Opening a new shop, whether you're starting or growing a business, is always an exciting time for any business owner. However, it is not as straightforward as many would think. To be successful, you need to consider a number of factors.
So what sort of things do you need to have in place to open your new shop and start growing your retail empire?
One of the most important things you need is a good location.
“Making sure your shop is in the right place is critical to its success,” says Business Wales adviser Tim Williams. “You need to make sure that it’s in a convenient location for your customers, staff and suppliers with good transport links or nearby parking while also remaining affordable if you are just starting up. Remember to make sure the premises have the correct planning consent for your type of business, the lease is for a suitable length of time and all decorating and fit-out costs are considered before making a final decision.
“Up-front costs can often be quite large,” explains Development Bank of Wales Investment Executive, Tara Lee-Fox. “So you need to make sure you have those secured before falling in love with a particular unit. There’s a lot of flexible finance out there though. For example, if you’re a seasonal business, you can arrange a loan so you pay more at your busy times and less when it’s quieter.”
Now you have identified the location, you need to make sure you have the right stock – and enough of it – to meet customer demand. But you want to be careful of having too much stock, as this can cause cashflow issues.
“Taking the time to research your market and understand the demand for your products means that your business’s cash isn’t tied up when it could be used elsewhere. Discovering which products will sell quickly and those that you could stock on demand allows you to invest in the right products to meet your current customers’ demand.” adds Tim. “We recommend regularly reviewing your sales to ensure that you are maintaining the appropriate stock levels for your business.”
“Matching cashflow with stock control is really important,” says Tara. “Access what you need and look at finance options to plug the gap or cover upfront costs to get you on your way.”
For your retail business to thrive you’ll need staff. You’ll also need to make sure they’re trained on your tills and systems. “Costs to train staff can be covered in a number of ways,” explains Tara “There’s a lot of free courses available which can help, and you can look at borrowing money to bring in specific expertise.”
Business Wales offers a range of support, advice and information to businesses looking to employ and train staff. For more information, visit businesswales.gov.uk
Spreading the word:
Now that you have decided on location, ordered stock and trained your staff, you need to be able to market your business.
“There’s a lot of different marketing options out there and you need to ensure that your business is targeting customers with the right messages in the right places,” says Tim. “Don’t forget to explore digital marketing opportunities as a cost-effective way of reaching wider audiences. We offer free access to local specialist workshops focusing on social media and digital marketing through our Superfast Business Wales programme. It’s also worth talking to local organisations such as the Chamber of Commerce and FSB about the marketing support they may be able to provide to members.”