Do you want to start a comic bookstore and need to write a plan? If YES, here is a sample comic book store business plan template & FREE feasibility report.

As of 2018, the comic book stores industry in the United States of America was worth $1.095 billion. This goes to show that it is a niche business idea that is worth pursuing especially if you live in the united states of America.

What is a Comic Store?

A comic book store is a place where different types of comic books are sold, and comic books which are also known as comic magazine or simply comic, is a publication that consists of comics art in the form of sequential juxtaposed panels that represent individual scenes.

Starting a comic book store business is just like starting any other retailing business; it will require startup capital (money), planning (feasibility studies, market survey, budgeting), and of course time. No doubt, items that are sold in comic book stores are in demand all over the world, making them a good and profitable business to start.

If you are considering starting this type of business, then you must hunt for the right location, a location with the right demographic composition. With the right location, items in stock, and good pricing structure, you can start making profit as soon as possible.

A Sample Comic Book Store Business Plan Template

1. Industry Overview

Comic book store business is a niche idea in the Book Stores industry and companies in this industry retail a broad range of books (comics inclusive), newspapers and periodicals, including trade books, textbooks, magazines, paperbacks and religious books.

These goods are purchased from domestic (and in some cases international) manufacturers and wholesalers. Operators then retail these goods to the general public through industry stores. This industry excludes retailers that operate primarily as used merchandise stores or electronic shopping and mail-order houses.

A recent research conducted by IBISWorld shows that despite a strengthening domestic economy and rising per capita disposable income, the Book Stores industry has contracted over the five years to 2019. The trend toward online shopping has kept this industry in decline.

However, even amid intense competition in a declining industry, some small independent operators with a loyal local following have flourished, as many consumers still prefer print books over e-books.

Over the five years to 2024, industry revenue is anticipated to continue to decline, albeit at a slow rate. While many consumers will continue to use e-readers and tablets, e-book sales are expected to plateau as the virtual market becomes saturated and a large number of consumers continue to prefer traditional print text.

Research shows the concentration level for the book store industry has wavered over the last 5 years resulting to some businesses in the industry closing shop or creating additional source of income alongside running a book store.

No doubt, as the revenue generated in book industry continue to nosedive over the last 5 years, many small businesses in the industry struggled to remain profitable, eventually had to consolidate or exit the industry all together.

Large businesses have also struggled to stay in business, as revealed by the 2011 Borders bankruptcy. At present, the two largest players in the industry (Barnes & Noble and Follett) hold a combined estimate of 35.0 percent share of the revenue generated in industry in 2015.

Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 20,549 legally registered book stores (strictly comic book stores inclusive) responsible for employing about 90,022 employees and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $11 billion annually.

It is important to state that the industry is experienced a – 2.8 percent growth. Barnes & Noble Inc., Barnes & Noble Education Inc. and Follett Higher Education Group Inc. have the lion share in the USA market, but no single operator has control over the pricing trend, advertising trend, distribution model or customer loyalty et al in the Industry.

In response to the ever – growing demand for items sold in book stores, book store owners are now opening additional stores thereby creating chains of stores across different cities. They are always ready to expanded into new markets and of course adapt to the changing trend in consumer tastes and increase sales.

Over and above, the book store industry is a profitable industry and it is open for any aspiring entrepreneur to come in and establish his or her business; you can chose to start on a small scale in a street corner like the average mom and pop business or you can chose to start on a large scale with several outlets (chains of stores) in key cities.

2. Executive Summary

Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores is a neighborhood comic book store that will be located in a centralized area between a residential neighborhood and a busy educational district in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. We conducted our feasibility studies and market survey and we came to the conclusion that Little Rock is the right location for us to launch our comic book store.

We are in the comic book store business to make profits at the same to give our customers value for their money and time whenever they patronize us. We want to give our customers the opportunity to choose from a wide range of comic books and related materials.

We will engage in retailing a wide range of old and new comic books (including e-comic books) such as Superhero comic books, Science fiction comic books, Fantasy comic books, other comic books, periodical single-issue floppy comics and comic magazines et al. We will retail best-selling comic book series and it will include Japanese manga, American comic books, and European comics.

