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How do I start a successful retail business?

I need assistance to get my questions answered regarding starting a retail business:

1. Which retail business would be best to start and why: a) Specialty retail business or b) Mail order business?

2. Which type of business is more predictable and does not change often: Specialty retail or mail order?

3. Many people say that PASSION is important when it comes to starting a business because the owner will have to work long hour to make his or her business a success. I agree with that but can you explain to me why there are many people out there who started their successful businesses outside their PASSION?

4. How can I choose products and services to sell that fit my personality and are part of my values?

5. I took a Myers-Briggs personality test and the result of the test shows that my personality type is an ISFJ (Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging). Would someone like me who possess this personality type can become successful in operating his or her retail business?

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13 Responses to “How do I start a successful retail business?”

  1. Jessica E said:

    1st – whatever the product know your market – find your niche and be the best or find a niche that people really need.
    2nd – identify the best way to advertise to your market
    3rd – identify your competitors
    4th – as for self – only you know if you have what it takes to be successful. Realize you don’t have to go it alone, there are many people like you and you can join minds for something great!

  2. lovin_2beme said:

    How about a book store, if you are looking retail?

    I cant say if it would work in your town, you need to do marketing research to see what would succeed in your town.
    Also in business .. Location, Location, Location is VERY important to success .. not only do you need the right business, you need the right location ..

    Passion, YES .. you do have to work long hours but passion because you believe in what you are doing.
    I work from home and have the utmost compassion and belief for what I do, I believe that is what brings me success ..

    If you don’t like books, don’t like to read .. then a book store probably wont make sense. Did deep .. Only you know what you really want to do.

    GL!

  3. Iinvestor said:

    You need a job where people will come to you looking for things. A pet shop would be great for you, lizards and snakes and turtles, exotic pets would be good for you then. How can you judge animals? You will be judgmental but in a good way, you will be able to sense if the pet is going to a good home or not. They will bring out your compassionate side also, And you have the feelings not to let them starve and die! A computer shop would be great for you also. You are an introvert so stay away from clothing or hospitality industry.

  4. eric h said:

    In order of importance;

    5. You’re exactly the wrong type for a retail business. Introverts don’t tend to interact well with other people and you NEED to interact well to succeed in retail.

    3. They couldn’t afford to start a business serving their passion, so they started what they could afford to get into. In other words, they sublimated their passion for a particular product and went with their passion for being in business.

    4. Sell what you are interested in and know about. To succeed, you need to know more about your products and selling them than anyone else.

    2. Ain’t no such thing as a stable business. It grows or it dies.

    1. There are no more mail-order businesses to speak of – you mean online businesses.

    The choice of which venue is best largely depends on the product. You wouldn’t do well selling used plastic 50-gallon drums in an online venue – the shipping would kill you. Similarily, a specialty retail business might be so specialized that only worldwide sales would generate enough business to make a profit.

    You need to decide the other questions and select some products, THEN decide the best venue to sell them through.

    I would suggest that you take some business management courses, especially in Marketing. Your questions strongly suggest that you don’t know enough about business to have any chance of success.

  5. alex l said:

    first get many miles away from any walmart store.
    then find a good location . lots of foot traffic.
    next research what is needed how far do people go to get product x .
    what is the manufacturers minimum purchase and price what would your mark up have to be.
    if you go franchise really check it out well like say subway.
    not good .
    you want volume sales not people who come in and look and say oh you have such a nice store and leave.
    better to be in a mall.
    if not locate near similar stores.
    say you were going to sell shoes don’t just sell shoes sell shoes that are made for bad feet like a good feet store.
    or if you can open a pharmacy hire a pharmacist .
    another is a medical supply store wheelchairs lifts stuff like that not special permits needed and its in demand.
    all manner of things. location location location . product product product profit sales start up cost.
    there you go .

  6. scott.braden said:

    1. Which retail business would be best to start and why: a) Specialty retail business or b) Mail order business?

    Well b) is the way I’d go, but that doesn’t change your need for a lot of market research. I assume you mean web/mail order combo, right? And, you’re on the right track w/ specialty retail – find a niche where you can compete, don’t be a generalist.

    2. Which type of business is more predictable and does not change often: Specialty retail or mail order?

    Neither… the world changes constantly. If you’re looking for stability and predictability, maybe a nice 9-5 government job is more your speed?

    3. Many people say that PASSION is important when it comes to starting a business because the owner will have to work long hour to make his or her business a success. I agree with that but can you explain to me why there are many people out there who started their successful businesses outside their PASSION?

    How many of those people have successfully started and run a business for more than 10 years? The point is, it’s smart to ask for advice, but you also have to evaluate who’s giving it to you (ask the Pope about Catholicism, listen to his answer. Ask him about Mac vs Windows, that’s a different question).

    I think it’s a poorly framed question, a better way is to look for a business that you think will hold your attention. I’m passionate about a few things, but my income comes from some very dry and frankly (to most people) boring things.. but it’s good money and to me it’s challenging and interesting.

    4. How can I choose products and services to sell that fit my personality and are part of my values?

    Just trust your gut, and ask yourself the integrity questions – would you sell it to your mom / spouse / best friend wholeheartedly? If you have any twinges in the gut, examine them closely.

    5. I took a Myers-Briggs personality test and the result of the test shows that my personality type is an ISFJ (Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging). Would someone like me who possess this personality type can become successful in operating his or her retail business?

    I have no idea. Ask a shrink. In my experience, the keys to success are grit, a bias for immediate action (the famous “ready, fire, aim”) and absolute determination. Oh yeah, it really helps if you are proactive about learning.

    Scott

  7. Tracy H said:

    Are you sure you want retail? How about from home? Check out my profile – If you’re interested, I can help.

  8. sueh2007 said:

    Why not go home based internet? Get started for under $50! Be your own boss. Choose your own hours. Excellent product – pay wholesale sell retail. Free website with business. Excellent training and support.

    For a FREE ecourse, go to http://www.freetorelax.com/SueHarrington.htm and I’ll be happy to send you information. Or go to http://www.scentedcomfort.scent-team.com/opportunity.php

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