Mistakes That Fledgling Store Owners Should Work to Avoid

Opening your first store can be equal parts challenging, stressful and rewarding. As is the case with any other small business, a new store’s first year is a crucial time that can set the stage for failure or success. While every new store owner is practically guaranteed to hit the occasional stumbling block, there are certain mistakes you should work to avoid at all costs. If long-term prosperity for your store is what you’re after, steer clear of the following missteps.

Selecting an Undesirable Location

Your choice of location is important for a variety of reasons. For example, a store that’s located in a popular, easily-accessible area is likely to attract more business than one found in a difficult-to-reach, out-of-the-way locale. So, before deciding on a suitable store space, take some time to do a bit of location research.

Among other things, this entails looking at how much foot traffic an area typically receives, as well as how profitable businesses in the area tend to be. You should also get a feel for how much competition you’ll have, as opening a certain type of store in an area with an abundance of similar stores may not be the wisest course of action. Fortunately for fledgling store owners in the Grand Canyon, attractive retail space for lease in Tempe is anything but difficult to come by.

Lacking a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy

In the absence of proper marketing, you’re liable to have a very difficult time putting your store on people’s radars. So, regardless of how locally-focused your business is, it is imperative that you put forth the time and effort to form a comprehensive marketing strategy. If your level of marketing experience is minimal – or altogether nonexistent – reaching out to a seasoned marketing agency may be worth your while. The right agency will help you develop, implement and refine strategies that will help draw the attention of your target customer base.

Additionally, if you’re working with a very limited marketing budget, make sure to avoid wasting money on promotional endeavors that are unlikely to produce the desired results. For example, business owners who are interested in reaching young, tech-savvy consumers would do well to focus their efforts (and resources) on search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and other forms of digital promotion. By the same token, if you’re looking to draw the attention of older consumers, look into purchasing ad spots on local TV and radio outlets, as well as ad space in your local paper and other print publications.

Refusing to Admit Mistakes

As anyone who’s worked in a customer service capacity can attest, refusing to admit mistakes is unlikely to generate repeat patronage. While there’s no denying that some customer grievances carry more weight than others, many complaints reflect some level of wrongdoing on the part of retailers. Needless to say, an aversion to owning up to errors made by your business is not going to serve you well with patrons. So, if your natural response to being presented with complaints is to instantly go on the defensive and deny any and all responsibility, you shouldn’t be surprised to see a drop in repeat customers.

With this in mind, make sure to carefully consider your response to every customer grievance that comes your way. Even if you’re naturally inclined to shift the blame, take the time to see things from the customer’s perspective and question whether this is a battle you truly wish to fight. In many cases, consumers are more troubled by stores’ responses (or lack thereof) to their grievances than the grievances themselves. So, by apologizing for any problems your patrons experience and doing your best to make amends, you can help ensure that complaints don’t automatically equal lost customers.

While owning and/or managing a successful store can be deeply rewarding, there’s no denying that ensuring the long-term solvency of a small business requires a fair amount of work. And unfortunately, a significant number of first-time business owners are far from up to the task. Due to a variety of shortsighted missteps, many store owners wind up shuttering their respective businesses within less than a year of opening. So, if you’re looking to help your store prosper and generate positive word of mouth, make sure to avoid the mistakes discussed above.