Unless you're an artist yourself, you are going to need someone to design your logo, business cards, and perhaps even some advertising. If you are currently working in a corporate environment, make friends in your company's graphic design department and see if anyone would be interested in making some money on the side. Alternatively, drive around town and find an independent business whose logo you like and see if the owner will share the name of its designer.
Many used bookstore owners have some or all of their shelving custom-built. My father built my store fixtures, and I'll be providing the plans later in this series. Even if you purchase all your fixtures, you may want to have the wall cases attached to the wall for additional stability. Also, once you sign your lease, everything in the inside of your shop is usually now your responsibility. So, if the toilet stops working or your light fixtures are too high for you to reach to change a bulb, whom are you going to call?
If you're not great with technology then you may need someone to advise you on hardware purchases and help you get a computer backup system in place. A programmer may be useful if you want to add features that didn't come with your website or if you need help exporting from your inventory system to the various online listing services.
Rather than reinvent the wheel each time, do you know someone in the industry that you can turn to with questions? If not, consider joining your regional booksellers association. Or there are free online resources such as the BookThink Open Shop Bookstores Forum and the Oldbookstore Yahoo Group.
If you're not planning on having regular help, you may still need someone who could step in for you in the case of an emergency or if you come down with a bad case of the flu. A backup employee will give you the opportunity to take a vacation from time to time without having to close your shop down completely. It's also helpful to have someone else around to work the register if you need to meet with sales reps or run errands during normal shop hours.
Who will you take with you to library sales to watch your boxes and then help you cart them all back home? Once you sign your lease, who will be helping you move your stockpiled inventory into your shop?
Stay tuned for the remaining parts of this article:
Part III - Picking Your Business Structure
Part IV - Registering Your Business
Part V - Creating Your Business Logo
Questions or comments?