Starting a Retail Business

7 Steps to Starting A New Retail Business

Congratulations on your decision to start your own retail business! You may be asking "how to open a retail store". Although starting a retail store may seem easy, careful planning and research are essential to your success. Our free new Store Opening Guide will provide advice on what steps to take and what points to consider as you make plans to open your new store. Setting up your own retail store will require a lot of hard work, but it can be a very exciting and rewarding way to earn a living.

1. Choose Business Legal Structure

One of the most important decisions a new business owner will make is choosing what type of legal structure is right for your business. While there are many options from sole proprietorships to C Corporations, choosing the right legal structure from the outset is important. Although you can change business structure at a later date, doing so may be both time consuming and expensive.

2. Apply for an Employee Identification Number

An EIN (Employee Identification Number) is a permanent number that can be used for most of your business needs, including: opening a bank account, applying for business licenses, and filing a tax return by mail. New business owners can apply for an EIN by phone, fax, mail, or online. Advanced planning is needed when applying for an EIN, because it will take up to two weeks for your EIN to become registered with the IRS. To learn more about setting up an EIN for your business, visit www.IRS.gov.

3. Understand the Law

Before your start your own retail business it is important to understand which licenses or permits are required by local or state government offices. Consulting with your accountant or attorney could be helpful in determining if there are any laws that govern your type retail business.

4. Write a Business Plan

One of the first steps in creating your business plan is to determine what type of retail store you plan to open. That decision will directly affect what you decide to name your store. Another important aspect of building your business plan to is to perform research. The Internet is an excellent source for statistics on the retail industry including data on local or regional demographics, competitors, or industry trends. To learn more about making your own business plan, we recommend visiting the Small Business Administration website.

5. Select a Location

In real estate, the most popular phrase is "location, location, location." The same can be true for the retail industry. Where you locate your retail business could be the deciding factor on whether your business succeeds or fails.

6. Store Operations and Policies

The creation of a store operations and policies manual is a critical component of the planning process. The ability to anticipate situations before your retail business opens will help you and your staff to not only handle day to day operations but also provide insight on how to deal with unique situations. Remember, it is important that each employee not only be given a copy of your store operations manual, but also receive training on your policies.

7. Find Suppliers

Once you have finalized the type of retail store you will operate and where it will be located, your focus can turn to finding the right suppliers. As a new retail business, you will need to locate a supplier for basic necessities such as store fixtures, displays, and supplies to help facilitate your daily operations. The success of your retail business also depends on offering the right products at attractive price points. Finding reliable sources for wholesale merchandise is a key to long term profitability.