About one-quarter of all jobs in the United States are in retail. That one in four jobs in the entire country. Even more surprising, some 98% of all retail companies are considered small, employing 50 or fewer workers. That means that a majority of your competition won’t be large corporate shops, but smaller businesses, similar to your own. Still, that doesn’t mean you can relax. There are many challenges in starting your own store and business. Hopefully, this article will help you preempt some of them and avoid the usual pitfalls that claim many startups.
Define Your Legal Structure
The very first thing you need to do is decide on the legal structure of your company. This will affect all other subsequent steps you take. It may be a boring process, but it will have an impact on almost all aspects of your business, like taxes, loans, and raising capital. You have several options when it comes to the ownership of the company. The first and most obvious one is the sole proprietorship. It is the simplest solution, but it has some serious drawbacks. For instance, there is no legal line separating the business and the owner. This means that you will be personally liable for all debt your company incurs. The upside is that it does have tax benefits. Both income and expenses are deducted from your personal taxes, which creates some interesting possibilities. Another possibility people often opt for is a partnership. It does require a partner or partners you can trust, but it is sometimes the only way of raising enough capital for the startup.
Create a Sound Business Plan
People usually think that having a good idea is enough for creating a successful business. The truth is that ideas are dime a dozen. What makes the difference between success and failure in business in most cases is planning or lack of it. A sound business plan will go a long way into making your initial stage of setting your company much easier and smoother process. This is a job best done with a cool-headed approach. Leave your passion aside and loot at your idea rationally. The first thing you need to do is set some measurable goals. Where do you see your company in 5 or 10 years? Once you are satisfied with those, you need to create a plan for how to achieve them. Think of it as a roadmap towards success. The business plan has to be written in a way that allows anyone to fully comprehend your objectives and how you plan to achieve them. This is especially important if you are planning on taking a loan or having partners. The first thing they will ask for is your business plan and if it isn’t clear, they will probably reject your offers.
Target demographics are another important part of any good business plan. Who they are and how you plan to reach them will determine a lot of aspects of your new company. Understanding your target market is key to running a successful business.
You also need to plan your marketing strategy. New businesses usually face an uphill battle when it comes to name recognition and your first marketing campaign may easily make or break your startup.
Employees’ overview will list your needs for staff and how many people you plan on employing from the start. Make sure to have all critical positions covered right from the bat.
Finally, you need a financial plan. How do you plan on paying for everything? Will you use your own money or seek a loan? Once you have answers to all these questions, you are ready to advance to the next phase of opening your store.
Choosing a Name
Most people gloss over this part and just pick something random or a generic name. The name of your company is your brand. It is something that people will use to identify you and separate you from your competitors. Spending some time on choosing an appropriate name for your company is highly advisable. The name of your brand should reflect your identity and even your philosophy. Make sure that the name you picked isn’t already in use or trademarked because that will lead to some expensive lawsuits down the road. Another thing to keep in mind is your website and how the name will be implemented in a web address.
Tools of the Trade
Any new store needs a myriad of tools and equipment at the beginning. You can visit this site to see exactly how much everything cost and maybe even get some ideas on the essentials. Typically, you want to start with the point of sale (POS) system. Cash registers aren’t the only option these days. Instead, you can have your POS on a PC or even a tablet. Each of these has its pros and cons and you should spend some time researching before making a decision.
Setting up an eCommerce site is a rather straightforward and simple process these days and there is no need to shy away from it. Online sales are increasing in scope every year and you would be hard-pressed to find a brand that isn’t selling at least a portion of its product online. The process is easy and comfortable and more and more people are using it each year.
Perhaps the most underrated part of any business, accounting is an absolutely vital part of any company. A good accountant can not only keep track of your finances but even offer some good advice. Finding an experienced accountant is a must, especially for people who are starting a new business for the first time.
This is by no means the final list of all the things you need to pay attention to when starting a new store or business. There are plenty of steps we left out. Instead, we focused on key points just to give you an idea about what you can expect if you decide to start your own business.