Women: 5 Tips for Starting a Successful Retail Business

Women: 5 Tips for Starting a Successful Retail Business

Even though a lot of business has shifted to online stores, you can still succeed in retail with an actual store.

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Tips for Starting a Successful Retail Business: A retail business can be any size and can sell just about anything; from cupcakes to prom gowns. If retailers and wholesalers expect to succeed, however, they need products that consumers want, as well as a great location, a strategy for success, loyal customers, and well-trained employees. No matter what type or size of retail business you are running, you need a good plan in place. Below are five tips to help you start your business off on the right foot.

1. Do Your Research (Then, Research Some More!)

I think it was Ben Franklin who said, "failing to plan is planning to fail."

Even if you think your product idea is the best, do your research. Before you launch your retail business, be sure that there is a need or want for your product in the market. See how the local competition is doing. Think of something that will make your shop unique from theirs, and expand on the market instead of just copying what others already have done. Target the right audience by understanding who is interested in your products, and gear your advertisements toward that group.

2. Create a Solid Business Plan

So, you thought of a million dollar idea while you were waiting in line at Starbucks? Now you need to take a deep breath and create a good business plan (how?) before you start. You need to declare goals and describe how you plan to achieve those goals. Your program should be detailed, covering all areas of the business, including employee training techniques, advertising strategies, funding options, and product lines. Knowing what you are going to do and how you are going to do it will put you on the right track and keep you there.

3. Have a Great Advertising Campaign

You may have the best product in town, but if people do not know you exist, your business will fail. You have to create a strong advertising campaign that will build your brand. Use online methods as well as offline techniques to get your brand recognized. Social media networks, websites, and search engine optimization are useful and affordable online techniques. Offline methods should include a good location, a clear and visible sign, and local advertising methods.

Also, don't forget low-tech and free methods of marketing. Even though you might be focusing a lot of your budget on online and print ads, don't forget old standbys like business cards which have survived the test of time! (You can find high-quality inexpensive ones online from companies like Moo.com and Vistaprint. Oh, and don't forget to always use a coupon!)

4. Understand the Importance of Repeat Customers

Getting new customers can be expensive, so don't lose them! Keeping a customer is much more affordable than trying to obtain a new one, and repeat customers also tend to spend more money. Make sure you have high standards for customer service standards so that you can retain your current clients. Create incentive programs to keep them coming back to your shop; start a newsletter to stay in touch with them and inform them about new products or specials.

5. Train Your Employees Well

Don't you hate it when you walk into a store and some uninspired college kid is behind the counter texting?

Behind every great business are great employees. Take the time to hire only the most capable individuals, and then take the time to train them to your standards. Employee training is a huge part of your business's success. If you want to stay on track with your business plan, make sure you train your employees properly. Conduct monthly performance reviews and reward those who deserve it. Incentive programs for your employees can not only make them work harder, but also make your business more successful.

6. Retail Business = Potential Tax Deductions!

So, if you have a retail business or are in the process of opening one, you know that there are tons of unexpected expenses. Well, the silver lining is that every one of those expenses could be a deduction come tax season! If you have a retail business, make sure you use a good CPA or software specifically for the self-employed from one of the top two brands of tax software. (You can find discounts for both hr block & turbotax self-employed online) Remember, trying to save $50 doing your taxes the cheapest way might cost you hundreds or even thousands on your tax refund, so use the appropriate version with all of the features you need.

Every business needs a plan to succeed, including having the right steps in place and using the correct methods to reach your goals. Do not assume that having a good product will bring in the profits you need; there is much more to running a profitable business. Plan out your business's every move, and carefully carry out the steps you have created for a successful and profitable business.

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On June 22nd I Celebrated My 22nd

*Insert cliche Taylor Swift song "22"*

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It's about time I turn 22. I've been told that after your 21st birthday, the years begin to fly past you in a blur. I don't know if I agree, but I can definitely say that I don't feel 22. Sometimes I look around at all the people who are freshmen in college, or juniors in high school, and I begin to reminisce about when I was their age. One thing getting older does do is make you a skeptical, cynical person.

I've thought a lot about my birthday as another day that I get to eat cake because let's face it, I'm not really here for anything else, except maybe a shot. I remember celebrating my birthday when I was younger was much different from what it turned into after I turned 20. Back in the day, I would celebrate my birthday with a pool party. Pizza, chips, cake, and soda. A few balloons and candles and that was it. I'd only invite my closest friends and we'd have so much fun.

I miss that kind of birthday. The kind you pick out an outfit for days prior, the kind you get so excited for and can't sleep, the kind that makes you feel special. It doesn't feel like that anymore. What it feels like now is, "welp, there goes another year." This line is also applicable to New Year's Eve, but we'll cross that bridge six months from now.

My birthday is pretty uneventful. It feels like the spark is gone, the excitement is gone. I wish I could feel happy that I'm turning 22, but I also know that it's just a reality that we all get older and things like birthdays begin to feel strange. You're faced to realize that you're supposed to have gained another year of experience and intelligence in the aspects of life, but it's almost like you feel the same.

It's safe to say that this has been a bit of an existential-crisis-themed birthday, but I'm just a little scared of getting older. I think we all reach a point where you realize you aren't invincible anymore. It's time to see what's in store for the future, what your career goals are, where you plan to move to after graduation, how to eat better, and how to feel like you've reached your full potential. It's a bittersweet moment in my life, but I'm ready to see what's next.

