Categories
Blog

How to Start a Food Truck Business

Do you love food? Or the art of cooking it? Are you interested in starting up your own business? Then, you may consider starting a food truck business. But, how to start a food truck business? Is it easy or difficult?

How to Start a Food Truck

A food truck is a huge vehicle, preferably a large truck or RV with a built-in kitchen for food preparation. They are becoming very popular across the United States. More and more entrepreneurs are opting for food truck since it is much less expensive compared to buying or leasing a restaurant location.

However, before you go and buy a truck, here are some important things that you need to know about starting a food truck business, including the startup costs, finding a truck, food truck ideas, available funding options, such as business loan or line of credit, and more.

Startup Costs

Like any other businesses, there are several factors that involve determining a food truck business’ startup costs. Apart from this, there are also one-time costs, plus the fact that the costs differ from one location to another.

One-time startup costs include the food truck, materials that you need for your business, truck wrap, POS or point-of-sale system, office supplies, PR and advertising, consultation fees and even website design. This list is not yet comprehensive, but it gives you an idea about your possible upfront expenses.

Some businesses purchase a low-cost food truck without realizing they will spend more in having it modified to fit the regulations of the local health and fire departments. These regulations vary depending on the local government units.

In addition to the upfront expenses, there are recurring costs like fuel, credit card processing, equipment rental, and payroll. Furthermore, food truck businesses need to get the proper permits and licenses which also vary accordingly.

How to Start a Food Truck Business: A 10-Step Plan

Operating a food truck is not easy. Planning it thoroughly can help make your business a success. Here is a 10-step plan on starting a food truck business:

Get a License to Operate

In the world of small businesses, nothing is really easy. So, you cannot just drive a truck and sell food wherever you like. There are various requirements that are involved in this. Health department permits, parking restrictions, and truck permits are just some of them. Keep in mind that every city or state has its own rules and policies, so to get your facts straight, contact your local government offices.

There will be obstacles, so be prepared. Like what we said earlier, food truck business is not all smooth-sailing. For instance, if you are operating in New York City, expect to be on a long waiting list before obtaining a permit. The city only releases a maximum number of food truck permits, some of which do not expire in 15 years.

Moreover, other communities and cities do not allow food trucks or carts to park and operate in public space, so finding a private parking near a crowded area might be necessary, but this is a rather difficult task. However, once these are all figured out, the operations will be easier and simpler.

Get a Truck or Cart

If you are on a tight budget, the best way to start is to get a food cart. You’ll be able to find a nice one for as little as $2000 versus a hundred-grand new truck.

Wondering why food trucks are expensive? Because they need to get fitted with specialty equipment which are very expensive. This is to meet the standards of most health departments. If you want to have a food truck but do not have a six-digit figure to shell out, you can check out used food trucks which usually sell for $20,000 to $40,000. There are various online sites that cater to offer used trucks and vans.

Nevertheless, before buying a truck or cart, you have to determine what you exactly need. Selling pizza or other hot, cooked foods? Then you will need a fully-working kitchen, hence, a large truck. If you do not need to keep right in the truck and can prepare food at home and just keep your products warm using a special food warmer, then a smaller truck or food cart may suffice. The truck or cart will be your largest investment, so you have to get it right. It will be useless and a waste of money if you buy a truck worth $40,000 and all you need is a $2,000 cart.

How to Find a Food Truck For Sale

You can find a food truck for sale in different places. Here are various resource options that can help you find the perfect food truck for you.

Local online ads. Your local online classifieds is one of the best places to go when looking for a low-cost truck, especially for the used ones. An additional advantage is that you can easily go and inspect them since they are local.

National online classifieds. While this is a good option and opens a lot of possibilities, keep in mind that many of the trucks for sale here are located elsewhere. This means you won’t be able to see and check them before agreeing to buy.

New custom trucks. This is obviously the priciest option, but it is also the best way to make sure that the truck you are using meets the code and standards requirements. Plus, you can have it customized according to your specifications.

