Starting your first retail business as a single mum is an exciting opportunity to transform your passion into a career!
However it’s crucial to conduct research on niche markets that align with your interests, skills and past work experience.
Can You Do It?
Let this article begin by saying – You know you’ve got this! Starting a business while solo parenting is no small feat, but your ingenuity and determination will make it an amazing adventure. Many fellow mumpreneurs have been in your shoes.
The late nights balancing spreadsheets after bedtime stories, the playroom brainstorming sessions with my kiddos chiming in on colour schemes – it’s not always easy but so rewarding! This journey will teach you, transform you, and inspire your children as they see Mum boldly pursuing her dreams. The road ahead is bright. Now get down to the nuts and bolts!
Getting Set Up
Once you’ve completed the planning phase it’s time to make your business official! Begin by selecting and registering a name for your company. You’ll also need an ABN (Australian Business Number), for tax registration purposes.
Make sure to check the requirements set by state and local authorities regarding business licenses and permits. Retailers typically need a sellers permit and resale certificate.
It’s important to have suppliers that consistently offer priced and high quality inventory. To ensure durability, order samples before making purchases. Test their delivery timeliness by placing a trial order.
Suppliers and inventory
Develop relationships with vendors to compare their selections and prices. Implement inventory management software to keep track of your stock levels. Display items prominently such as using Gondola Shelving from Shop Supplies.
Finding a location
When choosing a location for your store consider whether it will be physical, online or both. For a storefront prioritise areas with heavy foot traffic that align with your target demographic. Compare rental rates. Assess storefront visibility. Having a parking lot is also advantageous! If you’re focusing on e-commerce, create a website that complements your in person presence.
Invest in a point of sale (POS) system that allows you to accept payments, manage inventory, analyse sales data and more. Choose a tablet based system, for operation. Additionally you’ll need a barcode scanner, receipt printer and cash drawer. Enhance security by installing cameras and alarms to deter theft.
Building Your Team
To showcase your products effectively you can make use of display cases. When it comes to managing your store it’s important to build a team. Hiring friendly, patient and honest sales associates is crucial. Additionally, having an organised store manager who oversees day to day operations is essential. Make sure to vet applicants and prioritise attitudes for customer service. Providing training on your systems and merchandise is also important.
For support consider hiring a bookkeeper or accountant if dealing with numbers isn’t your forte. It’s worth exploring the benefits you are entitled to as a mum. Furthermore consulting with a lawyer can be helpful, in reviewing business contracts and receiving guidance on matters. Joining a business group can also prove beneficial as it connects you with entrepreneurs who can offer advice and inspiration throughout your retail journey.
Running Your Business
Set policies about customer service, returns, employee conduct, and more so your staff understands expectations. Train employees on your POS system, opening/closing procedures, product knowledge, and loss prevention.
Carefully monitor inventory by tracking weekly sales patterns and reordering top-selling items. Maintain a balanced budget, aiming to reinvest profits into growth.
Marketing your store
Spread the word about your amazing retail store through social media ads, email newsletters, SEO, and more! Post fun behind-the-scenes content on Instagram. Look into all the ways you can market your business, and use them!
Send promotional emails when new products arrive. Partner with local businesses on sidewalk sales or joint events. Give out coupons at community fairs and events. Excellent marketing brings in more foot traffic!
Use accounting software or work with a bookkeeper to stay on top of income, expenses, profit margins, taxes, payroll, and other money matters. Review sales data regularly to identify your top-sellers and slow movers. Maintain scrupulous records in case of an audit. Set a yearly budget and revisit it quarterly to adjust spending if needed based on revenues.
Achieving Work-Life Balance
Between raising a family and running a business, your schedule stays packed! Balancing work and life requires strategies, and is critical for health and success. Build a support team to share school drop-offs, sick days, and holidays.
Swap sitting duties with other parent friends. Look into reputable after-school programs to cover a few afternoons a week. Don’t feel guilty about hiring occasional babysitters – it’s an investment in your success.
Owning a business comes with good days and bad. Some products may not sell or marketing campaigns can flop. Don’t take failures personally! Retry with a modified approach or pivot to new products.
Persistence and a willingness to learn from mistakes leads to eventual success. Stay focused on your reasons for starting a business – that passion will carry you through the ups and downs.
Asking for help
You don’t have to go it alone! Outsource payroll or website design if those aren’t your strong suits. Hire a contractor to tackle busy work. Join a peer group to get feedback on struggles. Mentors who have been there before provide invaluable guidance on avoiding pitfalls. Customers will be your biggest advocates if you proactively respond to suggestions.
Seeking funding to start your first retail business as a single mum
Launching a retail business requires significant upfront costs like inventory, equipment, marketing etc. Seek funding to turn your dreams into reality! With the right financing mix, you can get your retail business off the ground and start making those sales!
You’ve Got a Whole Community Cheering You On!
As you set up your retail business as a single mum, when the going gets tough, remember you’re not alone in this! It can feel isolating sometimes as a solo entrepreneur. But take comfort in the fact that women business owners are the fastest growing entrepreneurial segment. And they’re banding together to share wins (and flops!), lend a hand however they can, and champion each other on.
Find Your People
Seek out local women’s business organisations, networking groups, and conferences to find your tribe. Follow inspiring fellow mumpreneurs on social media. You’re unlikely to meet an entrepreneur who won’t eagerly share advice if you ask. You’ve got this, superstar.
Instilling those same values of drive, creativity, and determination in the next generation is perhaps your most rewarding job. Let your kids help with tasks like decorating the store!
Conclusion: Starting your first retail business as a single mum
Starting a business as a single mother requires research, careful planning, dedicated effort and a commitment to finding balance. However with enthusiasm and perseverance you have the potential to create something on your terms. Not only can you achieve independence but also become an inspiring role model for your children by showing them the possibilities of entrepreneurship.
When adequately prepared the benefits of embarking on this journey far outweigh any risks involved. Remember not to hesitate in seeking assistance whenever necessary – your community is eager to witness your success! Stay focused, on your vision take it one step at a time and before you know it you will be flourishing in your endeavour.
Further reading: How to make money from a hobby you love.