The decision to start a brick and mortar retail business shouldn’t be made lightly—it’s a big decision. If you’ve made this decision, congratulations! Here are some tips to help you get started building your business.
Do Your Research
Doing research is the first step in starting a business. Take a look at your skills and abilities, your hobbies and interests. Then do some research to find a market that has a need for your specific skill set. Of course, you don’t have to be an expert on your prospective product, but having a personal interest in it will help make your work life more enjoyable.
After you’ve done some research, you’ll be better able to decide on products, merchandise, and services that will be useful and valuable for your target audience.
Create a Business Plan
The next step in starting your brick and mortar retail business is creating a business plan—a road map for the future of your business. There are many reasons why a business plan is essential. For example, it will provide you direction, help you solidify your goals and plans, and help you secure funding. Some of the elements you should include in your business plan are 1) deciding on specific products you’ll be selling, 2) where you’ll get those products and supplies, 3) how much you’ll charge for them, 4) where you’ll work, and 5) how much you’ll work.
As you create a business plan, it’s easy to get carried away and attempt to take on the entire world. Remember to pace yourself and realistically evaluate how much time and energy you have to work on your business.
After you’ve made a specific business plan, you have a better idea of how much money you’ll actually need to start your business. Now it’s time to get financing. There are many options available to small businesses looking for loans through the government’s Small Business Administration.
In order to improve your chances of getting financing, you should prepare a pitch for your business, as well as a compelling reason that explains your need for the money. Your business plan can help you persuade lenders that you are responsible. Lenders are looking for certainty that they’ll be paid back, so preparing these items will help them be confident in you.
Find Real Estate
The next step in starting your brick and mortar retail business is finding the right location for your business. Location is critical to the success of your business. Talking with a commercial realtor can help you find a space that’s right for you.
In terms of a physical storefront, you can either lease or buy a space for your business. There are different pros and cons to each option. Getting a lease is more affordable and flexible, so if the space doesn’t work for you or if your business takes another direction, you’ll be able to change your mind in the future. Leasing a commercial space also comes with the benefit of a management company who can fix problems related to the space. On the other hand, buying a property is more expensive and less flexible. However, this option is desirable if you want complete control over your space, and if you plan on staying at that location for a long time.
Buy Key Equipment
After you know what you’re selling, how you’ll sell it, and where you’ll sell it, it’s time to figure out what equipment you need to run your business. One of the key pieces of equipment in which you should invest, regardless of what you’re selling, is a POS (point of sale) system. A POS system can increase profitability and improve customer service. It will help your operations run smoothly as well as help you gather critical data that can grow your business. This is one key piece of equipment which you should invest in early. As you buy the rest of your key equipment, make sure to stick to your budget.
Most states in the U.S. require retail stores to obtain a sales license and an EIN—Employer Identification Number—which is necessary for reporting taxes to the IRS. Make sure to check your state’s website to find the required certifications and licenses necessary to start a business where you live. Doing the work to get your licenses early on will save you headaches and stress later.
Create Your Support Team
If you’re the only one working on starting your business, you may want to consider hiring a staff. Although you may be able to manage the business on your own, things can get difficult and overwhelming after a while. You’ll eventually need to take some days off for one reason or another, and with any business there’s a lot to manage. Hiring a staff can help you delegate important responsibilities and relieve your stress.
Training your support team before opening your business is an important step to getting your store open. Make sure to research the laws surrounding employees in your state, especially on topics such as minimum wage, maximum hours, and benefits.
Advertising is one of the most important steps in starting a retail business. After you’ve done the initial groundwork to set up your business, it’s time to let people know and put yourself on the map! There are many simple and cost-effective ways to advertise. While word of mouth can be effective, you should also advertise on social media, print flyers, and advertise in the local newspaper. Additionally, you should start a website to increase your visibility on the internet. This can help your physical storefront as well as your digital presence.
The grand opening of your brick and mortar retail business will be a special day. By this point, you’ve done all the hard work. You’ve put in your blood, sweat, and tears, and now it’s time to open your doors. Consider planning an event for your grand opening. Invite people from the local community to come learn about and support your business. This is a great way to attract your first customers.
Consider applying these suggestions as you build your business and open your physical storefront. While building your business will require significant legwork, it will be worth it!
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