How to Startup, Popup, and Get a Leg Up in Retail

How to Startup, Popup, and Get a Leg Up in Retail

How to Startup, Popup, and Get a Leg Up in Retail

Despite the closings and bankruptcies of long-established stores and corporations over the past few years, Denver continues to attract national and international retailers. Big names like IKEA, Uniqlo, H&M, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema have moved in, creating an even tighter real estate market for new or expanding businesses hoping to enter the city’s thriving retail market.

While you may not be looking for a huge warehouse to set up your small retail store, you would certainly benefit from being a part of the larger scene. If you are not already an established brand, then a startup business may be a great option for you. If you want to expand, then a popup shop may be a great alternative to a traditional storefront. Just as online consumerism has changed the landscape of commerce, startups and popups are transforming traditional retail.

Small Business Attorney E.C. Lewis, P.C. can help with every aspect of starting or expanding your retail store, from contract review and creation to daily business operations. This post will explore these types of stores and what they can do for your retail store.

What Constitutes a Startup?

One definition of a startup company is a fast-growing small business that aims to meet a marketplace need by developing a viable business model around an innovative product, service, process, or platform. Startups typically enter the market quickly by finding new or less costly ways of operating, e.g. food trucks, booth rentals, and popup shops. This model creates experiences that draw customers to a social scene, which is very appealing to Denver’s growing millennial population.

While e-commerce continues to push retail to evolve, there is a trend in today’s retail concept, going from online only to actual establishments. This movement from click to brick can be seen with Fabletics, Omaha Steaks, and Amazon whose newest offering is grocery delivery. With an increasingly innovative retail atmosphere, Denver’s hottest districts – Larimer Square, Union Station, Dairy Block, Denver Central Market, and more – are responding with more unique and versatile spaces.

No longer exclusively associated with techie communal space working, tennis table playing employees, startup businesses have many determinants. Years in business, annual revenue, and number of employees are just some of the ways people measure whether a small business is a startup or not. So, what if you have successfully started a startup and want to expand? A Forbes article points out that the key attribute of a startup is its ability to grow and scale very quickly. And, one way to do this is by opening a popup location.

What are the Benefits of a Popup Shop?

Popup shops are a great way for a fledgling or expanding business to enter the market. These types of stores require less capital investment to introduce or test a new product or service, and they provide instant customer feedback. A Shopify article describes a popup shop as a short-term retail event that creates a frenzy with its “get it before it’s gone” message. The temporary nature of this type of store enables you to plan around an occasion or a holiday that may suit what you are selling perfectly. You can also go to your customers by choosing the district, kiosk, or gallery space where your product or service matches the personality of the neighborhood.

After you have vacated the popup location, the idea is that customers will remember your product or service and follow you. This is a fantastic segue to having an omnichannel presence – you entice your prospective customers with an in-store experience, then lead them to your other location(s), website, and social media accounts where they can find you and become loyal customers.

Like setting up an actual, more permanent retail store, you must consider many factors when planning for your popup location. Rent, utilities, insurance, Internet, point of sale (POS), furniture, repairs, inventory, displays, marketing, duration are some of these considerations. A small business attorney can help you with choosing the right location and entity, reviewing and drafting contracts, keeping compliant with taxes and licensing, and expanding your retail store.

If you need help with your retail store, contact me, Elizabeth Lewis, at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Small Business Attorney. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com

Contact Us Today

Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C.
Your Denver Business Attorney

Mailing Address:

501 S. Cherry Street, Suite 1100
Denver, CO 80246
720-258-6647
Elizabeth.Lewis@eclewis.com

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Is It Time For Your Home Business To Move Out?

Is It Time For Your Home Business To Move Out?

Is It Time For Your Home Business To Move Out?

The rapid pace of Colorado’s economic environment is both alluring and daunting for small business owners. Consistently ranked at the top for everything from best city to live in (Denver) to technology and business, Colorado is not only attracting people, but it is also bringing in major retailers from around the globe. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Colorado’s population grew by nearly 200,000 between 2014 and 2016, reaching more than 5.5 million. This boom has created a robust business climate and economic opportunities for entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes. There are nearly 600,000 small business owners in Colorado despite rising real estate and cost of living rates. While you may have started as a home business because of these rising costs, there may come a time when you must expand beyond the home. This post will cover five reasons to move your business into a retail or office space. A small business attorney can help you make the right decisions for the future of your home business whether you stay where you are or move.

Moving your small business outside of the home is a major decision with a host of added expenses. Rent, agreements, utilities, cleaning and maintenance fees, movers, equipment, furniture, gas, taxes, and permits are just some of the overhead costs and regulations that will differ from your home operations. However, there are many benefits. Entrepreneur magazine discusses some of the arguments for giving up your commute to the spare bedroom.