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12 Big Tax Changes for 2018

If you've watched any news this year, you'll know that sweeping tax law changes are coming. But, how will they affect you and your family?

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Big tax changes to consider for 2018: If you watch the news and keep up with current events, you will know that in recent months, the House and Senate have renegotiated and revamped many of the tax laws. After many months of back and forth, the changes are here and there are some things that you need to know. Here are the changes you can expect to see this coming tax season.

1. Tax Bracket Changes

Tax exemptions and rates are primarily based upon income and there are still 7 major tax brackets to consider. Take the time to view the below information to first see where you fall in line with these 7 income levels. Note that there is now a new lower top tax of 37%. This is, in fact, lower than previous rates proposed by the senate and house majority.

Ok, let's meet the tax brackets:

• 10% Tax $9,525 individuals; $19,050 for married couples and those filing jointly
• 12% Tax between $9,525 and $38,700, individuals; $19,050 to $77,400 filing jointly
• 22% Tax between $38,700 and $82,500, individuals; $77,400 to $165,000 jointly
• 24% Tax between $82,500 and $157,500, individuals; $165,000 to $315,000 jointly
• 32% Tax between $157,500 and $200,000, individuals; $315,000 to $400,000 jointly
• 35% Tax between $200,000 and $500,000, individuals; $400,000 to $600,000 jointly
• 37% Tax over $500,000 individuals; over $600,000 jointly





2. Deductions

This year, filers have the ability to deduct lower than their taxable income. This is due to the double standard deduction policy. Single filers can utilize between $6,350 to $12,000 and those filing jointly can file between $12,700 and $24,000 deductions. These higher figures are the result of eliminating many of the traditional deductions allowed to tax payers. It is likely that more tax payers will choose this avenue as opposed to itemizing deductions. If your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is below $66k, you might even be able to file simple taxes for free.

3. Personal Exemptions Scrapped

This year, filers have the ability to deduct lower than their taxable income. This is due to the double standard deduction policy. Single filers can utilize between $6,350 to $12,000 and those filing jointly can file between $12,700 and $24,000 deductions. These higher figures are the result of eliminating many of the traditional deductions allowed to tax payers. It is likely that more tax payers will choose this avenue as opposed to itemizing deductions.

4. Higher Medical Expense Deductions

Medical expenses could previously be deducted for up to 10% of your gross adjusted income. The figure has been lowered to 7.5% for this season and beginning in 2019, there is no longer a penalty in place for not having medical insurance.

5. Fewer Taxpayers Hit AMT

The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) is placed on those claiming higher income as a separate tax. The new exemption amount for the AMT is up to $109,400 for those married and filing jointly and to $70,300 for those filing as single. Exemptions phase out at $1 million for married filers and $500,000 for single filers. This means that fewer people will reach the AMT threshold.

6. What About Family Exemptions?

As stated above, the $4,050 that was the standard for filing dependents has been eliminated. Those will larger families will be affected most as they will no longer be able to take advantage of that sometimes large tax break.

7. Higher Child Tax Credit

The above deduction being taken away might seem like a let down to some families, but luckily, the government has made up for it. They have chosen to increase the child tax credit from $1,000 per child to $2,000. This tax credit is for single parents with a reflective income of up to $200,000 and married couples and those filing jointly for up to $400,000. There is also a new $500 credit for adult dependents.

8. 529 Plans Used Outside of College Expenses

Private school kids are getting a bit of an upgrade with 529 plans coming available for use in grades K-12. Up to $10,000 per year can be used from the college savings program for primary private school education. These funds, however, do not cover homeschooling expenses. The top tax software actually offers special codes just for students.

9. Lower Mortgage Interest

Homeowners get a break with the ability to deduct interest on their current home up to $1 million, but those looking to purchase a home will have to contend with a cap of $750,000 for deducted interest.

10. State, Local, and Property Tax

The debate lingers as to which states allow for state and local tax deductions, but it is still available for taxpayers to deduct their property tax, and either sales tax or income, but only up to $10,000. So, can you get out of that state tax bill? Um, no. Haven't you heard that quote about death and taxes?

11. Corporate Tax Rate Drop

Corporate taxes were on the table this year and those taxes have been reduced drastically from 35% to 21%. This is currently the largest drop in history and as of 2026, the change will become permanent. This tax cut has certainly given a short-term boost to Wall Street, but the jury is out on the long-term benefit to Main Street.

12. Pass Through Business Lower Tax Rates

Partnerships, S Corporations, and Sole Proprietorships are known as pass through businesses. These businesses have historically been saddled with high self employment taxes while larger businesses benefit, but these companies are now allowed a bit of a break. Pass through business owners are now allowed to deduct up to 20% of their total annual income instead of resorting to itemization as in years past.

In conclusion: Taxes evolve with time and this year has certainly been a doozy of change for the 2018 tax season. If you have yet to brush up on the new laws and see where you stand, it is time to take advantage of the space between now and filing day and find out which laws you are subject to following and which ones you may be exempt from. As always, file your taxes responsibly to ensure that you never have to hear the most frightening word of all, "AUDIT." Happy (almost!) Tax Season!

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