How to start a retail business

If you have ever dreamt about owning your own retail business or shop one day, then you have found the right step-by-step guide to get your business rolling.

Retail has long been one of the largest sectors and something which has always been a major player for the economic growth of a town, city or country. Nowadays, it can be far more global thanks to the internet. In the UK, there are currently three million people employed in the retail sector.

However, due to this, there is a lot of competition for retail shops and with the current economic turbulence in the UK coupled with a shift in consumer interest towards online retail, it is much tougher to stand out or even keep their head above water. It has been plastered all over the news that large retailers, such as British Home Stores, have been forced into administration – despite being a household name.



It is true that consumers are now becoming warier of their spending habits and therefore are not as willing to spend their disposable income as freely. Brexit has certainly played a huge role in this as there is now a lot of uncertainty for everyone, including consumers and retailers.

Nevertheless, there are opportunities to succeed and it is better that you start your journey knowing the obstacles rather than sugar coating them. Fortunately for those independent retailers, there are nationwide campaigns such as Small Business Saturday which work to encourage customers to shop with their local independents rather than the big brands. It is not unfair to say that the British public are more aware of the role they can play in supporting local businesses more than ever.

If you are keen in starting a retail business still (which you should be!), read on for our useful guide here on TechRound to launching the retail business of your dreams.

Finding your niche

One of the earliest decisions you need to consider when you are starting a retail business is choosing what you are going to sell. You have likely already thought of this. You will have the best chance of surviving in a highly competitive retail environment of you are able to establish your own niche.


Before committing to what you would like to sell, it is best to conduct some market research. What sells well and what doesn’t? Are there any current trends which you can stock up on that you know will be in high demand?

If you are wanting to sell your own handmade products, you should first test the market if you have not done so already.


You will also want to think about whether you will be selling your products via a high street store, online or a mixture of the two.

What is your target market?

Along with deciding what it is you are going to sell and how are you are going to sell it, you will need to define who your target audience is going to be. This refers to the demographic you want to buy and show interest in your products.

This is an important step as it will influence your branding, your business plan, your pricing, your marketing and many more aspects of your business.

Your retail business plan

One of the most important things you will do when you are aiming to set up any business is writing up the business plan. In this, you will need to consider a variety of things, such as how you are going to fund your business, how you expect to make a profit and pay an employee and so on.


You will need to work out how you are going to price the products in your shop. You need to be aware enough to give customers the sense that what they are doing is fair, but at the same time, you want to avoid undervaluing your products. After all, you need to make a profit to pay the bills!

Set up a limited company

In order to be registered as a company legally, you will need to register with HMRC as a limited company.

To set up a limited company up you will need to:

• Decide on a suitable name for your company: some believe it is better to go with a name which is not directly related to what it is you do, in case you want a career change or expand upon your field of work.
• Choose a company address and decide where it will be based: this could be your home address, or a rented business premise – both work for a beauty salon.
• Decide on who is involved in your company: will you have a team or will you do it solo? You allocate company shares, with 25% giving a person a strong position in the company and control over voting rights.
• You must appointment at least one Director
• Create the rules of the company
• Register the Company with HMRC
• Set up a bank account for the limited company