1. A Growing Business Requires More Space

If your business is thriving, you have no doubt experienced some growing pains. Depending on the nature of your product or service, more customers can lead to storage and space issues. This is further complicated if you need additional staff. Unless you are willing and able to renovate your home to accommodate your expanding needs, you will likely have to rent outside space. In some cases, zoning laws prohibit you from having more than one employee in your home business.

2. Rented Space is Perceived as More Professional by Some

Clients may already come to your home office, which can be a bit of a juggling act when you are trying to portray a professional image. There may be a much broader audience you are not reaching – an audience who is deterred by or skeptical of the home setting. For those potential clients, a larger commercial space instills consumer confidence. The increased revenue from this larger client-base should eventually exceed the costs associated with renting outside space.

3. You May Not Want Non-Family Employees in Your Home

Having staff members in your home, especially if you have a large family or young children, may not be ideal. Unless they work virtually, it can even be difficult to hire the type of employee you are looking for. While a casual, flexible atmosphere is enticing to some, others have a bias associated with home business settings.

4. Your Home Has Too Many Distractions

It can be difficult to stay on task. The perks of making your own hours and dress code can also lead to an informal attitude and procrastination. It might take leaving the home to instill a more focused, productive work ethic, especially with piles of laundry or dishes taunting you in the other room. The demands or interruptions from family members will also lessen without your constant physical presence to which they have become accustomed. Moving into a retail or office space could restore your work-life balance.

5. Working Outside of the Home is Stimulating

Humans are social creatures, and working from home can be lonely. Without the stimulation of colleagues or peers, creativity and progress can be stunted. Even if you cannot afford a larger commercial space, co-working spaces provide lower cost options. If you find yourself easily distracted by isolation, overcompensating by doing housework, running errands, or visiting with neighbors, it is time to move out.

In a community of small business owners, networking and support abound for your growing home business. Everyone, including your competitors, want to see you succeed and stay in Colorado. Financing and grant opportunities are available through the U.S. Small Business Administration District Offices, and there are dozens of development centers for small businesses throughout the state. If the future of your business rests on expansion, but you are still not ready to relocate, there are ways to make it work. You are, after all, your own boss and landlord! If you need to hire employees, perhaps you can hire other free agents or ask that they work remotely. Storage facilities may offer a solution to your overrun piles and stacks. Business centers are temporary offices that provide space and amenities, like meeting space, office equipment, and receptionists. A small business attorney will help you decide whether it is best to stay or go and adapt to your changing needs.

If you need help deciding what to do with your home business, contact me, Elizabeth Lewis, at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Business Lawyer. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com

Contact Us Today

Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C.
Your Denver Business Attorney

Mailing Address:

501 S. Cherry Street, Suite 1100
Denver, CO 80246
720-258-6647
Elizabeth.Lewis@eclewis.com

Online at:

Future Expectations and Your Small Business Structure

Future Expectations and Your Small Business Structure

Future Expectations and Your Small Business Structure

You have had your brilliant idea for you new business – whether it’s software development or a boutique bakery – and now you need to know how to make it come to life. One of the most important things you will do for your new business will happen at the very beginning and concerns your future expectations and your small business structure.

Choosing your business structure has important implications for your future taxes, who owns your company, and who is responsible for any losses. Your business structure can mean the difference between paying employment taxes on everything you make and being able to take part of your business’s income as non-employment taxable dividends. Without the correct business structure and operations, you may fail to have limited liability and be personally liable for any damages caused by your business, you, or your workers. A Colorado attorney will help you choose the best business structure for your individual needs. Here is a brief summary of the most common small business types:

Sole Proprietorships

Sole Proprietorships are the most basic business type. If you are a freelancer, you probably are already a sole proprietor. There is little paperwork to be filed or forms to fill out, as it is the default status for running a business in the U.S. While simple, this business type comes with a lot of risk as there is no delineation between you as a person and you as a business. You are the only person responsible for the profits, and also for the loses. “This risk extends to any liabilities incurred because of employee actions” (SBA.gov).

Partnerships

If you are part of dynamic duo (or trio, or beyond), and you want that to continue into your business, a Partnership may appeal to you. The IRS sets the expectations of a Partnership as “Each person contributes money, property, labor or skill, and expects to share in the profits and losses of the business.” There are different types of business structures housed under the umbrella of Partnership, each with different expectations for the length of the collaboration between parties, and the amount of liability and input for each party. The Small Business Administration has a helpful list of things you should discuss with your potential business partners before filling your paperwork. However, like a sole proprietor, partners typically have personal liability so careful consideration of this business structure should be had with an attorney before entering into it.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) is a business structure that does just that – limits your liability. It is a relatively new business structure – the first one was created in 1977. LLC laws are determined at the state level, so the state you form your LLC in matters. Due to the variation between states, LLCs can get a bit complicated, but Attorney Elizabeth Lewis is experienced in business formation and will help you navigate the formation of your LLC correctly. A few types of businesses generally cannot be LLCs, such as banks and insurance companies.

