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How to Start a Retail Business – and Nail it!

by Sarah Kaminski 2 years ago in business
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If you're starting to look into opening up your very own store, the following are the three main things you'll want to pay attention to.

Getting started with your own retail business can seem intimidating. But the truth is, it really comes down to research and preparation. As with any entrepreneurial venture, retail requires a solid business plan, as well as in-depth knowledge of your niche. If you've got those two down, the rest is just details.

If you're starting to look into opening up your very own store, the following are the three main things you'll want to pay attention to.

Your planning phase

Whether you've got capital of your own, or are looking for investors, a solid business plan is always the place you'll want to start. The reason behind this is simple - this document will contain the guidelines you'll base your venture on. There are several elements you'll need to address during this step.

  1. Your idea. What will you be selling?
  2. Originality. How will your products differ from what's already on the market?
  3. Target audience. Who will be your buyers? How will you reach and appeal to them?
  4. Finances. How much money do you have to start? How much do you expect to earn? Do you need to find additional funding sources?
  5. Location. Where will your brick and mortar store be located? Is there any competition nearby? How will your location influence your sales?
  6. Legal and administrative matters. What will be your company's structure? Do you require special permits or licenses to operate in your area?

You'll find that answering these questions requires plenty of research, which is exactly what you should be spending your time doing. Having a firm understanding of your market, as well as of your competitors, will give you the base for starting a shop that can actually survive.

Invest in branding

Although the quality of your products and prices will have a huge influence on your bottom line, you should still not allow yourself to forget about branding. This is a process of building up an image of your retail store and using it to achieve a host of goals. The right choices can help you grab people's attention, while the wrong ones will easily cost you both time and money.

The thing you'll want to start from will be your brand name and logo. These will have a huge impact on how people will perceive your business and will play a crucial role in nurturing recognition and loyalty. Try to go with something simple and easy to remember, but which still represents your company's core values.

Once you've got the basics down, it'll be time to develop your voice. People don't always realize the importance of a good mission statement, even though it's likely to be the thing that gives you your unique edge. Think about everything that sets you apart from your competition. Is it your customer service? Maybe it's the way your products are made? Or is it your dedication to a cause? Whatever you land on, don't be afraid to make it known. People love a good backstory, and they'll be much more likely to shop from a brand that speaks to their own values.

Finally, you'll want to pay attention to the way you set up your store. Come up with a functional floor plan and create an atmosphere that will be inviting to your target audience. Look into the best practices for setting up your window display, and don't forget to mix things up regularly. This way, you'll be able to get people inside your store. Then, it will be up to your sales team to work their magic.

Don't forget about online

While your objective may be to start a retail business, you shouldn't forget about everything else you can do to maximize your sales. For a lot of entrepreneurs, enabling online shopping may just be the thing that sets them apart from their competition. Nowadays, e-commerce stores are relatively simple to set up, especially when using tools such as Shopify and Squarespace. They're easy to master and allow customers to purchase products from the comfort of their homes.

Additionally, to solidify your online presence, you should invest your efforts into social media marketing. Not only will it validate your business and help create social proof, but even more, it'll help widen your audience and raise brand awareness both locally and globally. Following this strategy with good SEO practices and well-developed PPC campaigns is sure to yield results, both in the short and in the long run.


As you can see, starting a retail business that has the potential to survive takes a lot of work. But it's far from impossible. If this is a career path you're interested in following, make sure you do thorough research, come up with an idea that's true to yourself, and surround yourself with a team of experienced and trustworthy people. This way, you'll have everything you need to nail it.


About the author

Sarah Kaminski

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