How to open a shop

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Do you want to open a store or a café, but don´t really know where to start? When you open a shop from scratch, you’re in charge of making all the decisions. This is fun, but also challenging, and there are many things to think of.

1. Is opening a shop a good idea? The four questions you should ask yourself

So you think you’ve come up with the best idea ever, but how can you be sure that it’s solid? You need to be critical and honest with yourself. For a start, ask yourself these four questions:

Can it be done? Will it sell? Will it pay off? Am I the right person to pull it off? In other words, check the potential before investing. If the potential you were looking for is confirmed, then it’s time to move on to step 2.

2. Important points to think through

When you open a shop, you need to figure out what to sell. This means you have to figure out who sells the articles and how much you will order and when to order the goods.

One question is “what do we shop”. Another is “why do we shop”? There are so many reasons, and when we shop, we are searching for more than the functional value of the product. This can be:

  • To show our friends that we know what’s in
  • To get inspiration
  • To spend time with friends
  • To comfort ourselves
  • To have something to talk about
  • To have fun
  • To get in a good mood

When you open a shop, you have to consider answers from people within your target group to make your shop a commercial succes.

3. Pick an unforgettable name for your shop

What should be the name of your new shop? Choosing a great name is a vital task, and one with many pitfalls. A good name for your shop:

  • Can be pronounced in many languages
  • Has a meaning and a melody
  • Is relatively short
  • Appeals to feelings and intelligence
  • Works on the Internet and on social media

4. Location is king

When you open a shop, the location is alfa and omega. Even though it often is more expensive with a good location, it will pay off in the end. Are you going for impulse shoppers? Do you want your customers to spend time in your shop and enjoy themselves?

When you are planning to open a shop, you also need to consider what the customers in the neighbourhood needs and wants. A Latin quarter is different from a typical high-end area and so on, so choose wisely based on the atmosphere, the customers and the competition.

Essential tips to make your shop stand out from the rest

By using the right signs and effects outside the shop, you can make your shop look more exiting and inviting. When you open a shop, it is essential that the facade match the shop, the articles you sell and the general atmosphere inside the shop.

Here are some tips on how to be visible in both the physical and digital world when you open a shop:

  • Be visible on the street
  • Use the newspapers and local journalists to make a good story about your shop opening
  • Use internet and social media to promote the opening
  • Use the local travel association
  • Listen to your customers. Their wish is your command

5. Opening hours

When does it pay off to open and close your store? Before you open a store, it’s a good idea to do some research on good opening hours. In the neighbourhood and on the internet.

Opening hours can be a competitive parameter - especially in the retail market. If you know your customers well, then you know when they want to do their shopping, order their pizzas, go to the hairdresser or visit a bakery.

In several Nordic countries, legislation around opening hours has been liberalized in recent years, so shops can keep open whenever they want with very few exceptions.

6. How to find the best people to help out

When you open a shop, you will most likely need to recruit staff, and staff management takes time. The staff needs to be right for the shop, engaged, be good sellers, create a good atmosphere and give the customers a great experience. It’s your job to consider what kind of staff that suits your business when you open a shop.

In each of the Nordic countries, there are several job databasess you can use to find the right staff. You can also do your recruitment by posting the open positions on universities, business schools or other educatonal institutions, if you are not looking for full time employees.

When you hire, the staff needs to get a contract. The contract needs to contain all relevant terms and conditions, information about salary, pension, resignation etc.

7. Registration, taxes and insurance

When you open a shop or start your own business, you need to get a company registation number and decide what kind of business your shop is. You also need to pay the right amount of tax and insure your business.

Read more about taxes, registration and indurance here.

8. Need a loan?

If you want to start your own shop, it is a great advantage if you have some personal savings. Or maybe you can get a loan on your house or apartment to cover the start-up phase and the first months? Many banks will help you to get a loan, and you can also create an overdraft or get a start-up loan. Be aware that the bank will ask for detailed budgets and business plans if you apply for one of these loans.

9. Save time getting the budget right from the beginning

When you open a store, the budget is very important to be successful. As owner of a business, we recommend you to make three kinds of budgets:

Establishment budget: How big the establishing costs get depends on what kind of company you want to start. If you want to start a consultancy firm, you might only need a telephone and a PC, but to open a shop your establishing budget will be higher

Operating budget: Is an estimation of income/expenses during a given period (usually one year)

Liquidity budget: This budget is used to assess whether a company has sufficient cash to operate (month-by-month)

The point of making budgets

When you open a shop, you can more easily see the bigger picture of the development of your business.

Budgeting helps you to evaluate how well your shop runs Budgeting makes it easier to get an overview of the development of your cash flow Budgeting and the accounting makes the foundation to analyse expected results and how to plan the future

10. How to avoid “No, we don’t accept that card…”

When you have your company registration number, a name for your business, and you’re all set up and ready to go, the time has come to get the money rolling in.

How do you want to receive payments in your shop? When you start your own shop, there are different kinds of payment solutions. It's a good idea to offer customers to pay by card (eg. Visa and MasterCard). To be able to accept card payments in your shop, you need a terminal and an acquiring agreement.

There are many different types of payment terminals that cover different needs. For example:

  • Stationary payment terminals
  • Mobile payment terminals are best in cafes, so you can receive payment at the customer's table
  • Payment terminals integrated with the cash register

In order to receive card payments, you also need an acquiring agreement At Nets, we can help you with both. You can find more information here:

Here you can see all the payment terminals you can rent at Nets

Here's how to order an acquiring agreement with Nets

Want to open a webshop as well?

If what you sell can be easily packed and delivered to your customers, it's a good idea also to open a webshop. This way, you can increase the number of customers in a large scale. The potential is huge, and you can also sell your goods to customers abroad.

To accept card payments in your webshop, you need both a payment module and an acquiring agreement. It’s easy, quick and user friendly.

Read more about payment modules

Read more about online acquiring agreement

Finally, we would like to wish you all the best with the opening of your new shop.

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  1. Retail
  2. Cafe & Restaurant
  3. Personal Care
  4. Hotel
  5. E-Commerce
  6. Other

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