Things You Might Not Have Known About Starting a Retail Business

It has often been said that the British are a country of shopkeepers. From small village shops to huge multinational stores, the retail sector is one that still holds a fascination for us. And it is with this in mind that we investigate the things you might not have known about starting a retail business.

Define the Nature of the Business

As with any other business, a successful retailer needs to define the nature of the business before taking any other steps to start up. Will it be a traditional type of retail business, a florist or newsagents for example, or will it be something more adventurous?

In any case you need some strong evidence to support the idea. Is there a demand for this type of service for instance and what is the potential for profits? A solid business plan is paramount in order to see whether or not the business idea is a viable one.

Deal with the Legals

If you are confident that your business plan works and the idea is viable, then it is time to start taking some practical steps to get the business started and the first is to deal with the legal aspects. Registering the company is a good place to start and to do so you must first decide on the type of company you want to set up. For the majority of people there are three main choices; sole trader, partnership or limited company. Each have their own particular nuances in terms of the business structure and the associated ways in which the business is administrated.

It is also worth looking into other laws that may affect your business, completion law for example, is one that is often overlooked but can prove to be important depending on the type and size of the company.

Securing the Funding

There are a number of ways to raise the capital that you will need to start a retail business. These include crowdfunding, business loans and private investment, however, before you start it is important that you understand precisely how much you will need – costs may include:

  • Rent for business premises
  • Utilities
  • Insurance
  • Money to buy stock
  • Shop fittings and equipment
  • Employees’ wages
  • Technology, such as point-of-sale systems
  • Marketing

Much of this should have been included in your business plan, but it is well worth updating and reassessing as the business takes more shape.


Whilst you may have already chosen a name for your retail business, you also need to carefully consider how you will brand it. From the way the business looks to individuals passing by on the high street to the image you project online, branding sets the tone for the rest of the business and the customer experience.

These basic elements set the foundations for your retail business and as such need to be firm if you are to build and succeed.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.