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How to set up a retail business

I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to add an additional income stream and one of the methods I’ve been researching on is how to set up a retail business. I’m sure there are others here who are also planning to do the same… but what does it really take to make it in this industry?

Below is a brief guide to starting a successful retail business in 2020.

Physical or online?

First, you need to decide whether to start a physical store or an online store. Both physical stores and online stores have their benefits.

With a physical store, you have less competition and more chance of people stumbling across you. With an online store, start-up costs are a lot cheaper and you have the option of selling to customers across the world.    

If you do choose to start a physical store, you’ll need to find the right location and you’ll likely need to look into funding options for renovating it and staffing it. Many people take out loans or seek help from local investors.

If you choose to set up an online store, you’ll need to pour time and energy into building a website and marketing it. You’ll also need to find a reliable courier service to deliver your products.

Invest in the right technology

Possessing the right technology will help your retail business to run smoothly.

When setting up a physical store, it’s worth investing in a good POS system. You’ll need to decide whether to accept credit card (there’s more information available here on card reader technology). Accounting software and a decent burglar alarm could be other essential pieces of technology to look into.

When running an online store, you’ll need to invest in the right eCommerce platform that allows you to manage orders on your site. Your money is more likely to be spent on software than hardware.

Have a clear brand identity

To distinguish yourself from other retail businesses, you need a clear brand identity.

Decide what your brand message is and then start considering brand names, colour schemes, logos and other elements of your branding.

Research into your competitors to work out how you can stand out from them. A marketing company may be able to help you establish your brand identity.

Do your market research

Market research is essential for a) finding the right products and b) identifying your target consumers.

If your products are good quality and reputable, you’ll find it easier to sell them.

Once you know who your target consumer is, you can then work out the best marketing strategies in order to connect with them.

There are many forms of market research including consumer surveys, focus groups, analytics, competitor research, product testing and customer feedback.  

Get legal and financial help

To run a successful retail business you also need to be sure that you’re meeting all the legal requirements and keeping clear financial records.

It could be worth hiring a solicitor to help you with legal stuff.

An accountant meanwhile can help you with bookkeeping. (Or, you can invest on services offered by Taxumo, which is something I subscribed to that made filing taxes so much easier for me!)

You can handle these parts of your business yourself, but it could mean doing a lot of swotting up – most business owners find it easier to outsource professional help.

And believe me, in the long run, you will want to delegate things you don’t have time to do, don’t know how to do, and don’t want to do!

Are you planning to set up your own retail store as well? Share your stories and questions in the comments section below!


Kimberley Reyes

Kimberley Reyes is an Online Business Manager for entrepreneurs who are ready to get off the hamster wheel and step into their CEO shoes. On top of helping her clients get organized and scale their businesses, she is also happily busy raising her five kids with her firefighter husband.

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