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How to Start a Pop-up shop

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by Startacus Admin


open signFor some it’s almost unspeakably dull but it’s what keeps the cogs of your business turning, so get it right and it will alleviate a lot of the pressure down the line. Remember again that although your venture may be temporary you still need to make sure you have a really good grasp of the figures. Some of the things that you might like to take a look at are;

  • Do you have a general idea of how much money you will need to set up your pop-up shop? Have you considered applying for a startup loan or grant?
  • Do you have a realistic expectation of how much money you would like to make from your pop-up shop?
  • Do you know what your monthly overheads will be? How much money will you need to bring in in order to breakeven/make a profit ? Dont forget to factor in all costs associated with the business i.e. rent, stock, salaries etc.
  • Do you have a contingency fund in place to fall back on if you miss your targets?
  • Will you be giving yourself a guaranteed salary or will you only take one if and when you make a profit?
  • Do you plan on managing the finances of the business yourself or will you be using an accountant? How much will this service cost?
  • Will there be any insurance costs to consider before you begin?


Perhaps you don't need the same level and scope of marketing that you would with a permanent retail space, but thats no reason to be complacent.  Have a think about some of the ways you can help to spread the word;

  • Do you have a marketing strategy for your pop-up shop? If not is there anyone who could help you with this?
  • Do you know anyone in the retail sector who could give you some advice ?
  • How do you plan to market the pop-up shop? Have you considered press releases, a launch event or a feature in a local publication? Do you consider your story to be particularly inspiring or unique? This could really help to drum up some media interest.
  • What promotional material will you create in order to market your pop-up shop?
  • Are there any local events where you could set up shop in order to spread the word about your business?
  • Have you considered running introductory promotions to drum up a bit of interest in the store?
  • How do your competitors market themselves? What could you do that would make you stand out from the crowd?
  • If your stock is particularly appealing to students or young people, will you offer a special student discount to encourage them?
  • Do you plan on implementing a mailing system in order to encourage return business?
  • How do you plan to use social media in the promotion of the business? You may want to consider having active Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest accounts. Who will look after these for you?
  • Will you run any competitions for customers?

Business Practicals

  • Make sure that you are well versed in the legalities of operating a retail business. Are you familiar with the Sale of Goods Act?
  • Even though this will be a temporary business it is still essential that you register with HMRC and pay the appropriate tax.
  • Are you familiar with employment law? You must make sure that you follow all regulations to the letter.
  • Make sure that you have clear policies with regards to equal opportunities /health and safety.
  • Make sure that you take care of any insurance practicals before you open for business

As always we are sure that you will be able to think of lots more things that need to be considered before opening a pop-up shop but we hope that this quick guide gives you some inspiration.

Check out the Startacus business toolkit for a growing directory of all the business bits-and-bobs, links and articles you may need.  If you have a great project, idea or startup then why not add it to our collaboration space where you can find plenty suppot from our community of self starters, startups and investors!

If of course you'd rather go down the online route - why not start your retail empire virtually. Here's how.

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Published on: 7th October 2013

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