The vaping industry market size sits at around $7.4 billion, and it’s expected to reach a whopping $40.25 billion by 2028. So your brilliant idea of opening a smoke shop is valid, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy. You’ll need to comply with many rules and regulations, including age restrictions and approval issues. However, once you get the legal and funding out of the way, opening the vape bar should be a lot of fun.
Step #1: Have a Business Plan
You don’t need an MBA to make a solid business plan for a smoke shop. You can hop on Google, search for business plan templates then start from there. And the idea is to write down your business goals and how you intend to achieve them. This will create a sense of direction for your business, and it might help you qualify for loans and outside investments.
In general, you want to say who you are, what you sell and include a section describing your target audience. After that, set clear goals of where you want the business to be in the next five years. Do you want to open other locations? Or would you like to expand the current location to start serving drinks or even fast food?
Once you get that out of the way, describe how you intend to achieve the goal. That includes defining the marketing plan and how you’ll operate the vape bar.
Step #2: Get the Legal Stuff Out of the Way
You probably already know the vaping industry is heavily regulated. That means you should get your permits and licenses before opening the shop to avoid trouble. Approved applications are good for a year, but you can’t use them in other locations. That means you’ll apply for a new permit for every shop, even if they are in the same state. But, there is a provision in federal law that allows business owners to get a single license to cover interstate locations.
Step #3: Location, Location, Location
Just like most businesses out there, the location you choose can make or break your vape shop. Keep in mind that there are over 30,000 smoke shops in the US alone, and you need to stand out to attract clients. As a general rule, make sure each location has easy access, ample parking, and an inviting storefront.
Step #4: The Budget
How much do you want to spend on rent, payroll, and stock? On average, you need $25,000 to open a tiny spot in a not-so-great location. This amount determines how big or small your business will be, so you need to be very careful with it. But there’s no limit on how much you can spend to set up a high-end shop.
Step #5: Order Quality Inventory
Ok. So now you have a location that is ready for business. Now it’s time to order the actual products. The idea is to go with reputable suppliers who will consistently deliver products on time. Also, don’t just choose products that are appealing to you. Do some market research to know what people would like to see in your shop, then stock them.
Step #6: Implement a Great Inventory Management System
One of the downsides of running a vape shop is the number of products you’ll have to deal with. While you might not need to stock every brand in the market, your shelves will always be full of different products. And that’s where an inventory management system comes in. This POS will help you know when one of your products is dwindling and also streamline your accounting.
Step #7: Build a Social Media Presence
With 233 million Americans on social media, there has never been a better time to set up socials for your business. You can start with the major ones like Youtube, Ticktock, and Facebook, but you can also set up an account on Instagram, Linked In, and Vimeo. And the secret to growing your channels is keeping your followers entertained with great visual content. Get this part right, and your smoke shop will take off almost immediately.
Step #8: Hire the Right Employees
Employing knowledgeable staff is a crucial part of your success. You want people with a mix of sales experience and in-depth knowledge of vaping products and equipment. And they should be able to advise clients and even tell them what to expect. Of course, finding perfect employees will not be easy, but you can always look for ways to train them.