Dreaming of Running a Shop in London.
When you visit a South African shop, have you ever thought of owning one yourself? Your own South African shop in the UK. Do you ever dream of how you would run it, the changes you would make? Selling your perfectly made products to your loyal customer base.
Have you been to a store to see how they run things behind the scenes? The daily schedule can be quite demanding. Making a perfect product takes time and a lot of work, but if done correctly will have lots of customers buying from you.
Let us go into more detail about owning and running a store.
How To Run A Shop.
You must consider a lot when owning a store. Planning and organization is key to running a successful business.
Here is a brief list of the daily routine.
- Ordering the best meat to make the products in bulk; You should be able to make enough on a schedule to satisfy customer demand. Cutting the beef correctly to get the correct shapes and remove the sinew makes it easy to eat.
- Buy spices in bulk so that you never run out. After you cut the meat you apply the spices, letting it marinade increases the flavours in the meat.
- Hang the meat in order of cutting and spicing to make sure you get your drying times right.
- Clean the shop and all utensils for cutting the meat after each use and at the end of the day. Knives should be sharpened and sterilised.
- Deal with the office work, the paper trials of where the meat came from and which biltong it made. You need to tag each piece of meat when you hang it for traceability purposes.
- Make sure the staff is following the correct guidelines for keeping themselves and everything clean.
Food Standards Agency.
In the UK you need to deal with the Food Standards Agency to make sure you are compliant in everything they recommend. It can add a lot of extra work in your daily routine but does make inspections easier and does give you a clean certificate of health.
A sub-organisation of the Food Standards Agency is the (HACCP) Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point you will need to speak to them and other specific standards set by the local councils.
It is best to speak to each organisation and find out the criteria they would like you to operate too. This gives you clear guidelines what you can and cant do.
Marketing Your Shop.
As the owner of the store, your job will be to market the store and its products. You will not have time to make the meat products. You need to be out promoting your products, every day you should be trying to find new opportunities online or out in the marketplace for people and your products.
The Business Plan.
The Business plan includes:
Design and get signs and branding printed to clearly identify what your business does and what you sell. Get a marketing company to help you with this as you will be using it when you attend events which we will talk about below.
A guide place to start with is local food delicatessen in your immediate area. Local pubs would be a good idea as they have a varied customer base that swells in peak periods allowing your products to be seen by a lot of people. Expand to all the pubs in your local area and doing so will bring many customers to your door.
Advertise in your local paper and on Facebook in South African groups. A lot of other nationalities are enjoying biltong as well so you can market to even more people online in the Facebook groups.
Going to food events in your area is also a good way to expand your customer base as it will put you in front of your customers where you can sell and let them taste your delicious products.
Advertising on Google Adwords is another way to get customers quickly as you can bid on AdWords Keywords that customers are searching on. You normally pay per click, but you can work this into your product price. This can be expensive but the cost can be offset by selling more biltong.
Advertise in an Online Directory, this can help customers find you as your brand increases on other websites on the Internet.
Looking for new avenues and build connections with the customers who can stock your product. The more people you see and talk to, the more your brand name will expand into the market.
Finding a Venue.
We have covered the daily routine of running a South African Shop. Let us go into finding our ideal venue.
After you researched your target market and your business plan. You need to decide if you are going to buy an existing retail shop or start a new one by finding a store that is available to rent.
If you choose the latter, you can look for business lists that have meat businesses for sale. Buying a butchery might be a good way to start as will have the fridges that you need to store the meat in before you process it.
You could search Google for the term “Keyword shop for sale + location.”, For example, I would seek “Keyword shop for sale London“. You could also search “Keyword shop near me“.
Finding the right location is key where there will be lots of foot traffic including customers that will buy the product.
Buying Into a Partnership.
You could also look at buying into an existing partnership. It does help as the prospective partner will help and guide you on everything you need to know to own and run the shop.
The upfront costs are not as high as when buying a butchery when buying into a partnership, and you do receive help from their knowledge.
If you do not like the partnership idea, then you can find a store that is available to rent that has an excellent layout to accommodate all shop equipment. You can use the same search parameters as above to find locations to rent. Rightmove commercial and Zoopla will help you with this as well.
You need to negotiate a reasonable lease and find people that can work with you. It is essential to have a happy, confident team that you can rely on to make the store work.
Purchase Equipment and Refrigeration.
You will then need to find industrial meat driers that can cope with the demand of producing your products continuously. You can find these online and they can be imported from South Africa. Purchasing refrigeration and having it installed gives you a guarantee that will help with inspections.
Best Meat Wholesaler.
You need to speak to meat wholesaler to get your meat delivered every day. This gives you traceability and allows you to get wholesale discounts.
You would not want to buy your meat from the local supermarket as the quality and quantity will let you down at some point when you least expect it.
Insurance and Certificates for Your Store.
Insurance cover the business and the employees. You will need to apply to the council to get the necessary certificates. Meat handling courses are also required before you open the shop. Having systems and procedures at this point helps all staff understand what needs to be done and what to do if anything goes wrong.
Wrapping It Up.
I hope you enjoyed the basic outline of what is needed to run a shop in the UK.
If you are thinking of starting a business, it is best to speak with your local council to find the latest requirements.
It is also best to do your own research into starting your business. I have tried to cover all the aspect of owning a shop but I may have missed a few things. If I have please let me know.
If you need any further information or would like to comment, please contact me on the contact form or in the comments below.