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Date added: 05/07/2016 Opening a Retail Store? 5 Things You Should Know Before You Start

The idea of owning a business has been romanticized to the point of looking like the happy ending to a long, torturous story of employment. It's a rewarding feeling to see your business goals come to fruition.

However, most people fail to view the business objectively, letting emotions take over instead.

Failure to critically assess all aspects of your business before you start may just be the reason why it never kicks off. As such, it's important that you are familiar with the flip side of the coin before you decide to open your retail store.

These are the less appealing facts about running a personal business that no one will tell you:

1. You Will Have to Sacrifice Everything

One of the alluring aspects of opening a retail store is the easier hours with no one breathing down your neck. People assume that they'll be able to close the shop whenever and go on vacations as they please, since they aren't on a leash anymore.

This is a grave misconception. When you open a retail shop, you'll have to give it everything you have, especially during the first few years. That’s right, years – not months.

Keeping a business afloat requires 100% commitment. This means that you will have to work longer hours and see your family and friends much less often. Your spending will be constricted to the point of being just enough for the bare essentials with no luxuries - until you finally break even.

You'll have to invest literally every last penny in your store no matter how risky it is, and be prepared to stomach huge losses.

Opening a retail store might need more guts than you might think.

2. Plan Everything to the Last Detail

If your business plan only extends as far as having a cute little name and the color of the store in mind, you are a long way away from success. You need to have every last detail on your fingertips before you even announce it to your friends.

The factors you should take into account are:

  • market research
  • a sober business plan
  • enough finances to see you through the difficult part of starting up
  • a long term contingency plan for supporting your business if things take longer to pick up than you projected.

And these are only some of them.

3. Yes, Even the Nitty Gritty Should Be Planned for Beforehand

You simply cannot have a wait-and-see attitude for your retail store. Your planning needs to extend to the day-to-day operations of your store, including things like how to deal with unsatisfied customers, how your products are packaged, where you'll put the metal clips for hanging chips, knowing who your competition is, etc.

Depending on the scale of your business, you should also consider the type of technology to use and even the number of employees to hire. Everything matters.

4. Handling Bureaucracy

If you thought that opening a retail store would mean that you don't have to answer to anyone, the government begs to differ. Running your own business means you have to ensure that every aspect of it is in check, including:

  • meeting all the licensing requirements before you open your retail store,
  • being able to manage all your tax documents (you cannot afford to lose those),
  • insuring your shop, the merchandise and even your employees.

There really is a lot to think about before you finally decide to make your dreams a reality.

5. You Will Have to Develop Certain Attributes

Managing your own retail store is not something you can traipse through with a carefree "everything will be alright" kind of attitude. You'll be tried and tested to the limits of your being and, more than once, giving up might look like a really good idea.

The people who have made their own businesses a success know that perseverance is the fuel that you'll need to propel you through trying times. You should also embrace flexibility and learn how to admit your wrongs.

Opening your own retail store will require humility, patience and good relationship skills.

In the end, all that determines how well you fair in running your own business is really how far you're willing to go to achieve those dreams.

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