For some people, having their own store is a lifelong dream. Whether you’ve always wanted to go into business for yourself, or you have a passion for a particular product, opening up shop can be a very rewarding process. But, at the same time, it’s important to acknowledge that owning a store is a real business venture. It’s not just polishing counters and having a good old chat with your customers. Having your own store can take a lot of work. Sometimes, you have to put so much blood, sweat, and tears into it, that it hardly seems worth it. But, it nearly always is.
As long as you’re aware (and on top of) the practical side of running a store, you’ll be able to handle it like a pro. It does take a lot to not only run a store but to open it in the first place and stay on top of the management aspects too. But don’t let that scare you away. If you want to get to grips with what it really takes, and what the functional side of running a store really looks like, here are the main points you should consider.
Setting Up Shop
Finding A Premises
The first thing that you’re going to have to do is actually find the right premises. And this is definitely easier said than done. You may have the ideal space in your mind, but locating it in real life is a whole other problem. To find the perfect retail space, you’re going to want to have a few things in mind. Firstly is the location. The location will often be key to your store idea. But also footfall too. The size, cost, and amenities available should also be key considerations.
Negotiating Your Lease
But finding the space is just the start of some of the trickier practical aspects that come with being a store owner. Because even when you find the right place, you then have to work on getting your lease. Sometimes, you will find that the terms of perfect and you can sign right up. But, at other times, you’ll need to go back and forth with terms and negotiations to make sure you’re both happy. So, you may also need to hire a lawyer to help you out here.
Design & Decor
When you’ve got that all ironed out, you’re then going to want to work on getting your store design right. If this is something that you’ve thought about for some time, you may already know what you want and even have agreed on your premises because it matches what you’re looking for. But, if not, you’re going to want to get some inspiration and start to narrow down on your favorites. Then, make your final choice and start to look into the decor.
Then, lastly, you’re going to need to get down to the shop fitting process. Because a design style is one thing, you but also need to have, a full shop layout installed. For this, not only will you need a company that can create or provide the fittings, but you may also need a contractor, level 2 service provider electrician that can handle to the job, and even a project manager. Everything needs to be put in place and set up, so be sure to hire the right people to get it done.
Launch Day & Opening
When you’re all set up, you then have to think about getting your store ready to open on launch day. One of the most important parts of that is hiring staff. The employees that you hire matter. You want to make sure that you get people that will care about your store, and the products you sell, and even your customers. So be sure that you’re able to stick to a hiring process that works.
As well as staff, you’re also going to want to make sure that you get your products in order. It’s important to not only to be organized so that you not only have all of the right stock out on display but also have somewhere for your backups and replenishment to be stored out back too. When it comes to the shop floor, you’re also going to want to merchandise products to please your customers.
Then there’s also the publicity to think about. You may want just to open your store when you’re good and ready and hope for the best, but this isn’t always the most strategic of options for a legitimate business. If you want to do well, you need to promote your store opening and aim for a hit on opening day.
And before long, it will be time for day one. On your first day of running the store and opening it to the public, you may want to offer specific promotions or throw a party. Either way, you’re going to want to make sure you have enough stock to sell to start as you mean to go on. If you’re planning on having a website, you should also think about whether you’re going to launch this on the same day or later on down the line.
Day To Day Maintenance
When the excitement of your opening wears off, you’re then going to want to really focus on making your store a success. To do that, you’re going to want to have standards. Now, these can apply to not only the look and feel of the store but also cleaning and merchandising too. You should be sure to clean in a certain way each day and ensure that your merchandise is refreshed regularly.
Then you’ve also got your stock to think about. When things start to sell out, or the seasons change, you may want to think about getting new products in. This means you’re not only going to want to do the right research but also be sure that you can update your store displays in time. You may also want to do the same for your website, as it’s important to keep your stock looking fresh and to remove items that are no longer available.
Another key practical element of running your store on an everyday basis is considering your customers. Not only does this mean that you need to have training your staff in customer service and have the right product knowledge, but you may also want to think about key customer retention techniques. Sometimes, this may be the right wants to thank them for their custom, or it could even be working on a customer loyalty program.
Also, you also have the store finances to think about pretty much on a daily basis. If you want your business to succeed, it’s vital that you know where you are financially at all times. By reporting on your progress daily, whether you create your own way of doing this or use retail software, you will be able to see your financial prospects for what they are. Then, you can choose how you’re going to react and grow whenever you need to.
You’ve also got the kind of ongoing operations that you’re going to need to tend to every now and again. One of the things that won’t crop up every day but still needs your attention will be your lease. When you signed it, you may have agreed to certain upkeep conditions that you’re going to need to abide by during your tenancy, such as periodic deep cleaning or even different health and safety checks. So, be sure to carry these out when needed.
Then, there are also sale periods that you need to consider. There are reasons why retailers may want to raise and lower prices, but seasonal sales are definitely one price drop period that you’re going to want to work with. Whether you’ve got stock that’s just not selling or you want to keep up with your competitors, going into sale is something you will want to do a few times a year.
You’ve also got your staff to think about. Even when you first hire them, you’re going to want to make sure you have some kind of human resources plan in place. Not only do you need to make sure that your staff have their initial induction, but you also need to carry out training too. Then, there are also regular appraisals to think about, along with any promotions that may be necessary in time, and even, sadly, the need to fire people too.
Finally, you may also find that you need to carry out a range of services or checks around the premises or arrange for them to be carried out by suitable professionals. This can certainly be the case on any electrical equipment that you have, but you may also need to do the same for different health and safety procedures, including checking your fire safety products and procedures too.