Interview with an entrepreneur. How to open a butcher's shop: practice tips

* The calculations use the average data for the World

The site, as part of a joint project of the Community of Information Portals Promoting the Development of Small Businesses, continues a series of interviews with successful entrepreneurs who are ready to share their own experience in creating a business and help newcomers take their first steps in business.

- Alexander, tell us about your business experience, how long have you been doing it, and what is its feature?

- I am engaged in the meat business, it has been in its fourth year. Now I have several butcher shops selling chilled meat and processed foods. Most of the sales are retail, the rest is small wholesale.

There is a second direction - this is equipment and the opening of butcher shops with subsequent leasing, something like a mini-franchise of a butcher shop.

That is, when a person wants to open a butcher's shop and sell meat, but has little understanding of this, does not know where to start, and there is not enough money for independent experiments, I help to open and bring the shop into profit.

This differs from the classic franchise, first of all, in price, it is significantly lower, and in a more flexible approach, that is, instead of hard implementation of the standards of my stores, we together develop standards that are best suited to the place and the person himself.

- Many people think about starting their own business, but not all of them eventually open it: they stop the fear of uncertainty, instability, high risks and more. Was the decision to become an entrepreneur easy for you? How did you come up with the idea of ​​starting this particular business?

- Yes, there are many fears, they still exist, and probably always will be. I would not say that it is not difficult to become an entrepreneur, but it is difficult for them to remain, this already needs to be studied, not at the institute. To open something is not as difficult as it was thought at the beginning, to make it something even profitable is a challenge, not to mention making it better. And sports always helped me to agree with fears - I was seriously engaged in biathlon and was fond of mountaineering, now I have shifted the emphasis towards the latter. For me, it is a better help in business than even theoretical training.

In the process of creating a business, a certain degeneration takes place - the transition to the other side of the barricades. You can’t become an entrepreneur and not change your fundamental principles, your worldview and attitude, of course, at first I didn’t understand this, it seemed that there was enough knowledge: I studied and managed, in general, clever. Well, of course, I wanted to decide for myself how much to earn and when to relax.

My first experience of entrepreneurship was in partnership, intuitively I understood that this was the wrong way, but the fear of moving alone then prevailed, everything quickly ended, and already by experience I understood that business partners are evil, at least equal . The further transition into this world was already real - no guarantees, salaries, and knowledge of how to do things all of a sudden suddenly evaporated ... The elementary things - to call and offer our services - were set up in half a day.

But, despite all the difficulties, this is a wonderful way for development, for me even faster than sports. It is important to moderate your pride and go to study with those who have already gone this way. Mistakes at the beginning are usually typical, but they, in most cases, do not allow a business to grow. Due to elementary errors, I closed two businesses. And you could ask an experienced person and not spend years on understanding the basics.

But one way or another, mistakes will be made, they need not be afraid; I don’t think that there are people who, having read some book, or having talked with a smart and experienced person, will go and do everything exactly as it is written and said. Firstly, not everyone will remember, and secondly, not everyone will understand even if they remember, because they do not yet know what to pay attention to, therefore, they will do as they understood and make mistakes.

The main thing here is to write down your experience, remember what that mysterious businessman said about this, compare and analyze all this, draw a conclusion and move on. You get stuck when you don’t analyze your activity for what gives the result and what doesn’t. Moreover, when I just sat in the evening, thought, made conclusions, the next day I don’t remember this gathering, but the illusion that I’m developing something there, as a result, the movement is only in a circle and then depression. In general, you need to write down as a researcher, then there will be history and here you can already draw conclusions. This activity is difficult and often painful, but indispensable for moving forward.

In the meat business, I started the first steps with the production of semi-finished products for dogs, my wife and I bought a dog, and I found that there was no convenient supply for natural feeding on the market, but there was a demand. I decided to do it, started from scratch, the sale was carried out with home delivery.

There was no idea to sell meat to people at first, it seemed that the competition was high, but my clients, to whom I drove food for dogs, began to be actively interested in meat for themselves, this was an initial impetus, that is, the main thing appeared - demand, for raw materials already there were some developments with the production of food for dogs. I did not know how to build a competent meat delivery system for people at that time, so I took on what was more understandable, that is, I opened a butcher's shop. At the start, my clients helped me a lot, I think that with the experience that I had then, I would be very homesick without them.

