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Here at DC Alchemy, we’re in the vape biz, but we don’t run a vape shop. That’s up to braver folks! Braver folks like you! This time on the DC Alchemy blog we wanted to offer some tips on how to start a vape shop, things we’ve heard and felt in this industry so that those pioneers out there starting their own business can step with the right foot forward!

Just like starting any business, there are a ton of key steps from securing a bank loan, finding a good location, and knowing when to grow that are universal. 

The Steps to Starting Your Vape Shop

According to the Small Business Administration, there are 10 steps that any business needs to go through to get started. We simplified a few of these and pushed them together where they make sense. If you’re just now starting to noodle around with the idea of starting a business, take a look at these.

First, Conduct Market Research

Before you even open up the business or invest any dollars, do a bit of research to understand the viability of the potential business. Gather info about customers, similar businesses already operating in your area this will give you the most accurate, actionable data for your needs.  This stage will help you discover if there is an opportunity for your idea, and help you find any competitive edge over other businesses.

Then, Create your Business Plan

The business plan is your blueprint, your masterplan for your business goals. This is the document you’ll use to convince folks to work with you, invest in your company, and to trust that you know what you’re doing and being a part of it is a smart choice. It also heps you solidify your plans. So, with market research completed make your plans!

Secure Funding

A part of putting together your business plan is figuring out your numbers, what you’ll need to start your business proper. If you don’t have that capital yourself, now is the time to secure funding. According to the Small Business Administration, there are ‘more ways than ever to fnd the capital you need.’ 

Find your Location

You know the saying, “Location, location, location!” It’s perhaps one of the most important decisions you’ll make and sets you up for success. Whether you’re putting together brick and mortar or launching an online shop, location will also determine what your potential taxes, legal requirements etc. 

Structure Your Business

This is a legal requirement that is crucial. The legal structure of your operation will impact your business registration, tax and personal liability. Speak with your legal advisor or representative to understand what’s needed and what your options are.

Name Your Business

This is simple enough sounding, you need to name your business that’s it, just a name! But anyone who has tried to name something like this knows how tough that can be. It needs to embody brand and speak to your spirit and ethos. It has to be unique, easy to remember and spell. Names require a lot and many companies spend thousands of dollars doing branding to make sure their brand and name are all in alignment.

Register Your Business and Get Your Tax IDs

You’ve got the perfect name selected, your location eyed, and your business is structured, it’s time to register with the required governments (federal, and likely state). While you’re at it you’ll get your Employer Identification Number and other tax info. You’ll need this for later when it comes time to open your business bank accounts. Not all states require a business to have a tax ID, but some do so make sure you’re following your specific requirements.

Apply for Licenses, Permits and Open a Business Account

Every business needs some licenses or permits to operate. Start off on the right (legal) foot by keeping your business legally compliant and on top of your permits and licenses. These vary based on a few factors including state, location, industry and others. 

Once your licenses and permits are settled it’s time to open up a small business account to handle the financials. They’re easy to set up and will save you a world of headache down the line.

Phew. That’s quite a bit isn’t it? Well let’s pause this process here for now. There’s still plenty more to talk about and when it comes to opening up your own vape shope, this has been a general rundown of the most basic principals of starting a small business. Join us next time when we dive a bit deeper into how those basic steps might look for a vape business specifically, and take a look at the advantages of running a business in the vape industry!