Though we are a nation of shop keepers, it hasn’t been plain sailing for UK retailers in recent years - with online sales continuously increasing at the expense of the high street. In 2015, we saw 117 more independent shop openings than closures, which is the smallest amount on record.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom, as in 2016 this number increased to 159 and the East Midlands saw the greatest increase of independents at 87. In fact, 65% of all shops in the country are independent stores, and a report last year said that 20% of people are shopping with independent retailers more than they used to. This may have been helped by some famous names moving from high streets into retail parks.
But with increasing competition and costs, it’s more important than ever for independent retailers to plan carefully and keep tight hold of those purse strings. With that in mind, here are a few things to think about when writing a retail business plan:
Location, Location, Location
With a physical store, one of the most important things for you will be the location of your business. Make sure your business plan contains some information about the area where you will be setting up shop. How are you using this location to target your demographic, and what is the competition like in the area? What costs will you face, and have you thought through all of your options in order to choose the best retail unit?
Your location may also be one of the things that comes up in your SWOT analysis. Your SWOT analysis will cover a range of other strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, including those you may not be able to change. Is there a skill you may need but are lacking, or is there some regeneration taking place in the local town that could make things a little turbulent?
What is Everyone Else Doing?
When it comes to competition, it may be a good idea to look beyond your immediate surroundings. Though online stores may not be your direct competition, it can be helpful to look at what they are offering and see how you can compete. What are they selling, and how much for? Are they breaking new ground with different products for your target market? It’s worth keeping an eye on them so that you are always familiar with the market. Your market research will be an important part of your business plan, and if you are approaching investors or lenders they will want to see that you have put careful thought into what you are doing, what other people are doing, and the unique selling points that will help you to compete.
Count the Costs
From clothing shops to market stalls, all retailers will have varying costs to consider. Business rates, rent and different types of insurance can all add up to take a chunk out of your earnings. Make sure you’re aware of every cost – even the smaller ones – and factor them into your plan. Retail can be a costly endeavour, so all your finances need to be accounted for in your retail business plan.
If you need to write your retail business plan, we’re on hand to help. Or if you’re thinking about opening an online store, we have some advice for you, too. Contact cbm online using the contact form on the right or call 01604 420 420.