Advice for Retails Startups

I had a great meeting with a retail start-up the other day.  Made me think of the advice I would give myself when I was starting out.  Here goes:

Margins: Focus on high margins products as low margins make everything difficult. You can’t hire enough people; you can’t spend enough on promotion.  It tends to be the founder who makes up any shortfall but in the long run, that is not sustainable. 

DTC/White label: Branded products are easy to source, but margins are low, and competition is high. Building a brand creates value and gives your more control, higher margins and room for creativity.

Multi-Channel: Selling multi-channel (Shopify, Amazon, eBay + international) helps businesses scale faster. Diversifying also reduces dependency on one channel which is important as sites like Amazon close accounts for no reason.  

Keep fixed costs low: Avoid fixed costs where possible. For example, using a fulfilment service reduces fixed costs and allows flexibility. If you think your company requires high fixed costs, are you in the right business?

Stock control: Take great care over your order as it can make or break a business.  Too much stock and you tie up cash.  Too little and you miss out on orders. Automate your ordering and unless you have a good reason, order frequently in small quantities.

Automation: Streamline your operation, automating processes where possible.  There are lots of great, inexpensive systems out there which will automate your sales processing.

What advice would you give your younger self?



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