We are aware that there are small comic book stores all around Little Rock, which is why we spent time and resources to conduct our feasibility studies and market survey so as to enable us locate the business in an area that will support the growth of the business. We ensured that our facility is easy to locate and our outlet is well secured and equipped with the various payment options available in the U.S.

Beyond retailing quality and affordable items in our comic book store, we will ensure that our customer care is second to none in the whole of Little Rock – Arkansas. We know that our customers are the reason why we are in business which is why we will go the extra mile to get them satisfied whenever they visit our comic book store.

Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores will ensure that all our customers are given first class treatment whenever they visit our store. We have a CRM software that will enable us manage a one on one relationship with our customers no matter how large they may grow to. We will ensure that we get our customers involved in the selection of brands that will be on our racks and also when making some business decisions that will directly or indirectly affect them.

Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores is owned by Mrs. Clara White – Osteen and her immediate family members. She has successfully managed several retailing businesses both in Little Rock and New York prior to opening her own comic book store. She has a Degree in Business Administration and she will run the business alongside her immediate family members.

3. Our Products and Services

Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores is going to operate a standard neighborhood comic book store that will retail a wide range of comic books and magazines from both local and international publishers. These are some of the products that we will retail in our comic book store;

  • Retailing a wide range of old and new comic books (including e-comic books) such as Superhero comic books, Science fiction comic books, Fantasy comic books, periodical single-issue floppy comics and comic magazines et al. We will retail best-selling comic book series to date and it will include Japanese manga, American comic books, and European comics
  • Retailing of stationery and other related merchandise (pens, pencils, erasers, writing pads, notice boards, writing boards, crayons, water colors, stick-on, and cardboards et al)

4. Our Mission and Vision Statement

  • Our vision is to establish a one stop comic book store in Little Rock – Arkansas and in other cities in the United States of America.
  • Our mission is to establish a comic book store business that will make available a wide range of comic books and magazines et al from top publishing brands at affordable prices to the residents of Little Rock – Arkansas and other cities in the United States of America where we intend opening other outlets and selling our franchise.

Our Business Structure

Our intention of starting a comic book store business is to build a standard comic book store that will be a one-stop shop for all comic lovers which is why we will ensure that we put the right structures in place that will support the kind of growth that we have in mind while setting up the business.

We will ensure that we only hire people that are qualified, honest, customer centric and are ready to work to help us build a prosperous business that will benefit all the stake holders (the owners, workforce, and customers).

As a matter of fact, profit-sharing arrangement will be made available to all our management staff and it will be based on their performance for a period of five years or more especially when we start selling our franchise or running chains of comic book stores. In view of that, we have decided to hire qualified and competent hands to occupy the following positions;

  • Chief Executive Officer (Owner)
  • Store Manager
  • Merchandize Manager
  • Sales and Marketing Manager
  • Information Technologist
  • Accountants/Cashiers
  • Cleaners

5. Job Roles and Responsibilities

Chief Executive Officer – CEO (Owner):

  • Increases management’s effectiveness by recruiting, selecting, orienting, training, coaching, counseling, and disciplining managers; communicating values, strategies, and objectives; assigning accountabilities; planning, monitoring, and appraising job result
  • Creating, communicating, and implementing the organization’s vision, mission, and overall direction – i.e. leading the development and implementation of the overall organization’s strategy.
  • Responsible for fixing prices and signing business deals
  • Responsible for providing direction for the business
  • Responsible for signing checks and documents on behalf of the company
  • Evaluates the success of the organization

Store Manager:

  • Responsible for managing the daily activities in the comic book store
  • Ensure that the store facility is in tip top shape and conducive enough to welcome customers
  • Maintains office supplies by checking stocks; placing and expediting orders; evaluating new products.
  • Ensures operation of equipment by completing preventive maintenance requirements; calling for repairs.
  • Enhances department and organization reputation by accepting ownership for accomplishing new and different requests; exploring opportunities to add value to job accomplishments.
  • Defining job positions for recruitment and managing interviewing process
  • Carrying out induction for new team members
  • Responsible for training, evaluation and assessment of employees
  • Interfaces with third – party providers (vendors)
  • Control the sales floor inventory
  • Ensure that comic books and magazines et al are properly arranged
  • Supervise the entire sales staff and workforce
  • Handle any other duty as assigned by the CEO

