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Top 10 Steps to Starting a Retail Business

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The dream of starting a retail business can easily become a reality. It may take a lot of initial work as you start your own business, but with the right planning anyone can achieve their goals. The following steps to starting a retail business should be used as a guide before you open a store.

1. Choose a Business Legal Structure

Business people discussing plans on tablet.
Oli Kellett/ Iocnica/ Getty Images
Choosing the proper legal organizational structure for your business is one of the most important decisions you will make. While it is possible to change your structure at a later date, it can be a difficult and expensive process. Therefore it's better to make the right decision before you start your own business.

2. Choose a Name for Your Retail Business

Dreaming up a moniker may come easy for some, but others struggle with the task. Here are some do's and don'ts for naming your own retail business.

3. Apply for an EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, and is used to identify a business entity. Here's why you need one and how to apply online for an EIN before you start your own business.

4. Decide What Products to Sell

Finding a product for your retail business to sell may very well be the most difficult decision you will need to make when starting a retail business. Before you commit to a product or product line, consider these factors while deciding what to resell.

5. Write a Business Plan

Whether it is formal or informal, on paper or on disk, the process of creating a business plan will only help your business become successful. It is one of the most crucial steps in starting a retail business. Learn how to write a business plan for your retail store, why writing a business plan is necessary, purchase business plan software and view free sample retail business plans.

6. Learn the Laws

Understand what business licenses and permits you need to obtain by contacting your city, county and state government offices. Before you start your own business, find out what laws govern your type of retail store. Consider consulting with both a lawyer and an accountant, as each will help you properly organize your business.

7. Find a Location

Where you choose to locate your retail business will have a major impact on everything your shop does. The difference between selecting the wrong location and the right site could be the difference between business failure and success.

8. Buy Wholesale Products to Resell

A successful retail business depends greatly on offering the right product, at the right price, at the right time. Therefore, it is paramount to the success of your business to be able to locate the best sources for those products. As you take this step to starting a retail business and decide what products or product lines you would like to sell, it's then time to find places to buy those items at wholesale.

9. Establish Store Policies

The best time to establish policies and procedures for your retail business is during the planning stages. By anticipating problems before you open your doors, you can choose how you'll handle special situations, as well as the normal day to day operations. This helps avoid making mistakes once you're faced with customers.

10. Spread the Word

Before you open a retail store, start spreading the word. Create a retail marketing plan, brainstorm sales promotion ideas, begin branding and advertising your retail store. Learn how to use loss leaders, media buys and sales events to the benefit of your retail shop.
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