To coincide with StartUp Britain’s StartUp High Street initiative, we’ve produced some tips for early-stage retailers. We hope they’re useful!
Opening your first shop is an exciting step and new stores like yours are brilliant news for our high streets.
Getting the business basics right in the early days will help you focus on what you do best – bringing great products to customers.
Here are our top five tips for making that all-important first year in retail a success.
1. Have a plan
Make sure you have a simple and realistic business plan in place. Drilling down into the details will give you a clearer idea of what’s actually required to run your retail business and how much cash will be needed.
2. Do your research
Make sure you have a deep understanding of both your product and market. This will inform everything that you do, from targeting your marketing to pricing your product.
3. Get the right systems in place
Getting systems in place to manage your finances from the start will help you avoid unnecessary problems with cash flow, missed payments and HMRC.
The right tools and expertise, such as accounting software and an accountant, will help you manage your finances effortlessly, without the risks and hassle associated with spreadsheets and sums.
4. Work to your strengths
Big businesses may drive a hard bargain on prices and discounts but make sure you exploit what you have that they don’t – present a business with real personality, offer a personalised service and react to the market with a nimbleness that big businesses struggle with.
5. Get help
Use the advice and support that’s out there:
- Small Business Britain – for help and advice on running a small business (please bookmark the site and sign up for our RSS feed and email updates)
- Intuit – find out more about our accounting software and locate an accountant in your area
- British Retail Consortium – a retail trade association offering market information and support
- British Independent Retailers Association – a trade association specialising in independent retailers
- Business Link – the Government’s online resource for small businesses
StartUp High Street
StartUp Britain recently announced the StartUp High Street scheme, which will throw open empty high street shops to hundreds of start-ups desperate for an outlet, in a bid to boost enterprise and retail growth.
The initiative has won the support of Business Secretary Vince Cable and aims to offer an unprecedented opportunity to fledgling retailers, as well as help to rejuvenate the UK’s flagging high street scene.
A temporary shop in Richmond will be occupied by Britain’s most promising small enterprises for two weeks on a rolling basis. All of these start-up retailers already run online businesses, but none of them have the financial clout to take on a shop single-handed. That’s why StartUp Britain has stepped in to offer a co-working, co-funded space for brands to explore new ways of working – and a whole new audience.
From Richmond, StartUp Britain hopes to take the concept to other high streets across Britain.
A retail evolution
Sally Revell, UK Business Manager for Intuit, said: “British retail is going through an evolution. Big business has had its day on the high street and it is now time for small independent retailers to take centre stage. As a provider of accounting software for small businesses, Intuit is proud to support this initiative that aims to put enterprise on every street corner.
“This starts by helping new companies gain valuable experience in a retail environment to help get their business off the ground. One of the first PopUp Britain businesses, Elephant Branded, is a member of Intuit 100Up, a community of the UK’s most inspiring and high-potential start-ups, and is a great example of the kind of business that will revitalise Britain’s high streets.”
Are you a successful retailer? What tips would you give to someone opening their first shop? Please do share your valuable insights below!