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Starting a retail business is difficult, but once you get it started it can be incredibly rewarding.  The key is knowing the steps you need to take to make getting started as smooth and easy as possible.

The first thing you need to determine is what kind of retail business you want to start.  Below are some of the basic types to choose from:

Storefront – This is the basic retail store, which usually offers a large range of merchandise for relatively inexpensive prices.

Specialty – A specialty store usually offers items that those with a lot of spending power want, rather than what the average shopper needs.  These stores are more expensive, but usually have knowledgeable staff and a nice atmosphere.

Mail Order – This type of retailing involves selling items through a catalog to people who live far from stores or are too old to get out of their home easily.

Online – The internet has created a whole new branch of retail stores that operate solely online.

After deciding what type of retail business you want to start, there are a number of other factors to consider during the process:

Decide on the Legal Structure

Just like any other business, there are options when it comes to the legal structure of your retail store.  The basic choices are: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Corporation.  If you are planning on opening a larger retail business, a corporation or limited liability corporation might be best for you.  Otherwise, a partnership or sole proprietorship might work.

Come Up with a Name

You will be stuck with your business name for years to come, and changing it can have undesirable effects.  Try to keep your name simple and easy to remember.  It should also describe what you are selling concisely.  Don’t be afraid to be creative and be sure to test it out on your friends before you make your final decision.

Figure Out with a Product List

Finding the right merchandise to offer your customers is important and can make or break a retail business.  Be sure to personally examine and test out numerous options before picking the products your store will carry.  Be sure to shop around for the best prices as well.

Business Plan

This is probably the most important step you can take when starting a new business.  Knowing where you want the business to be in 6 months, a year, and beyond can help you keep the growth of your retail store in perspective.  There are numerous free software options online that can help you with this process.

Find a Location and Study the Laws

After finding what you think is the perfect spot for your business, with a great price to boot, it is awful finding out that local laws won’t allow your type of retail store.  Be sure to check out zoning and building laws where you are planning on opening your business.  This is obviously not important if you are planning on opening a mail order or internet retail business.

Opening a retail business is exciting and can be very profitable, but without the proper knowledge and preparations it can be frustrating.  Knowing what needs to be done before the fact can help make setting up your new business a lot easier.

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Damian is a writer and small business co-owner. He mostly works with real Australian businesses . Damian’s current project is dedicated to advanced  POS Solutions website.