All the most successful retail businesses started with an idea to share and sell products they believe in. Then it was cultivated to grow with hard work and passion. If you are one of those people who has an idea and are more than happy to act on it, we salute you. Because whether or not you are new to the selling industry, starting a retail business is no joke. It truly requires your attention, focus, and dedication. But do not fret, because you won’t have to figure it all out on your own. In this article, we will give you ten tips to help you open a store of your own.
10 Tips on How To Start A Retail Business
1. Find Your Foundation
One of the primary and most important steps that you have to take when starting a retail business is specifying what your niche is. You cannot open a store without knowing what you want to sell. You first need to establish what kind of retail business you want. Explore your options, think about what you would enjoy selling, and reflect on your skills and passion. You would do best to own a store that sells something that you have a certain expertise about. Do you like fashion? Maybe a clothing retail business is best for you. Or perhaps you have a knack for books? Maybe you have a natural talent and skill for handling food. Or perhaps shoes have always been a fascination of yours? Whatever it is, the important thing is that you can identify it. Starting a retail business that’s all about something you are interested in will help you more easily relate to and communicate with your niche market.
While some retail business owners tend to just risk it, we advise you to not be too rash. You cannot always just take an exam and guess the correct answers, you’re bound to make more mistakes that way. Thus, when starting a retail business of your own, you have to do some research. The internet and technology of today gives you a lot of sources of information you can use to educate yourself. Research about your chosen products and its target market. Research about the industry you are planning to enter. See if there is information about startup costs and other barriers to entry. Research about your existing competitors. Look for opportunities to take advantage of and list down ideas that might help you be more profitable in the future. Equip yourself with the right information to get your retail business up and running.
3. Lay Out Your Blueprints
It’s not very advisable to go into war without having a battle plan. Well, similarly, it’s not very smart to start a retail business without laying out a business plan. There are many templates and guides that can help you accomplish this. It doesn’t need to be so formal and comprehensive, it just needs to be helpful and informative to you. This will help you document all the information you need. This should include what products you are going to sell, how you plan on doing it, which customer segment you are targeting, how you will handle customer service, which suppliers and other service providers you plan on partnering with, how you plan on financing your retail business, and other important details. Take note that this is not a static document, it can keep changing as you are starting a retail business of your own.
Giving your name to a new acquaintance is always a good way to start a conversation going. It’s like giving them a way to enter your world. Likewise, when you open a store, think about a good name to put on the banner out on the storefront. Starting a retail business, or any business , will require you to think about a brand name your products will be known for. This is the name that you would put on your packaging and your tags, so it has to be a great one. However, a good name for your business doesn't just mean a witty and memorable brand name. It also means building a good brand image - brand identity. Starting a retail business would not be easy, but if you start strong, you build a good rapport with your first customers; you create for yourself a good reputation. But this won’t come easy. As an extra tip, we suggest that you put a lot of effort into your visual identity and your customer service system and policies early on. First impressions last.
5. Build a Strong Team
Suppliers and vendors aren’t the only groups of people that you have to work with. Your retail business would also need more than you to handle everything. While it is understandable that you might not have a budget for employees immediately after you start a retail business of your own, remember that it might be worth investing extra for even just a virtual assistant or one person to man the storefront or the storage. A team is always a good thing to invest in. Because if you build an already strong team going into the industry, you are gearing yourself up for success. So whether you only hire a couple of people or you already build a big team, it is important that you establish both leadership and friendship. Similar to your suppliers and, especially customers, you also would want your team to love and adore you. It’s much easier and fun to work towards success with good people surrounding you.
Don’t just build relationships with your vendors and suppliers - build friendships. These groups of people would be your partner for as long as you want to own a store. It is vital that you pick them according to what works best for both of you. Be critical of the quality and prices of what they’re offering, but also be sensitive not to embarrass or harass them when making a deal or purchase. You wouldn’t want to offend them because your retail business might get a poor reputation with the entire network. Don’t expect negotiations to be easy and to go with no disagreements. Try to compose yourself to handle it all with grace. Remember that loyalty is a two-way street, so don’t be too reluctant to compromise with them. Be grown-ups and have a mature conversation about what the both of you need, and how you can work together to make it happen. That’s what friends do after all - help each other to succeed.
7. Find Your Home
Whether you want to establish a retail business with a physical store or an online store, it is good that you find where your location is early on. A vital step when you open a store is to know where that store is. If you are leaning more towards an online store, you have to be at the forefront of the domain name you want for your retail business. Website builders, like Strikingly, can help you with that. In addition, we have to remind you that having an online store still requires you to have a physical location. It doesn’t have to be a brick-and-mortar store type of location, but somewhere that you can put your stock in. No matter what kind of retail business that you subject yourself to, you would have to have some place for storage and for when your couriers pick up the products for delivery. Finding a home for your retail business certainly won’t be easy, but finding the right one would definitely be worth the while.
When starting a retail business, keep in mind that not every day is a good and sunny day. There will always be gloomy and rainy days. And it pays to always be prepared on those gloomy days. Thus, besides having your finances arranged and set accordingly early in the business, we also recommend that you have a contingency fund ready. Whether it’s safely kept in a piggy bank or a trusted safe, it is always better to be ready. You never know when something disastrous can strike your retail business so it’s better to be on the safe side. At least, when it comes to it, you wouldn’t be totally crippled by it because you have some funds to get your business up and running. Finances are a big part of every business, so make sure that you have them in order as you start a retail business of your own.
9. Identify POS System to Help You Earn
A POS or Point-of-Sale system refers to how you will accept payments. While it's typical to just want cash from your retail business’ customers, it will certainly be more beneficial if you offer other methods of payment that your customers can choose from. There are also differences between the components of a POS system for your brick and mortar store and your online store that you should look into. When you open a store that actually has a physical location, you would need a counter with cash drawers, barcode scanners, receipt printers, credit card terminals, etc. Conversely, when you choose an online store, you would have to set up POS systems that allow for online payments and you would have to set up online banking and online wallets for you to accept payments. Strikingly can help you set up different payment methods - from Offline payments, credit card payments, AliPay, Square, Stripe, Google Pay, Paypal, etc., for your online store. You can even set what currency you accept.
Image taken from Strikingly Product
10. Share the Good News
Of course, good news needs to be shared - products have to be promoted. Thus, it is only expected that one of the many things that will keep you busy when you open a store is its marketing and promotions. As a retail business owner, find innovative ways on how to spread the name of your business to the markets. You can use different social media platforms to help you market your products. Social media is a powerful tool to reach more customers and to connect with them. You can take advantage of the popularity of influencer marketing and partner with certain influencers that can help you promote your retail business. Before you even open a store, you should have some ideas at the back of your mind. And once you actually own a store, work hard to execute these ideas.
Besides social media, you can also build your own website. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store already, or not, a website is an excellent marketing tool to use for your retail business. It is a more permanent and informative online home for your business. And with website builders like Strikingly, you can even integrate an online store on your website. So it can be an additional way that people can order from your store. Let Strikingly help your retail business be planted and be brought to full bloom. Sign up now!