Running a retail shop can be difficult. You’ll meet a lot of challenges, such as making supplies, hiring employees, and buying new items, but there is a lot you can do to improve your performance and take care of it well.
Here are seven tips to help you run a retail shop better.
1. Keep the Shop Clean and Organized
Retail shops are where customers come to look at or buy goods. Much of the time, customers will make judgments about the quality of your shop based on how neat and organized it is—not to mention how attractive it appears.
Therefore, keep things clean and organized by doing the following:
- Sweep or vacuum regularly.
- Wipe counters, shelves, and other surfaces with a disinfectant.
- Arrange items neatly on tables or shelves.
- Store less-frequently-used items in boxes that can be stacked up high for better storage.
Keep the checkout area clean by doing the following:
- Put everything away after ringing up customers’ purchases to avoid clutter at the register.
- Clean up spills as soon as they happen.
- Make sure the register area is clean and free of stains or other damage.
Don’t forget to schedule regular commercial pest control. No matter how much you clean your space, sometimes bugs can still get in. Termites, for example, can do serious damage to wood surfaces. If you don’t have a pest control plan in place, your shop will suffer the consequences sooner or later.
2. Maximize Your Retail Shop’s Assets
Your business’s assets include anything from your building and its furnishings to the retail goods you sell. These assets can be a source of additional income, so be sure to do the following:
- Rent your retail space for third-party storage when you need the extra room.
- Hold auctions or yard sales, or sell goods through consignment when you want to get rid of something that isn’t selling at full price in your shop.
- Install a vending machine if it’ll earn you money.
- Refer to the monthly income section of your profit-and-loss statement for more ideas.
3. Keep Up With Restocking and Replenishing Inventory
What do customers feel when they find empty shelves? Disappointment and frustration. To prevent these emotions from taking hold, always make sure there’s enough inventory to meet your customer needs.
To avoid this problem, know how much inventory you need before you run out. Knowing what sells best can help with this calculation as can looking at past sales records if you have them.
Consider different lead-time strategies. For some types of inventory, you’ll need to order more frequently—and pay the extra costs that come with this approach. For others, it might be better to keep an extra supply of inventory on hand at all times.
When possible, find ways to cut down on restocking and replenishing costs by using software systems that automate these processes for you.
4. Keep Tabs on Your Business’s Cash Flow
It doesn’t matter how much money your business brings in each month or week if you can’t pay your bills. Tracking cash flow isn’t difficult to do, but it does take discipline and organization.
In general, you want to have enough money coming in from sales to cover your expenses for a given month or week. Look at the cash outflows section of your profit-and-loss statement to get a better idea of what you’re spending money on and how much it’s costing you.
5. Get Along with Your Employees
Having employees is both a blessing and a curse—literally. On one hand, it’s great to have help. On the other, employees can increase your overhead costs and decrease your profits if you aren’t careful.
To keep things running smoothly with your employees, do the following:
- Pay them on time and in full, even if that means going into debt while you wait for payments from customers.
- Follow industry-standard wage laws by the books.
- Avoid favoritism at all costs. Treating some workers better than others can create tension, especially if those employees are friends with each other outside of work.
- Hire someone who shares your business philosophy and expectations for growth to help you run things day-to-day.
Some entrepreneurs are too hands-on when it comes to their business’s daily operations. That can be a mistake if you have other obligations that need your attention. If you don’t, by all means, get out there and work with your team.
6. Stay in Touch with Customers
Making customers happy isn’t about giving them what they want. It’s about giving them what they need. A customer who takes advantage of you or tries to get something for free is not a happy customer. They’re a pest and a nuisance.
The best way to keep your customers happy is to give them what they want but also explain why it makes sense that you’re charging them the price you are for your products.
Don’t forget to ask for feedback—good or bad. You can learn a lot about your business by listening to people who’ve chosen not to do business with you.
7. Keep Your Business Taxes Up-to-Date
Taxes are something that entrepreneurs always need to keep on top of, but many fail to prioritize properly. If you don’t stay on top of your taxes, you’ll get hit with expensive penalties and fees.
Make sure to file your federal tax forms by April 15 every year. There is a bunch of different ones, so make sure you ask a tax professional if you have any questions about the types that apply to your company or business structure.
To keep your retail shop as successful as possible, remember to always improve and adapt. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. Start focusing on these seven things today to ensure the continued success of your business.