Successfully Starting a New Retail Biz of Your Very Own
by Rueben Marley
Starting a new retail business can be a dream come true for many; and it can also become a real challenge, if the proper steps are not taken to ensure a smooth take off, and efforts made early in the game to increase all likelihood that the initial concept develops into an end result that works for everyone. Planning is key, and even the most ambitious goals can be reduced to a series of processes, if time is taken beforehand to figure things out prior to jumping into a project. Here are some guidelines that will help anyone with their first-time retail mission, with a set of points to consider, in easy steps:
Is the Law on Your Side?
Believe it or not, the law is not always there to slow things down or make things difficult for entrepreneurs. In fact, business environments that have a clear-cut and definable set of laws are good, since they make things easy to identify and break down, in the event of a dispute or if your company (hopefully!) takes off, and needs to become larger and more robust in its scope and scale. Hiring a lawyer is not always necessary, but this is an area you don’t want to be too frugal about, since it can save a ton of headaches later when things get sticky.
Get a Handle on the System for Yourself
You don’t have time to become a full-blown lawyer for yourself, and that’s okay. Most of us don’t have the time either, and learning the law can be a painstakingly tedious process to get into. However, a lot of mistakes have happened for many would-be entrepreneurial success stories, simply because the stakeholders in the venture didn’t know anything about the law for themselves! Knowledge is power, and even though you’ve consulted a good lawyer (see above) already, it’s never a bad idea to hold a few of those cards in your own hand.
What’s on the Menu?
Since you’re going to be selling something, you should probably know what the product is that you’re offering your customers. In fact, some of the most successful small ventures are based upon products that the owner is passionate about, and it helps out when your customers recognize that you’ve got a deep understanding of their needs, and perhaps even expert knowledge on the product and its characteristics. If you don’t know what to sell, though; no problem. Sometimes a good business strategy will apply to a basket of product categories, and you can simply pick the one that appeals to you after you’ve laid the groundwork for your company.
The Name Game
What’s in a name? Well, actually a lot. A bad name for your new company can have a repelling effect on prospects, and a good one could practically become a household word before too long, if it catches on. Look for unique and unusual, without getting too esoteric and strange. A unique name will come in especially handy for SEO and Internet marketing purposes, since “Discount Shoes” has nearly zero power compared to a very effective search-friendly name like “Zappo’s.” Go ahead and Google it, and you’ll see what I mean when you count the results on the return page.
Get Hooked Up with Digits
You’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to begin operating as a real business, but your lawyer should have already told you that. It usually costs little to nothing to get one, and it registers your company with the Federal Government, so you can have a tax ID number to supply vendors and other businesses with. Most of them, and I do mean like 90% of them won’t even do business with you if you don’t have this number.
There’s No Place Like Home
This is a very important and costly part of the process, if you’re looking to set up a store in a retail space that rents on a monthly or annual basis. Typically, the price is pretty steep for a prime location, an this can easily escalate to nearly ridiculous figures if you’re in a major tourist city or international hub. Before dropping cash on a 40×40 space that costs more every month than your car did when you bought it, consider the power of doing business online, from the comfort of your own home.
Set Some Rules
Store policies are going to make or break you, and now’s the time to figure out what is acceptable and unacceptable for your business. If you want to rule with an iron fist and refuse all returns or damaged shipments, then it might make you less attractive in the face of competitors who are far more forgiving. On the other hand, being too nice will cost you just as much, if you’re constantly bending over backwards to pay for other people’s mistakes and perhaps even neglecting new customers to manage abusive old ones that are taking you for a ride.
The Big Picture, in Words
Time for a business plan. If this sounds like a scary or impossible mission for you, hire a writer who specializes in this area. Like a good lawyer, the person who drafts your business plan will be able to make your idea sound like a good one – especially if it is a good one – and will benefit you greatly if you’re simply looking for some startup capital from a bank or investors. A badly-written business plan will only serve as a loud and clear warning to others that your poorly-illustrated brilliant concept, is one best avoided.
Now you’re ready to start looking for wholesale products and other services that fit your company and the goals you’ve set forth! A good wholesaler will become your best friend, since getting the best price on goods from them will mean a bigger and better profit margin for you when you turn them around to your customers. In fact, the better the price is for you, the better the price is for them… and that means they will become loyal REPEAT customers before too long, when they see your commitment to pass the savings along.
Become a Big Mouth
If you’re shy about promoting yourself or your business, then the truth is maybe this is the time for a personality makeover. Marketing and advertising are the only things that will put you in the minds of your customers, and with the level of competition these days; it’s a must-do, not an option. Fear not, however, there are tremendous resources like www.TopTenWholesale.com at your fingertips, and they are all waiting to help you out with getting the products you need at prices you’ll love.
Rueben Marley is the Chief Correspondent in Asia for JP Communications, Inc., and a featured writer on TopTenWholesale.com’s Newsroom. You can also find out more about him by visiting his Linkedin profile.