Skills you need to start your own retail business

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Skills you need to start your own retail business

Anyone can start their own business if they have the resources and skills to do so. If you’re planning on starting a business, you need to ask yourself if you have the skills that it takes to be your own boss, be the boss of others, keep your business running and make a success out of it.


Leadership skills

Owning a retail business means you’re going to be a leader. Employees will follow by example and need you to step up and not be a passive employer. The retail industry is very hands-on and generally requires clear direction when it comes to how you want your brand translated to customers.

Through interactions, your products and your customer service, people will either love or hate your brand. So it’s important that with your leadership skills, you are able to delegate and demonstrate how the rest of the company should work. And this is done by leading by example, living out your passion for your work, being organised, being responsible and holding yourself accountable and communicating clearly.


Able to communicate

Being able to communicate is essential for any business owner. One of your responsibilities is to tell your employees what it is they need to do in order to achieve the business goals you’ve created. They can’t read your mind so it’s up to you to be clear about any expectations and goals you have to make sure they understand clearly what they need to do. You can’t hold anyone else responsible for an issue that occurs as a result of miscommunication on your part.  

You’re also going to need communication skills to be able to negotiate with vendors, landlords, customers and even your staff at times. Making deals is all a part of the business world and wherever it’s possible to save some cash, you’re going to want to do whatever is necessary. But you won’t be able to unless you’re a firm negotiator and communicator.

But, mostly, you’re going to use your communication skills to build and maintain relationships. Relationships with your employees will bring a team dynamic and job satisfaction, and a relationship with your customers will build loyalty and generate business success.


Financial knowledge

Obviously, you’ll be working with a lot of cash and money transactions as a retail business owner. And if you’re just starting out, you may not be able to afford an accountant or financial manager to sort money matters out for you.

But even with a professional on board to help you out, it’s a good idea to have a clear understanding of financial knowledge and matters so you can potentially save yourself from paying more than you should and knowing how to make informed on-the-spot financial decisions should the situation call for it. It’s just a matter of taking a short finance for non-financial managers course to equip you with the basics.


Marketing and sales ability

A business won’t succeed unless you have marketing and sales skills. Without promoting your store and finding ways to make it relevant to your target market, you won’t meet any sales goals for any month. Then you’ll be one step closer to having to close your retail doors. And you really don’t want to get to that point.

Tap into your creative skills and use the wonders of affordable online marketing strategies that will get your retail store noticed and bring customers through your doors. Always have a budget for marketing every month so that, as your business grows, you’ll be able to market and keep up with competitors. As soon as people know about your business, you can look forward to a rise in sales.



Every great business owner is adaptable and resourceful. Every day presents an opportunity for something to go wrong, be it with staff not showing up, product faults, power outages or difficult customers. The rest of the business will look to you for a solution (rightly so as you are the business leader).

You will need to be able to think quickly on your feet and use the resources around you to adapt to any situation as it presents itself. Not only will this help you on unpredictable business days, but it will also make you more comfortable in your position as a business owner who can handle almost anything.

You also need to be adaptable to the times and keep up to date with the latest technologies and industry news that will benefit your business. Using those insights could save you money and give you an edge over your more traditional competitors.



Perseverance isn’t so much of a skill as it is a character trait that business owners need. Without it, the hard times will seem impossible and it will become exponentially more difficult to motivate your staff to keep trying when you yourself have given up. If you can stick to the plan that works towards your business goals, you have every reason to keep pushing. It will take something extremely major, such as bankruptcy, to make you close your doors.  

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