Retail Blog

Planning on opening a retail business?

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The idea of being your own boss always sounds like a good idea. You always had that entrepreneurial spirit within you. Owning a business can be a fun and rewarding venture. To see your dream a reality, there has to be considerable time and energy invested. In order to be successful at running a retail business, you have to be thoroughly prepared. The beginning stages of starting a business require a business plan. A well-prepared business plan includes strategies on addressing marketing research, finding financial support, hiring employees and developing brand awareness. Here is a guide to starting and running a successful business.


1. Business Structure
Determine how many people will be apart of this business venture. Now is the time to decide if you want to own and run the business alone (sole proprietor). Perhaps you want to go in to the business with a partner (partnership). Other business structures include limited liability companies (LLC) and corporations. Determining your business structure is important for legal and tax purposes.

2. Business Model
Several options are available to choose from when deciding a retail model. You can choose to run a traditional brick and motor store. Take your business online and have an e-commerce store. Other options include buying in to a company franchise business. You can also have a non-retail store, where individuals make door-to-door sales.

3. Business Location
Finding the perfect location is key. It is ideal to get this correct on the first try. Your business should be in a prime location where your customers are. Understanding your key demographic is important at this point. An excellent location is where you are located among stores that are relevant to what you’re selling. You don’t want to own a maternity store along a strip of bike shops in the suburbs.

4. Business Finance
Start up cost for a business can vary. The fees will typically be less if you are running an online business. Capital will be needed in order to support the business cost for materials, inventory, labor, and overhead. A considerable amount of money will go into marketing and advertising. Finding financial support can be a challenge. There are multiple options to finding capital to start a business. If you are eligible, you can receive a business loan from the bank. However, if a bank loan is not an option, consider government resources such as the Small Business Administration.

5. Business Regulatory Requirements
Before you can operate a business, you need to make sure that you have proper licensing and certifications. For tax purposes, an employer identification number (EIN) is needed. Business entities are identified within the federal government with this number. You can apply for an employer identification number with the IRS or online.

6. Doing Business As
Now is the time to identify your business name with the government. If you opt not to use your real name or your partners, then you would need a business name. Most states require you to register for a DBA. Doing Business As is the name that you are doing business under. For business purposes, your business name will be on all legal documents including taxes and permits. Your business entity determines how you will be taxed. In addition, you have to pay state and local taxes that include: Employment tax, workers compensation and unemployment insurance.

7. Hire Employees
If your budget permits employees, there are proper steps that you need to follow in order to stay in good standing with the government. Keep a record of employee tax information. Give new hires proper tax forms including a W4 to complete. Make sure proper employee forms and tax information is sent to the government. Be informed of any additional state taxes you might have to pay.

8. Research your Competition
Have a full understanding about your competition. Analyze what they are doing in order to be successful. Don’t copy the competition try to find something they are missing and incorporate that in to your business. Brand differentiation is key to a business success. Customers can see that you have something special to offer, giving your business the competitive advantage.

9. Business Plan
This is the road map outlining the mechanics of your business. The plan acts as a guide for both the employer and their employees. The business plan states your mission statement, what you plan to sell, and to whom is your customer. A marketing strategy is also in place

10. Advertising and Marketing
Increasing brand awareness is key to running a successful retail business. If people don’t know about your business, how will you make a profit? Promote your business, using flyers, coupons, commercials, press, and word of mouth. Social media is a key marketing strategy in today business. This is a sure way to interact with your audience, while bringing awareness to your brand.

11. Retain Customers
It is harder to retain current customers, so you have to come up with strategic methods. Strong customer relationship management is a component in every successful business. Implementing a strong CRM strategy will keep customers coming back, and in return they will attract new customers. CRM can be achieved by implementing incentive programs, such as rewards points. Keep customers informed on up and coming sales promotions via e-mail. Constant interaction with customers on your social networking sites will help.

12. Employees
A successful business has quality employees that help to maintain the business mission. Employees are on the front line of the business. They provide excellent customer service and product knowledge to customers. Excellent employees adhere to the company dress code, and are professional. Your staff is a true representation of your brand image.

A successful retail business requires a lot of time and dedication. Success does not happen overnight. It is important to educate yourself on the art of business,and customer relations. Be informed about the market you plan to enter, and the competition. Successful business owners are natural leaders that utilize all their resources accordingly.

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