How to build your own Convenient Store


Want to be your own boss?

After working for your boss for sometimes, you have that desire to be your own boss and start thinking of setting up a small business while keeping your current job or leave to build up and operate the business all by yourself or with a business partner. 

The common options you may be looking at - opening a cafe, bakery shop or perhaps a convenient store, considering the initial setup cost, operating cost, manpower and of course profitability and scalability. 

You may have decided to open a convenient store selling goods with longer shelf-life regularly refresh by the suppliers; relatively easy to operate with no need for skilled manpower, no costly kitchen setup that has comply with strict food and environmental control statutory requirements.

Opening a convenient store

1. Franchise Arrangement
With little or no experience one may consider a franchise arrangement with an established convenient store company through a 5-year contractual agreement such a 7 Eleven, the initial payment terms according to its website:

1) A one-time initial Franchise Fee to 7-Eleven
starting from SGD$30,000, depending on each store’s performance.

2) An initial capital of SGD$40,000 to 7-Eleven for the cost of the store’s initial inventory, supplies, business licences, permits and cash, register fund.
7-Eleven offers no financing of any kind, and full payments must be made after signing the Franchise Agreement.

Rental of premises, utilities, staffing and other over head are not included in the above. 

2. Setting Up Your Own
Without knowledge you can not start up your own convenient store. Start spending some time doing research or get advice from friends. Engaging a consultant incurs cost and there are hardly any around locally. 

Tips in setting up a convenient store

1. Branding
An easily recognisable attractive brand image, brand name and logo that leave lasting impression will appeal more to customers than Pop and Mom shop and help in if you are opening a second and subsequent stores. Try your hands at designing a logo from the online logo design software or get an affordable logo designer.   

Dayley TshirtDayley_counter_sim

2. Store Image and Concept
Do some research by visiting other convenient stores and you could also get inspiration from foreign countries convenient stores shown on TV dramas or movies, images in the internet, such as Japanese FamilyMart  seen in Taiwanese dramas, not to do what they are doing commonly but adopt a niche differentiation approach.

DAYLEY  Fusionopolis Artist Impression

3. Store Location
Location or place is a key element , the first 'P' of marketing mix often refers to by E. Jerome McCarthy's four Ps: product, price, place, and promotion.

You may have heard that good locations are found in downtown central business district or at or near the MRT stations or central of residents heat land. Contrarily, these are places where rush hours office workers and commuters quickened their pace and pass by your shop or some may just pick up a drink, sandwich, chocolate bar or refresher sweets and even there are queues formed, the revenues may not justify the expensive rental, the 24 hours utilities and manpower which is hard to recruit. 

So what is good ? A catch man area with good number of residential blocks away from the busier central area of transport hub and shopping malls - an air-conditioning  convenient store that also sells other common food stuff and household consumables. That brings us to the  2'Ps' - Product and Price in the later  sections.

Check up the government agencies websites for shops available for tender or property listings on the internet. This may take a quite while. 

4. Shopping Experience - make the difference
You aim to give your customers of all ages good shopping experience to spend more time browsing, buying and keep coming back through design, offering a wide range of products at affordable prices and good service. Listen to what customers want to buy that are not available and include those products. Running your own gives you the flexibility to add new products on the shelves that franchisees are able to do. 
Playing music or popular FM radio contents both within and outside the entrance together with good lighting design and coordination create comfortable ambience for shoppers. Do away with typical  convenient store and supermarket metal product display shelves but install aluminium channels and safety glass shelves, including all glass cashier counter and display make the difference. 

Dayley products
Dayley display


1. Equipment Tools Hardware 

With good judgement, visualisation, maths, accuracy, energy and motivation you may decide to do the installation yourself. A heavy duty hammer drill that contractors use (the household drill will take hours just to drill the a hole in the concrete ceiling), portable battery pack screw driver, tool box, big and small measuring tapes, stable ladders are the basic equipment and tools required. Visit Ang Mo  industrial parks to get all other specialised tools for installation of floor tiles, drywalls (gypsum boards), glass, electrical etc.

