Pop-Up Business For Dummies book cover

Pop-Up Business For Dummies

By: Dan Thompson Published: 12-03-2012

Whether you’re just starting out and want to test the viability of your business, or you’re an established business looking to expand your reach, pop-ups offer an exciting and flexible opportunity. They’re a great way to try new business ideas, experiment with a new product, location or market, gain exposure, and learn about your customers - all with limited risk and financial outlay.

Inside Pop-Up Business For Dummies, you’ll find:

  • Planning your pop-up venture - whether it’s a shop, studio, gallery, or community hub.
  • Finding the right space for you.
  • Negotiating with the landlord and sorting out the legalities.
  • Fixing up and fitting out your space on a budget.
  • Pulling in the punters - advertising and marketing your pop-up.
  • Managing a successful pop-up business day-to-day.
  • Closing up shop efficiently.
  • Lots of case studies, checklists, tips and hints from experienced pop-up people!

Articles From Pop-Up Business For Dummies

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36 results
36 results
Pop Up Business For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

Cheat Sheet / Updated 03-27-2016

Creating a pop up business embraces a new, nimble way of working that’s perfect for the 21st century. Pop ups aren’t just a temporary use of space because there’s a recession; they’re a new way of using town and city centres, and they match the needs of a new generation of entrepreneurs.

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Thinking about the Right Space for Your Pop Up Venture

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Finding a pop up venue can be great fun; you get to explore your local area and spot all sorts of spaces you’ve never noticed before. Does a local space particularly match your pop up? Sometimes, a particular building or a public space seems ideal for a project. The perfect space increases customer interest, brings the media along and ensures your pop up is talked about after it’s closed. Where would your pop up have the biggest visual impact? Sometimes you want your pop up to scream your brand from the rooftops; maybe literally. Look for places where your pop up can stand out, grab the attention of passers-by, get media attention and be remembered. Does a pop up put your brand right in front of your target audience? If you’re selling to a target audience, put your pop up right in front of them. Maybe the guy selling coffee from a van outside the train station is the pop up king. If your pop up has an ethical angle, does a particular venue match it? Lots of pop ups are about more than simply selling something; and many highlight a particular issue or debate. Finding the right venue helps to make the point.

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Considering the Best Use for Your Pop Up Venture

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

When planning your pop up, be clear about what it does. Pop up businesses use an empty or underused space to do something exclusive, distinct or special. They have a clear start and end date, and don’t aim for permanence. Use a pop up to: Provide a space for a seasonal sale or event. Offer a chance to test or prototype a new business. Let you carry out market research for a new product, range or service. Provide an interesting way to launch a new product. Reach a different audience than your usual one. Happen in a different place to the one where you usually do business. Be a special event to increase customer loyalty.

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Being Agile in Your Pop Up Business Planning

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Pop ups are fast, furious, flexible and fun. Planning is essential to success, but plans for pop up businesses are living, working documents, not set in stone. Aim to use agile methods (an idea taken from a type of software development), and make sure that you: Aim to be up and running as early as possible. Welcome change. Get your team to work together daily throughout the project. Build your pop up around motivated individuals. Trust people to get the job done. Measure progress in actions, not words. Reflect on how to be better, and tune and adjust regularly.

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Charm Your Way into a Pop Up Location

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Spotting a pop up space you like is easy enough, but finding out who owns the space and then winning them over to let you use it can be harder. The key to success is to start early and to network. Networking isn’t something you do once a week at a breakfast meeting. It’s something you can do all the time. Get a meeting with the pop up space owner You’re asking the person who owns the property to do you a favour by giving you a short let (lease) probably at low cost. Would you ask a complete stranger for a favour? Probably not. Would you ask a friend or colleague? Of course you would! So the key to charming the keys out of people is to get to know them first and then ask for the favour later. Find places where you can make friends with the people you need to meet. Your local Chamber of Commerce probably runs regular meetings, for example, and you should be able to attend once or twice as a guest before you have to sign up. Most towns have a variety of business networking groups, and again, most let you attend once or twice as a guest to get a feel for the group. Be prepared to attend with a short, clear and punchy explanation of what you do and have business cards or flyers to hand out with your contact details. Pitch your pop up proposal Staying lucid, vigorous and brief is especially important for pitching your pop up to other people. You need to be able to explain your idea easily and in simple terms – the ‘lucid’ bit. You need to do it with some energy – be ‘vigorous’. And as you’re dealing with busy people, the ‘brief’ bit explains itself. Write down your pitch initially. Start by explaining your pop up. Say exactly what it is you do and don’t use any jargon that’s specific to your business sector. Add some sizzle and tell people why your project is special. Explain why it’s a pop up and not a normal shop. When you’re writing your pitch, think carefully about why other people would want to help you. You need to find something in it for them, whether they’re a neighbouring shopkeeper, a local councillor or a letting agent. Think about including those benefits in tailored versions of your pitch. Your pop up pitch needs to end with a call to action – a firm end that results in something happening. The easiest is ‘Can I have your email address and send you some details?’ but you can be more creative. Use as few words as possible and try out your pitch on family and friends. You want to be able to say it naturally, without sounding forced and rehearsed, and with enough energy and excitement to get people interested. Prepare for chance encounters Of course, there’s really no such thing as a chance encounter – only putting yourself in the right place for the things that seem like chance to happen. Making sure that you’re in the right place and ready to take advantage of opportunities is a really good pop up skill. While you’re planning your pop up, go to as many events where you might meet people as possible. Village fêtes, school fairs, charity fundraisers and civic functions are all places where you might meet somebody useful. Make sure that you have your pitch ready and can adapt the tone of it to different audiences. Carry business cards everywhere.

