During the holiday season, things appear to be looking good for opening a retail store. This year, about 190 million Americans shopped from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. According to the National Retail Federation, this represents a 14 percent increase over last year’s sales figures. Moreover, the majority of retailers are small businesses. So, if you do it right, the future looks bright for getting a piece of the retail pie. Of course, 20 percent of businesses fail during the first year of operation. So, by taking the correct measures, you will be able to distinguish between success and failure.
Checklist for Opening a Retail Store
Have you ever fantasized about running your own business? Check out our checklist for opening a retail store.
Complete your homework
Do you have a fantastic business idea? You can have the best concept in the world, but if you don’t have a market to sell to, you’re off to a bad start. Learn everything you can about your target customers, including their age, location, buying habits, and more. The government is a fantastic source of data. For crucial figures, go to the Census Bureau’s data page, and for surveys and trends, go to Pew Research. If you have a retail concept in mind for a certain location, contact the city’s business and economic development office to learn more about the local demographics.
Make a Business strategy
Of course, you’ve heard stories about successful entrepreneurs whose business strategies were nothing more than scribbles on a notepad, but those stories don’t apply to the majority of entrepreneurs looking to launch a new retail concept. As a result, the next item on how to create and opening a retail store checklist should be a business strategy. A business plan not only clarifies how your company will be formed, but can also assist you in making better financial and management decisions.
Furthermore, if you require investors or bank loans, the business plan will be the first document requested. A business plan is a living document that should be revised and updated as your company grows. The executive overview, market research, financial predictions, staff demands, and a detailed description of the products sold at your retail store are all included.
The Bolts and Nuts
It may not be as exciting as preparing your grand opening, but laying a solid foundation will help your retail business survive while others fail due to bad planning. It’s critical to register your business name in the state where you plan to operate, file papers for incorporation (if that’s the business entity you choose), obtain all necessary licenses and permits for doing business in your city, and obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN, or Federal Tax Identification Number) from the Internal Revenue Service.
You can acquire products for resale without paying sales tax if you have a resale license. Following that, you must purchase business insurance for your retail store. Shoplifting and employee theft are obvious problems for businesses, but there’s also the possibility of consumers being injured in your establishment. In the end, be sure you’re covered. Once you’ve completed your how-to open retail store checklist, you’ll be ready to meet with loan officers or investors to assist you to acquire startup funding.
Choose and setup a location
Before we get into detail about location alternatives, you should be aware that owning any type of business nowadays necessitates the creation of a website. A website will aid in the marketing of your brand, the development of your reputation, and the ability for clients to locate you. In terms of a physical site, look for premises near your target market – a commercial realtor can help you find something that fits your demands and is within your budget.
You’ll need a variety of equipment and fixtures, such as signage, display cases, a point-of-sale system, security, and more, to make your retail business professional and functioning. If you’re not sure, hire a commercial interior designer who specializes in retail layout to create the proper atmosphere — and flow — in your business.
Marketing and Sales
Fortunately, today’s numerous sales and marketing technologies make publicizing your new retail venture easier than ever. That isn’t to say that your task is done. Before you even have a big opening, you must create a buzz in order to attract customers to your establishment. Social media, such as Yelp, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, should be a big part of your marketing approach.
Also, contact the business development agency in your city. Find out if there are any local events where you can promote your company. Sponsor a charity drive or volunteer at a city event to get active in your town. Plan a grand opening and donate free merchandise or a percentage of sales to a local charity. As a result, you become well-known in your neighborhood. More local clients will desire to do business with you and become loyal customers as a result.