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 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.

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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10 Absolute Classic Christmas Flicks To Decompress After College Finals, Because You've Earned It

What movies are the best to watch before Christmas.

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Finals week is finally over, which means that if you're in college, you can finally start enjoying the holiday! And for a lot of college students, one of the best ways to enjoy the holiday is to start watching Christmas movies. There are so many great Christmas movies to watch, and if you're in college, they're a great way to destress after a long stressful semester. Here are 10 of the best Christmas movies to watch if you're in college.

1. "Elf"

Elf

travis / Flickr

Almost any college student will agree with me that one of the of the best Christmas movies is "Elf"! It's one of my favorite Christmas movies, and it's the funniest one to watch! I'm sure a lot of us can relate to Will Ferrell's exaggeration of being excited for Christmas, especially since it's the one time that we can have a break from college. It's a great holiday movie to watch if you want to take away the stress of the semester and if you enjoy movies that make you laugh!

2. "National Lampoon Christmas"

National Lampoon Christmas

travis / Flickr

This is another great Christmas movie to watch if you want something that will give you a good laugh! For anyone who doesn't know what this movie is about, it's a comedy about a dysfunctional family that prepares for Christmas.

3. "It's A Wonderful Life"

It's A Wonderful Life

Wikimedia Commons

This is one of my favorite Christmas movies! If you love old classic uplifting Christmas movies, then you'll enjoy "It's a Wonderful Life." The movie is about a man who wishes he was never born and goes through an experience during Christmas where he gets to take a look at how he impacts other people's lives. What I love about the movie is that it has a good message and you can relate to the characters.

4. "How The Grinch Stole Christmas"

Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas / Facebook

Whether you decide to watch the live action version featuring Jim Carrey or the newest movie "The Grinch" that's in theaters right now, this one is a Christmas movie must. Whichever type of Grinch movie you prefer, both are funny and great to watch during Christmas.

5. "The Polar Express"

The Polar Express / Facebook

"The Polar Express" is another classic Christmas movie that a lot of college of students probably grew up watching. If you love classic Christmas movies that are uplifting, then this is a great Christmas movie to watch! It's especially great to watch when you need a movie that reminds you of your childhood! It's a fun movie to watch with family or friends too!

6. Home Alone

Home Alone

s_herman on Flickr

"Home Alone" is another great Christmas movie to watch when you need a movie that will make you laugh or remind you of your childhood! It's about a child that gets left at home on Christmas, and a few thieves try to break into his house with him by himself. The movie is a great classic Christmas that's fun to watch with anyone over the holiday!

7. "A Christmas Story"

A Christmas Story / Facebook

This is a great movie to watch if you want an old classic Christmas movie that will give you a good laugh. It's told from the perspective of a child during Christmastime in the 1960s. It's very fun to watch and it gives you a good laugh!

8. "A Christmas Carol"

A Christmas Carol

dennis.pope85 / Flickr

There are tons of different versions of "A Christmas Carol" that you can find anywhere. Even Disney made a version of the movie with Jim Carrey! It's a top classic Christmas that's fun to watch with family or friends during the holiday. It's great to watch when you need an uplifting message after suffering from stress from fall semester.

9. "Jingle All The Way"

Jingle All The Way / Facebook

This is one Christmas movie to watch when you need a good laugh! It's about a father who is struggling to keep his family together after focusing on his job and having issues with his marriage. When his son asks him for a toy that is one of the most popular toys during Christmas and the toy gets sold out, he goes through extreme lengths in order to make his son happy. The movie is relatable because it makes fun of Black Friday and Christmas shopping.

10. "The Nightmare Before Christmas"

The Nightmare Before Christmas / Facebook

If you love Tim Burton or claymations, then you'll enjoy this Christmas movie! This movie is often watched for Halloween or during Christmas since it features both holidays. It's one of the best claymation movies!

Watching Christmas movies is a great way to enjoy the holiday and hang out with your friends or family. You can even make a movie night for watching Christmas movies! Whatever Christmas movie you watch over the holiday, make sure that it's one that you'll enjoy and that will help you get into the spirit of the holiday!

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How Foods Affect Your Moods

There's a strong connection between our gut and brain, and what you eat affects your mood!

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You've already heard that "you are what you eat," but did you ever think about how food affects your moods? It does, and there's even an entire new area of research called "nutritional psychiatry" that studies this "gut-brain" relationship.

So, what have we learned?

Well, we've learned that most of our serotonin (happy hormone) is actually in our gut, not our brain. Maybe that's why what we eat is now considered a "modifiable risk factor" for depression and anxiety.

That means a healthy diet is linked with a lower risk of mental health issues, and and vice-versa.

So, what should we eat to improve our mood and overall mental health?

A Healthy Diet Is Good for Your Gut & Brain

Well, that doesn't sound very sexy. Anyway, let's define what a "healthy" diet consists of. Basically, a healthy diet should include nutritious and fiber-dense foods for both gut and mental health.

Components of a healthy diet include: Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, fish, poultry, lean red meat, eggs, and olive oil (not vegetable oil!)

A number of negative reviews online for commercial diets like Nutrisystem seem to have inspired them to focus more on gut health, resulting in increased fiber content in food and optional probiotics with their plans.

Fast Food Is Bad for Mental Health

Foods associated with poor mental health include: processed, sugary, salty, fried, high-fat foods, and sugary drinks. Wow, that pretty much describes the everything on the menu at Mickey-D's! And you thought that the worst thing fast food does is make you obese? No, fast food encourages anxiety and depression, too.

Ever drive through a bad neighborhood and notice how many fast food restaurants there are? The poor diet of people in these areas is directly responsible for both obesity and mental illness, making it even harder to climb out of poverty.

To Improve Your Mood, Skip the "Happy" Meals!

Oh, how I love irony!

Yes, even though ads for burgers, fries, and cola promise happiness, it's just the opposite. Fast food is bad for your mental health, (and clowns are scary!) so skip fast food altogether for better mental and physical health!

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