Merchandize Manager

  • Manage vendor relations, market visits, and the ongoing education and development of the organizations’ buying teams
  • Help to ensure consistent high selling comics on our rack
  • Responsible for the purchase of comic books and stationeries for the organization
  • Responsible for planning sales, monitoring inventory, selecting the merchandise, and writing and pricing orders to vendors

Sales and Marketing Manager

  • Manage external research and coordinate all the internal sources of information to retain the organizations’ best customers and attract new ones
  • Model demographic information and analyze the volumes of transactional data generated by customer purchases
  • Identify, prioritize, and reach out to new partners, and business opportunities et al
  • Responsible for supervising implementation, advocate for the customer’s needs, and communicate with clients
  • Document all customer contact and information
  • Represent the company in strategic meetings
  • Help increase sales and growth for the company

Information Technologist

  • Manage the organization website
  • Handles ecommerce aspect of the business
  • Responsible for installing and maintenance of computer software and hardware for the organization
  • Manage logistics and supply chain software, Web servers, e-commerce software and POS (point of sale) systems
  • Manage the organization’s CCTV
  • Handles any other technological and IT related duties.

Accountant/Cashier

  • Responsible for preparing financial reports, budgets, and financial statements for the organization
  • Provides managements with financial analyses, development budgets, and accounting reports
  • Responsible for financial forecasting and risks analysis.
  • Performs cash management, general ledger accounting, and financial reporting
  • Responsible for developing and managing financial systems and policies
  • Responsible for administering payrolls
  • Ensuring compliance with taxation legislation
  • Handles all financial transactions for the organization
  • Serves as internal auditor for the organization

Cleaners:

  • Responsible for cleaning the store facility at all times
  • Ensure that toiletries and supplies don’t run out of stock
  • Cleans both the interior and exterior of the store facility
  • Handle any other duty as assigned by the store manager.

6. SWOT Analysis

Our intention of starting just one outlet of our comic book store in Little Rock – Arkansas is to test run the business for a period of 2 to 4 years to know if we will invest more money, expand the business and then open other stores in Arkansas and perhaps also sell franchise through the United States of America and Canada.

We are quite aware that there are several comic book stores all over Little Rock and even in the same location where we intend locating ours, which is why we are following the due process of establishing a business.

We know that if a proper SWOT analysis is conducted for our business, we will be able to position our business to maximize our strength, leverage on the opportunities that will be available to us, mitigate our risks and be equipped to confront our threats.

Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores employed the services of an expert HR and Business Analyst with bias in retailing to help us conduct a thorough SWOT analysis and to help us create a Business model that will help us achieve our business goals and objectives. This is the summary of the SWOT analysis that was conducted for Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores;

  • Strength:

Our location, the business model we will be operating on (one stop physical comic book store and online store), varieties of payment options, wide range of old and new comic books (including e-comic books) such as Superhero comic books, Science fiction comic books, Fantasy comic books, periodical single-issue floppy comics and comic magazines et al and our excellent customer service culture will definitely count as a strong strength for Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores.

  • Weakness:

A major weakness that may count against us is the fact that we are a new comic book store in Little Rock and we don’t have the financial capacity to engage in the kind of publicity that we intend giving the business.

  • Opportunities:

The fact that we are going to be operating our comic book store in one of the busiest school districts in Little Rock – Arkansas provides us with unlimited opportunities to sell our items to a large number of people. We have been able to conduct thorough feasibility studies and market survey and we know what our potential customers will be looking for when they visit our comic book store. We are well positioned to take on the opportunities that will come our way.

  • Threat:

The fact that revenue is anticipated to fall in 2020 is a major threat to our business. Aside from that, the recent outbreak of COVID-19 has forced industry operators to close down their stores temporarily, furthering the industry’s decline as consumers turn to online retailers.

