and business finances. Use your business account to make purchases for your business and to collect your store’s revenue. There are major benefits of separating personal and business funds. For example, it’s easier to use a business account credit card to make large purchases for your store. In most cases, there are much larger credit limits on business credit cards.

Additionally, a business account will make it easier on you during tax season

Opening a business bank account is pretty simple. To get started, you’ll need your EIN and your business license. With these documents in hand, you can start your business bank account online or at a branch location of the bank of your choice. 

RELATED READING: 6 Best Accounting Tools for Small Business

5. Start Marketing

Once all the pieces are in place for your business, you’re ready to start marketing! Be sure to do research on your target market early on to ensure you’re marketing your store using channels that will reach them effectively. 

Great POS systems like POS Nation’s allow you to gather customer data for marketing purposes. You can also use the reporting features of your point of sale solution to gain valuable insights about trends and sales. These insights can help you make decisions regarding promotions, as well as store placement decisions. 

Making Your Convenience Store a Success

Following these five steps should give you all the building blocks you need to open your convenience store. The right location, the right plan, and the right licenses and permits will allow you to open your doors. The right marketing plan will give you some momentum, and the right POS system will give you the tools you need to make your store a success.

POS Nation has helped thousands of convenience stores leverage their data and complete sales transactions with ease. To see how we can help you start your business off on the right foot, check out our free resource, the Convenience Store Point of Sale Buyers’ Guide

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