in need of a bit of seasoned advice

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by a marching trumpet, Jan 16, 2010.

  1. a marching trumpet

    a marching trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Feb 11, 2009
    Murfreesboro, TN
    So I am in high school getting ready to take my ACT (junior year) and I finally figured out what im going to do with my life. After high School I plan to attend Middle Tennessee State University and earn a masters in music. If that works out then I wish to become a high school band director. After whatever debt is paid off I plan to open a music shop either in Murfreesboro or Nashville TN. Um what I would like and I can get are 2 different things I understand, I want to have a few guitars to appease the masses, all sorts of percussion like xylophones etc. Stringed if possible (violins etc). And Mainly I would like to have a signifigant amount of woodwinds and brass. Along with a music library for all instruments. If I could go ahead and start recieving input from some of you guys who have been in the buisness for awhile that'd be awsome. I guess just throw what you know at me and ill start making a list of concertos, pieces, and whole symphonic pieces. Plus if you know of anything woodwind that I should carry brand wise that would be accepted. Of course one thing I know I should carry is trumpets. So could I also recieve info on the different brands of low brass and french horn, marching and concert. Sorry if this seems a bit random Im posting this late at night and im just curious of what information I can go ahead and gather.
  2. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Well, AMT, you have admirable goals. I will skip over the educational part for now and focus on the music store element. The real issue is to gain some business experience so that when you reach that point, you can view the store as a true business endeavor and not just as a hobby. It would be very helpful somewhere along the line to actually work in a music store so you know something about retail operations and sales. When it comes time for your own store, you will need the following:
    (1) A business plan so you know what you need to do and when
    (2) Money - otherwise known as startup capital to open the store, buy inventory and - most importantly - advertise
    (3, 4, and 5) Location, Location, Location (if you don't realize what this means, you need to do some research on it).
    (6) An operating plan to determine how much and what types of inventory to carry (this can be a killer if done wrong) and how to prevent shoplifting (which can also be a killer)
    (7) A REALLY good web site (no business can survive without one today - and this is going to cost real money)
    (8) A REALLY good list of suppliers. This is going to be really tough because they will want payment in cash when you first start until you can establish credit for your purchases (see item 2, above)
    (9) A REALLY good retail layout and appearance with REALLY good promotional activities to attract foot traffic into the store and to keep people in the store and to get people to buy stuff when they are in there. You need to sell what people want to buy - not what you think is cool or fun. This takes market research.
    (10) REALLY good staff people who know how to sell, how to upsell, how to provide REALLY good customer service and treat people well so they want to come back. This is tough to do correctly.

    I could go on but this is probably enough for you to think about during your time prior to starting your store. Print this list out and refer to it regularly as you prepare and when you finally understand what all of these points really mean, you may be close. In the meantime, visit lots of stores (music and otherwise) and compare what you observe in those stores with the items on this list (at least as much as you can). Ask questions if you find someone who may be willing to talk to you.

    Good luck. It can be a lot of fun if you keep your plan in mind.
  3. a marching trumpet

    a marching trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Feb 11, 2009
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Thanks! Thats alot of info I was overlooking. Ill definately try to get a part time job a music store and try to figure some of it out just by working around it.
  4. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    whoooa!! hold on!!
    Let's get the SAT out of the way first
    Let's get high school graduation out of the way
    Let's get into college
    Let's pass the courses
    Let's graduate college
    THEN! look at music as a business. Why so?
    College is a massive transition. You'll be either studying your butt off, partying your butt off or trying to hook up with the person of your dreams. Sometimes all three at the same time.
    Work on your academics first. Then, if the band director thing works out, you'll have something to fall back on if the music store doesn't work. As a band director, you'll have a finger on the pulse of what kind of instruments people are buying and playing. Being a band director can give you an uncanny advantage for your music store.
    First things first. Unfortunately, trying to do too much(school and business) can result in both activities to fail.
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    By the time that you are ready to get started, the business world will appear MUCH different. Even today, there is a certain amount of "critical mass" required to keep a real shop alive. The costs of business for a store front are much higher than the "no service" pure internet outlet.
    Even here at TM we have posters who consider the "profit" required to be "screwing" the customer. Nothing can be cheap enough.
    The store front needs a value add to distinguish it from the internet. This is often a repair or rental service. You need to know that most manufacturers do not care about channel marketing anymore and do not protect their dealers. They sell at prices based on volume and that makes the horn cheapest at the shop with the least overhead and the biggest turnover.