Summing up this important issue, I can say that even when I closed businesses, I did not regret that I dived into this sea. I already said about what helped and helps me, but nevertheless I will repeat myself so as not to inadvertently forget: I need to learn from those who have walked this path, record and analyze their actions.

- What difficulties did you encounter in the initial stages of doing business?

- Let’s tell people about the specifics, I’ll tell you about a butcher’s shop, but not in general, this usually creates a vague idea of ​​an item, and tells about important details without which the item (store) doesn’t work.

The very first thing I came up against on the opening day was that I didn’t have the prices at which I was going to sell, I didn’t know the prices of competitors in the market, and I didn’t know how to calculate them correctly, rightly so that there was enough profit for everything, and people would buy at these prices. This seems to be obvious and everyone understands the basics, so to speak, but I was not the only one to stumble on this, I would even say that I don’t know those who did not step on it.

One of the reasons for the incorrect calculation of prices was the cutting of meat - this is the next stumbling block. I had it, to put it mildly, unprofitable. Then the butcher let us down: he knew only how to cook. It is clear that I myself found it and hired it myself, therefore, it was my fault, and I had to study it all myself, to understand the butcher’s bread, so to speak.

If you do not know the basic techniques and tricks of butchering for sale, then you can lose from one carcass from 10 to 25 kg of meat, and this is a guaranteed loss. That is, I cut a piece in the wrong direction, and a different proportion of bone and fat was obtained, and it would be possible to sell this “creation” only at a price 2 times lower than the purchase price, simply because in the eyes of the buyer it does not have more value.

It was easier with sales, there was already experience, it took not so much time to understand the specifics, but still it took. There were difficulties with a beautiful layout, in order to properly tell the client about meat, how to sell ugly pieces, they gradually began to sell everything, threw out almost nothing, but there were losses due to unfavorable prices and cutting. On this, I lost not a month, and accordingly every day I lost money.

But another thing was worse - due to experiments with butchering and most importantly with the price, I began to lose customers, as it turned out, people like certain constancy in buying meat.

An even more serious obstacle was the fact that all this routine for some period consumed me completely, from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m., respectively, I lost sight of many strategic issues. There were difficulties with suppliers, employees became even more independent, I did not prepare any replacements. A sports experience helped to work in this mode, but on the other hand, if my strength ran out earlier, I would have passed this stage faster and would cease to make myself indispensable in the store.

Of course, you need to know in detail how to cut and sell meat, otherwise you just don’t understand how to manage employees and what standards they set, but it’s completely harmful to do it yourself, replacing workers. Harmful to yourself and the business as a whole. Physically, you can master one, at most two stores, yes, the sales there will be excellent, it is absolutely natural that the owner sells an order of magnitude better, but this is not the merit and not the task of the entrepreneur. It's like hammering nails with a violin, understand? In general, it is, to put it mildly, sad to be a hostage to your store, so I killed this perfectionism in myself and accepted the fact that sales would be lower than possible, but on the other hand, I freed up time for further development and opening of the next store.

If you noticed, I did not say about the difficulties with the SES and Vetkontrol, which scared many in the beginning, including myself. In practice, all these fears come down to polite and cultural conversation. Summing up this question, I want to emphasize that all the difficulties are actually quite easily overcome, I repeat, it’s not necessary to do all this yourself, you just need to learn all the details in detail and use ready-made solutions.

- According to your estimates, what is the minimum amount with which you can start this business today? What equipment will be required?

- A meat retail store can be attributed to a business with soft entry and exit, respectively. For beginners, their journey in business is a great option, not in every business it is possible. To start an unfamiliar topic from scratch or small amounts, in my opinion, is more correct, because at first you just don’t know which element of the business you need to invest in and which is not important at all and will only “gobble up” investments. It is even more undesirable to invest borrowed money - you spend it easily and quickly, and when you start giving it back, you lose motivation to develop a business.

I opened the first store with a total of $ 3, 400, tried to save, almost everything went to equipment, later, I already realized that it would be possible and more correct to manage a much smaller amount. This we are talking about rented premises without equipment at all. Buying a room without understanding its prospects is extremely dangerous.

