5 things you need to know about opening your first shop

When you’re dreaming of taking your retail business to the next level, it’s hard to imagine anything more exciting than opening the doors to your very own shop.

Here are some ways to get up and running, and make sure you can enjoy the ride:

1. Schedule in ‘white space’

White space, down time, thinking time…whatever you want to call it, as a business owner, it’s vital that you book in some time to think about what’s next.

Whether this is a new line you want to design or a new supplier you’d like to stock, lock in the time each week to work on the goals for your business. Put this time into your diary and make it a non-negotiable.

Do it while you’ve got someone else working in your shop, or if you’re still running things solo, take a couple of hours before or after opening hours.

2. Done is better than perfect

Setting up a shop is very different to running a website.

Your shop is a physical space, and as such, things are going to be changing all the time. Sure, you should spend some time getting the key things right like your signage, the layout of the shop and your displays  but other things don’t need that same level of attention.

You can switch around the position of the furniture in your store, your counter displays and pretty much everything else as you go.

READ: 5 golden rules for opening a cafe

3. Make friends with your local council

Get in touch with your local council and find out what support they offer small businesses.

Your local council is an invaluable resource, and often, an untapped one. Not only are the people who work there passionate about seeing small businesses succeed but they are across potential opportunities for you.

They know about funds and grants that you might be able to access, they’ll have the low-down on an employment schemes that your business might qualify for and they’ll be able to hook you up with any promotional opportunities going.

4. Cash flow is key

When you’re setting up your systems, it’s important to make sure that everything works together.

If you’re planning to use a bookkeeper or an accountant, they need to understand the accountancy software you’ll be using.

Likewise, this needs to mesh well with your point of sale and stock control software. As a business owner your time isn’t just precious, it’s actually scarce, so making and receiving payments quickly is vital.

READ: 3 tips for avoiding late payment

5. Use your available resources

Just like your local council loves to see small business flourish, the Australian government is also keen on seeing you do your best. At business.gov.au you’ll find lots of information, templates, and checklists that you can use to make sure you’re on track during your start-up phase.

Another valuable resource that you should make full use of is other businesses. Whether they are in your line of interest or not, make a habit of popping into shops that you like, and making a few notes.

What are they doing well? What would you change? Figure out which ideas you might adapt for your own shop.

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