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The Complete Idiotís Guide To Starting & Running A Retail Store

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Start & Run A Retail Business

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Start And Run A Retail Business recognizes that the retail industry has undergone enormous changes in the past 30 years. Retailing experts Jim Dion and Ted Topping give clear instructions and acknowledgeable advice on how an owner-operated retail business needs to be organized to survive and prosper in today’s highly competitive retail environment.


A succinct and valuable guide, this book is as useful to retailers with established businesses as it is to those who are just beginning a retail business plan. Drawing on their years of experience in the retail industry, the authors provide a detailed, practical job description of the successful retailer, covering:

  • The Basics of Retail
  • Merchandising
  • Buying
  • Human Resources 
  • Sales Management
  • Technology
  • Customer Service
  • The In-Store Experience

"Start and Run a Retail Business is not a typical start-up book. It does not try to cajole or charm you into the business of retailing. The writers do not wear pink glasses or try to "sell" retailing to you. Both writers know too much about retailing today to try these tactics. The book forces the reader through even the most unappealing parts of retailing - inventory control, cash flow and so on. It suggests that the would-be retailer should understand that in order to be a professional retailer, he or she cannot be also a lawyer, store designer, advertising copy writer, retail trainer or technology specialist. "If you cannot afford to use outside professionals, you should proceed with extreme caution," the authors say. I like the book because it is realistic. It does not talk at the reader and it assumes that the reader knows a great deal about business already. As a reviewer, I am somewhat biased because I happen to know both writers well. But, I am also a writer myself and have written about retailing (in Canada) full-time for the past 10 years. And I have read an awful lot of books about retailing! This book is worth reading."


"The Start and Run a Retail Business book is a comprehensive guide and reference book for every new retailer and even ones who have been in business for some time. Complete with examples and illustrations backed by real-world experience and rigorous research, it is a powerful resource. Well written and well organized, it makes a great book for individuals, small and large businesses alike. I found it easy to understand and apply."

Learning to Be A Generalist
How to Use This Book
1. The Basics Of Retail
Understanding the Six Rights of Retail
Your Profit And Loss Statement
Preparing A Pro Forma Profit And Loss Statement 
Adding Value To The Products You Sell By Adopting a Best-Service Strategy
Developing a Strategic Framework
Developing your Secret Weapon
Developing a Clear Vision of Your Business
Identifying and Studying Your Three Most Important Direct Competitors
Conveying Your Strategic Message Through Your Store Location
Conveying Your Strategic Message Through Your Store Design and Layout
Conveying Your Strategic Message Through Your Advertising
Your Advertising Plan
2. Merchandising
Grouping Merchandise Into Departments and Classifications
Learning from Your Customers What They Want to Buy from You
Using the Retail Method of Accounting
Monitoring Your Business Using a Monthly Maintained Margin Report
Controlling Your Business with Four Key Operating Ratios
Stock-To-Sales Ratio
Gross Margin Return On Inventory Investment (GMROII)
Sales Per Square Foot
Using Markdowns Effectively
Using Promotional Markdowns to Stimulate your Sales
Using Regular Markdowns to Adjust your Inventory to Market Value
Increasing Your Credibility by Using Seasonal Markdowns
3. Buying
Seeing your Products Through Your Customers' Eyes
Building Win-Win Relationships with Suppliers
Buying Terms Are Often More Important Than Price
Following Eight Proven Buying Guidelines
Implementing a Price Point Discipline
Establishing a Credit History with Each Supplier
Striving to Reach “Sell and Buy” by Choosing Payment Terms
Calculating an “Open to Buy” For Every Classification, Every Month
Forecasting and Creating Six-Month Merchandise Plans
Buying with a “Just in Time” Philosophy
4. Human Resources
Demonstrating That People Are Your Most Important Asset
Hiring Super Sales Associates
Developing a Written Job Description
Determining Duties By Priority
Identifying Relevant Characteristics and Qualifications
Sales-Per-Hour and Average Transaction Objectives
Creating Win-Win Employment Relationships Through Employee Benefits
Paying Your Sales Associates
Following Established Guidelines for Effective Interviewing
Five-Step Interviewing
Evaluating the Candidates
5. Sales Management
Budgeting Wages and Benefits as a Percentage of Sales
Bringing Productivity to Your Store with Four Key Ratios
Selling Cost
Conversion Rate
Average Transaction
Items Per Transaction
Using the Apprenticeship Method of Staff Training for All New Employees
Providing Guidance and Additional Training
Following Six Steps to Become an Effective Coach
Using Praise
Adjusting Training Methods
Matching Goals and Incentives to Your Sales Associates' Needs
6. Technology
Embracing the Relevant Trends in Retail and Internet Technology
Using a Computer and Retail Software as a Cash Register
Automatic Replenishment
Executive Information Systems
UPC and EDI Technology
The Internet
Budgeting for Technology
Selecting the Right Integrated POS/Merchandising/CRM Package
Understanding the Many Things Your Integrated Package Should Do
Using Technology Wisely to Run a Profitable Business
Keeping Your Inventory, Sales Profit, and Space in the Correct Balance
Making an Informed Decision About POS Software Suppliers
Questions for Potential Suppliers
POS Questions for Retailers
7. Customer Service
Knowing Your Customers
Competing with Vending-Machine Retailers by Adding Significant Value
Creating Top-of-Mind Awareness
Providing Extra-Mile Service
Giving Customers What They Want
Identifying Extra-Mile Service Opportunities
Offering A Make-It-Right Refund Policy
Implementing Relationship Marketing and One-to-One Communication
Identifying Your Best Customers And Creating a VIP Club
8. The In-Store Experience
Stepping to the Other Side of the Counter
Keeping Up to Date in All Areas
Acting Like a Premium Brand That Customers Will Choose
Presenting Merchandise Like a Theatre Company Would
Creating an Optimal Retail Environment
Focus Customers’ Attention
Eliminate All Distractions
Establish a Feeling With Music
Have Professional Sales Associates Play Their Roles
Differentiate Onstage and Offstage Areas
Appendix 1 – Put It To Work: Action Plan
Appendix 2 – Additional Reading