Are you looking to start your own business in the retail sector? If so, you have many important business decisions ahead of you. It is important to be prepared, and having a checklist will help guide you through the critical steps, from start to finish.

The retail industry is an important part of Canada's economy. Statistics Canada reported that, in the third quarter of 2016, the retail sector sold more than $130 billion dollars' worth of goods and services. With a diverse list of retail products and services, any entrepreneur can find their niche.

Maybe you want to be an independent business owner or perhaps you'd like to acquire a pre-established retail operation. Before you open the door to your business, you can choose to:

  • Start from scratch
  • Open a franchise location
  • Buy a pre-established business

Each of these options has its advantages. In the case of a franchise, your start-up will have immediate brand name recognition. If you buy a business, it likely comes with a business plan and a loyal clientele.

If you are intent on setting out your own business plan, you will have the advantage of putting your own ideas and business model in motion.

Let's say you have a thriving online business, but you've always wanted to open a store in your hometown. At this stage, you've already built an online customer base extending beyond your region. If you decide to go local, it's a good idea to gauge the appetite for your retail business by studying the demographics of your hometown.

Finding a decent location is an important part of the equation. You'll want to attract as many customers as possible, so a high-traffic location and clear, visible signage is preferable. It's likely that you will encounter certain regulations for the first time. You will need to research the types of permits, licences, and regulations  required by your municipal or provincial/territorial government.  

There are many things to take into consideration when you set up your retail business. Be sure to consult the retail business start-up checklist or the business start-up checklist for more information.