If the vibrant flavors of Indian cuisine excite you and you have ample experience in the industry, opening an Indian grocery store business could provide an excellent source of income. An Indian grocery store sells Indian foods and spices, often offering a large range of otherwise niche and hard-to-find items as well as a range of local products. They may sell prepared foods as well as boxed goods.
Learn how to start your own Indian Grocery Store and whether it is the right fit for you.
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Start an Indian Grocery Store by following these 10 steps:
- Plan your Indian Grocery Store
- Form your Indian Grocery Store into a Legal Entity
- Register your Indian Grocery Store for Taxes
- Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
- Set up Accounting for your Indian Grocery Store
- Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Indian Grocery Store
- Get Indian Grocery Store Insurance
- Define your Indian Grocery Store Brand
- Create your Indian Grocery Store Website
- Set up your Business Phone System
We have put together this simple guide to starting your Indian Grocery Store. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Exploring your options? Check out other small business ideas.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What will you name your business?
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
What are the costs involved in opening an Indian Grocery Store?
Opening an Indian grocery store initially requires a significant amount of money. This is because you will need to purchase or lease a building and then stock your inventory. Initial costs may also include equipment, computers, and even websites for those who wish to sell online. These costs can range from $50,000 to $300,000 depending on the size and scale of the business.
What are the ongoing expenses for an Indian Grocery Store?
There are numerous ongoing expenses when operating an Indian grocery store. Most of those come from maintaining the space and purchasing inventory. It can be very difficult to manage inventory loss in a grocery store. If fresh products are not sold in time, that adds significant cost to the business's operations. For that reason, most companies build in specific loss values for their business as a component of ongoing expenses.
Who is the target market?
The target market for an Indian grocery store can be any community in which there is not already one present or demand is growing. In areas with ample cultural diversity, this type of business can thrive.
How does an Indian Grocery Store make money?
An Indian grocery store makes money by selling foods at a higher price than what they paid to purchase them. They typically purchase from distributors in the area and markup prices to profit from customers.
How much can you charge customers?
The cost for products differs by item, of course. One key thing to remember is that you should always price your products based on the cost to purchase them plus a profit margin. Some Indian products may require international shipping and may be harder to find. That can drive up their value considerably. Be sure to price out the competition (both locally and online) to determine the best price point for all of the products you sell.
How much profit can an Indian Grocery Store make?
Profit for an Indian grocery store ranges widely on the products themselves. Each item has a specific profit margin protection ranging from 5% to 25%. Prepared foods may also be a profitable avenue in some areas. The size of the establishment, the local market, and many other factors play a role in the profits a store can expect.
How can you make your business more profitable?
The business may grow in profitability by expanding to offer more Indian cuisine options. Keep in mind that adding in prepared foods may also open the door for catering opportunities and allow for a small food truck or a few seats in the grocery store for consumers to sit and eat. These can add value to many organizations.
Want a more guided approach? Access TRUiC's free Small Business Startup Guide - a step-by-step course for turning your business idea into reality. Get started today!
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your Indian Grocery Store is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Open a business bank account
Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:
- Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- Makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.
Get a business credit card
Getting a business credit card helps you:
- Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- Build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.
Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from BILL and build your business credit quickly.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.
How to promote & market an Indian Grocery Store
Promoting an Indian grocery store starts with offering high-quality products that help to encourage people to come in. At the same time, there may be a need to showcase the offerings within the community through sales and outreach programs. Do not forget about online promotion and branding, especially in situations where the locals may not have a lot of experience shopping at Indian grocers. This is a good way to educate the public on offerings but also to encourage them to try to learn to cook.
How to keep customers coming back
Attracting customers means spending time on advertising and building local relationships. In addition to this, providing an outstanding level of service and good quality products on a consistent basis will keep people coming into the business time and time again. Over time, an Indian grocery store can thrive through word-of-mouth advertising. Additionally, social media and digital marketing strategies can help any business grow.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.
Recommended Business Phone Service: Phone.com
Phone.com is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.
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Is this Business Right For You?
To thrive in an Indian grocery store business, it is critical to have a solid understanding of both Indian food and culture. Customers who shop here may have generations of Indian heritage and expect to find outstanding quality and a variety of authentic Indian foods available to them. In addition to this, those who work in this business should be familiar with Indian culture and be able to satisfy the needs of their target customers.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at an Indian Grocery Store?
As a grocery store owner, you will spend most of your time working with customers. That may include stocking shelves with products, aiding customers to find what they need, and processing sales. Some grocers have food prep in their stores, which may mean there is a lot of work involved in preparing these foods for local carry-out or in-store purchase. Most often, there is clean up and maintenance, product ordering, and customer service to provide daily.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful Indian Grocery Store?
To own an Indian grocery store, individuals need to have a solid understanding of the culture's food. That means not just understanding local ingredients and Americanized versions but having a solid grasp on authentic foods and hard-to-find ingredients. In addition to this, it is always important to have a strong customer service background and the ability to negotiate good prices for products coming into your location.
What is the growth potential for an Indian Grocery Store?
As more people seek out authentic foods and a wide range of new products for meals, there is more growth potential possible in this industry. People are often seeking foods and spices to make authentic dishes at home.
Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting an Indian Grocery Store?
Immerse yourself in the industry for some time. Learn to cook authentically. Invest in time spent in Indian culture as well. This helps a business owner to have the skills necessary to sell to customers who already know the industry and culture well.
How and when to build a team
Most grocery stores are larger and need a team of people from the start. It may be possible to open a small Indian grocery store with just a few people to help you, but over time, you may need to add staff as more customers come in, your product grows, and your business expands. Building a team that is just as diverse and understanding of Indian culture can also be valuable