    My suggestion is to look at what the situation is today. See who is successful and try to figure out why. Look at how many employees they have, estimate what they are earning, what the shop costs to heat and power, what inventory costs and then start adding the numbers up. That will give you a feel for what you have to earn to keep the business alive. Then you can figure out how many instruments that you need to sell to make that money. If you see the possibility to sell that much, then you may have a chance.

    Common mistake that "dead" companies made:
    too much inventory that doesn't sell
    no value add
    bad location (no parking for instance)
    bad purchase price
    unreliable employees
    unexpected change in the market (school gets closed, major job provider closes)

    The successful business have:
    a value add
    competitive pricing
    a reputation of reliability
    decent location
    a buyer with a feel for what sells
    an owner with great business sense
    enough money to keep the business financed with capital instead of credit
  6. a marching trumpet

    a marching trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Feb 11, 2009
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Right, I understand getting all of the things out of the way such as the SCT/SAT and everything, but one of the main reasons for me wanting to open a music store is that everytime I walk into a music store here in Murfreesboro or down in Nashville, its never really anything special in that you go in and there are hardly any mpcs for any instrument and you may have a french horn laying in there (however unlikely) its mainly guitars and a very slim selection of pieces and method books for any instrument, so me and many people I know have to go to the internet to order. One of my fellow trumpet players had to drive up for to new york for family and was looking for a new horn, he stopped at dylans music on the way because our selections here suck. Some parents of new players have no assitance helping their kids pick an instrument because the kid cant try them out and say I like this or this. I want to have a music shop where a kid can come in and try out a horn or hear different ones played before his/her parents buy it. I just kind of thought that people are more willing to buy horns from a shop with a selection to pick from that they can hold and play before they buy. I think you all are right in that I have awhile to go, but ive just gotten tired of mediocraty in these shops and I believe someone needs to open up a store where you actually have something to pick from not a catalog. I mean itll be around a decade, give or take a little, till ill be able to. I mean my current director started out with a buisness about 20 or so yrs ago, while directing, and only made enough to pay for the building and pay the employees by selling so low. Now he has about a $100,000 income on the buisness alone, which he works on his own time. So thats where I got the idea of selling low enough and providing good services for long enough to aquire a steady flow of customers till the building is paid off and everything becomes steady. But yeah yall are giving some good advice im writing down so keep throwin it at me
  7. a marching trumpet

    a marching trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Feb 11, 2009
    Murfreesboro, TN
    course I guess it helped that his wife was an accountant
  8. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    Go get a job in a music store after school. You will learn a lot from that job.
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    If you are in Nashville, just having a couple of guitars may do you more harm than good. If you want to specialize, then do so, and do it well.

    Good luck!
  10. Ironman

    Ironman New Friend

    Dec 8, 2009
    Welcome friend! I'm in Ohio but my father was born in Murfreesboro. I commend you on your ambition. Great advice has already been given. The only thing I would add is minoring in business and taking some accounting classes. I have an MBA and work in distribution. Everything comes down to the bean counting. You will need to understanding operating income and expenses, cash flow,etc. Just knowing music isn't enough. Another thing, if the store is successful, don't grow too fast. Too many go out on limb and leverage growth with debt and go bust due to lack of cash flow.

    Keep it simple at first and see what sells and what doesn't. Last, read the first response again!

    The only thing stopping you. :play:

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