Are you made to have a retail store?

After working for others for years, you have decided to make your dream come true: open your own store. But not everyone has the entrepreneurial fibre. And even if you take over a business, do you have the required qualities and motivation to bear the sacrifices peculiar to this profession? 

Having an entrepreneur’s soul

For those who have been employees, finding themselves overnight at the head of a business is a radical change: becoming an entrepreneur means making decisions every day. In addition, running a store requires have a sense for risk, without neglecting establishing strategies for meeting the competition, on the ground and on the internet. It also means managing employees, stocks, accounting: in other words, it’s not an easy task.

Unfailing cordiality
Some customers can be more difficult than others. Confronted with these, a good merchant always has to maintain a good mood and put his sense of service forward. In certain situations you must remember that you do what you do because you love your job passionately, in order to maintain a positive attitude.

If yours is a local business, your communication and service skills will be especially called upon to attract and retain customers.

Juggling the numbers
Of course, the ability to communicate is an essential asset when running a business, but you also have to be a good manager and know how to handle numbers. A minimum of training will help you improve. Obtaining the services of a good accountant could also prove to be a good investment.

Long hours
As all merchants will tell you, owning your own store means working long hours, often 7 days a week in the first few years. It often also means being available in the evening, in order to help customers after their office hours. This demanding pace of life can have repercussions on personal and family life. Confronted with these sacrifices, you therefore have to be highly motivated to start out on your own.

Impact on private life
Whether your spouse works with you or not, the long days and lack of free evenings and weekends can have an impact on your private life. Before embarking on a commercial venture, you and your loved ones need to be aware of what it means to everyday life. If you are a women, finding a balance between professional and family life can be even more difficult (see our article on work-family balance).

In addition, those around you should be aware that you will likely not be getting any income from your new activity for at least the first six months. So you will have to dig into your saving to deal with personal expenses, unless you find people who can contribute funds to your project.

Thorough knowledge of your industry and your products

For your business to be successful, avoid launching into a field in which you have no expertise. If you have been in an industry for many years, you will benefit from the knowledge acquired. In addition, it is important to have a good knowledge of the products you sell. More than ever today, consumers expect their merchant to provide advice, service and technical mastery of the products they sell. 

Experience or training

Running a business is demanding and requires wearing several hats. Don’t hesitate to follow training in the fields where you are least comfortable.

Get to know yourself better
Doing a skills assessment can be a good idea. Meeting with a specialist will allow you to better identify your strengths and weaknesses. You will then be able to determine if some training will be useful.

If, after having thoroughly analyzed your situation and become aware of all the life changes that running a business involves, you are more motivated than ever, go ahead and jump in! A new adventure awaits you!

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