Running a retail business is hard work. There are lots of different parts to your store and each needs to be managed with precision to ensure you hit your profit margins.
That's a lot of moving pieces to keep track of! To do this efficiently, you need to have reliable systems in place to ensure you stay on track and always have an accurate picture of your business and financial health.
There are much different software, systems, and even traditional methods to help you run an efficient retail business. Let's look at a few ways you can make running your business easier.
1. Have a Plan
The retail industry is notoriously fickle, so you must have a plan for your business. This includes when you'll open, how much money you need to break even and what you'll do if you don't hit your numbers. Having a plan in place helps you to ride out rough times with confidence instead of worrying about your business going under.
When you create your business plan, also build a contingency plan. Decide how much you'll have saved for your business to cover operating costs and outline what ways you'll promote yourself and your products. The more you can plot out your success, the more likely it is to come to fruition.
2. Use the Right System
You need a good system to run your store, and that includes your retail POS (point of sale). Your POS is what you'll use to collect money from your customers, but it should also do a lot more than that. You need a system that can help you track sales, measure gross revenue, detect sales patterns and even manage your inventory.
A good POS will do all this and sometimes more. It's your go-to software for a retail business. Keep in mind that different POS systems will work best with different-sized businesses. Try to find one that matches your industry and business size to get the highest return on investment.
3. Establish Good Relationships
Your vendors and suppliers will be the backbone of your business. Not only do they provide your products, but they also help you with shipping, orders, and maybe even discounts. That's why it's imperative that you establish good relationships with all outside companies who help you run your business.
The key to a good supplier relationship is to remember that they're running a business too. Try to give them as much notice as possible when you'll need their services and work with them when unexpected events occur. This often means they'll give you the same leniency when you need help and go out of their way to lend a hand however they can.
4. Create a Marketing Strategy
Every successful business has a marketing strategy. You need a way to reach your target audience and convince them you have what they need. This doesn't happen through serendipity. It takes careful planning, some trial, and error, and sophisticated tactics to consistently target the right audience.
First, you need to define your ideal client. What do they like, dislike, and expect from your store? Next, you need to figure out where they consume information. Are they on social media, searching on Google, or reading magazines?
Finally, you can decide on what marketing tactics will best address these areas so you can start bringing people into your business.
5. Hire a Great Staff
The key to any good business is a good staff. You need people who care about your vision and passion as much as you do. These are the staff members who will go above and beyond to help you run a successful business. Choose people you trust and to who you're comfortable giving direction.
Also, remember that this loyalty and hard work shouldn't go unrewarded. Although you hire people for certain qualities, you still need to keep in mind that they're helping you and they deserve gratitude. You'll keep a staff of great employees if you dedicate yourself to being a fair boss who cares about their wellbeing.
6. Manage Your Money
This goes without saying, but you should hear it anyway. You can't run an efficient business if you aren't managing your money. If you're not sure how to best allocate your business revenue, consider hiring a fractional CFO or bookkeeper. You need to ensure you know where all of your expenses are and how you'll pay them each month, as well as what profits you're making month-over-month.
Running a retail store includes a lot of moving parts, but with these tips, you can open and operate a successful shop.