If you are thinking of opening up a retail store business, a lot of people are probably telling you to be careful. There is so much going against traditional retail, such as e-commerce, delivery services, and the no doubt long-lasting effects of Covid-19. However, there is still potential for brick and mortar retail. People still need to buy things, and people still like to shop local when they can.
If you see the same potential, then opening up a retail store can be an exciting prospect. However, it’s important that you go into the process with your eyes open. You can’t just put up your shingle and assume that everything is going to be fine. Most small businesses fail early on, so make sure that you take the necessary steps to prevent that from happening. Here are some things to consider before you open your first retail store.
Pick Out a Niche
When it comes to retail, finding a gap in the market and filing it is a great way to achieve success. Let’s say that you have a really good idea for some printed t-shirts. If you see that there doesn’t seem to be anyone else selling a similar product, then there’s a good chance it will find a market. If you do it really well, you can build that market over time. Then, when the time is right, you can expand to other niches if you think you can achieve similar success.
A niche doesn’t have to strictly be a gap in the market. It could be that you are just better at something than anyone else. Or, you have a way to provide more affordable goods than competitors, which will allow you to succeed. Since it’s your business, you can do whatever you want. However, one important thing is to try to choose something you will enjoy, if not have a passion for. That way, your job never has to feel like work.
Always Make a Business Plan
Before you start selling your wares, you need to put together a plan for how you will go about it. Not only does a good business plan outline your strategy for sales, but it also outlines your costs and challenges. There are always roadblocks with selling products. You should do a comprehensive market review to see if there is truly a need or a want for what you are selling. Or, if you’ve had a great idea for something, make sure that there aren’t already several stores in your area selling the same things.
With a business plan, you get a broad view of how your business fits into the market, and how you can carve out your place in it. If you have no real plan and no real data, you will have to be lucky to succeed. A solid business plan can also be used to lure investors and partners as well. If you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail, as the saying goes.
Opening your own business, no matter what kind, carries significant risk. There is the financial risk of potentially failing and losing your investment, of course. However, risks can come in other forms as well. For example, a customer could slip on a wet fall and get seriously injured. Or, someone could claim that you degafed them in public. You may also have an employee who has been injured while working for you.
If any of these scenarios were to happen, then you could find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit, or responsible to pay for medical fees. This can cost a huge amount of money. It could be enough to completely sink your business. However, with the right retail store insurance coverage, you will be protected against these costs. You can get general liability insurance, workers compensation, commercial property insurance, and much more. With the right insurance your business will be protected against these risks, and you won’t have to pay out of pocket should the unthinkable occur.
Find a Good Location
In real estate, location is everything, and the same goes for your retail store. You need a location that your customers will find easily, has parking available, and also will attract walk-up sales if possible. The worse your location is, the more you will have to spend on marketing and promotion. The fact is, your location could very well mean the difference between success and failure.
Some things to consider when choosing a location include your target market, how much storage space you need, and how much display space you need. If you get a location without enough storage, then you may need to rent out space off site.
Have an Online Presence
Whether you like it or not, your competition isn’t just other local stores. It’s also large conglomerates where consumers can find what they want with the click of a mouse or tap of their finger. Consumers have also become accustomed to being able to have things directly to their doors. You may not have the ability to deliver reliably, but you can certainly create an online store for your customers. That way they can get the convenience of shopping online with a local business instead of a faceless corporation. If you are able to deliver, then that’s even better. You can have a two-pronged approach to selling your products and providing value for your customers.
When you have a dream, there’s nothing that says you can’t make it a reality. However, if your dream is to open a retail store of some kind, you will undoubtedly face some unique challenges. Online shopping has never been more popular, and there’s no need to think that it will slow down anytime soon. However, there is still a market for local purchases and brick and mortar stores. You just have to take the time and necessary steps to be prepared. With preparation and a plan, you can find success no matter what challenges you face.