How to Start an Independent Record Store Business

Independent record stores are like any other retail business in many ways, but their success often relies on creativity, impressive industry knowledge and a sense of intuition. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to stock for every musical genre and satisfy all the customers who come in and you can’t always rely on your own tastes. You need to know what will sell, what format are people listening to music now and, above all, you need to be able to adapt with changing trends while maintaining a unique identity. To get started you’ll need a business plan and, ideally, a marketing strategy.

Research the Local Market

You need to know what other record stores are already in your area. You can do this with local knowledge or independent research, or you could hire a marketing company to do this for you. When you know what your competition is you can look at the customer base in your area. This will inform not only the products you stock but also the best marketing tactics to use. What will your store bring to the area that isn’t already catered for?

Make a Business Plan

Your record store’s business plan is your guide to running your business in terms of both finance and practical considerations. It will include ownership structure, the store specifications, displays, equipment, stock, prices, profit projections and a range of other details. Business plans aren’t easy, so you may want to get some professional guidance to make sure you haven’t overlooked crucial factors.

Get a Business Permit

To start a business you’ll need local business permits, zoning and planning permissions from your town hall, a tax registration and retail sales certificate from your state’s department of revenue. If you plan to run the business as a corporation, limited liability company or partnership, you’ll need to send the necessary paperwork to your secretary of state. If you’re going to be employing staff, you’ll need to apply for a federal Taxpayer Identification Number and Employer Identification Number EIN from the Internal Revenue Service (you can do this online here).

Plan Your Waste Disposal and Recycling Processes

You’re going to be creating waste and, depending on the size of your store and how much stock you process, this could be a lot of material to store and dispose of. Think about equipment which could make this easier such as baling wire which binds recyclable waste into bales for neat storage and easy, secure transportation. There is a wide range of baling wire available at

Find the Right Premises

Do you want to rent or buy your premises? Choose your location wisely as an inaccessible location or quiet area of town will have a significant impact on footfall. The store needs to be large enough for your operation now and able to accommodate some expansion in the future.

Source Stock, Equipment and Store Displays

Display equipment like signage and shelving needs to be found and you need to think about how you’ll be marketing your store. Find some local printing companies who can provide free quotes for signage and printed marketing literature. You’ll also need business equipment such as telephones, computer, credit card machine, cash register, security cameras and an inventory control system.

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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