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Nine Keys to Retail Business Success

Master these key areas of business and you will be a success.

1. Plan Your Objectives

The importance of a well-thought-out business plan can’t be stressed enough. Without a plan you’re taking a long trip down an unknown road without a map. Your plan will determine where you are going and how you are to get there.

2. Marketing

It is critical that people know about your business though the use of accessible media. A good web site is a great place to start. Your first objective in marketing is to design a strategy. Advertising can be a bottomless money pit. Chose your ads carefully and determine your advertising budget in advance.

3. Marketable Products

Without a selection of marketable products or services, you have no business. Your goods must meet the requirements of your customers. Determine what these needs are and fill them. You must avoid over pricing, or you will build a reputation as just another source. Where there are good products and services at a good price, there will be buyers.

4. Effective Financial System

Knowing where you are financially will directly affect your success. Accurate bookkeeping and records are a must. Properly record deposits and expenditures. When starting a new enterprise, remember this bit of financial wisdom: If you don’t absolutely have to have it, don’t buy it! Maintain your inventory. That’s where your profits are made.

5. Employee Selection

Before you hire anyone, write out the job description. Decide what type of person would be best for the job. Write out the qualifications that you require such as a high school diploma, or computer experience. Be forthright with a prospective employee. Let the person know what you will expect in return for their wages. After hiring “inspect what you expect.” You will avoid future grief.

6. Integrity

Open honesty is the best policy. Problems will arise. Respect the concerns of other people. Avoid legal situations whenever possible.  “Your reputation is what you are.” Word of your mistreating customers will spread quickly. A wise man once said, “If in doubt, just do the Right thing.”  Skip Davis.

7. Efficient Facilities

Your building or office must accommodate your clients/customers, (often required by law). You must have adequate parking, restrooms, lighting and a safe environment. Customers must feel secure in doing business with you. Your facility should meet OSHA requirements to avoid fines and/or costly injuries.

8. Inventory Management

When stocks grow old, sales recede. Store away seasonal goods till the next season. Slow-moving goods must be liquidated at any price. Reinvest into other merchandise. The projects of cleaning, displaying or assembly, are always available to the employee who has nothing to do. While times are slow, prepare for sales when times are better.

9. Security

Protect your investment from theft. Shoplifting is a major problem with retail establishments. Shoplifters come in many sizes. Be alert. Consider electronic surveillance during the closed period. Maintain an insurance policy that covers the contents of your building against fire and other hazards. Liability insurance should also be purchased. A liability policy could be a lifesaver if someone is ever injured on your property.