Working in a small retail operation teaches you a lot about business, not least of all customer service! Although a perfectly noble position, working in a store isn’t exactly rewarding. If you’ve ever thought of starting your own convenience store, then there’s always a lot of demand! However, this doesn’t mean a poorly managed one won’t go under. Here are a few essential things you need for starting a convenience store.
First of all, a good work ethic. In your initial, starting period, you’re going to be doing a lot of the work yourself. You’ll not only have to deal with all the number crunching of a business, but also work as a front-line employee. In order to do all this and still be successful, you’ll need to be an exceptionally hard worker, especially if you’ve gotten used to a manager’s life. Even if you’re able to get employees, you’ll have a lot of work on your hands. Many of your workers will be nervous teenagers with very little work experience. Others will probably be adults working in a completely new environment. Guess who’s going to be in charge of training these new employees? When pursuing this kind of business, make sure you don’t underestimate the work you’ll have to put in!
The next big thing you’ll need is good marketing resources. This is especially tough, as most of your customers will already have a preferred convenience store. It’s also extremely important, because if you don’t make enough sales, the whole operation will go kaput! Before you start, it’s a good idea to get some flyers circulating. You might want to include a voucher for something, or information on special offers. Just make sure you can afford the prices you’re advertising! If you can, get a feature at your store which will get people inside. Start stocking scratch cards, or advertise services like DVD cleaning. ATMs are also a brilliant way to get people inside and looking around. Here’s where to find ATM machines for sale.
Finally, you’ll need a keen eye for market research. Almost every convenience store serves a wide variety of customer “types”. You’ll probably have a few local regulars getting their milk and newspaper in the morning. Then, there’ll be passing commuters who stop in on their way to work. Inevitably, there’ll be gaggles of kids spending their pocket money on chocolate and sweets.After a while, you’ll get a feel for the different groups your shop is attracting, and can even design and create custom POP displays to encourage customers to buy additional products that are of interest to them. Once you’ve figured that out, you need to start marketing to them. As you do this through different promotions and products, keep records of what works and what doesn’t. Pretty soon, you’ll have a strategy which caters for all the people you’re serving. Remember, the more you understand the customer, the better your chances of success will be.
I hope this advice has helped you form a great plan for your convenience store. If I had to reiterate one point, it’s the importance of your work ethic. Retail business is highly competitive, and this only gets worse for smaller operations!