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How to Avoid Common Pop Up Mistakes

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Time spent on researching your future pop up shop isn’t wasted; it means less time correcting mistakes in your plan further down the line. When a big company does something wrong, it has time, resources and finance to carry on. If your time, resources and finance are more limited, mistakes may mean the end of everything you’ve worked for. Here are five common mistakes (and how to fix them): The wrong location: Being off the high (main) street, even if only a few metres away, can mean low footfall (pedestrian traffic). Visit the location, watch and count how many passing customers you might get. Think about how to increase footfall while you’re open. The wrong look and feel: Making your shop look cool is important, and it must match your brand and customers. Find the balance between bohemian and high-end retail and play with the temporary nature of what you’re doing. Look at how successful retailers present their stores and take inspiration from their style. The wrong opening hours: Staffing your shop is the biggest commitment you’ll make. Open at hours that match local traders and footfall patterns. Make it clear to visitors when you’re open and when you’re closed. The wrong atmosphere: Your shop needs to be welcoming without being overpowering and pushy. The right layout of furniture, fixtures and fittings and a clear brief for staff will help find the right balance. Again, look at the welcome you get in successful stores. The wrong marketing: You need to reach the right customers to match what you’re doing. Too glossy and corporate can be off-putting if you’re running a community project, and you can’t be too scrappy if you’re selling a high-end product like art.

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How Do Pop Up Shops Compare with Traditional Premises?

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Pop ups offer many benefits over traditional premises to lots of types of businesses. Although artists were the first to recognise the benefits of pop ups, all business sectors, from small and home-based businesses to global brands like Reebok and Disney, widely use them. Taking on any commercial premises comes with certain responsibilities, so why choose a pop up over more traditional locations? In both situations: You must sign an agreement for a set period and commit to paying rent, rates and utilities for that time. The agreement is between you and the landlord and gives you both rights and responsibilities in law. You need to fit out the interior with equipment, furniture and fittings. Any equipment you use needs to be to a good standard, well-maintained and, most importantly, safe. You must staff the premises and manage those employees. Your employees also have certain rights and responsibilities, so you need to be aware of the laws regarding the use of employees or volunteers. Even if you expect to only employ part-timers they too have rights, perhaps more than you may expect. Ever since The Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 was introduced in the UK, part-timers have progressively had their employment rights brought into line with those of full-time staff. Obviously, a pop up shop reduces some costs by being a short-term let (lease) and open only for a short time. Other costs, such as furniture and fittings or marketing, may actually be higher because the cost isn’t spread over a long period of time. Of course, this generalisation isn’t necessarily the case, and you can find lots of creative ways around that problem. Don’t forget that any saving is offset by reduced sales income from a limited period of opening. Pop Ups versus Traditional Shops Pop Up Shop Traditional Shop Short-term tenancy, low or limited rent Long-term lease; rent-free periods may be available but rent will rise Business rates and utilities to pay Business rates and utilities to pay Temporary interior, furniture and fixtures Full shop fit-out Limited direct sales Ongoing sales and regular customers Fixed-term staff, high induction costs for short-time working Permanent staff with regular responsibilities

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How to Find an Interesting Pop Up Location

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

To find the perfect place for your pop up, you have to do some footwork and visit potential locations. But the first step in finding a pop up actually takes place before you set a foot outside. The following questions help determine the places you look at so that you’re not running around on a wild goose chase: Does a local space particularly match your pop up? Sometimes, a building or public space seems ideal for a project. For example, Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night features a shipwreck, so Rainbow Shakespeare thought Worthing beach would be a perfect stage set. The film Brief Encounter is set in a railway station cafe, so for the On Location Film Festival, the local station’s waiting room was the perfect place for a pop up cinema screening. Where would your pop up have the biggest visual impact? Sometimes you want your pop up to scream your brand from the rooftops – maybe literally. Part of the The Beatles’ legend is built on staging their last performance on the roof of the Apple headquarters – a legendary pop up concert! To celebrate Barbie’s birthday, Mattel chose the very ordinary terraces of Ash Street, Salford, but painted them bright pink. Look for places where your pop up can stand out, grab the attention of passersby, get media attention and be remembered. Does a pop up put your brand right in front of your target audience? If you’re selling to a target audience, put your pop up right where it will be. During every London Fashion Week, top designers fill expensive spaces. The London Fashion Bus pulls up outside the venue, and the converted Routemaster red bus gives young designers an opportunity to be seen. If your pop up has an ethical angle, does a venue match it? Lots of pop ups are about more than just selling, and many highlight a particular issue or debate. Scottish food writer and cook Christopher Trotter wanted to celebrate his nation’s seafood and highlight issues of using only local food, so he opened a pop up restaurant in a small fishing village. Finding the right venue helps make the point. The perfect space for your pop up increases customer interest, brings the media along and ensures that the pop up is talked about after it’s closed.

