Markets are changing really fast. If you make the wrong decisions, your business can quickly go down and die. A lot of small businesses last less than two years. As a retailer, there is a few mistakes you’d better avoid doing if you want to stay in the game. Here are the five most frequent and devastating mistakes.
Failure to plan effectively and objectively
Being optimistic about your new business isn’t enough to make it effectively successful ! You surely already know it but the better you prepare it, the more chance you’ll have for it to go as well as you hope : business concept, business plan, financial estimations, budget, target market, location, product. Nothing kills a retail business quicker than underfunding for example. So don’t be afraid to take time planning and considering all the options before launching your company.
Focusing on products and not the market
Sometimes, we believe so much in our product that we refuse to see that it doesn’t fit in the market anymore. It’s good to remind yourself that you’re also in a business to make a profit, not just to sell a particular widget. It’s not always necessary to dump a product line, but you’ve got to be ready and prepared to update it very often to match with your customers needs. Being flexible on that is the right attitude to adopt for a sustainable retail business.
Failure to adapt to the market environment
This key point is linked to the previous one, but it’s a little more focused on selling methods and media. As the Internet has changed the whole market very quickly, you can’t really sell the same product the same way that it was sold ten years ago. Movies were still rented and returned at a local video at this point, and we’re now downloading them directly on our computers. The shopping practices aren’t the same anymore. That’s why if you want to stay on the market, it is important to give your customers more specialized and customized products and services, as well as comfortable venues in which to shop. Don’t standard to differentiate yourself !
Underestimating the demands of retailing
Retailing is not an easy process : the demands to operate successfully are many and time consuming. Don’t mistaken yourself thinking you can open a retail store and run it on your spare time….You’ve got to understand the endless cycle of buy, market, display and sell that gets tiring at times. It also means long days selling in the store and then short nights dealing with the book-keeping, paying bills etc. You must be prepared to commit a large portion of your life into your retail business, mainly in the beginning.
Disregarding the customer service
This probably the biggest cause of retail failure. Keep in mind that the customers aren’t there for your convenience, it should be the other way around. You take some risks if your store isn’t located in a convenient place for your customers or if your business hours don’t accomodate their needs. Also, it’s not rocket science but it is necessary to treat every customer with courtesy and respect along all his shopping experience, so make sure your retail employees are good at it and well trained !