Tips for managing your retail startup’s overhead expenses

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Being the owner-operator of a new retail business requires a lot of careful oversight and diligent financial management. During the early days of your development, every dollar counts. Taking steps to ensure that you’re making the most of available capital will help you do more with your money and prevent you from spending more than you need to on key expenses over an extended period of time for your retail startup business.

Choose Leased Space Wisely

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One of the most considerable expenses for a new retail business or startup is the cost of leasing a space for your storefront. Depending on where you live, commercial leasing costs can be rather high. In general, the terms of commercial leases favour landlords much more highly than residential leases do.

You need to balance the need for visibility with the need for affordability. Of course, if your business will rely heavily on foot traffic, location is critical. However, if most of your business is coming from other marketing efforts, you should prioritize amenities and size over the location. Avoid entering into a lengthy lease contract that’s several years so you have the option to relocate if your space isn’t working well for you or you grow out of it.

Use a Voice Over IP Phone System

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Business VoIP systems are an affordable way to get phone service for your new retail location. You can have multiple lines less expensively than having multiple wired phone lines.

Also, you won’t have to pay a lot for additional features that you’ll need such as extensions or voicemail boxes. When calls are transmitted through an internet connection, the clarity is more consistent, and you’ll be less likely to hear static or crossed connections.

Buy Used Display Materials

The items that you need to display merchandise don’t have to be bought new to be in good condition. Many companies sell used retail displays that are in near-perfect condition at sharply discounted rates. Turning to a resale market for display materials could save you from overpaying.

Make Your Business’ Operations Energy Efficient

Taking steps to reduce your energy usage can save money on sizeable overhead expenses of your startup business. Be mindful of how you use your HVAC system; heating or cooling a large area is typically rather expensive.

If the owner or manager of the space you lease is responsible for maintaining the system, make sure that preventative maintenance is being performed on a regular basis so the system performs as well as it’s supposed to. In addition, energy-efficient lighting will keep your energy usage down. Opt for LED bulbs instead of fluorescent or halogen bulbs. They cost a little bit more, but they need to be replaced less often and they use significantly less energy.

Connect With Customers on Social Media

A growing number of consumers are looking to social media platforms when they’re interested in finding retailers in your area. Create pages for your business on every major platform to get the word out about your business without spending a lot of money on marketing, but consider allocating some funds towards using them for ad space. A small investment in this arena can yield big returns.

Your social media pages should be very descriptive, and you need to update them with compelling content on a regular basis so that they appear well-maintained. Social media is a fantastic place to advertise promotions. Making promotions available to people who follow your page or share your page with their contacts to get more followers and attract more customers.

Use an Email Marketing Campaign to Generate Interest

Marketing via email is an effective, time-saving, and affordable way to market your retail business. Stay in touch with your customer base via email to update them about sales and products. Marketing emails should feature eye-catching subject lines, concise content, and high-quality pictures.

Send Targeted Mailers

Promoting your business through regular mail can allow you to target a particular geographic area. It’s an effective means of announcing your presence to people who are close to your business but won’t necessarily pass by it frequently. By choosing a well-defined target area, you can market your business affordably and effectively.

A mailer should include details about your location, and it may be useful to include a miniature map showing people exactly where it is. It would be helpful for mailers to include a promotional offer that’s available to new customers so people will be less likely to regard it as junk mail.

Avoid Staff Turnover

Time is just as valuable a resource as money to a new retail business. The time that you spend onboarding and training new employees ought not to go to waste due to staff turnover.

Use your best efforts to hire staff that you’re confident will be able to stay with you for a while, and implement stringent screening practices to help ensure that they’ll be a good fit. Also, you need to make sure that the demands that you put on employees aren’t driving them away.

Don’t employ so few people that you can’t give people flexibility with scheduling, and offer competitive compensation. Also, be sure to reward your hardest working team members with incremental pay increases to show them that their efforts are recognized and valued.

Looking for cost-saving opportunities on your ongoing necessities, being strategic about your marketing efforts and investing in your workforce can help make your new retail business more profitable. Reducing your overhead and managing your location well will lay the foundation for good budgeting practices and making your business appealing to customers.  

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