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Just What Is a Pop Up Business?

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

You see pop up cinemas and pop up cafes, pop up shops and all types of pop up businesses everywhere you look. What’s going on with this pop up phenomenon? So what separates a pop up from other projects? To truly qualify as a pop up, a project should: Use an empty or under-used space. Be time-limited, with clear start and end dates. Not aim for permanence. Be designed for demountability and ease of removal. Have the potential to transfer to a different site. Be in some way exclusive, distinct or special. Pop ups have been around a long time, in one form or another; they’re very much a movement that started with artists looking for temporary space to exhibit work, hold stage shows or create studio spaces. And good pop ups still need a bit of creativity. Throughout the years, most major towns and cities have things happening that you could call a pop up. Take London. You could draw a line from Shakespeare’s reuse of the old gatehouse of Blackfriars Monastery straight to Camden’s Roundhouse, which was used in the 1960s, for theatre and music happenings. In South London, Brixton Art Gallery ran from 1983 to 1988 in an old carpet showroom. More recently, Space Makers worked in 20 empty shops in a market just around the corner. Many of these businesses started as pop ups, but have become more permanent over time. While London has boasted high-profile pop ups, others have existed around the world and are part of the wider movement of reusing old buildings. Think of Andy Warhol’s Factory in New York, the Musée du Louvre in a former palace in Paris or the mass of buildings in Berlin used as cafes, art galleries and nightclubs. Some very famous people started out this way. Tracey Emin ran a shop in Bethnal Green for six months, with fellow artist Sarah Lucas. Called ‘The Shop’, it sold a range of products they’d designed and manufactured, and the pop up led to Emin signing with a major art dealer. More recently, pop up has gone from being something creative people do to being something mainstream. Re:START, a pop up shopping mall in Christchurch, New Zealand, came about after earthquakes destroyed existing shops, with the aim of starting the regeneration of the city. Shopping centre owners Westfield now dedicate space to pop ups in all their centres worldwide, and they’re used by luxury travel brand Kuoni, designer Cath Kidston and even BMW (to promote its Mini brand), for example. A range of businesses you’ll be familiar with already use pop up shops: Halloween shops Firework stores Christmas markets

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Where to Find Pop Up Shop Information and Support

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Most people who’ve run pop ups are more than willing to talk and share their experiences. If you find a pop up shop that’s similar to your idea, get in touch and ask for advice. A number of organisations have been working with pop ups for a while, and they all try to provide help and support to people starting their own pop ups. These organisations are all small with limited time and resources, so do make sure the answers aren’t available elsewhere and that you know exactly what you want when you approach them: Check the organisation’s website first to see whether the answers are available. Read any documents, such as reports or guides. If you can’t find an answer, get in touch and be specific and clear about what you’re asking. Empty Shops Network Set up by Revolutionary Arts, this project aims to freely share resources, provide example projects and act as a focus for finding new uses for high streets. You’ll find good information here, as Revolutionary Arts has been running pop up projects in shops, churches and public spaces across the UK since 2000. Renew Newcastle This project aims to find artists, cultural projects and community groups to use and maintain empty buildings in the Australian city of Newcastle until they become commercially viable or are redeveloped. Renew Newcastle has inspired similar projects in other cities across the world, including Leefstand. Leefstand Renew Newcastle is a direct inspiration for this project in the Netherlands, which has worked with a number of organisations in Rotterdam to create inspiring new uses for empty shops. 3Space With a portfolio across the UK, 3Space is effectively a letting agent for not-for-profit and charitable organisations. 3Space is developing resources to help people run pop ups. The Meanwhile Project Led by the Locality (formerly the Development Trusts Association), The Meanwhile Project began as a UK government-funded response to the problem of empty shops. The Meanwhile Project works with landlords to save them money until more commercial tenants are found. Other information sources A number of websites are dedicated to the pop up phenomenon and are a great short cut to find out about pop ups past and present: London Pop Ups: A listing site for pop ups in the UK’s capital, updated weekly. The Popupspace Blog: A look at pop ups and the issues surrounding them. The Pop-Up City: A blog about shops, mobile pop ups like food vans and other temporary projects. The media have fallen in love with pop ups, and their articles often give valuable insights into what pop ups are really like and what they really achieve. Of course, search engines are a good place to start finding those breadcrumbs. Commonly used phrases include: pop up shop, pop up store, pop up restaurant, pop up, temporary shop, meanwhile, meanwhile space and meantime. You can also find up to the minute information using Twitter. Search for the hashtags #emptyshops, #popupshop and #popuppeople. Try to use alternative search engines as well as Google – for example, type pop up shop report into Google and then into Bing, and you get very different results.

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