Starting a new venture is a scary proposition, but setting short-term goals that will morph into long-term plans can help your business succeed. Retail establishments are particularly difficult to start because, from the beginning, they are competing with big-name department stores, other small retailers and online venues. But setting specific goals and achieving them can help a small retailer carve out space in the larger market.
Create a budget for getting the word about your business out. New customers need to hear a business's name at least half a dozen times before they will remember it. Formulate your advertising budget, and devise a set advertising goal list. Several months before you are scheduled to open, contract out some advertising. Call newspapers, and put your opening schedule and any discount coupons in a large advertisement. Secure spots on popular radio stations in your area, and post fliers in the places your type of clientele frequent.
Plan a Grand Opening celebration. This should have a festive atmosphere and should showcase what your shop will be bringing to your customers. A few months before the opening weekend, review your advertising, man hours, products, refreshments and specials. Ensure you are advertising the opening. A week before the Grand Opening, consider doing a trial run or a soft opening to work out any kinks. Estimate how much of a profit you would reasonably expect for your business and how many potential customers you would like to visit your store. After the celebration, evaluate if your goal were met.
After your Grand Opening, you'll want to know what your customers thought and experienced and where they saw a need for your improvement. This open communication should be a top priority for you and your employees. Set up a newsletter or an email list so you can communicate with your current customers about specials or new products. Also ensure your customers can leave you feedback so you will know where you can improve. Make it a goal to keep this list updated and active -- as well as informed.
The key to a successful business of any venue -- and retail especially -- is return customers because your profit will come from these customers. List what you think is important to your customers, such as good service, quality products and special attention to orders. Make goals for you and your staff regarding these areas, and train everyone how to achieve these goals.