I opened the next store with almost no investment, I agreed on a lease with a delay, there was minimal equipment there, I brought the meat according to the already developed scheme. That is, you can open from scratch, I mean, not quite an empty pocket like that of Ostap Bender, you need to have $ 700-1000 for the purchase of meat and covering cash gaps. The rest can be agreed. This is difficult of course. At least it was difficult for me when you don’t know that it’s possible in principle, that they’re doing it and that’s normal, especially when you don’t know what actually and how to negotiate, which is why you need to ask experienced colleagues for advice.

The minimum and necessary equipment in a butcher's shop is a refrigerated display case and scales, although this is not the minimum, I know a store where the display case is just for the look - it does not work, but the store is profitable, and even more profitable than many "grandiose" stores with a bunch equipment. I understand that I want your store to be beautiful, so that my friends would not be ashamed to show that sort of pride, like my face is the best equipment, the room is more than 100 square meters, etc., but in reality it most often turns out to be just “show-offs”, in practice, such stores are not competitive.

The sale of meat has its own specifics, there is not the extra charge to put high rent and expensive equipment there. In automobile, furniture stores, travel agencies everything can be beautifully and expensively designed, this is included in the price of the goods and people normally perceive it. But in the meat business, especially in the sale of raw meat, there is a psychological price ceiling, above which people simply do not buy, in spite of any service, they begin to look for an alternative - chicken, fish, etc.

In addition to weights and a display case, of course, we need a cutting deck, an ax, knives, a refrigerator for storage, but if we are again talking about a minimum, then we can do without it. The first days in my first store, when I was faced with the fact that the butcher does not know how to cut, the supplier helped me with the cutting, that is, he chopped in his workshop and brought me the finished one. Well, about the complete list of equipment that is really needed at the start and in further work, I talk on the website in a free course on opening a butcher's shop.

In conclusion of this question, I want to note one more important point - the amount with which you will open is not as important as its proper distribution, it is better to leave most of the budget for the period of bringing the store to profit.

- Are there any additional administrative requirements (for the premises, the experience of specialists, etc.)?

- Things are also simpler in this matter than in some types of business - licensing is not required here, the main document is permission from the SES and veterinary control for placement in the meat trade, but this is not the first thing ... This is the case when the cart can ride for a while in front of the horse, and this is normal, as long as this is our feature that helps at the start.

Also, you do not need to receive any product certificates, register a trademark, especially since in the beginning it only harms. Veterinary certificates are needed for the products, they must be given by the supplier, in reality this is not always possible, but can be solved - it is easiest to do with a veterinarian who periodically visits you as a result of a duty.

In general, of course, you need to comply with the standards prescribed in the document “Requirements for the meat industry enterprises” (available on the Internet), but within reasonable limits and means. Once again I will say that in our country people are sensitive, first of all, to meat prices and make very few complaints about the premises. Of course, they can say the opposite, but practice proves that price is more important.

First of all, the room should have a convenient location for people, in the second place, meet your goals and only then all other requirements. Very often, the former does not combine with the latter; it is often difficult to find a room. Here I am guided by the principle that good sales can always brighten up some non-compliance of the premises with accepted standards, and subsequently completely make it ideal. Inverse relationship is very rare.

Formally, no one requires specific experience from staff. It all depends on the strategy of the entrepreneur himself. Someone is looking for expensive specialists, someone takes with little experience and trains on their own, but with those people who generally have no experience in sales or in cutting meat, it is not advisable to work. Of the mandatory requirements - this is the presence of a sanitary book and uniforms for everyone who comes in contact with meat.

To summarize, I will say that the main requirement, which can be safely called administrative, is a room that is promising in terms of the flow of people, the rest will be corrected along the way, without it taxes to the administrative budget are very doubtful.

- What can you save on and what should you save on?

- At first, you can definitely save on almost all equipment, you can take used. Refresh from profit is not a problem, but you need to create it first. Even on such important equipment as a meat grinder, you can also save. And on the main and on the spare, there are reliable industrial meat grinders also used, as a spare household one will do. With well-sharpened knives and grills, she can handle 20 kg of minced meat - this is the average volume in a small store. Employees also need to save on salaries, it doesn’t matter that you do not have work experience, but they can have a lot of experience, so it is necessary for the store at the start. It is better to pay a specialist or an experienced person for a consultation than to spend on inadequate work expenses every month.