Another threat that may likely confront us is the arrival of a new comic book store in same location where ours is located or even the arrival of a mall where comic books and stationery are retailed.

7. MARKET ANALYSIS

  • Market Trends

One notable trend is that industry operators will likely start opening shop online in order to keep demand steady as consumers turn to competitors to source their books. Even at that, supply chains could be disrupted if industry operators source their products from abroad.

Comic book and graphic novel sales fell 6.5 percent in 2017 from a 2016 high of $1.015 billion. While the “floppy” comic book is still clearly popular, the digital download is outpacing subscription sales but it still minuscule in comparison to print.

Although these trends are forecast to continue over the next 5 years, some comic book stores will benefit from increasing demand of new technologies, such as e-readers. Beyond every reasonable doubt, book store companies that can successfully flow with the trend and keep up with consumer and technology trends will definitely fare well in the coming years, while the continued decline in physical book sales will keep the overall industry in steady decline.

Another common trend is that the growth of comic specialty stores helped permit several waves of independently-produced comics, beginning in the mid-1970s.

Some early examples of these – generally referred to as “independent” or “alternative” comics – continued somewhat in the tradition of the earlier underground comics, while others, such as Star Reach, resembled the output of mainstream publishers in format and genre but were published by smaller artist-owned ventures or by a single artist.

8. Our Target Market

When it comes to selling items that are found in comic book stores, there is indeed a wide range of available customers. In essence, our target market can’t be restricted to just a group of people, but to all those who reside in the locations where we intend opening our comic book store.

One thing is certain, we will ensure that we only retail trendy and affordable items in our comic book store. We are in business to retail comic books and magazines et al to the following groups of people;

  • Students
  • Tourists
  • Lovers of comics

Our competitive advantage

Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores is launching a standard comic book store that will indeed become the preferred choice for residents of Little Rock – Arkansas and in every other location where our chains of comic book stores will be opened.

Our comic book store is located in a corner piece property on a busy road directly opposite one of the largest residential estates in Little Rock, and few meters away from a busy school district. We have enough parking space that can accommodate over 10 cars per time.

One thing is certain, we will ensure that we have a wide range of quality and affordable comic books and stationery, available in our store at all times. It will be difficult for customers to visit our store and not see the items that they are looking for.

Our highly experienced and qualified management, customer service culture, online store, various payment options and highly secured facility with enough packing space will also serve as a competitive advantage for us.

Lastly, all our employees will be well taken care of, and their welfare package will be among the best within our category in the industry. It will enable them to be more than willing to build the business with us and help deliver our set goals and achieve all our business aims and objectives.

9. SALES AND MARKETING STRATEGY

  • Sources of Income

Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores is established with the aim of maximizing profits in the book store industry and we are going to ensure that we do all it takes to sell a wide range of comic books and related products to a wide range of customers.

Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores will generate income by;

  • Retailing a wide range of old and new comic books (including e-comic books) such as Superhero comic books, Science fiction comic books, Fantasy comic books, periodical single-issue floppy comics and comic magazines et al. We will retail best-selling comic book series to date and it will include Japanese manga, American comic books, and European comics
  • Retailing of stationery and other related merchandise (pens, pencils, erasers, writing pads, notice boards, writing boards, crayons, water colors, plaster of Paris, stick – on, and cardboards et al)

10. Sales Forecast

It is important to state that our sales forecast is based on the data gathered during our feasibility studies, market survey and also some of the assumptions readily available on the field. One thing is common with book store business, the larger a comic book store (including varieties of quality items at affordable prices), the larger the number of customers that will patronize them.

Although we may not be as large as the biggest retailers in the United States, but we will ensure that within our capacity we make available a wide range of items (books and stationeries) et al from different publishers in our store. Below are the sales projections that we were able to come up with for the first three years of operations;

  • First Fiscal Year (FY1): $175,000
  • Second Fiscal Year (FY2): $250,000
  • Third Fiscal Year (FY3): $300,000

N.B: This projection was done based on what is obtainable in the industry and with the assumption that there won’t be any major economic meltdown and the arrival of a competitor in same location as ours within the period stated above. Please note that the above projection might be lower and at the same time it might be higher.

