Growing Strong: How to Start and Expand Your Musical Instrument Store

The beauty of running a business you’re passionate about is that you get to share your passion with the people around you. It’s an awfully inspired process, and making it into a source of income can be a dream come true. If music is what you love, starting a musical instrument store may seem like a great idea.

But, as with everything good in life, there are sure to be a few obstacles along the way. When starting your own business, it’s important that you’re aware of any challenges you may have to face. With the increasing popularity of online shopping, most consumers are turning towards large retailers when purchasing an instrument. Furthermore, musical instrument stores can seem intimidating to newbies, who might shy away from visiting or even just asking for advice.

So, in order for your business and investment to succeed, you need to know exactly how to start and expand your musical instrument store. The following are a few tips you should consider.

Who do you want to be?

Before you start investing in inventory, working on your floor plan, and hiring, you should consider the single most important question relating to your business: what will your store stand for? Do you wish to build a place where everyone will be welcome to browse and even try out the instruments they like? Do you want to be the authority on all the technical aspects of the different products you offer? Are you aiming to create a more family-friendly space that will welcome curious kids?

It’s important that you know what you want from the get-go. If you have a clear vision for your business, it will be easier not just to structure it in its entirety, but also to plan your promotional strategies to bring in the right customers.

Being part of a community

The number of people who dedicate their life to music is quite limited. For musical instrument stores, this is an important factor to take into consideration. If your customer base is limited from the start, you will want to do everything in your power to attract as many people as possible. Opening up your doors to amateurs and enthusiasts is a great way to do this. And it doesn’t have to be difficult – you can do it simply by organizing fun or educational events right inside your store.

Why not encourage lectures, small-scale concerts, or even rent out space inside your store for local musicians to rehearse in? You could also organize Q&As with local artists who are as enthusiastic as you are about spreading the love of music.

Hiring a great sales team

The number one thing people will shy away from are situations in which they might be judged. What does this mean for you, a musical instrument store owner? Well, it means that you should be very careful about how you hire your sales team.

Although having someone who is an expert on a certain instrument, or a person capable of memorizing all the technical details a customer could ask about, it’s more important that you look for employees who are relatable, encouraging, and have an infectious passion towards making music. With such a person on your team, you’ll be far more likely to be making profits, than if you hire a local guitar god with a stuck-up attitude and unlikeable manner of communicating. 

Don’t be afraid of expansion

Once your business has become steady, it’s important that you are open to growth opportunities. Expanding your brick and mortar store, investing in more inventory, or even including a couple of novelty items in your offer can have a huge positive impact on your bottom line.

Although these expansions do require more significant investments, it’s actually not that difficult to secure funding. The key here is to have a solid expansion plan and to be able to back up your predictions with previous successes.

Don’t forget about your online presence

Although the idea of a physical musical instrument store is what led you to where you are, it’s still important that you create and maintain a strong online presence. After all, chances are your customers are going to find you by doing a search on their mobile phones.

A professional-looking website, ideally one that also has an online shop, as well as social media accounts that are regularly updated, can be a great driving force for bringing in new customers. When used to their maximum potential, these digital spaces can be one of your best advertising techniques – and can even be completely free!

Offer added value

People love free stuff. But even more, they love experiences. This is why you should start thinking about what it is that you can offer, that will awaken your potential buyers’ curiosity. Whether you opt for teaching a free guitar workshop once a week or start a blog for aspiring musicians, you’ll find that creating original content is an excellent way of strengthening your existing business model.

The best thing about it is that you can do it yourself. Plus, there are absolutely no constraints, thanks to the huge number of mediums you can use nowadays. From the written word to podcasts to video, you can choose to express yourself in whichever way you want.


Starting and running a successful musical instrument store can be challenging. After all, with strong competition from online retailers, you may feel like it’s an impossible task to undertake. Nonetheless, this type of business can also be a source of immense pleasure and even profits. That is, as long as you have a solid plan, a few creative marketing strategies, and great staff backing you up.