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5 Tips on How to Open a Bar

Are you thinking that you want to open a bar, or maybe expand your nightclub business? You’re probably excited, a little scared and have a million questions. These 5 tips can help you launch your dream.

We also strongly recommend contacting your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for low-cost training and free professional business advice on how to open a bar.

Tip 1 – Study for Your Own Bar Exam

Beef up your bar business know-how. It’s one thing to mix a killer martini, but to open a bar (and keep it successful) you’ll need to spot bar industry trends. Bar business signThis can help you make better decisions with potential bar business vendors, suppliers and — most importantly — your local banker!

For example, did you know that the bar business hit a rough patch a couple years ago? (Good news, revenues are perking up.)  Start by reading our Bar Business & Nightclub Business Overview from leading market research services.

Tip 2 – ID Your Customers Before You Open a Bar

We know you check driver’s licenses, but how about bar customer tastes and preferences? The bar business is always changing because consumers’ preferences constantly evolve.

Before you move forward with your plan to open a bar or expand that nightclub, scan our info on bar business target customers from a leading customer demographics resource to get a bead on your customers. Maybe you’d also like a Psychographic Report that pinpoints your target customers or a Demographics Report that shows where your customers live in your local area. Both of these free reports can be ordered through your local SBDC.

Tip 3 – Plan to Toast Your Success

Start with a sound business plan before starting a bar and you’ll greatly increase your chances for success. It’s true for any business — even established bar business owners should have an up to date business plan. Business plan template graphicCheckout our links to business plan templates for bars, nightclubs and taverns. You’ll need to pay close attention to the bar licensing rules in your state — get this process started early!

After downloading one of these templates, use some of the general market info from our bar business trends overview or customize your business plan further by ordering one of our SBDCNet’s research reports through your local SBDC. Don’t forget to get a handle on startup costs for your bar.

 Tip 4 – Brew Your Own Network

Yes, relationships are at the heart of the bar scene, but we mean your professional relationships. When you’re ready to open a bar, consider joining bar industry groups or associations — they offer great support, insights (industry reports, bar business statistics) and access to  important trade shows — all of which can help you make informed decisions. Joining a local merchant’s association can also be a great way for successful bar owners to give back to their community — which never hurts business!

Tip 5 – Hire Good Spirits

When you open a bar, you’ll probably be the face of your bar for quite sometime. But at some point you’ll probably need to hire part-time or full-time workers. Staying on top of bar business employment trends, average wages, and other job market trends will help you put together a winning team.

Good luck! And don’t forget to contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for low-cost training and free professional business advice.


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