Starting a Market Venue
Starting A Retail Business
The 8 Factors That Determine Success
Starting a retail business
largely depends on your level of knowing the 8 factors that determine whether
you will prosper or not. The passion to start a retail store in a traditional
brick and mortar location remains very high.
Having started and grown to profitability and then
sold three traditional retail businesses, I know the key elements required to
make your retail business highly successful.
Starting a Retail
Business: 8 Elements of
- Make sure you are not under capitalized. Have sufficient
dollars to spend and in reserve to take care of any financial misjudgments you
make in the course of starting a retail business. Failure to have enough money
is the beginning of a slow death.
Visit every competitor within a 10-mile radius. Make
detailed notes on how each competitor’s store is laid out, the product lines
carried, the prices of expected high volume items, the décor and the age and
customer service actions of each employee you encounter. Note if the employees
are knowledgeable about the products, are they pro-active in approaching you,
do they engage you in small talk and is the store clean (restrooms too).
Identify your product distributors, build relationships
(take them to lunch), ask questions of them about your competitors, what are
the best selling products, what is their return policy, their policy on
providing signage, advertising co-op opportunities, what can they do for you
during your grand opening, etc.
- Obtain the demographic data that is within a 3-mile radius
of each potential store location you are considering. Are there the incomes to
support your effort? Have you done any person-on-the-street interviews to
determine if people are aware of any of your competitors?
- Scout your geographic area for potential store locations.
Always, always a high traffic location is worth paying more for. Please do not
look for the cheapest sq. ft. cost. Look always for the best location; the best
location with parking available!
For each potential high traffic location do your homework
on what it will cost you to renovate this space. Please do not approach
designing the décor of your business on the cheap. Most consumers are visually
attentive to the look and feel of a business. If they feel comfortable with the
atmosphere outside and inside your shop, you’re halfway to a sale.
Invest in technology to manage your inventory to prevent
out of stock positions. The same for your cash register, as it can be tied into
your inventory system. Find the best deal for yourself, as a credit card
merchant and for check cashing protection so you’re not being paid for
merchandise because a customer check bounced.
Lastly, please, please train every single employee prior
to them going on the sales floor. The key to profitability of your store will
likely depend on the quality/training of your employees. They are literally
your cash register, the people who will make the sales for you and put money
into your bank account.
At some point you may wish to have an online presence. remember there is a huge difference in just having a website vs. a "business" website.
With mobile search in nearly everyone's hand, phone books are dead.
Therefore, a solid business website is becoming more imperative to a
If your time is a factor, then they can build a winning site for you at a very reasonable fee.
Professional Retail Resources
Small Business Administration: Starting a Retail Business
National Retail Federation
Retail Merchants Association
Additional Small Business Ideas