Thinking of opening up a new shop? Here’s your to-do list

Opening up a physical shop is the preferred form of business for those who would rather be a public-facing entrepreneur. Those who can’t bear the thought of hosting their business in a closeted office, spending their days on the phone and not on the floor would much prefer to showcase their brand in their own store. Many new store owners started off peering through the windows of other local establishments and wondering what they could do better, and what their version would look like. With that in mind, here are some tips for building your own shop, and what really goes behind it.

Register with HMRC

Nothing will hit your sparkling new profits like a huge HMRC tax bill that you weren’t expecting. Registering with HMRC and learning how to efile a tax return first are the founding blocks for keeping the former Inland Revenue happy. Registering your business as a Limited Company starts to establish the formal groundwork, such as keeping your business finances separate from your own. This means you can be taxed appropriately to the size of your business and your profits.

Invoices and purchase orders

Invoices and purchase orders will be your bread and butter on a daily basis. Sending out purchase orders will help you to keep your stock filled and your business ticking over nicely. While a simple form can seem easy enough to fabricate, many new business owners panic at this hurdle. However, there are free printable purchase order template websites, which allow you to download the document, all ready to go.



Do you need a licence to operate? Do all of your employees have verified visas to work for you? Legality is so important when you are a new business, as you don’t want to be accidentally caught out when you’re still building your profits. Figuring out what licences and legal paperwork you need for your company should be one of your first considerations.

Financial forecast

If this is your first go at opening up a physical shop (as opposed to an online one), the idea of gathering previous data might seem impossible. However, you will find online databases and advice websites that provide other business’s historical data, which you can use as a gauge. While this shouldn’t be used to predict your future, it can be a way of sensing what your first year of profit might be like. Creating a financial forecast allows you to predict your earnings and create a strategy to boost them. Just remember to subtract any overheads from your forecasted profits to get an accurate figure of your total profit.

Total up the cost of your shop design

Whatever you do, do not neglect the physical design of your shop. This should be one of the biggest selling points of your company:

  • What does the design of your shop say about what you have to offer?
  • How does the aesthetic reflect your brand?
  • Would someone, who is not you, feel intrigued enough to step foot into your premises?

Once you’ve mapped out a plan, and ideally worked with decorators and builders, you can total up a cost.

Set your budget

Some of the above will start to feature in your budget. Your budget, to put it plainly, is a list of all of your overheads and business needs that will come out of your finances. You may need the following:

  • A vehicle to pick up and transport goods.
  • Staff: Can you afford to pay their wages?
  • A marketing strategy: Will you need to hire a marketing agency to craft your brand? Or, do you just need a copywriter, photographer and graphic designer to get you on your feet?
  • A website: Some website hosts are completely free of charge, but it could be worth your while to invest in something that’s a little more customised.
  • Decorators and builders.
  • Bills and running costs.

Opening up a shop requires investment and plenty of planning. By establishing your budget, you will get a sense of whether you are truly in a safe enough position to open up a brand new business premises to trade from. It’s important, too, that the bureaucratic minutiae are catered to. You should have invoices, purchase orders, and spreadsheets ready to go so you can hit the ground running. The little features are sometimes just as important as the bigger, more significant considerations such as your investments and running costs. Ultimately, when you do set up your new shop, the most important factor is the passion that keeps it running.

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