So, you want to start a retail business? Perhaps you’ve cottoned on to the success of online sellers and want to start your own e-commerce site, or maybe you’ve always dreamt of owning your own store? Whatever your reasons, the dream of starting a retail business can soon become a reality, but it is a tough market to crack.

There’s no denying that running a business is hard work, especially in the beginning. The decisions you make now will determine the future success and profitability of your business, after all. With the right planning and research, however, the ultimate payoff will be worth your while. So, here are five tips for building a retail business from scratch.

 Decide What to Sell

Before you start building your retail business, you need to decide what you’re going to sell. Perhaps you’ve already figured this out, but if not, now’s the time to decide. Most retail outlets (both online and offline) sell products sourced from manufacturers, but you may decide to create your own. If so, it’s a good idea to look at your hobbies, interests and skillset when making this decision.

Play to Your Strengths

If you’re good at crafts, you might want to start a website from which you sell gifts. If you’re into books, perhaps your aim is to open up an independent bookstore. Whatever you decide, it’s a good idea to choose something you’re knowledgeable about, as knowing your product will allow you to make better business decisions down the line. 

Assess the Market and Competition

Once you’ve decided what to sell, you need to assess the market and figure out if there is demand for what you’re selling. If there is, then great, but it probably means there are other businesses already meeting that demand. If so, you will need to think about what makes your business stand out from the competition.

If you’re planning to sell online, look at the online market for your product and figure out how you could offer a better service. Acquire data through research hubs, trade journals and magazines to help you understand your market. You will need this information to write your business plan.

Decide Where to Sell

Before you write a business plan, you also need to decide where you will sell your products. You may wish to start out on an online selling platform like eBay, Amazon or Etsy, or launch your own e-commerce site. If you’re hoping to open a store, you will need to research rental space where you can sell your products. Don’t worry about finding space for your stock straight away, as you can always use a business storage unit until you’re ready to upgrade to a larger premises.

Write a Business Plan

The next step is to write a business plan showcasing your market research and business concept. Depending on the type of business you are hoping to launch, you may need to show this document to potential partners or investors who will help to fund your business idea, so you will need to research how to write a business plan.

 

If you’re going out on your own, you may need to show your plan to banks or other lenders. Plus, it’s a great working document that you can update according to your projections, sales and profits. 

 

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