Author: Cassie Gasaway
So, you love archery and want to make a business out of it. That’s great! The Archery Trade Association is here to help support your dreams and help you build a business that caters to the archery needs in your community. Regardless of what stage of planning you’re at, whether you have vague ideas for a range or shop, or you’re in the middle of securing a building and hiring staff, the ATA can assist. Consider these items to make your entrepreneurial journey less stressful and more enjoyable.
1. Conduct a Market Analysis
Wherever you are in the planning process, if you haven’t already, stop and conduct a market analysis to see if there’s a need in your community for an archery shop. A market analysis assesses the market by gathering information on current and potential customers and competitors; and analyzing data on buying patterns, family incomes and other business aspects. This analysis lets you see what the market has and what it needs to fill gaps. It also helps you identify potential business challenges and set realistic expectations if you take the next step.
Entrepreneurs must do their research to ensure their area offers enough potential business and demand to support a shop. You can start a business founded on passion, but passion alone won’t help you sustain it. For that, you need customers. Check out potential competition and talk to other independent business owners in the area to learn what to expect. Talking with state agency representatives and people from archery organizations, like USA Archery and the National Archery in the Schools Program, will likely give you valuable insights about consumers in your area. Visit the ATA’s State Contacts webpage to find contact information for your local representatives.
2. Create a Business Plan
A business plan is an all-encompassing document. It’s a compilation of your ideas, anticipated budget, operations and goals. It also includes detailed information regarding how you plan to achieve your goals and the anticipated time frame for when you’ll complete each goal. It’s like a road map for the future.
For archery retailers, a business plan should outline what archery discipline or disciplines to focus on, including bowhunting, target archery and/or recreational archery. With that, you must decide and write down how much and what types of equipment you’ll sell, and if you’ll have a range or offer archery classes, lessons, leagues, tournaments and other opportunities.
The Small Business Administration has a sample business plan template to help entrepreneurs write their business plan quickly and effectively. A well-written business plan will be instrumental when you’re applying for loans, or trying to recruit sponsors and potential business partners.
Use the SBA website to create your business plan. Photo Credit: ATA
3. Think About Funding and Finances
With your business plan in place, you can get a better estimate of your startup costs. The SBA has a formula to help calculate the total, too. Once you know approximately how much you’ll need to invest, you can approach the bank and other entities for financial support or a small business loan. Be prepared to answer questions and complete paperwork.
You can still access to the Masterclass sessions on the MyATA Learning Center. Photo Credit: ATA
4. Enroll in the ATA’s Archery Industry Masterclass
Owning an archery shop is a niche business, which means it requires specific knowledge and skills. Business owners can get that information through the ATA’s Archery Industry Masterclass series. The Masterclass has multiple classes in four different categories, including business, coaching, marketing and archery tech. Each class is presented by an expert in the archery and bowhunting industry. The Masterclass helps lay the foundational groundwork for new business owners, and also dives into in-depth concepts for longtime business owners. It’s comprehensive, broken into bite-size pieces, and available on demand so enrollees can go back and re-watch the presentations.
Former class participants rave about the quality of information, especially for the price. The Masterclass costs $500 but is discounted to $100 for ATA members. You can pay the $500 or join the ATA to get the special price and so much more. Get additional ATA membership details below. Then, determine if you want to join the ATA and enroll in the Masterclass for $100, or if you’ll pay the nonmember fee. Either approach gets you access to top-notch archery and bowhunting specific education to help you start and improve your business.
An ATA membership gives you access to many benefits, including our Resource Library. Photo Credit: ATA
5. Join the ATA for Support and Resources
The best way to kick-start your business and set it up to succeed is to join the ATA. Members get access to resources, how-to guides, discount programs, educational video courses, the membership directory and ATA-staff support. Here’s a brief rundown of some helpful tools to look forward to after joining.
- MyATA Learning Center: The MyATA Learning Center provides on-demand education videos to ATA members. The platform helps members improve their business and follow best practices by learning skills and strategies through interactive videos, follow-up questions and other resources.
- Resource Library: ATA staff created and compiled images, resources, how-to guides and other documents into the Resource Library for members and nonmembers. The materials are free to members, whereas nonmembers must pay a small fee. Get guides on how to build an archery range, mentor newcomers, host archery events and pay the federal excise tax, as well as information on archery safety, participation numbers, and industry data and trends.
- Discounted Services: Many ATA-vetted companies offer expert support and discounts on their services for ATA-member retailers and manufacturers through the MyATA Service Provider Program. Work with CPAs, law firms, marketing companies, insurance agencies, discount groups, financial companies, logistics companies, and credit and collection agencies to improve your business. You can also receive special prices on office supplies, wireless services, consumer financing, payroll and HR, credit card processing, uniforms and facility services, and waste and recycling services through Savings4Members.
- Store Locator Listing: The ATA sends customers to its member-retailers through the Archery360.com and BowhuntersUnited.com store locators. The store locator is an online tool that lets your customers use their computers or mobile devices to find nearby archery shops using geolocation, a technology that pinpoints a customer’s location through internet connections. Customers can also type in the city’s name or a zip code to find archery shops. These customers are often looking for a place to take lessons, buy equipment or arrange service and repairs.
- Membership Directory: The ATA helps businesses make connections by providing contact information in its free membership directory. Members must electronically “sign” a confidentiality agreement to view the document. Search for members by name, category, membership type or other filters. The dynamic directory helps members form and foster business relationships.
- Other Member Benefits: The ATA is constantly assessing its member benefits and working to create more. Click here for more information.
Make a Comprehensive, Organized Checklist
Establishing an archery shop can get overwhelming quickly because there are a lot of options for where your business can go. It’s easy to fall down rabbit holes and lose focus. However, creating goals and breaking those goals into phases will help you stay on track. Use the five items above as a starting place, but write down other tasks and to-do’s as you think of them so you don’t forget.
If you have a question or want to talk through your business plan and options, please contact Nicole Nash, ATA’s senior manager of outreach, at (507) 233-8146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.