Race to the Starting Line
Ah, the mindset of a gamer. When a bank approves a loan, they typically request that you reapply if you take more than 30 days to enact the loan. To me, that means a 30-day grace period in which you can do stuff without having to pay back interest.
If you’re starting a store and bank financing is part of the plan, here’s a partial checklist of things that you can do in that window between bank approval and the time you sign on that loan.
Negotiate Your Lease
Do all of your talking, crossing out, and faxing now. Plan to sign that lease the day you get your money or the day immediately after.
Pick a Bank
Call around for bank rates. Look for branches near the store and the best rates.
Get Business License
Most communities require one. Check on yours. You don’t need to be very specific when you get it, so if the details of your plan see some last-minute changes, don’t sweat it.
Fill out Distributor Applications
Have them ready to fax after you sign your lease.
Plan Store Layout
Based on the floorplan of your selected negotiation, plan where you’ll put the different game categories, your counter, game room (if any) and storage.
Bid on Auctions
Make sure they don’t expire until you have money, but if online auctions are part of your fixture or equipment-finding plan, get a head start.
Prepare your pre-opening flyers or whatnot now. When opening time comes around, you’ll be even busier than you are now. Make a rough draft of the layout you want, the message you want and the price point you want to promote. If you have graphic design skills and can lay out the whole thing, go for it. Otherwise, you’ll at least have something you can present to the ad company.
Likewise, decide what pages you need and what type of design you’d like. If you have the skills, get the whole thing ready to launch. If not, write your copy (the “About Us” page material, for example) and be ready for a professional to take over.
Online Social Networking
Blog.Tweet. Facebook. Whatever. Let everybody know that you’ve made progress. Set a soft opening date. Start a countdown to build excitement.
Create separate accounts for PayPal, eBay and other stuff that you’ll use for store purposes.
Get a job application together. Set up your financial software. Write up a cash-out procedure if somebody besides you will have their hands in the cash. Assemble any of the paperwork that’s on your list of things to assemble.
If you have a job, keep it until the last minute. Work in these other tasks around that job. The extra few thousand you bring in before the store gets open will be useful. If you don’t, you still have time to get something temporary. You might be four months from opening.
You can buy things on credit once your credit card cycle has ended. That means that you’ll receive your financing before your first payment is due. Pay yourself back for anything you bought.
Go out on a Date
Normally, I don’t harp on the “human element” of business ownership. I figure that you already know you’re in for long hours, Ramen noodles, and credit rejection because you’re self-employed. However, there’s less pressure right now. This is bonus time. Build in a break for yourself and when the time comes, take it. It might be the last chance you get for a while.