Leasing and franchising. Another option is to get a local truck available for lease, which you can have from various leasing companies. If this does not sound appealing to you, you can franchise a food truck from an established restaurant or food company. However, in franchising, you do not have control over the menu, products to offer, and even the marketing system.

Find a Niche

While tacos and sandwiches are very common in food trucks, it doesn’t mean that you also have to go in that direction. These days, food trucks can serve foreign cuisine, gourmet food, specialty desserts, and even health or diet foods.

One of the most important success factors is to find a niche and become an expert on it. Conduct research on what’s being offered in your area and come up with your own unique creation.

Here are some food truck niche ideas:

  • Barbecue. Barbecue is always a good concept when it comes to food. It is low-cost food but highly-appealing. Another thing is that the sweet, savory smoke that comes from your truck is a sure-fire way of marketing.
  • Ethnic Fusion. The current trend in food business is to offer two or more ethnic cuisines, resulting in some tasty ideas. Korean barbecue and Vietnamese cuisine, or traditional Filipino and Mexican recipes fused together are just some great finds.
  • Health Food Trucks. Because health has also become a priority, it is also a good idea to offer healthy foods in your rolling store. You can offer low-carb meals, keto bentos, vegan options, and even low-calorie desserts.

Get Financing

Once you already know what you need to spend on, construct a finance plan. There are several financing options that you can get in order to buy a truck but you may need to get financing from other places for your small business capital. There are bank loans, start-up loans, credit unions, peer-to-peer lending networks or you can even borrow from family and friends. For trucks, figure out how much down payment you can afford and discuss with the lender about your possible interest rate.

Acquiring funding is one of the biggest challenges that you will face as you start your food truck business. Your number one goal is to create first a solid business plan and it will help if you have a good credit score on both personal and business accounts. Having good credit standing increases your chances of getting a business loan.

Traditional financing is out of the question? Then there are several other ways to get capital for your new business venture. Here are some tips on how to start your business using minimal funding:

  • Talk with someone who has an existing food truck and see if they can allow you to lease or rent it.
  • Use a low-cost cart or truck. Second hand equipment are great options, too.
  • Try selling at pop-ups, fairs, and farmer’s markets.
  • Partner with a successful restaurant owner about letting you run their company-owned trucks.
  • Look for sponsors, especially if your truck offers benefit to community or provides public service.

Make a Plan

Like any other business, a food truck business needs thorough research and ample time to create a business plan. When you already have everything figured out — the loan, permits, equipment, cleaning materials, ingredients, and other costs, then it is time to determine how much you need to earn in order to make a profit.

Have Your Business Insured

Since the business you are establishing is on wheels, you have to take insurance seriously. Ask an expert or insurance agent and discuss the nature of your business. Describe exactly what your truck is like, what the purpose it will serve and what type of equipment are in there. These factors have a great impact on your insurance coverage.

While you may only need to pay for a standard vehicle insurance, your agent may need to make an adjustment to account for the risks and liabilities that involve a food truck business.

Find Parking

Since food trucks are huge vehicles, you may experience some parking issues once you operate. Will your village association allow you to park the food truck in front of your home? Is it safe to leave the truck on off-street parking? Moreover, some health departments have standards that require food trucks to have refrigeration and electricity, will this be possible in your situation? You may want to consider renting a private space that provides your truck a safe and legal way to park.

Get Connection

This business is not just setting up and serving lunch. Many food truck vendors cater to corporate events and special functions. There are event planners that hire food trucks to be on their property during an event.

Having connections in the local government and the business world allows you to have a head start. Ask for contracts and keep the connection in good terms. Make “networking” one of your job descriptions. Join clubs and associations that specialize in your field. Use your skills to meet new people and people that matters, who can connect you with other names and companies and recommend you as a caterer.

Use the Power of Social Media

Many successful food truck businesses make use of social media to connect with customers and create a buzz. Keep your followers updated about your whereabouts through your Twitter and Facebook feeds. Create an Instagram page and post your mouth-watering creations to invite new and repeat customers alike.

You can also interact with your customers and allow them to vote on what they like most from your menu and what new items they want to have. Let them pick next week’s special, the new color of your truck and any other things that you can get them involved.

Expand

Once you have created a steady following and you got your brand known, start thinking about expansion.This does not have to be big. Merchandising is a great way to expand and promote your business at the same time. You can offer t-shirts, mugs, and other promotional items online or right at the store. Once your brand becomes bigger, customers are more likely to be more willing to buy and wear your cool cap or tshirt. You can even ask local coffee shops and grocers to sell your goods if they think you are already big enough to be recognized.

Conclusion

Building a new food truck business can be a challenging task, but with proper planning and with the help of the right people and partners, you can easily get the things you need to get started. Soon, with the right management and marketing skills, your business will surely be a success.

Categories
Blog

What is SaaS: Understanding the Pros and Cons of Using It

SaaS is the acronym for Software as a Service, which is basically a type of cloud computing that is accessed over the internet through a third-party provider, instead of being an application downloaded and run by a user on their PC. This software is run through a web browser interface and is usually sold on a subscription basis or via a license model.

Advantages of SaaS

SaaS has become a popular cloud computing software, particularly to both online and offline businesses. This is due to its many advantages, which include:

No need for hardware updates. With this type of cloud computing software, it is not necessary to update your hardware requirements. Individual PCs will run through a software server thus meeting minimum specifications will never be an issue.

Centralized software updates. Because the software is used through a server, updates are done centrally; that is unlike the traditional software models that need to be upgraded on each PC. This will make the software easier to maintain as it will always have the latest version.

Lower costs. Unlike other software models, the cost of acquisition is much cheaper with SaaS, especially with the subscription models. Moreover, when a business expands, users can be added on an as needed basis with an upgrade of the subscription plan.

Quick deployment. Since installation and configuration is done across the system via the server, rather than on each individual PC, SaaS is more quickly deployed.

Accessible from virtually everywhere. SaaS apps just require an internet connection and a browser to allow users to login and access them. Hence, they can use the SaaS software from almost anywhere that internet access is available. Furthermore, the user’s data is stored in the cloud, which renders it readily accessible to other members of the team.

Disadvantages of SaaS

While it has many advantages, there are also some disadvantages of using this type of cloud computing software. These disadvantages include:

Possible data security breach. Some businesses or organizations complain about the possibility of a data breach through their SaaS software. Certain sectors with highly sensitive and confidential data, like legal and healthcare, may have data or information that ends up outside of the company’s servers. This occurrence raises issues of privacy and security, as well as access management, on most SaaS apps.

Fewer choices. In general, traditional cloud computing software offers a greater range of choices as compared to SaaS models. Fortunately, the options available under SaaS look to be improving in the future, albeit at a somewhat slow pace. As of now, the SaaS segment gives you a narrower option.

Version Issues. One of the advantages of using SaaS is that it ensures that all users get the latest software version. However, there are times when a user, or the company itself, prefers to use an older version of a particular software because of a) user education b) hardware-software integration c) task-critical features that a particular version offers. No matter the reason, opting out of the upgrade is not possible with SaaS as it constantly upgrades to the latest versions whether the user likes it or not.

Internet connection required. When using most SaaS apps, the user must always have an internet connection. Hence, it will not operate, when an internet connection is not available or is disconnected.

Can be slow, depending on the internet speed. The efficiency of the SaaS operation generally depends on the speed of your internet connection. Therefore, operating this software may be slower compared to operating software that is locally installed on your PC.

 

Pros and Cons of Using SaaS: How to Balance Them

Many companies have decided that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of using SaaS apps. Some companies even run more software through SaaS computing models in preference to hosting it locally. As the SaaS market expands continuously, the industry is expected to grow more than its $112.8 billion sales this year. While this growth is primarily because of the internet, SaaS is not an upstart. In fact, SaaS began operations decades ago, in 1960, working with corporations like IBM, utilizing distributed software packages in order to connect users, and providing utility computing to companies.

As internet access and use surged in the 90s, SaaS experienced a shift in momentum as companies wanted their employees to gain more access to the company’s resources. SaaS was also used to deploy media-sharing and web mail services. One good example is the use of Microsoft Office Suite for most businesses. Over the last two decades, word processing has generally been done through MS Word, while email and calendar organization are done through MS Outlook. MS Office had effectively become the unofficial “official” standard for word processing software in the business world.

These days, most companies prefer not to use software that are pre-installed models, hence SaaS comes into the picture. A popular SaaS choice in Microsoft is Office 365, an MS Office subscription variant that charges fees on a monthly or annual basis. The package includes Word, OneDrive, and Exchange. Other options include the more comprehensive packages, such as the Office 365 Business, or Office 365 Enterprise, which includes MS Office Suite plus a whole host of other features.

Of course, there is always competition and competition is good with SaaS. SaaS office suites include Google G Suite and Zoho One, which includes more than 40 built-in applications for business in a single package.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about SaaS:

1. How to choose between an on-premise software and SaaS?

You have to determine how complex your business is. Generally, SaaS is a great choice for small to medium enterprises with business process requirements that are straightforward. SaaS is also a good choice if you want a cost-effective yet complex system. It doesn’t require huge upfront payments while giving you the important business applications you need in order to operate or function competitively.

Nevertheless, on-premise computing software still is a notch higher compared to SaaS, but the latter is working hard to make the gaps narrower. In the end, it will all depend on the complexity of the needs of your company and which solutions can help you best.

2. Is SaaS customizable?

When this type of computing program first came out, customized options were either very limited or essentially non-existent, depending on the provider. It was essentially just a single solution that businesses would have to adapt to in order to make it work.

These days, however, customizing SaaS systems couldn’t easier. As a matter of fact, there are people who specialize in customizing various SaaS applications in order to fit your business’ operational requirements. Customizing may involve changing the overall look and feel of the program, or modifying specific areas like data fields. There is also an option to turn some features on and off, depending on the user’s preference.

Nevertheless, the ability to customize SaaS software is no where near as broad-based as customizations for on-premise solutions. Fortunately, as the market for SaaS matures, software developers and vendors will no doubt be invested so as to improve flexibility and customization. But, bear in mind,these outcomes and improvements will vary from one vendor to another.

3. When I use SaaS, who owns my data?

There is a fear that SaaS vendors will own the user data. However, as a buyer, you can always check the SLA or Service Level Agreement and set the system reliability standards. Read the SLA thoroughly and understand all parameters, such as security requirements, and data ownership, as well as maintenance schedules. Comprehensive checking of this document is crucial if you want to keep your business data and interests protected at any cost.

As a buyer, you must make sure that, within the vendor’s SLA, there is a clause which states that the buyer is the absolute owner of all data shared and made within the SaaS program. Within most of the SaaS vendors’ contracts there is a guarantee that you, as the user, own the data, even if the vendor should go out of business. Additionally, under the SLA, they will allow you to export data and/or back up the data locally, as you please. A vendor who insists that they gain data ownership should be viewed as a red flag. If you notice anything like that in a clause, do not sign the contract.

4. Is my data safe?

For companies that are thinking about using SaaS, security should be one of the most crucial considerations. Knowing that your data is safe is important to companies, particularly when they allow a service to maintain data critical to their business. However, security has become questionable as online banking and payment systems become more common, especially since users have become more comfortable with storing private information in the cloud.

The fact is, data security is not solely the service provider’s responsibility; it is also the responsibility of the buyer. Nonetheless, SaaS vendors have become much more focused in security, maintenance, and even backups, so much so that they turned out to be better at this compared to many other small to medium enterprises. This is why web-based systems like SaaS have better security measures than other on-premise computing programs. Moreover, they regularly undergo SAS70 Type II audits or similar security audit procedures which most independent company IT departments do not have to undergo.

5. What to do if the vendor goes out of business?

Software vendors may come and go; this has become the norm in the tech environment as a result of industry consolidation or business failure. Regardless, you will always have the data, irrespective of the disposition of your SaaS vendor. Most SaaS vendors have the data centers prepaid, just in case they go out of business, protecting not only themselves but also the buyers. This prepaid fee guarantees that the data remains readily accessible .

Though this is the standard practice of most SaaS vendors, there are exceptions. Thus, once again, you should ensure this safeguard clause is clearly and unequivocally stated in the SLA; thus allowing you to export your data. The clause should also include the type of format you can use to access the data and how often you are permitted to do so.

6. Are there any limitations when it comes to the Operating System and the internet connection?

One of the downsides of using SaaS is it depends on a reliable internet connection. If your internet connection is inadequate, you may experience frequent outages of service. On-premise systems are also prone to these problems, however, and they also aren’t immune to downtime. On-premise computing software can suffer downtime or lag due to hardware failure, electrical outage, or some other circumstance. Some SaaS vendors now offer offline functionality, allowing users to keep working and, at the same time, save what they’ve already done, even if the internet connection is lost. The data that is saved offline will be synced to the system as soon as the internet is reconnected.

Apart from the internet connection, some worry about the SaaS programs’ compatibility with their own operating system. For most businesses, it is very common to use Linux or Windows, hence, vendors initially made their SaaS systems for these OS, but over the years, vendors began offering SaaS for the Mac OS. In terms of browser compatibility, most SaaS systems support multiple web browsers, effectively making this a non-issue.

7. What makes SaaS different from Cloud computing?

Semantics is not the only difference here. The cloud is basically the set of complex infrastructure technology or a collection of servers, databases, and computers connected together, which allows users to enjoy their “combined powers.” The cloud is anything that is remotely hosted, which can be delivered and accessed through the internet. SaaS essentially “resides” in the cloud, and data is stored on a specific server.

Conclusion

So, is SaaS a good choice? Yes, it is. Why? Because of several factors. In terms of price, it is much cheaper and has a lower initial cost. Hardware maintenance and repair is not necessary; in fact, most hardware won’t need any upgrades at all. You also won’t need a lot of space with SaaS systems, as it is primarily cloud-based. System upgrades to the SaaS are centrally and regularly done, thus you do not have to update every single computer unit in your network. Moreover, updates and customizations are done remotely. Finally, and most importantly, SaaS is efficient, and deploying the system is less time-consuming and performance is at par with on-premise computing systems.

Categories
Blog

How to Start a Retail Business

There are more than 24 million people in the retail industry in the United States alone. They provide products and services that everyone needs: food, clothing, appliances, electronics, home furnishings, and auto parts. Even skilled labor, home improvement, and expert advice are considered part of the retail business sector.

Retailing is considered one of the primary contributors to the US economy, as well as most economies within the developed world. Retail companies in the United States are among the largest employers . At least a third of the 500,000 new companies which start up every year operate within the retail sector. These ventures have entrepreneurs who are ready to invest time and capital and, at the same time, make a living through products or services that consumers need or want.

The retail business involves the purchase of goods or services directly from a manufacturer, importer, wholesaler, agent, or even other retailer. Then the retail business will in turn sell the products or services to consumers for their personal consumption. The price to the consumer for the product or service should now include the retailer’s expenses plus profit.

According to the National Retail Federation, there are more than 1.4 million retail outlets in the United States with over 1 million retail companies, all in all. Most of these retail companies are store retailers or have physical, brick-and-mortar stores, but other enterprise types are joining the sector, including e-commerce, automatic vending machines, mail order, direct retailing, door-to-door selling, pop-up sellers, and service providers.

Different Types of Retailers

The retail sector is a highly-competitive and diverse marketplace. Vbelow is an overview of the various types of retailersin operation :

Store Retailing. America’s retail scenario is a dizzying array of department stores, independent shops, off-price or discount stores, regional and national chains, membership warehouse clubs, conventional supermarkets, and other large-scale ventures that generally dominate the sector.

Store retailers typically operate at a fixed location for their point-of-sale, allowing them to attract a large number of walk-in customers. Generally, these stores resort to extensive displays of merchandise, as well as mass media and social media advertising, in order to attract customers. They sell their merchandise to the public for personal use or household consumption. However, some also have customers that are in the business or institutional sectors, as well. These include office supply stores, software and hardware stores, computer stores, dealers of building materials and electrical and plumbing supplies.

Specialty retailing. Target, Wal-Mart and other power retailers typically sell “needs” while specialty traders tend to sell items that are considered “wants.” These specialty stores focus more on the convenience and richness of the shopping experience. Most of the time, small store are strongers and more resilient in terms of facing large-scale competitors and e-commerce stores as they give the consumer a warmer, more welcoming atmosphere with a broader and deeper merchandise selection.

Most stores are owned, and operated, by a single person or with only minimal assistance. Specialty retail outlets are easier to start up, compared to manufacturing operations in terms of both financial and operational aspects. Nevertheless, they also tend to face a greater number of failures because of poor location, undercapitalization, and insufficient marketing analysis.

Non-Store Retailing. If you will look closely into the retail sector, a larger number of retailers are now operating non-store or through electronic shopping, electronic and paper catalogs, direct selling, through television, in-home demos, via vending machines, mail orders, or pop-up stores. Most of the time, these stores do not maintain an inventory of stock for immediate sale, except with vending machines.

This type of selling has many advantages. For one, it is not necessary to buy, maintain, and secure a large inventory of your products because, more often than not, these matters are handled by others in the retail supply chain.

14 Steps to Starting Your Retail Business

Now that we have discussed the different retailer types, it’s time to look at how to start a retail business. Here are the steps that you need to undertake for a retail business startup:

1. Choose a legal business structure.

Selecting the legal organizational structure that is ideal for your business is really crucial and is one of the most important things that you will make. Yes, it is true that you can change the organizational structure later but it won’t just be difficult, but more expensive, as well. Ideally, make the decision early in the process.

One of the most common business structures is the LLC or Limited Liabiltiy Company because it is simpler to register compared to others. However, if you want your business to have an advantage of better traction, consider the S Corp. Incorporating will help protect the business, as well as you and your family, in case something goes wrong with the business.

2. Choose a name.

This task may come easy for others but can be a challenge to some. You should be careful in choosing the business name and consider the meaning, how well it can be recalled, and how the name will be considered or treated by the people in social media. Check out names that ring a bell or a name that you can relate with, such as your name or family name. If you plan to make Search Engine Optimization a consideration, however, using the family name is not advisable as you are unlikely to yield any favorable results

The name of the business should speak to the business itself. For example, if you want your business to be called Benson, which is your first name, include the words that would best describe your business, i.e., Benson’s Hardware Store, Benson Tools and so on.

3. File for an Employer Identification Number.

The Federal Tax Identification Number or Employer Identification Number is used to identify your business as an entity. This can be acquired easily by completing form SS-4 with the US Internal Revenue Service.

4. Know your products or services.

When starting a retail business, it is very important to pick the right merchandise to sell. Most retailers will agree that choosing the products or services you intend to sell is a balance of science and art, and that all products will require a certain service in order to sell. It could be gift wrapping, service repair, or any extras that will attract more customers and can help your store to become more successful.

The products that you’re selling are most likely to be based on your passion because you will find it difficult to sell a product that you are not passionate about, or at the very least, knowledgeable about it. When buying products to sell, keep in mind that the products must be 10% the right fit and 90% math. It’s easy to get any product into your store; the hard part is ensuring it is profitable.

5. Determine the channels.

The way or method in which your customer can do business with you is called the channel. Are you considering an online page or store together with your physical store? Are you willing to consider accepting phone orders or mail orders? Is a mobile app right for you?

Retail is a world full of methods these days. It is an omni channel business and customers are now expecting you to offer your products or services via more than one channel. You must think about which channels will be ideal, and which will be effective for both your business and your customers.

6. Know the laws.

It is important to understand the laws covering your retail business, including obtaining the appropriate business permits and licenses, contacting your local and government agencies, and so on. Before starting your business, find out which laws or statutes pertain to your retail store type and research these carefully. You may also want to consider consulting a lawyer, as well as an accountant, to help you in organizing your business properly.

7. Establish customer experience.

Among the given steps in starting a retail business, establishing a good and memorable customer exerpience is by far the most important thing. It is crucial to know what your customers really want. For instance, more than 60% of millennials prefer shopping in a physical store as opposed to shopping online. However, they are demanding a different shopping experience, one that will make a drive to the store “worth it.” Many retail shops fail because they only focus on the store design and products they sell and forget about the customer experience.

8. Write a business plan.

It is not enough to have your plans in your head; your business plan needs to be written down or you are bound to fail. The importance of a written business plan is that you will be forced to consider all areas and look at all angles. Writing a business plan pushes you to do extensive research, which you cannot skip if you plan to succeed. While it will make starting up a business more difficult to achieve and lengthen the process, writing a business plan correlates with the store’s success.

A business plan must include an in-depth analysis of your competition, decisions on the customer experience, your company employee plan, management plan, and pro-forma balance sheet and income statement.

9. Find a good location.

The location of your retail business greatly impacts how well your shop will do. The success (or failure) of a business often is a factor of location. The perfect location can make it a successful venture, while a wrong choice is a recipe for failure. While location is crucial in retail,.you must balance your budget, as well, and make sure you get the best location that your budget permits. Consider the second best spot first before signing the lease and never overspend just to be in the best spot.

10. Establish your store policies.

The planning stage is the best time to establish your store policies and retail business procedures. Before opening your doors to the customers, it is best to anticipate problems and determine how you will handle any possible situation, along with the day-to-day operations. Knowing what you will do beforehand keeps you from making a critical mistake once the actual situation with the customer takes place. A problem handled appropriately and smoothly will go along way toward building goodwill, especially for the other customers who might witness the interaction, rather than allowing the issue to escalate.

You can master this by spending your free time training your employees through role-playing. Make them fluent with your policies to guarantee that they can provide the best customer experience possible.

12. Design your marketing pitch.

Before opening your retail store, it is a good idea to start your marketing and promotions. Craft a retail marketing plan and brainstorm promotion ideas. Start with the branding and advertising even before your store opens. Study how you can take advantage of the media buys and sales events.

Focus on a marketing plan that will interest your potential customers. For instance, if you know that most of your customers dwell on social media, spend your advertising money on Facebook ads. On the other hand, if you think your potential clients are more into print ads and newspaper, use those types of media to expose and promote your products.

13. Hire the best people.

The only way to give your customers the best service and the experience they deserve is to hire the right people. Hire people that fit your culture. They do not need to have extensive experience in retail because you can teach those things to them. The traits that are more important, however, most likely cannot be taught by you, such as kindness, compassion, generosity, and being able to smile regardless of the situation. These traits come with the employee and are very difficult to learn.

14. Open your store.

Before opening your store officially, it is ideal to conduct a soft opening first. This is when you open the business without any announcements. Soft opening your store allows you to have a look at what it will be like on the big day. You will have the chance to fix things and flush out potential issues before announcing to the public that “yes, we are open.”

Do not hold the grand opening until you are really and truly ready. The grand opening is your one and only shot at making a good first impression. While some customers may willingly and gracefully accept the lack of knowledge of a newly trained staff member as opening day jitters, there are an equal number who would be annoyed. Given that, hold the grand opening only once you are sure that you can give the best customer service and experience possible. Keep in mind that a satisfied customer is the best form of advertisement that you can have.