C-Corporations Taxes as C-Corporations

“From a legal standpoint, a corporation is a different person than the person or people who created it, and is therefore able to own property of its own, accrue its own profits, and be responsible for its own debts and civil liabilities.” (Upwork.com)
Most large businesses are Corporations, and a lot of legislation regarding Corporations has these large businesses in mind. A corporation taxed as a c-corporation may not be a good fit for your small business, as owning one tends to place a large burden on owners. Additionally, you may be taxed twice, since your corporation is a separate entity from yourself if you are a c-corp. It is a better a company type than the previously listed ones, however, if you plan on taking your company public.

Corporations and LLCs Taxed as S-Corporations

You can only have s-corporations if you have an LLC or corporation formed under state law. Many small businesses use them since they do not cause the double taxation problem. Not all companies can become S-Corporations however. From the IRS:

“To qualify for S corporation status, the corporation must meet the following requirements:

  • Have only allowable shareholders
  • May be individuals, certain trusts, and estates and
  • May not have owners that are partnerships, corporations or non-resident alien shareholders
  • Have no more than 100 shareholders
  • Have only one class of stock
  • Not be an ineligible corporation (i.e. certain financial institutions, insurance companies, and domestic international sales corporations)”

The way you structure your business will have long lasting implications for your earnings, liability, and taxes. Improperly done filings can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and create stress year after year. It is best to consult an attorney before creating your business.

If you need help evaluating your future expectations or deciding on your small business structure, contact me, Elizabeth Lewis, at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Business Attorney. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com

Contact Us Today

Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C.
Your Denver Business Attorney

Mailing Address:

501 S. Cherry Street, Suite 1100
Denver, CO 80246
720-258-6647
Elizabeth.Lewis@eclewis.com

Online at:

Niche Retail in Denver – The Key to Your Small Retail Store Success?

Niche Retail in Denver – The Key to Your Small Retail Store Success?

Niche Retail in Denver – The Key to Your Small Retail Store Success?

You have decided to relocate or open a niche retail store in Denver. There is an established market for your product. Financial and business plans are in place. You are honing in on your desired location, then you learn more about Colorado’s business environment. A recent 7 News Denver story (May 31, 2017) reports that retailers with a significant Colorado presence could be closing stores, citing overbuilding and a shift in consumer spending habits. Consumers have been spending more money online while moving away from traditional brick and mortar businesses. What was once considered a niche market on a product has become over-saturated. Despite this, you know Denver is the place for your retail store. A small business attorney in conjunction with a tenant-focused leasing agent can help you find the right location for your product as well as guide you toward the right channels for doing business. This post will cover some key information on location, product, and delivery.

  1. Deciding on Denver for your niche retail business
  2. Finding your niche market in Colorado
  3. Going omnichannel to expand your niche retail reach

1. Deciding On Denver For Your Niche Retail Business

With its distinctive retail districts, community-centric shopping centers, and a vibrant downtown, Denver caters to an eclectic consumer palate. Young families, artists, entrepreneurs, and active seniors alike call this pulsating metropolis home. Denver has long been ranked as one of America’s best cities and is rapidly becoming one of the hottest retail destinations. U.S. News and World Report recently ranked it #2 out of 100 best cities to live in, based on being a desirable place to live and having a strong job market and high quality of life. This all translates into confidence that you have picked the right place for your retail store. As you narrow your neighborhood search, it is important to know the zoning laws associated with any prospective location, even if you plan to operate, in any part, from a home-based business. It is also essential to know your business neighbors and protect your business from potential ones that can harm your business. A small business attorney will safeguard you and your business by helping you decipher zoning and other mandatory licensing laws as well as reviewing any contracts, such as a lease, before you sign.

2. Finding Your Niche Market In Colorado

A niche market is defined as the subset of the market on which a specific product is focused. It is a targetable portion of a particular market that other businesses may have neglected or overlooked altogether. There may be several shops in the area selling artisanal foods and craft beers – a good example of what was once niche market becoming more mainstream – but, you can further establish your niche by using only locally sourced ingredients or offering additional means of obtaining your products/services, like delivery or a “product of the month” club. You could even focus on a subset of potential customers, like catering to seniors. One local brewery got very clever with their customer base and decide to cater to cyclist who love beer by opening a craft brewery where you can have your bike repaired!

Having established that your product is unique, desirable, and available, your focus will turn to marketing. Location, business structure, and ability to reach your target customers will further determine the success of your niche market business. A small business attorney will see you through each phase of opening and operating your retail store.

