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Starting a Retail Business? Here Are 9 Things You Need to Know

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retail business

Starting a business is a goal shared by many, and it isn’t hard to see why. You get to make your own hours, build a family legacy, and spend time doing what you love. However, building a startup takes a lot of work, so you’ll need to prepare for the worst and expect the best.

What All Budding Business Owners Should Know About Retail

While opening a retail store involves picking a structure, writing a business plan, and choosing a name, this list will look at the things you can expect after jumping through all those legal hoops.

1. Donations and Out-of-Pocket May Be Your First “Sales”

An unfortunate part about doing business is losing more money than you make when you first start. A majority of your “sales” will come from donations or from your own pocket. While this setup is far from ideal, you’ll eventually make a profit if you market effectively to your buyers.

2. Listen to Your Customer’s Wallets, Not Their Mouths

At some point, your customers will ask you to sell specific items or product categories in your store. However, that doesn’t mean they’re going to buy them. While it’s important to listen to your customers, keep in mind that what they buy says more than what they verbalize to you.

3. Customers Will Pay a Premium for Same-Day Delivery

Although some retailers may not want to offer same-day delivery because it’s pricey, customers will pay a lot of money for it. If you want to get the most out of this option, you’ll need to tighten up your retail logistics or outsource your delivery service to a fast and reliable courier company.

4. Retail Owners Have to Work Weekends and Holidays

When you used to shop at the mall, you probably noticed more foot traffic on the weekends and during the holidays. Unless you work in a religious state, you’ll have to stay open all weekend and on all statutory holidays to make more money, but that may mean fewer family vacations.

5. Employees Don’t Care About You or Your Business

While we wish our employees would care more about our business, retail is seen as an entry-level job that shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Don’t take it personally. Instead, try to incentivize your staff by offering bonuses and enough vacation time during the summer.

6. Organization is a Skill you Shouldn’t Live Without

From managing cash flow to paying ordering stock, business owners have a lot to keep track of. You should get in the habit of checking your inventory and available funds so you have enough to pay your employees and keep the lights on. Or, you could automate tasks with software.

7. Loyal Customers Are Responsible For Most of Your Sales

According to the Pareto principle, repeat customers generate 16 times more revenue than one straggler. The Pareto principle also states that loyal customers account for 80% of your sales. With these numbers in mind, we recommend creating loyalty programs to promote repeat sales.

8. Great Customer Service Will Set Your Business Apart

Retail and customer service go hand and hand, and it isn’t because you’re supposed to be a people person to work in this industry. If you sell similar products to another business inside the mall, your helpfulness, kindness, and alertness will separate you from your other competitors.

9. The Process of Hiring and Firing Never Gets Easier

Retail positions are mostly occupied by teenagers and college students, which means you’ll be responsible for training candidates for their very first job. While this can be exciting, it can also be frustrating. This doesn’t make firing them any easier, either. But, it’s a major part of the job.

Image Source: Unsplash


I'm a passionate full-time blogger. I love writing about startups, how they can access key resources, avoid legal mistakes, respond to questions from angel investors as well as the reality check for startups. Continue reading my articles for more insight.

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