17 Apr 2019

5 Things to Know Before Going Into Retail

Retail requires a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-it-done attitude to achieve success. In an industry prone to challenges, knowing a few key things before getting into retail can make the difference between success and failure.

Check Your Ego at the Door

There’s no room for a big ego in a successful retail business. Don’t open a shoe store because all your friends think you have great taste in shoes. If you let ego motivate your business decisions, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Instead, be fully in tune with your customers’ wants and needs, whether they match your own or not. Remember, its customer sales that will keep you in business, not your own personal purchases.


Owning a retail business is time-consuming. The store may be open from 10 to 5, but your role works after hours. While selecting merchandise is an essential element of the job, there is much more, often less fun, work necessary to keep your business in the black. Between administrative work, operational procedures and training dependable employees, there is no shortage of crucial behind-the-scenes tasks to keep a retail business running smoothly.


Determine Your End Game

Establishing clear long-term goals from the beginning helps to lend focus and direction to your business. Before you open your doors, be crystal clear on your end game for the business. Do you want to have multiple locations in the tri-state area? Or perhaps you aim to establish your business as a franchise. Consider the bigger picture and set goals for how you’d like to grow in the first year, five years and decade.


No matter how big you aim to grow, one of the most important considerations is to develop scalable operational procedures from the start. This means letting go of the reigns and trusting your employees instead of spending every day at your store. To be successful, keep your schedule free of the daily grind tasks like opening the store and merchandising the sales floor to allow time for more strategic tasks.


Trust Your Technology

In our modern business world, efficiency is tightly tethered to the reliability of the technology that supports business. Having a hardwired point of sale means you never have to worry about internet outages affecting your system. For payment processing, opt for QuickBooks Point of Sale Payments which integrates with QuickBooks Point of Sale1, 2. Inventory tracking, transaction data and reporting options give you the tools to run your business effectively.


An inventory tracking feature means you’ll know when you need to reorder and restock items. You’ll be able to manage vendors and purchase orders accordingly.


Having a good reporting system enables you to determine top-selling items and optimize store offerings to improve long-term sales. Knowing more about your customers’ insights also means you can provide better customer service to them.


The software and hardware you use to power your business is just as critical to your success as your employees. Be sure to vet your options as diligently as your interview potential employees. After all, your business will only be a strong as what supports it.


Research Your Target Market

To make your business stand out, consider who you’re targeting. How much competition will you be up against to get your target market’s attention? Do market research to determine the most under-retailed markets in your local area and see if you can expand your reach to attract them. By tweaking your brand messaging and the products slightly, you can attract a much broader customer base who may remain loyal to your brand with a tailored marketing approach.


Get Advice From Those Who Have Done It

No matter how much you think you know about running your new business, surrender to the fact that some of your peers know much more that you on certain topics. Enlist these people as trusted advisers and soak up their knowledge and experience like a sponge. Once you’re more established, you might opt to hire a consultant to help navigate the retail world. Though before doing so, determine if this is a good financial move.