How to Start a Retail Business from Scratch
Starting a business is an exciting and nerve-wracking new adventure. It’s everyone’s dream to quit their day job and start working for themselves. Who wouldn’t want to be their own boss and in control of their own income?
Although it seems like the easiest path to wealth, the fact of the matter is that starting a business takes a lot of effort, and you might have to wait quite a bit to reap the rewards. However, with a lot of hard work and dedication, you’re sure to become the newest entrepreneur on the block in no time.
You might not be sure about how to actually start the business. And you should always make sure that you plan accordingly in order to avoid as many mishaps as possible. In this article, we will discuss the basics of what you need to do to start your retail business from scratch to make the process as smooth as possible.
Decide upon your niche
First thing’s first: what kind of products will you be selling? You may be going into this with some sort of general idea, but it’s important to develop your own niche. It should be something that is profitable, so you want to make sure that you have some competitors. However, you should also try to avoid choosing something that everyone else is doing because you want to stand out in some way. In the meantime, it’s always a good idea to do some research too, including your competition, because there’s a lot you can learn from checking out the market.
Set up a brand with a name and logo
Once you’ve decided upon what you actually want to sell, it’s time to determine what you want to name your brand and what you want the logo to look like. The name should be something short and simple, but something that customers are sure to remember. The same goes for the logo. Coming up with a good name and logo can be quite difficult, however, so be sure to check out some logo ideas for inspiration. It’s also not a bad idea to get the help of a professional graphic designer, either. Remember that the name and logo should be unique, so do a Google search first to make sure that no one else has trademarked your ideas beforehand.
Come up with a business plan
The next most important step is the business plan. If you don’t have a blueprint for what you’re going to do, your efforts will be useless. In the business plan, you should determine what kind of store you’re going to open (brick-and-mortar, online, hybrid), your target market, vendors, staff, costs, investments, and the time it will take for you to breakeven or make a profit. Some of these factors, such as costs and time to breakeven, might be difficult for you to determine on your own, so you might want to enlist the help of a financial advisor. However, it is important for you to plan out these factors to make sure that you have a path to stay on. In addition, you will want to come up with a budget because there are a lot of costs involved.
Register the business
After you’ve come up with a plan, it’s time to turn your dream into reality. First, you should purchase a domain name with your business name, create an ecommerce website, and get pages set up on social media. You will then want to officially register your business. There are several business entities to choose from, so you may want to get a business attorney to help you through the process to avoid any mishaps. The next step is registering the business through the Secretary of State website for your state if you’re in the US. Make sure to also register for an employer identification number (EIN) with the IRS. This will be used for tax purposes, and you will need one if you want to take out a business loan down the line. Consult with your business attorney to see what kind of licenses and permits your business will need because the laws for this depend on each state. You might also need to obtain some licenses of your own, such as a seller’s permit. Finally, be sure to get some business insurance for your safety.
Decide upon the location
Lastly, you want to decide on the actual location for your business. If it will be a physical store, you want to make sure that it is in a location that customers are sure to visit. Many business owners will try to set up shop in busier neighborhoods that are easy to find with lots of parking. That way, more people will be exposed to your business. You might also want to consider your target audience; is your shop more upscale? Then you can consider renting a space in a more upscale neighborhood. The place you choose should also have enough room for everything you need, such as a storage area, back office, and dressing rooms.