Skills required to run a business

There are many skills required to successfully run a business. This can range from business planning and cost management to spotting the latest trends, marketing, leading a team, merchandising, what to stock, the list goes on. Don’t let this put you off, help is at hand from the NFSP Retail Team as well as a number of websites that offer help and guidance.  

Let’s have a look at some of these in a little more detail

Business planning and cost management

Business Plan Costs

Spotting the latest trends

No successful retailer stands still, they are always looking at ways to attract new customers into their stores and to increase the basket spend of their current ones, below are a few ways to achieve this

  • Read trade magazines and attend trade shows
  • Visiting your competition including the bigger retail brands, if they are bringing in new categories and increasing ranges then they are doing this for a reason

Marketing

Marketing covers a number of things, how you market your store isn’t just about advertising but also how the outside and inside of your store looks to your customers, how your team is dressed, is the store nicely merchandised, all of the lights are working, everything clean and tidy, etc.

Marketing your business is becoming more important as there are now more channels to reach your customers than ever before. If you have a business then it is essential you have an online presence as well. This could be –

  • A website
  • Twitter and Facebook accounts
  • Instagram, etc.

The great things about these routes to market are the speed at which you can update your customers about promotions, new products, what’s happening in your store amongst other things. The websites listed at the end of this article can help you with this.                                                                                                                                                   

Marketing can also include how you get involved with the community, supporting local causes, having loyalty cards, there is also still a place for good quality leaflets 

Leading a team

When leading a team you need to show and set the standards from day 1 and explain the benefits of these. You will probably be working long hours and completing many of the tasks from opening up in the morning, to sweeping the floor, buying the stock, filling the shelves and of course serving your customers with a smile on your face however tired you might feel. As your business grows you will then be in a position if you haven’t already to employ new members to your team.                                                                                                                                                                  To help develop your team consider -

  • A great induction programme in place and don’t just throw them in at the deep end.
  • Regularly review their performance and to see how they feel they are coming along.
  • Update them regularly on the performance of the store, can you introduce a staff incentive to help grow your sales and profit
  • Ask them for any ideas they have that will help grow sales and improve the running of the store. Often the best ideas are from the people working on the shop floor.
  • Continually developing your team will put you in a position to delegate tasks and increase your team’s responsibilities that will release time for you to think about how to grow your sales and profit in the coming months and years

Merchandising and what to stock

The look of your store and how you merchandise your products have to be of the highest standards if you want to optimise the sales in your store. Customer’s expectation from a store is continually getting higher. Your products must be well presented, clean, tidy, priced and positioned in your store in a logical way that makes the shopping process a smooth one for your customers and also encourages link purchases eg pastries by your coffee machine, gift wrap next to your greeting cards.

When it comes to what to stock then look at what your competitors are selling to see if there is a gap in the market that you could fill, it is also key that you understand what your customers want to buy so you can see if there is a big enough need to stock certain products. Again read trade magazines and go to trade shows to pick up on the latest trends and any new product launches planned

Useful websites covering all or some of the above subjects and other areas you might need to take into account are...

www.princess-trust.org.uk scroll down and click on starting a business. It states it is for people up to 30 years of age but the information is valid to anyone starting or reviewing their business

www.business.qld.gov.au please note this is the Australian government’s website so some of the regulations might be different to the UK’s

www.gbbo.co.uk for further marketing advice from Google

The National Federation of Subpostmasters www.nfsp.org.uk click on the support and advice box