You can’t save money on the refrigerator, I mean such a saving when you just don’t buy it and store the remaining meat in a display case, this is a very important equipment in the store - if stored properly, the marketable appearance of the meat can be stored for up to 3-4 days, I'm talking about chilled meat . The option when there is no money for the camera is also possible, as I already said, meat can also be stored in the window, if you are creative in this, or you can rent part of the camera on the market, or from suppliers, but this makes work very difficult, therefore, in this matter we must strive for independence.

It is harmful to save on lighting, often light is given little importance and economical lamps are installed, the appearance of meat is greatly affected by such artificial light, sales fall instantly. Well, of course, you should not save on the quality of meat, but this is a strategic question - to find high-quality meat, expensive in all respects, but at a reasonable price.

In general, save on everything that does not directly help sales, and deliberately invest in something that increases them. Consider advertising carefully.

- How long have you paid back your initial investment?

- If we talk about when the store began to recoup its expenses, then in the first store it was the third month, the initial investment paid off by the seventh month. Во втором магазине прибыль уже в первый месяц покрывала все операционные расходы, потом два месяца я вкладывал прибыль в недостающее оборудование.

Следующий магазин я запустил тоже с минимумом, месяц тестировал место, в следующем купил недостающее оборудование, его отбивал четыре месяца. Видите, сроки сильно зависят от суммы, которую вложили на старте.

А если покупать магазин сразу или вообще его строить, то можно окупать годами, а то и вовсе «попасть» с ним, место может оказаться мертвым, и хоть с цыганами там пляши – не раскачаешь.

Но есть и обратный пример: место отличное, человек вкладывает 60 тысяч долларов в классное производительное оборудование и, соответственно, ожидает получать хорошую прибыль, получает в первый же месяц 2000 долларов чистой прибыли, это очень хороший показатель, во второй столько же, но тем не менее он «скисает», потому что расчет был другим, что максимум за год он все отобьет, и он продает все оборудование, естественно, в полцены.

Повторюсь, что это хорошие показатели для мясного магазина, тем более в первый месяц, просто вложения неадекватные и ждать нужно долго, а главное я в этом не вижу смысла, шансов, я уже говорил, у такого навороченного магазина не больше, чем у лавки в 7 квадратных метров (площадь моего первого магазина).

У любого магазина есть свой естественный потолок в продажах. Его, конечно, можно сильно повысить, но это очень трудозатратно и поэтому, как только прекратишь искусственно качать, продажи все равно вернутся к этому потолку, поэтому нужно просто вовремя переключаться к следующему этапу вашего бизнеса.

Резюмируя этот острый вопрос, скажу, что помимо очевидных факторов, влияющих на срок окупаемости, которые мы обсудили, есть те, к которым очень часто относятся халатно, это планирование доходов и расходов и дисциплинированное управление деньгами магазина. Сейчас мне это очень помогает, вначале я делал это как попало, и все платежи заставали меня врасплох, соответственно, работа магазина попросту вставала, иногда больше чем на неделю. И только когда начал планировать окупаемость, доходы и расходы заранее, скорость реакции на такие форс-мажоры существенно возросла.

- Существует ли сезонность в мясном бизнесе?

- Да, сезонность есть. Цена на мясо может меняться в течение года несколько раз, это в каждом регионе и стране регулируется по-своему, но на розничной цене и, соответственно, на продажах это сказывается не так значительно. А вот падение спроса на мясо в летний период, значительно, и влиять на него очень сложно.

Людей просто не заставишь есть мясо в это время, особенно в жаркие дни, мало какие методы работают, половина просто уезжает в отпуска. К этому нужно быть готовым психологически и тактически. Мы закупаем минимальные объемы, уменьшаем разделку, делаем скидочные акции, меняем ассортимент, делаем шашлыки, активнее сотрудничаем с кафе, несмотря на то, что это сложный для нас клиент. В общем, чем более гибкий в методах работы магазин, чем больше у него запасных вариантов, тем ему проще пройти этот период.

- На подбор каких специалистов стоит обратить особое внимание. How did you select key employees?

