There is enough negativity around in the business community to last a lifetime. Still, there is also a tremendous amount of opportunity for those who know where to look for it, and one of the sectors that are seeing massive growth spurts are those industries in retail or connected to retail.
Indeed, it’s no surprise that online retailing has seen giant leaps forward as brand new generations have become more comfortable with working and shopping online than they might have been in the past.
All of this means that for the sharp-minded entrepreneur and business person, there are opportunities that are waiting to be exploited,well-received and even though, for the most part, the retailing giants seem to have the industry locked down, in local economies, there exist opportunities for small or medium-sized enterprises to get in on the action. Here’s how.
KNOW WHAT YOU’RE IN FOR
Ambition aside for a moment, if you know what you’re in for, you can plan your entry into this lucrative market. Lucrative, yes, but also not without its challenges, and you’re going to need a well-thought-out plan that is pretty watertight before you even think of it.
So what are the questions you could be asking yourself if you’re heading in this direction?
First up, you need to know if you’re planning on being a supplier to the industry or if you mean to open a retail-based business of your own. Both of these questions come with their own set of very unique and vital considerations.
Let’s start with operating as a supplier.
The good news is that with the change in how the global economy sources and supplies retail goods, there is an increased focus on sourcing local suppliers that can provide fresh produce, handmade products, and craft or artisanal items like cheeses, wines, bread, and confectionaries.
Along with product supply, there is also an increased focus on sourcing services from local suppliers instead of national companies with branches in rural locations. This change is in line with consumer demands that more opportunities are afforded to suppliers within local economies.
So while you’re formulating your business plan as a supplier, the most apparent yet essential question to ask yourself is what do I supply locally that is unique to my area, where there is already established demand?
You’ll be in a much stronger negotiating position with the more prominent retail outlets if you show that you have an existing brand already well-received in your local community. That logic extends to services like IT and business services, so think outside the box.
The supply industry that offers services to retail doesn’t just have to extend to the retailers’ consumers, but the retailers themselves could be a client. There is a handy article on how to wholesale to retailers here.
Now, let’s have a look at what you need to consider when venturing out into your own retail space.
WHAT TO KNOW WHEN OPENING YOUR OWN RETAIL SPACE
This topic is way more complex than one post can deal with, but there are a few crucial points that we can cover nonetheless to help you start formulating your business plan.
Now, suppose this is something you’ve been considering for a while. In that case, we’re going to assume that you already have a successful operation supplying locally produced goods, specialty goods or services, or products that are in demand in your area and beyond.
If you’re not at least there or if you haven’t stumbled on an emergent opportunity that would justify going straight into a retail space, you might need to take some time to think about and strategize through all of the processes and implications of this move before doing anything.
It’s not a small commitment, and a failed enterprise that occurred because of poor or insufficient planning could cause irreparable damage to your brand and reputation.
But, if you have done your homework and you’re sure that this is where you want to be heading, then here’s what you need to think about and add to your business planning document.
First, narrow down your target market. Starting smaller than perhaps you wanted to is no crime and will allow you to get stuck into the environment of retail. If you lack skills in certain areas of management or accounting, you need to address these in good time or hire the right people to handle that for you.
Next, you need to start working on your branding, marketing, and public relations campaigns, and this plan should be forecast for at least a year beyond your proposed opening date. This means pulling out the calendar and taking note of holidays, special events, networking opportunities, and opportunities where you can partner with other businesses in your local area around these events.
At the same time as all of that, it’s also time to start sourcing shopfitters and designers. If you’re going to retail produce, what kind of shopfitting will you need that’s unique to your business? Will you need a Commercial Reach In Freezer? Are you planning on offering a highly tech-savvy experience?
As with all things property-based, have you thought about your desired location, and if so – do you know why you’ve chosen that location? Having a fancy shop in a high-end mall might not give you guaranteed success, and with excessive rents and service fees, you need to be absolutely sure that this is the right move for you.
You also need to start exploring vendor relationships and entering into supplier negotiations with them. Since you’re beginning locally, it’s a good idea to add in some local suppliers if you can.
And finally, none of the above will be possible if you have not got your money matters on tight lockdown. Every penny you spend now needs to be spun more than once before it is spent because you’re not getting any of it back until you start selling.
Of all the money that will be swishing in and out of your accounts, there is one valuable resource you should make provision for – an accounting partner, especially if you’re not overly au fait with local regulations and requirements.
And finally, plan your grand opening! You want to make as big a splash as possible, so collect contacts and local officials, get invitations out and send out press releases online and in the prin, radio, or local television media too.
There is no doubt that retail is a challenging environment, but if done correctly can prove highly lucrative as well.
It isn’t all doom and gloom, good luck and happy selling!