Small Business Brief


Brick and Mortar Dreams: How to Start a Retail Business

In the internet age, it seems that eCommerce is king. But, there is still a great demand for brick-and-mortar retail stores. No matter how popular internet retail becomes, there will always be a love for a small retail business.

So, if you wish to start a retail business we encourage you to do so. But how do you do this? Lucky for you, we’ve put together this detailed guide on how to start a retail business.

How to Start a Retail Business

The first step to starting a retail business is to always come up with an idea of what you wish to sell. Do your research on what products are in demand. Choose something that you would like to sell, but also has tremendous potential for profit.

Once you have settled on your products/category, you are ready to begin:

1. Create Your Retail Business Plan

You need an outline of your retail business ideas. Your retail business plan has to include the details of how your business will be run. This has to start with deciding on your business structure. For example, do you wish to run a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), or is an S-Corp a more suitable business structure?

You also want to come up with a catchy name for your business. Make sure that you register it right away so it isn’t taken by someone else. You need to decide how to receive initial funding for your store. You need to decide where you will purchase the retail space.

You will also need to decide on the decor for your retail business. For example, you may want to consider commercial frameless glass door hardware for the doors in your showroom.

Decide where you will purchase your products from. Create a shortlist of a few wholesalers where you can buy your products from.

2. Legal Obligations

Once the business plan has been established, you need to first complete your legal obligations. Once you have decided on your business structure, speak to an attorney to help you register your business. Your business attorney can also help you register the name and any trademarks.

You then should apply for any applicable permits or licenses that your jurisdiction may require. Your attorney is the best person to consult you on what legal obligations need to be fulfilled.

Legal obligations will also include opening a bank account for your business. Make sure you do your due diligence in researching the best bank for business accounts.

Your attorney can also help you register for business insurance. Later on, they can help with applying for worker’s compensation, health insurance,  and any other legal obligations you may have to adhere to.

3. Location, Location, Location

The location of your retail business will determine its potential. You want it to be in a location that the majority of people in your locale can easily access. You want to consider if it is easily accessible by public transportation.

If locals will need a car to drive to your store, is there ample parking nearby or on the premises? If there isn’t, then they might be frustrated in having to look for parking only to later walk to your store.

If there is a particular district in your locale that caters to a particular interest, you may wish to open your retail business there. For example, if your city has a fashion district, you want to open a clothing shop there. If there is an art district, you want to open your art gallery there. If you wish to open a souvenir shop, you want to open it in a tourist area.

4. Hire the Right Staff

Before your business opens its doors, you want to find the right staff. Your staff should have experience working in retail. If they are newcomers, make sure you invest the time to properly train them before your store opens. They should be knowledgeable about all of the products you sell. They should also be trained in customer service.

Your staff is often more valuable than the products you sell. A great salesperson can sell a product to a disinterested customer. A poor salesperson can deter an otherwise interested customer.

You should also encourage your staff to create a personalized experience for your customers. Encourage them to introduce themselves to customers and to greet them politely. For more senior salespersons, you can give them the authority to offer a deal on a product if the customer isn’t happy with the retail price.

5. Market Your Business

Before your business opens, make sure you properly market it to the public. You should start by spreading the opening date through word of mouth. You should also use social media to showcase images of your products and to remind your followers of the opening date.

Use services like Google My Business for Local SEO. This refers to providing the contact information and opening hours for your business so that it shows up on a search engine results page.

To encourage a large turnout, you can promote discounts for everyone who shows up on an opening day. Discounts can always remain a key strategy for promoting your business and attracting customers.

Once the business starts growing, you can also consider paying for classified ads or other forms of traditional advertising. You can make a video commercial and upload it to the internet. You can create an audio commercial and share it with radio and podcast networks.

As you build a network of satisfied customers, encourage them to promote your retail business. The best marketing will always come from testimonials from satisfied customers.

You also need to become the face of your business. Wherever you go, mention the store to whomever you meet. Hand out business cards with the address of the store. You should offhand be able to discuss some of the products you sell and how much they sell for. You may want to keep a few product images saved on your phone that you can show at any time.

Start Your Business

Now that you know how to start a retail business, you are ready to begin! We wish you the best of luck as you start your business.

Be sure to read more great content on business and entrepreneurship.