- Основные действующие лица в мясном магазине - это продавец и мясник, в начале больше никто и не нужен, да и в дальнейшем все вспомогательные функции (бухгалтерия, уборка, охрана, закуп расходного оборудования) лучше автоматизировать или отдать человеку вне вашего штата. Со временем конечно нужна будет ваша замена - управляющий.

Но в первую очередь нужны правильные продавец и мясник. Плохой продавец может убить прибыльный магазин в считанные недели, а неграмотный мясник свести «на нет» все усилия хорошего продавца. Я уже говорил, что с задачей поиска подходящих сотрудников и управления ими я столкнулся в первую очередь.

На начальном этапе я ее долго решал и со временем я пришел к такой формуле: важно не найти хороших, а быстро заменить плохих. Поэтому поиск и собеседования идут в постоянном режиме, то есть каждую неделю в газетах выходят объявления, в интернете висят всегда, из кадровых агентств периодически кого-то присылают, и создается большая база работников, не со всеми конечно встречаемся, в основном это телефонное собеседование, встреча происходит только тогда, когда у нас появляется нужда.

Таким образом, все сотрудники знают, что в любой момент их заменят, и, соответственно, работают результативнее. При такой особенности работы очень важным стало производить замену так, чтобы это не сказывалось отрицательно на работе магазина, для этого я посвятил много времени написанию стандартов и инструкций, и еще больше времени ушло, чтобы сделать их действительно работающими.

Бывало, что человек «заснет» в своих переживаниях и забудет такие обязательные вещи, как помыть мясорубку или засыпать солью колоду, тоже приходилось отдельно писать и вешать в нескольких местах «на долгую память», так сказать.

Хотелось бы выделить один важный аспект при подборе продавца и мясника - можно найти хороших работников, все сделать правильно и они будут стараться все делать по инструкции, но люди будут плохо у них покупать. Ну что-то не нравится в них людям, тут выход один - менять, не надо разбираться и анализировать, надо менять.

Таким образом, в этом вопросе я сместил акценты с поиска звездных специалистов, на построение работающей системы найма и быстрого обучения сотрудников с небольшим опытом.

- Очевидно, за время работы вы перепробовали различные способы рекламы. Which advertising media have proven their effectiveness, and which ones did you end up with?

- Сейчас отдаю предпочтение малозатратным способам, если говорить о продвижении розничного мясного магазина, то лучше всего работают локальные методы привлечения клиентов, то есть, рекламируем конкретный магазин в конкретном районе, причем даже в конкретном радиусе, около 800 метров - за хлебом и мясом дальше этого расстояния люди практически не ходят.

Основной и постоянный инструмент - это расклейка листовок с информацией и новостями на подъезды, очень древний метод, но работает лучше всего, даже лучше адресной рассылки в виде вкладки в бесплатную газету. Людям нужно напоминать про себя постоянно, а в рассылке это делать дорого, плюс многие просто эти газеты не берут из ящика или сразу выкидывают, а на входной двери подъезда листовка висит какое-то время. Хорошо еще работают листовки в лифтах, есть возможность прочитать ни один раз.

Телевизор для рекламы отдельного магазина, вообще, мертвый инструмент. Радио неплохо при старте, но дорого, соответственно, неэффективно.

Вывеска магазина, указатели, штендеры, растяжка над дорогой, рядом с магазином - это не пожелание, это однозначная необходимость. Просто увеличение размера вывески сразу же увеличивает количество покупателей, а когда все это вместе друг друга усиливает, то даже если человек сегодня хотел рыбу, он купит мясо.

Конечно используем интернет, но тоже прицельно, то есть не рекламируем отдельный магазин или всю сеть, тем более что формат у каждого магазина разный, и под одно имя я их не объединял, а рекламируем какое-то одно направление, допустим поставку мяса в рестораны или услугу доставки мяса домой, сейчас мы работаем с компаниями, которые доставляют продукты домой, соответственно, большая часть этих рекламных расходов теперь их. Очень хороший инструмент для общения с клиентами в интернете - это форумы, ветка там намного эффективнее отдельного сайта.