  • Marketing Strategy and Sales Strategy

Before choosing a location for Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores, we conducted a thorough market survey and feasibility studies in order for us to be able to penetrate the available market and become the preferred choice for residents of Little Rock – Arkansas. We have detailed information and data that we were able to utilize to structure our business to attract the number of customers we want to attract per time.

We hired experts who have good understanding of the book store/retailing industry to help us develop marketing strategies that will help us achieve our business goal of winning a larger percentage of the available market in Little Rock – Arkansas.

In summary, Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores will adopt the following sales and marketing approach to win customers over;

  • Introduce our comic book store by sending introductory letters to schools, residence, business owners and organizations in and around Little Rock – Arkansas
  • Open our comic book store with an open house party for people in the community
  • Advertise our business in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List our business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Leverage on the internet to promote our business
  • Engage in direct marketing
  • Encourage word of mouth marketing (referrals) from satisfied and loyal customers

11. Publicity and Advertising Strategy

Despite the fact that our comic book store is well located, we will still go ahead to intensify publicity for the business. We are going to explore all available means to promote our comic book store.

Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores has a long – term plan of opening chains of comic book stores in various locations all around the United States of America which is why we will deliberately build our brand to be well accepted in Little Rock – Arkansas before venturing out.

Here are the platforms we intend leveraging on to promote and advertise Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores;

  • Place adverts on both print (community – based newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community programs
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, et al to promote our brand
  • Install our Bill Boards on strategic locations all around Little Rock – Arkansas
  • Engage in roadshow from time to time in and around the location of comic book store
  • Distribute our fliers and handbills in target areas in the community where our comic book store is located
  • Position our Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where our comic book store is located.
  • Ensure that all our workers wear our branded shirts and all our vehicles are well branded with our logo et al.

12. Our Pricing Strategy

Pricing is one of the key factors that gives leverage to comic book stores, it is normal for consumers to go to comic book stores where they can get items at cheaper price which is why big players in the industry like attract loads of consumers.

We know we don’t have the capacity to compete with other bigger comic book stores, but we will ensure that the prices of all the items that are available in our comic book store are competitive with what is obtainable amongst comic book stores within our level and in our location.

  • Payment Options

The payment policy adopted by Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores is all inclusive because we are quite aware that different customers prefer different payment options as it suits them but at the same time, we will ensure that we abide by the financial rules and regulation of the United States of America.

Here are the payment options that Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores will make available to her clients;

  • Payment via bank transfer
  • Payment with cash
  • Payment via credit cards/Point of Sale Machines (POS Machines)
  • Payment via online bank transfer
  • Payment via check
  • Payment via mobile money transfer
  • Payment via bank draft

In view of the above, we have chosen banking platforms that will enable our clients make payment for the purchase of comic books and magazines and other items without any stress on their part. Our bank account numbers will be made available on our website and promotional materials.

13. Startup Expenditure (Budget)

These are the key areas where we will spend our startup capital;

  • The Total Fee for Registering the Business in Arkansas – $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits as well as the accounting services (software, P.O.S machines and other software) – $1,300.
  • Marketing promotion expenses for the grand opening of Pappy J & Sons Liquor Store in the amount of $3,500 and as well as flyer printing (2,000 flyers at $0.04 per copy) for the total amount of – $3,580.
  • The cost for hiring business consultant (fee include writing of business plan) – $2,500.
  • Insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation and property casualty) coverage at a total premium – $2,400.
  • The cost for payment of rent for 12 month at $1.76 per square feet in the total amount of $35,600.
  • The cost for shop remodeling (construction of racks and shelves) – $10,000.
  • Other start-up expenses including stationery ($500) and phone and utility deposits – ($2,500).
  • Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $30,000
  • The cost for Start-up inventory (stocking with a wide range of old and new comic books (including e-comic books) such as Superhero comic books, Science fiction comic books, Fantasy comic books, other comic books, periodical single-issue floppy comics and comic magazines et al from different manufacturing brands / publishers) – $30,000
  • Storage hardware (bins, rack, shelves, food case) – $3,720
  • The cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $3,750
  • The cost of purchase and installation of CCTVs – $3,000
  • The cost for the purchase of furniture and gadgets (Computers, Printers, Telephone, TVs, Sound System, tables and chairs et al) – $4,000.
  • The cost of Launching a Website – $600
  • Miscellaneous – $1,000

