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7 Ideas for Opening a Second Location Without Breaking the Bank

A small business opening a new location.

Opening a new store location is an exciting prospect for any small business. It can drive revenue, create openings for more employees, and expand your customer reach into new markets. However, new storefronts also represent a large financial commitment. If you are among the 59 percent of small businesses that struggle financially, opening a second store location might seem out of reach.

Fortunately, there are multiple ways to increase your business’s visibility and reach without opening a brick-and-mortar store. Let’s take a look at some of those options. 

Key Takeaways

  • There are many ways to expand your reach into new areas without a brick-and-mortar location.
  • Temporary locations can bring in a significant amount of revenue with very little overhead compared to permanent store locations.
  • Mobile storefronts allow you to experiment and find the best places to sell your products. 

1. Open a Pop-up Shop

A pop-up coffee shop.

Pop-up shops “pop up” for a short period, offering shoppers limited access to products or services. The temporary nature of the store drives high demand since customers only have a few days, or even a few hours, to make purchases before products are sold out. Pop-up stores are typically located in temporary structures like tents or metal buildings, or in leased brick-and-mortar storefronts.

Pop-up shops typically offer customers limited access to exclusive products. For example, the American clothing brand Supreme occasionally opens pop-up stores in high-traffic areas to sell clothing. In other cases, pop-up shops sell seasonal goods like Christmas ornaments or Halloween costumes.

When planning for a pop-up shop, be sure to choose a location that gets a lot of traffic and where you have legal permission to sell your products or services. Also consider factors like rent, internet access, and layout when choosing your venue.

2. Set Up a Cart or Kiosk

A local vendor with an outdoor cart.

When looking at your options for a second location, bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better—especially if you’re looking to earn more revenue. Kiosks may be small, but if you build them strategically, you can boost your income-to-revenue ratio. For best results, companies typically set up kiosks in high-traffic areas like malls, airports, or tourist attractions. Kiosks are also popular at events, particularly when companies sell themed goods at sporting events or conventions.

Make sure to choose a kiosk location where your target customers gather. For example, you might want to set up your kiosk at an airport if you sell luggage or snacks. Consider setting up your kiosk near a ferry terminal if you sell ponchos or umbrellas.

3. Build a Budget-Friendly Building

Affordable structures, like steel buildings, are sometimes a more affordable alternative to full brick-and-mortar storefronts. Rather than build a new store location, you can purchase or rent land and place a pre-fabricated building there.

These budget-friendly buildings suit some businesses better than others. For example, a metal building or custom metal shed can work as a warehouse for an e-commerce company, where there are only a few people inside the structure at one time. However, they’re not suitable for a high-traffic business like a restaurant or entertainment venue.

4. Collaborate with Co-Retailing

Two people discussing their businesses.

In co-retailing, two or more companies share the same space to save money. They typically split operating costs, utilities, and store space to cut down on costs. This store model makes business more affordable, and can also create a unique shopping experience for customers.

Co-retailing works best when you choose the right company, or companies, to partner with. For best results, choose a partner business that complements your products. For example, a bookstore might co-retail with a coffee shop—giving customers caffeinated beverages and easy reading in one place.

It’s also important to set clear expectations about costs. Negotiate the terms of your lease with any business partners, and share marketing efforts in ways that help you take advantage of new markets.

5. Become an Event Vendor

You can also sell products at a new location as an event vendor. Selling your goods at local festivals, fairs, or farmers markets is a great way to reach a diverse new audience. Contact local event coordinators to determine how you can rent booth space and find new buyers.

Certain products sell better than others at local events. If you sell homemade goods like candles, sweets, soaps, or jewelry, you’ll fit right in at your local farmers market. If your products are edible, consider bringing samples to share with potential customers as they walk past your booth. If you have enough space, use a carport as a farmstand to display seasonal produce.

6. Start a Business on Wheels

A snack and drink truck.

With a mobile storefront, you can bring your goods or services directly to your customers. This business model works particularly well if you sell perishable food items or full meals to hungry customers. Your only limits are the places your wheels can take you.

Food trucks and other businesses on wheels have several advantages over brick-and-mortar locations. Since you’re not tied to a specific location, you can always explore new markets and reach a wider audience. With a well-designed mobile storefront, you can also passively advertise your business as you drive.

Even though you can take your mobile business anywhere, you’ll likely spend more time in places where your customers are. These locations will depend on the type of business you operate. For example, food vendors will often spend time in business parks, at food festivals, or roaming downtown streets. If your mobile business offers spa or pet grooming services, you’ll spend most of your time onsite at customers’ homes.

7. Sell Online

A metal storage building.

Some business models don’t need a physical storefront at all. If your customers can find you online, a virtual storefront can generate just as much demand—sometimes more—than a brick-and-mortar location.

To sell online, you’ll need to invest in your website instead of a new physical store location. This usually means optimizing your product pages and creating a user-friendly digital experience. Your website will also need secure payment processing features, to keep customers’ financial details secure as they purchase your products.

Even though an e-commerce business doesn’t need a physical storefront, you may still need a place to store inventory. If so, consider getting an affordable storage building to keep your inventory secure until it’s time for shipment. A storage building also provides you with enough room to organize your products, making the fulfillment process simpler once a customer completes an order.

If you run a small business and want to open a second location, you have lots of options that cost much less than building or leasing a whole new brick-and-mortar store. I wish you the best in your expanding business ventures.

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Alan Bernau Jr

Alan Bernau Jr. is the founder and owner of Alan’s Factory Outlet. He has helped more than 75,000 homeowners design and install custom carports and garages over the last 20 years.

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