3. Going Omnichannel To Expand Your Niche Retail Reach

An omnichannel approach can keep you at the top of your niche market. Broadly defined as a multichannel business approach to maximizing customer experience, omnichannel marketing merges at-home, in-store, and mobile shopping into one seamless experience. It is not enough to grab the attention of potential customers or clients; you must hold onto it. How do you do this in a way that is not a deterrent and that is effective and natural to their everyday lives? According to a Forbes article, you need to track consumer behavior, deliver relevant messages, and manage your customer relationships in real time. A true omnichannel customer experience integrates all of the various channels completely. As a small retail business owner, you may not be able to broaden your presence through all of the same methods as a large corporation, but there are options, including social media advertising, in-bound marketing, Google Exchange Network advertising, and online as well as brick and mortar storefronts to name a few. A small business attorney will be there for you as you navigate the various contracts you may be presented with once you decide to expand into advertising and/or marketing your products online.

If you need help finding the key to your small retail store success, contact me, Elizabeth Lewis, at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Small Business Attorney. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com

Contact Us Today

Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C.
Your Denver Business Attorney

Mailing Address:

501 S. Cherry Street, Suite 1100
Denver, CO 80246
720-258-6647
Elizabeth.Lewis@eclewis.com

Online at:

Millennials, E-Commerce, and Denver Real Estate

Millennials, E-Commerce, and Denver Real Estate

Millennials, E-Commerce, and Denver Real Estate

Headlines and ratings have Colorado at the top. Denver has been consistently ranked as one of the best cities to live in by U.S. News and World Report. Denver was also first in 2015 and 2016 for best places for business according to Forbes. These accolades are in addition to the state’s impressive roster of colleges and universities, not to mention its luscious landscape and booming retail scene. This all translates into a desirable place to live, which affects your business decisions. A small business attorney will help you with all of your commercial real estate needs from setup to leasing or buying to protecting your assets.

The Millennials Are Coming To Colorado

Colorado has steadily become a migration destination in recent years, and according to a Denver Post article, there is an influx of millennials. Like many groups, millennials like to live in areas where there are other millennials, and this group uses social media to share their day to day experiences. This, in turn, contributes to a momentum of migration, which has a major impact on the real estate market. A Biz Journals article reports that Denver’s retail real estate market is expected to be the “world’s hottest” over the next few years, second only to San Francisco, and that the retail market will outperform all other global retail markets. With all of the positive reports and growth comes competition for space and rising rental rates. If you are renting commercial space for your small business, you may not be able to afford hikes in rent. As a landlord, tenants may be harder to keep or come by. Because the millennials are coming to Colorado in droves, there is a tight real estate market. A tight real estate market means there is more at stake, leading to more potential legal disputes. Careful review of your lease is critical in these times, and a small business attorney can help you with all of your contracts and agreements.

E-Commerce Is Everywhere, Even If Your Business Is Only In Denver

Defined as a transaction of buying or selling online, e-commerce has expanded rapidly over the years and is accelerating. Boundaries between electronic and conventional commerce have become blurred as more and more businesses move at least portions of their operations onto the internet. All businesses employ some form of electronic applications whether through email, online catalogs, e-newsletters, digital coupons, social media marketing, or countless other transactions. Amazon, an e-commerce revolutionary, just opened its first fulfillment center in Aurora, Colorado and is reportedly looking for a downtown Denver office location. While a 452,000 square foot industrial location is not exactly small retail real estate, having big e-commerce and tech companies opening offices in Denver affects all sectors of commercial real estate, employment, and retail. So whether you have a brick and mortar storefront or work from home, a small business attorney can advise you about operating in an increasingly virtual market in conjunction with an increasingly competitive real estate scene.

Owning Or Leasing Retail Space In Colorado

You know Denver is the place for your small retail business. You confidently cater to tech savvy and discerning tastes. You have a solid online presence. So, what do you do if your retail space no longer meets your business needs? What if you cannot afford increasing rent costs? It may be time to find another option or location. If you are unsure of the future of your business and its size, you may be better off continuing to lease or sublease. However, if you want to stay in a particular district or neighborhood and have no plans to expand, then you may want to buy rather than rent. A small business attorney will help you decide whether to rent or buy and guide you through locations and spaces as well as the accompanying leases and contracts.

If you need help with your e-commerce and Denver real estate options, contact me, Elizabeth Lewis, at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Small Business Lawyer. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com

Contact Us Today

Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C.
Your Denver Business Attorney

Mailing Address:

501 S. Cherry Street, Suite 1100
Denver, CO 80246
720-258-6647
Elizabeth.Lewis@eclewis.com

Online at: