Running your own store could be a dream come true. Set your own hours, delight customers, and when it’s running smoothly, step away and hire a manager. For the icing on the cake, sell it later and retire on the proceeds. But opening a store doesn’t have to stay a dream. With the right plan and execution, you can make it real.
Whether you’re a business visionary or a retail aficionado, you could join the ranks of the 29 million people making a livelihood in retail in the U.S. Be ready though, because you’ll have to clear some hurdles before your grand opening. See the guide below for information on how to open a store.
Opening a store can be a great pick for an entrepreneur who wants to earn money from a local economic base. See if any of these benefits of starting a store are right for you.
Ready to open your own store? Knowing how to open a store isn’t rocket science. But make sure you follow the right steps.
A business plan is a foundation for your store business. Having one in place gives you clear guidelines and direction. It’s also a confidence booster for anyone you may partner with.
Consider the following questions when you map out your business plan:
As you consider each question, assess them against the SMART goals outline. Are they specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound?
Your store’s business structure is important. Most stores are either limited liability companies (LLC) or sole proprietorships. Take your time with this choice, because changing your structure later can be expensive and challenging.
Although a sole proprietorship may seem appealing, think carefully. Sole proprietors aren’t legally separate from their owners. That means as the owner, you could incur personal liability as well as complete responsibility for debts or lawsuits filed against the store.
An LLC is a popular option that offers tax savings, liability protection, and the sense of being an official business. It also allows for multiple business owners.
Filing for an LLC can range from $40 to the mid-$500s. Most states let you set up an LLC online, with a credit card in many cases. Some LLCs may need a business license, too. To find out what you’ll need for your new business, visit your secretary of state’s website.
When it comes to naming your store, you want to stand out from the crowd in a unique but appealing way. When you choose your store’s name, consider signage colors, font, size, and placement. Have fun coming up with ideas, and plug them into search engines like Google to see if your idea is one of a kind.
Once you’ve narrowed your list down, ask friends and family for feedback. Some new store owners open up a poll on LinkedIn or Facebook to take the pulse of the community. If you’re completely at a loss, add keywords to a business name generator to see what fresh ideas appear.
Note that just because your store is “Buddy’s Grocery,” that doesn’t mean your store business needs the same name. That’s where a “doing business as” (DBA) name comes in handy.
Name your store
Enter your desired LLC name to get started
Once you’ve got a great store name, make it official. Hire a registered agent (or be your own) and file the paperwork to launch your LLC. As a business, you’re required to have an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS. Depending on the type of store you open, you may have other tax responsibilities.
Consider getting a seller’s permit and a resale certificate. If you’re hiring staff, you could be liable for disability and unemployment insurance, social security taxes, worker’s comp, and leave benefits. Most store owners also need general liability insurance and other business insurance. It’s a good idea to open a business bank account, too, to keep your personal and business finances separate.
Setting up a store costs money, but calculating your expenses first can let you go in with your eyes open. The average retail store owner can earn about $50,000 per year, with a brick-and-mortar store costing up to $5,000 a month. Jotting down your costs can help keep you from overspending. Here are a few factors to keep in mind:
When the numbers start adding up, your store may start to look unattainable. Consider these options to help you fund your store:
The initial investment for a storefront can be costly. Smaller stores need less equipment and stock compared to bigger retailers. Most stores will need:
Most startup stores don’t have the luxury of a large advertising budget, so your market strategy may be more organic in nature at first. Start small and then keep at it with these tips:
Store business options are endless, so choose one that suits your personality and the type of brand image you want. Consider the following niches:
A large part of success in the retail industry is knowing how to stand out from the crowd. It can be the difference between sliding into debt and making sales. By offering a fresh and appealing storefront with high-demand products, your store can soar above the rest.
We’ll form your LLC today so you can hit the ground running for just $0 + state fee. Past that, we’ll introduce you to the best resources to help run and grow your business as efficiently as possible.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.
“This is your life.
You want to get it right.”
– Mark Cuban on Starting a Business
Entrepreneur and Shark Tank host lays out
3 steps to follow when starting a business
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