Choosing to start your own shop could be a fantastic way of combating the recession and securing a reliable and stable form of income for your family for years to come. Though some people find the very thought of doing this somewhat stressful, in reality, so long as you’ve got the best advice and a strong will to succeed, there’s no reason why you can’t prosper in only a few short weeks. Sound interesting? Then continue, it only get’s better! Technically, in the UK you don’t even have to register a company to open a shop, simply becoming self employed or starting a partnership with a friend or family member will usually suffice so long as you’re not selling any controversial items. In fact, my father and his wife did that back in August this year, and since then they’ve managed to secure a phenomenal level of monthly sales and look set to make a killing as we enter 2014 – so there really is nothing to worry about, but making the first move is often the most stressful, which is why this article will tell you exactly how to go about it in 5 easy steps… Image reproduced with permission 1 – Find Your Niche Let’s face it, if you open an organic food store on the same street where another already exists, you’re instantly halving your potential customer list, which is why it’s vital that you identify a gap in the market and opt to sell something no-one else does to avoid competition as much as possible (during the early stages anyway). 2 – Locate A Premises You could get in touch with local estate agencies that deal with business premises if you wanted to, or you might feel that simply walking around your local town looking for empty shops would be a better idea – either is fine. Just bear in mind that you probably don’t want to opt for an incredibly large store just yet, as business rates have been relaxed in the UK for people operating out of small shops. 3 – Seek Out A Good Supplier When I say “good supplier” I’m not only referring to price, as sometimes the cheapest option isn’t always the best. You need to find a firm that’s renowned for being reliable, and who is capable of delivering more stock in a timely manner. It’s all well and good selling out on your first day, but if you can’t replenish those items for an entire week, there are serious holes in your business plan. Also, depending on the type of items you stock, some may not have barcodes pre-printed, and so you may have to get in touch with a reputable company who provides printing at a reasonable price. 4 – Start Advertising You’ll need to have a grand opening if you want to make lots of people aware of your new store, but it’s unlikely many will turn up without some serious advertising. Just don’t fall for the temptations on offer from local newspapers, as they tend to charge far too much, and nobody reads them nowadays anyway. Instead, get some social media pages up and running and save yourself a fortune. 5 – Work On Customer Service Anyone opening a local retail business will need to have returning customers, which means your customer service skills must be impeccable. I’d even go as far as to suggest that it might be sensible for you to attend a short course in how you should deal with customers if you have no experience in this area. So, if you follow those 5 steps exactly and continue to work hard, I’m confident you can make a serious success of the new business and avoid ever having to answer to a traditional boss ever again. Now that’s what I call freedom – good luck!