Bosch drill
Measuring tape

2. Equipment Hardware Tools Building Materials Suppliers

The one-stop-shop suppliers to buy your equipment, hardware, tools, building materials and seek advices on what to use for a certain tasks, how to use and observe, listen to contractor workers around what they are buying - a practical lessons you wouldn't get so quickly surfing internet.

2.1 Aik Chin Hin Machinery Co.Blk 5022 Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2 #01-31 Singapore 569525.
The first stop to buy your equipment (such as drills), tools, hardware, ladder, everything you would need for your DIY job.

2.2 Nee Hock  Hardware Company Blk 3027 Ubi Rd 1 #01-112/114 when you need aluminium channels to build shelves, cut to your required lengths.

2.3 FRAMEWORK Building Products Pte Ltd No. 2 Aljunied Avenue 1, Framework Building, Singapore 389977. Gypsum board or drywalls, ceilings and ceiling battens for small office

2.4. Choo Chiang Marketing Pte Ltd Blk 5070 Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2 #01-1511/1513/1515. Your electrical wiring and accessories.

Aik Chin Hin
Aik Chin Hin

2.5 Shopfront full tempered glass panels, glass shelves and glass cashier counter - do your measurements for the suppliers to cut to size; there are enough glass suppliers to compare prices. 

2.6. Shop around for floor tiles along Balestier Road which is the place to buy your light fittings. Lighting Design sells better lightings, better design. 

2.7 Dama Trading Pte Ltd Blk 3029A Ubi Road 3,#01-98/99 Singapore 408661. This is where you can get all acrylic panels custom cut to requirements. They serve you free bee hoon snack and drinks as you sit with the sales representation to discuss your needs. Workshop workers are allowed to take short power naps during office hours. 

2.8 Jackie's Enterprise Ptd Ltd Jalan Peminpin
Singapore 577216. Is where you buy a refrigerator in addition to those provided by F&N Coca Cola and Yeo Hup Seng.

2.9 Aircondition system 
For a typical 25 square metre shop with  a minimum  10k to 12k BTU single fan coil should work if it is away from direct sunlight. No DIY, get quotes from suppliers!

2.10 Point of Sales Cashier System
Source for an affordable, around $2k-$3k POS computerised cash register system with scanner to scan product barcodes. It is easy learn and the supplier usually provides training.  

How much does it cost ? The equipment, tools, building materials are generally inexpensive, it didn't cost beyond $10k, the last we did it - you invest time and labour.  

3. Where to get the  merchandise ?
After all the hard work building up the shop, it is now time to back, relax, appreciate the completed works, prepare a list of products base on your shopping experience, browse the internet and starting contacting the suppliers; if the convenient store is attractive, the some suppliers will go you. 

Initial list - canned, bottled drinks, juices, milk, coffee sachets, tea bags, bread, potato chips, chocolate items, sweets, nuts ...snacks, ice-cream, food items such, dumplings, sandwiches which require the environment agency's inspection, approval and Health Grading. Selling alcoholic drinks requires application to obtain approval from the Police. 

To meet household needs, stock up rice, sugar, canned food, eggs, dish washing and laundry detergents. Magazines sells and replaceable by the supplier.

4. Operating hours
Usual residential shops business operating hours between 9 am - 9pm on weekdays; 10 am to 9pm on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. It is more cost efficient-labour and utilities, than operating 24 hours for 7 days 

Aaron Profile Photo
Web developer, Trade mark designer, Videographer, Food photographer, Home cook. Master of International Bus (Curtin); Bachelor of Business-Marketing (RMIT); Spec Dip Landscape & Interior Design; Dip Electrical Engrg; Adobe Illustrator Cert. 5x Standard Chartered full Marathon finisher

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