How To Set Up Your Own Bookshop Business In Kenya

How To Set Up Your Own Bookshop Business In Kenya


For ‘young’ people, starting your very own business and becoming self-employed is the most suitable alternative to the ever growing hard to get 9 to 5 jobs. Starting a business is always the best alternative to the ever-elusive jobs.

A survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) revealed that seven (7) million Kenyans are unemployed. An additional figure of over 1.4 million are actively looking for employment. With those figures, it is easy to see why more and more people are looking for alternatives.

Because we know very many business ventures require huge amounts of capital to get started, this new How To series will only show you how to start and execute several small business that require capital from as little as 5,000 Kenyan Shillings. Thus giving you the keys to the kingdom of starting a profitable business with little or no capital.

If you are also just looking for a side hustle to maybe supplement your 9 to 5 or full time job, this is for you.

All that you need to thrive in these businesses besides capital, is good customer service of course, great managerial skills, a suitable business location, and a clear cut vision.

Today’s article will show you how to set up your very own Bookshop business in Kenya. While this is not exactly a 5,000 Kenyan Shillings capital business, I am sure you would agree that this is also a very viable option.

Bookstores are everywhere in Kenya. From the largest parts of counties, to even some remote areas and although the appearance of audio books, ebooks, and other digital variants continue to grow fairly popular, there still remains a good number of individuals who continue to patronize traditional book outlets. If you are a lover of books and the reading culture and also looking for a little cash on the side, this might just be the thing for you.

How To Start A Bookshop Business In Kenya

Just how much do you need to start a Bookshop business? What paperwork, and or equipment are you required to have in Kenya? If you are considering this option, here is everything you will need to kickstart your Bookshop business in Kenya.

Have A Business Plan. For every business, having an effective and concise business plan is very important.

Acquire The Needed Training. Yes, even the Bookshop business requires some training. You need to know how to properly store and preserve the book in your catalogue. This will ensure that they are always in the best possible conditions for your customers. You can acquire this knowledge by either researching via the internet or understudying at an already established Bookshop business. With a few months of the necessary training, you would be good to go.

Figure Out Your Market. It is very important that you figure out your market. Especially before starting your Bookshop business. Your potential customers will include students from primary to the tertiary levels as well as parents of kindergarten children. Schools may also patronize you and possibly purchase your stationery goods in much larger volumes.

Figure Out How To Raise Capital. The Bookshop business like any other business requires capital investment. After completing your business plan, knowing your market and finding a location, this should be your next line of action. Although Personal funds are sometimes the primary source of funding for many new businesses, doing just that may not be enough. Taking on a financial partner is your best bet. If obtaining a business loan from financial institutions proves difficult, the next option should be getting it from friends and family. Loan arrangements in this setting are usually much more flexible as they come with much lower interest rates. All you would need to do is convince said friends and family, of the profitability of your business. Please make sure however, that you pay back the money and in good time too, so as to maintain confidence which you would need if you would require money from them in the future.

Register The Name Of Your Bookshop Business. You will need to register the name of your Bookshop startup if you plan to run it as a legitimate business. The business name registration would cost you around 1,000 Kenyan Shillings.

A Location. As with most businesses, a good location is one of the major factors that determine whether or not your Bookshop business will succeed. Find a location that is both ideal and easily accessible.

Choose The Most Suitable Business Structure For Your Bookshop Business. Choosing a business structure can determine your personal liability, how much you pay in taxes, as well as your ability to raise financing. This is why it is very important that you choose the business structure that is most suitable from the get go because changing structures later on, could lead to tax consequences. Consult a business accountant and a lawyer too before deciding if your Stationery business would be a Sole Proprietorship, a Partnership, a Corporation or a Limited Liability Company (LLC).

A Business License Or Permit. This is one of the most fundamental licences that businesses in Kenya are required to have before commencing operations, so you will definitely need one for your Bookshop business. Although the cost of a business licence or permit differs from county to county, it usually sits at around 3,000 Kenyan shillings.

Make Sure Your Bookshop Business Is Insured. Although nobody likes to incur extra costs, Insurance is one essential part of starting any business.

Secure A Fire Clearance Certificate. This is received after undergoing an inspection which you pay for. It also involves getting advice regarding the guidelines of protection against fire, and the installation of the required equipment like fire extinguishers.

Talk To Others Who Have Done This Before You. No man is an island. Talk to entrepreneurs who have gone into or are still in the Bookshop business. Examine, study and understand their various business models and strategies. You never know, you just might pick up one or two nuggets of wisdom from them.

Employ More hands. No one is an island, you really cannot carry out all the daily activities of a Stationery business efficiently, on your own.

Get An Employer Identification Number. If you will be looking to set up checking accounts for your business and or hire employees, you will need an Employer Identification Number. To get one, simply get in touch with Kenya Revenue Authority which is Kenya’s internal revenue service.

Make Sure The Accounting For Your Bookshop Business Is In Order. Make sure you always have a record of your expenses as well as the income your business generates. Doing this, will make sure that you have a full understanding of how your business is performing financially. It will also help you when it’s time to file your annual taxes.

Figure Out Your Suppliers, Their Requirements And Set Up A Supply Chain. In the case of Bookshop business this will be the book publishers and in some cases, the authors directly as well. Your ‘suppliers’ are an indispensable part of your business. You have to make sure that the ones you eventually work with are reliable. Find out the publishers that operate or deliver in and around the area where your Bookshop will be located. Once done, figure out what the terms or requirements are. This could be their minimum order amounts of books for example. Try to set up a direct relationship between your Bookshop business and them.

Make Sure Your Bookshop Has An Online Presence. This includes creating a Facebook page, as well as Twitter and Instagram accounts for your business. You can also get a website created for your business as well. Be sure to hire a professional for this, so as to ensure that the website is very well done and looks presentable. The hired professional, will also make sure that your website is well maintained and updated regularly. Creating a LinkedIn profile for your business will also be a good look and will help you further network with other businesses. Just make sure that you update your LinkedIn information regularly and also check it regularly.

Plan Out Your Marketing. Next after figuring out your target audience, should be planning out your marketing. Yes, your Bookshop business just like any other business venture, definitely needs marketing too. Learn how to get the attention of your target market. Would discounts work? Or referrals or both? How about posters, sponsored adverts on social media, and fliers. Find out what is most effective for you and use that or a combination of all of them.

Figure Out Payment Arrangements That Work Best For Your Customers. You need to know the payment methods and arrangements that would work best for your customers and potential customers i.e if they would prefer to pay via M-Pesa, T-Kash, Airtel Money, via POS, or in cash. Knowing this will help you offer more payment options and also be more equipped to serve them better.

And that is it! All you need to know about starting your very own Bookshop business in Kenya.

You can opt for sticking to a particular niche for your bookshop. You can, for example, focus on selling motivational books, functional books (novels), used books of various kinds, religious books, or school or children’s books.

Is the Bookshopbusiness, a suitable venture for you to go into? That question is left for you to think on and answer. This writer’s goal is to open your eyes to the various entrepreneurial opportunities that abound in the country.

One important thing besides the tips provided here is to be good at what you do. Continue to expand and grow your skills.

Also while the prospects are very promising please have a realistic approach as well. As with any business, there is a chance that you might incur losses. Especially at the beginning, so please keep your overheads low.

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