Starting something new is never easy, especially when it comes to business. There is always the risk of failure, and that makes the whole process very frightening. However, if you think everything through and prepare well, you can reduce that risk dramatically. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind if you’re thinking about opening a retail store.
1. Money to invest
The very first thing you need in order to open any kind of business is the initial investment. You need enough money to cover for all the initial expenses and to make sure your business runs smoothly until the point it starts to make a profit. Of course, if you don’t have the money yourself, you can still get some through other means. You could get a loan from a friend or a bank, or you can find investors to support your idea. In any case, before you start your business, make sure you have enough money to support it through its initial stages.
2. Commercial lease and utilities
When it comes to the lease, be aware that you’ll need to pay the security deposit and the rent for at least 6 months in advance. The rent is usually calculated on a per-square-foot basis, so the amount of money you’ll have to pay depends on the size of the space you need. Also, the cost varies in accordance with the location, so the better the location, the greater the cost. Of course, the location is one of the most important aspects of a retail business, so this is not something you can afford to save on. You’ll need to think of the utilities as well, and if the place hasn’t been in use for a long time, you may need to make arrangements to start the accounts again.
3. A business plan
You don’t need an official business plan in most cases, but you do need a plan on how to run your business. This includes all the important questions about the target market, the type and scope of products you offer, the things that set you apart from the competition, and so on. Define your goals and your overall marketing strategy. Set a reasonable deadline for your business to become profitable, or to simply break even. Your business plan should be a kind of a map by which you direct your business. However, it needs to be flexible as well, because you can never predict everything that can happen.
4. A name
The name is the face of a business, so choose carefully. Depending on the target audience, you can choose something light and funny, or something serious and to the point. Once you come up with the name, check if it’s already in use. If it’s not, hurry up and register it before somebody else does. This is important because you really don’t want your business to kick off only to find yourself accused of infringing on somebody’s intellectual property.
For every kind of business, you need permits and licenses. There is no universal list because the paperwork depends on the laws in your state and the type of business you run. Even though this part may be a pain it the neck, it’s not something you can avoid – if you don’t comply with the laws and regulations, you’re committing a criminal offense. The fines for those kinds of transgressions are high enough to shut down businesses, so don’t risk it.
For different kinds of retail stores, you’ll need different equipment. However, there are certain things that are pretty universal. For example, whichever kind of goods you deal with, it’s safe to say you’ll need a cash register, for obvious reasons. Another good idea is getting some high-quality conveyors because they make it so much easier to move heavy things around – including the merchandise that arrives. In addition to that, you’ll need stuff like a pricing gun, unless you want to write every price by hand, and shelves, bags, and so on. Obviously, you’ll need a bunch of other things as well – but they largely depend on the type of store you want to open.
While you may not need any help in the beginning, you’ll need to hire people as soon as your business takes off. Make sure you think it through beforehand, though. For example, see which the busiest time during the day is, and which days normally have the most traffic. When you have the necessary info, you can decide whether you need to advertise for a full-time or part-time job and whether you need somebody all week long, or just for a few days a week. Hire a person that seems reliable and trustworthy, and make sure it’s somebody who you’ll get along with just fine, in order to prevent any future disagreements.
Don’t assume your business will generate profits just because it exists. You need to attract people, and you need a good marketing strategy to do so. Make sure you adapt the strategy to your target market. Don’t neglect social media – it’s probably the best way to advertise these days.
There are many things to think about when starting your own business. Make sure you plan well, and your store is bound to succeed.