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Retail business start-up checklist

Opening your own retail store involves a lot of planning and preparation. This checklist covers what you need to do when opening a fixed point-of-sale location designed to attract walk-in customers.

For general information on business start-up, consult our Business start-up checklist.

Another option is buying an existing business — find out more.

Knowing the retail industry

The retail industry is ever-changing. Make sure you understand the influences and the effects that changing economic times could potentially have on your business.

Retail support and advocacy

Setting up your retail store

Finding the best location for your store is a key factor in your success. The best way to start is by getting a demographic overview of the area(s) you're interested in, like the average age and income of its residents, the size of the population, as well as nearby road and foot traffic. You'll also want to know where your competitors are located.

Once you've set up your store, you'll need signs both inside and out to draw customers in and to help them find what they're looking for.

Find out what kind of insurance you will need to best protect your business in the event of losses.

Use market research to make more informed business decisions about the 4 P's: product, price, placement and promotion.

You will need to find suppliers and establish relationships with them in order to build and manage your inventory. It's important to have the right amount of inventory at the right times, so that your capital is not tied up unnecessarily, and so you don't have empty shelves. You may also need suppliers to provide you with the equipment and furnishings needed for your operations (cash registers, bar coding system, shelving, shopping carts, seating, etc.)

Your prices must be competitive, but must also cover your expenses and include a profit margin. The price your competitors charge for similar products and services can give you a good idea of what price to set for your own.

Advertising is essential to let people know about your business, and help you attract customers.

Complying with retail store regulations

Find out what regulations may be required of your retail business. Search our permits and licences database or contact your local municipality.

Hiring and training your employees

Your employees represent your business — so be sure to emphasize superior customer service. Satisfied customers are often return customers. Depending on the type of business you are setting up, you may require the services of a store manager, human resources manager, or customer service department.

Additional resources

Whether you are just starting out or are an experienced entrepreneur who's been in business for years, you can never be too informed when it comes to your business.

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