4 Things people won’t tell you about starting a retail business

Many people dream of owning their own retail business, and if you are going to make a move onto the high street, congratulations, we hope everything goes well for you. There is a lot for you to think about, though you can easily source a lot of information online, including our startup checklist, which will prepare you before you open your doors to the public. You can also gather a lot of well-seasoned advice from other retailers, who may be able to give you a few pointers, provided you don’t stand in direct competition to them. However, as our heading suggested, we bet there a few things people won’t tell you when you’re just starting out. These are just four of them.

1. If you build it, they will come (eventually)

‘Field of Dreams’ was a great movie, but don’t be swayed by the fantastical philosophy (that we misquoted) spun throughout the film. Just because you have opened up a retail business, you can’t expect people to flood through the doors on the day of opening. You still have to put the work in, including working on your marketing, and setting up your premises, so it attracts the eye of any would-be customer strolling past your shop window. Your dreams will become a reality, only if you make a concerted push to get your business noticed.

2. People will assume you are rich

Many people take out a huge loan to open a retail business, and this probably applies to you as well. Unless, of course, you are rich, in which case, can you offer us a loan? Only joking, but you will be inundated with people who expect something from you. Customers will moan about the high prices of your retail stock, even though you are only trying to make ends meet by acquiring a little profit. Charities will come to you asking for donations, and while you should consider this to raise your profile, you still need to give away your hard-earned money wisely. One day you may become rich, but that will only be when you have finally paid off the loan and managed your budget accordingly to reap the rewards you have been wanting.

3. The customer is mostly right

The customer isn’t always right, but sometimes they are, so this is something you need to get to grips with. As with any business, you need to keep up with trends, including the spending habits and tastes of Joe Public which will alter on an irregular basis. Therefore, you need to figure out what the customer wants to ensure you stay open in business. Unless you pride yourself on the quirky, collectable items you sell in store (and there is nothing wrong with that), you may still need to shake up your stock if your store is dependant on the latest fashion, technology, etc. Payment methods are another biggie, so you need to keep up with the industry, by letting the customer use Apple Pay, as an example. You can gauge what the latest customer trends are by talking to the people who frequent your store, using paper or online surveys, and keeping an eye on industry information through relevant magazines and websites.

4. Disasters will happen

No matter how well planned you think you are, something will go wrong, eventually. You can prepare for some of these, including buying emergency LED lights in the event of a power failure. You can also have the ‘house made of stone’ mentality when weather-proofing your premises. Being insured is also vital, including property, liability, and disaster coverage. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so while we wouldn’t wish any disaster to befall you, there is always the chance of something going wrong. Consider them them teachable moments!

We wish you good luck for your future in business. Thanks for reading!

*This is a contributed post

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