В общем, стараемся общаться с клиентом там, где это удобнее ему. Это все я перечислил, так сказать, верхушку айсберга, а самая большая подводная часть – это «сарафанное радио». Привлечь людей в магазин не так сложно, как сделать так, чтобы клиенты говорили друзьям и знакомым хорошие отзывы, тут уже все зависит от вашего фронта, от тех, кто встречает клиента в магазине, слушает, помогает выбрать и даже, возможно, провожает его до машины. Над хорошими отзывами действительно стоит трудиться, это поистине благодарный инструмент, особенно это чувствуется в межсезонье.

- Что вы можете сказать о конкуренции в вашем бизнесе?

- В мясном бизнесе конкуренция традиционно высокая, каждый сам выбирает стратегию отношений с конкурентами, мне больше по душе воспринимать их как партнеров или коллег, это более результативно. Один магазин не может обеспечить всех потребностей покупателей, не может быть специалистом во всем, всегда есть незаполненная ниша, иногда в целом городе, чаще в районе. Поэтому, общаясь с конкурентом как с человеком в одной лодке, начинаешь лучше видеть ситуацию на месте, можно разделить сферы влияния и, таким образом, усилить друг друга.

In one of my stores there was the following situation: people preferred to take mincemeat from me, trusted me more on this sensitive issue, even brought chopped meat from the house so that we could spin it, and still take the meat from a competitor, he made it lower than the price. As a result, we both realized that this trend does not need to be fixed, it even needs to be strengthened. Thus, I expanded the assortment of minced meat and almost never sell lumpy meat, but just leave a few pieces at the overpriced price in the window, just to make the window look beautiful. Judging by the sales, this has strengthened both him and my position.

Summing up on this issue, from my experience I will say that it is most effective to differ from competitors, in what they are weak, this is the fastest way to attract the attention of customers.

- Has the economic crisis affected your business?

- Of course, it was reflected, not as brightly as in the financial and construction sectors, after all, meat is a product of prime necessity, but people have become even more sensitive to price. For me, it became more likely positive - we began to work more efficiently, I revised the business scheme; everything that did not give a result adequate to labor costs I closed, then I decided not to make a network under the same name and according to the same standards. Of course, there is a certain challenge in the crisis, people react faster and brighter, that is, if some kind of scheme is initially dead or people don’t need a product, it becomes immediately clear. But it’s more difficult to work. It is much nicer if you do not need to put so much effort into sales growth and they naturally grow after the abundance around.

- How do you see the prospects for the further development of your business? Are you planning to expand or open related areas?

- Development is, first of all, sales, we will continue to increase them. Both in their butcher shops and selling chilled meat in small grocery stores of the “at home” format. Now it gives me pleasure to help people open and develop butcher shops, even more fun than when opening their stores. Naturally, I will continue to develop this area in various formats, both face-to-face and remotely, through various practical courses. Again, how it will be more convenient for people.

- Based on your experience, what would you advise to those who are just planning to start this business?

- At the planning stage, when there is only an idea, begin to carefully collect information about the meat market in your city, in the area where you plan to work. Carefully communicate with those who sell meat, who buy it, who brings it.

Do not open yourself up at random only on the basis that the idea looks very bright, or it is new and not on the market. It is very useful to know best practices, but without knowing the real situation, it may not be appropriate, people may not be ready for it, and, accordingly, there is a risk of turning a museum into a store. If such a scenario is even taken into account, and does not succumb to the charm of the idea, then the first difficulties will no longer become an insurmountable wall. I have a very striking example ...

The man inspired and enthusiastically opened a specialized store selling rabbit meat, because this is rare ... People come and say: “Oh, great! Do you have beef? ”, And he answered:“ No, we have a specialized store, only rabbits! ” It’s written on the sign! ” And then the owner in the conversation shares: “I’ve been standing here for six months and every day the same thing! I’m saying that we have little children, what else do they need, what are they not taking? ”

Do you understand? People themselves suggest what they need, but the person simply “fell asleep” in his reality, I also fell for it, it is a difficult step to admit that your ingenious idea does not seem like that to people.

Therefore, in the beginning, try to find out what meat and in what form people want to buy in your area, at what price, what is most convenient for them. After that, you may have to redraw your initial idea, and it will even happen, most likely, but people will thank you, do not hesitate. This is the main and most important, and, directly, the opening algorithm can be studied in my free course on my website. Good luck and successful trading!


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