Before starting any business one must collect all ideas and focus on the right aspects in order to make informed decisions. There are several things that one must implement before starting a business.
I narrowed it down as a retail business because in this post I will present some of my own lists that I have made before opening my own retail business. Of course, this is applicable to all kinds of businesses.
This is the list of things that one must implement in order to focus ideas.
1. Assess yourself
You will need to understand your own strengths and what are things that you will need to learn. In order to make this process easy make a list of things that you think are required to succeed as an entrepreneur.
This is my list
Now from this list mark the ones that you can do and the ones that you need either to learn or seek support. Note that you will need to make your own list. This is just an example based on my initial list before I started my business.
I have marked the ones that I am strong with orange color. The ones that are black are things that I either have support for or I learned. For example, I did learn human resources, now I am in the middle of learning to manage my staff.
After you complete this list make sure to pass it over to your friends and family. They know you very well and can either complete your list or confirm.
2. Talk to others
Talk to other entrepreneurs and see what is their experience. Any problems that they’ve got, solutions and get as much information as possible. This will help you later on.
3. Make sure that there is business opportunity
The product that you are offering has to be something that people actually need. Otherwise, you won’t succeed.
Do SWOT analysis before starting your business. Also, do it yearly after starting your retail business.
Here is my SWOT analysis before starting
Strength – There is a partnership opportunity with the local producer who has issues in selling colorful fabric to the local market. I have the skills to create a selling product line out of those fabrics.
Weakness – People living in my country do not like colorful clothing, also there is no financial support as based on my audience preferences I will need a year to convince them that colorful is trendy.
Opportunity – When something is missing from the market there is an opportunity. There were no locally made colorful casual wear in my country. Another opportunity was that partnership allowed me to pay less or not pay at all for the 1st year.
Threats – Easy to copy. Already existing indirect competition.
Here is my SWOT analysis after one year of starting
Strength – Won the market and opened 3 physical stores, one online store. Knowledge of customers’ preferences. Improved quality of products.
Weakness – Rise of competition. Low budget for marketing.
Opportunity – Easy to increase marketing budget. Already popular. Opportunity to beat new competitors with product quality and customer service quality.
Threats – Rise of direct competitors.
4. Market research
Without researching the market, understanding your audience, and segmenting them it will be really hard to offer the right product in the right place at the right price.
5. Get the required experience
Before starting a retail business you will need to be in one. So best is to get a job in a retail store. This will help you to understand the following:
- how often do they get new colletion
- how often do they do a discount, clearance
- what is the seasonal spending budget of customers
- who are local suppliers
- and more information.
I worked in a retail store for more than 3 years. Of course, back then I was a student and had no clue that one day I will own a retail business.
6. Make a plan
Write down everything that comes to your mind regarding your business. All ideas that you have now will bring you money in the future. Also, this will help you to make your business plan a lot faster.
7. Build relationship
This step is a must even before starting your business. Start having a good relationship with everyone right now. This is also good karma. Start with your bank, you will need a loan in the future, also your customer base.
8. You will need support
This includes both personal and professional. You will need patterns, stylists, prints, models, photographers. Since I started my retail business my friends and cousins are my models. Until now they are (my store is popular now, I have 3 of them, but still I need my friends and family’s help).
9. Proffesional support
You will need a professional accountant and attorney. Spend more time to find the best one.
10. Realistic cost estimation
Always make the actual cost forecast in order to avoid extra expenses. This will help you to save up on low-priority items. For example, I opened my 2nd shop during the pandemic (risky). I did not have much money but I had an amazing location. So I didn’t fill the shop with all the furniture. I just had the minimum. After 3 months I did fill it with retro style custom-made wooden furniture.