We would need an estimate of one hundred and fifty thousand USD ($150,000) to successfully set up a standard comic book store in Little Rock – Arkansas. Please note that this amount includes the salaries of all the staff for the first month of operation.

Generating Funds/Startup Capital for Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores

Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores is solely owned and financed by Mrs. Clara White – Osteen and her family. They do not intend to welcome any external business partners which is why he has decided to restrict the sourcing of the startup capital to 3 major sources.

These are the areas we intend generating our startup capital;

  • Generate part of the startup capital from personal savings
  • Source for soft loans from family members and friends
  • Apply for loan from the Bank

N.B: We have been able to generate about $50,000 (Personal savings $35,000 and soft loan from family members $15,000) and we are at the final stages of obtaining a loan facility of $100,000 from our bank. All the papers and documents have been signed and submitted, the loan has been approved and any moment from now our account will be credited with the amount.

14. Sustainability and Expansion Strategy

Part of the plans we have in place to sustain Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores is to ensure that we continue to make available a wide range of old and new comic books (including e-comic books), deliver quality services, improvise on how to do things faster and cheaper. We are not going to relent in providing conducive environment for our workers and also the required training that will help them deliver excellent services at all times.

From our findings, another factor that kills new businesses is financial leakages. In order to plug financial leakages, the management of Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores adopted the use of payment machine and accounting software to run the business.

We are quite aware that our customers are key component to the growth and survival of our business hence we are going to continuously engage them to give us ideas on how to serve them better and the products they want to see in our store. We will not waste time in adopting new technology, best practices and diversifying our services.

Little Joe™ Comic Book Stores will make sure that the right foundation, structures and processes are put in place to ensure that our staff welfare are well taken of. Our company’s corporate culture is designed to drive our business to greater heights and training and re – training of our workforce is at the top burner.

As a matter of fact, profit-sharing arrangement will be made available to all our management staff and it will be based on their performance for a period of three years or more. We know that if that is put in place, we will be able to successfully hire and retain the best hands we can get in the industry; they will be more committed to help us build the business of our dreams.

Check List/Milestone

  • Business Name Availability Check: Completed
  • Business Registration: Completed
  • Opening of Corporate Bank Accounts: Completed
  • Securing Point of Sales (POS) Machines: Completed
  • Opening Mobile Money Accounts: Completed
  • Opening Online Payment Platforms: Completed
  • Application and Obtaining Tax Payer’s ID: In Progress
  • Application for business license and permit: Completed
  • Purchase of Insurance for the Business: Completed
  • Leasing of facility and remodeling the comic book store: In Progress
  • Conducting Feasibility Studies: Completed
  • Generating capital from family members: Completed
  • Applications for Loan from the bank: In Progress
  • Writing of Business Plan: Completed
  • Drafting of Employee’s Handbook: Completed
  • Drafting of Contract Documents and other relevant Legal Documents: In Progress
  • Design of The Company’s Logo: Completed
  • Graphic Designs and Printing of Packaging and Promotional Materials: In Progress
  • Recruitment of employees: In Progress
  • Purchase of the needed furniture, racks, shelves, computers, electronic appliances, office appliances and CCTV: In progress
  • Creating Official Website for the Company: In Progress
  • Creating Awareness for the business both online and around the community: In Progress
  • Health and Safety and Fire Safety Arrangement (License): Secured
  • Compilation of our list of comics that will be available in our comic book store: Completed
  • Establishing business relationship with vendors – wholesale suppliers of a wide range of old and new comic books : In Progress
Joy Nwokoro