"The Steps to Starting a Business in Retail"

"Your complete guide from Vision to Launch"

 

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How did the most
Successful Retailers
approach Starting a New Business


Hi, welcome aboard, and thank you for taking advantage of Retail Startup in a Box. Our aim is to give you, the business entrepreneur and business owner, all the answers to your questions about starting your own business.

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As Retail Design Manager and as Associate Director with a multi-diciplined architecture practice my experience covers both sides of the coin, direct involvement with Center Management on the one hand and the retail entrepreneur/business owner on the other, with my passion being YOU the retail business entrepreneur and retail design.

So, I was driven by my desire to give something back to this industry and put this FREE report together, to give you just one location to find the tips and information required for your business startup.

Now, you will find many sites out there selling you the "secrets to success", well I'm here to tell you there are no such things as "secrets to success", its all about hard work, having a goal to strive for, a passion for what you are doing and the energy to do it. So, its not about secrets, although I have been guilty of using that word, its about knowing what is required and where to find the information.

It all about having a burning desire to achieve your goals, and in broad terms you need to:

  • set yourself a precise financial goal (put a monetary value on it)
  • determine what you intend to give to achieve your financial success (setting up and running a business doing……)_
  • set yourself a time frame for achieving your financial goal (this could be your 5 year plan and must be a definite date)
  • prepare a plan to achieve your goals and put it into action immediately (this could be your business plan)
  • write a "mantra" stating what your precise financial goal is, state the time limit for achieving this financial goal, what you intend to give/do to achieve this goal, and describe the plan you have to accrue your riches.

This mantra should be put up on your wall so you can see and read it every day.

So from the 5 points above, we have put together below in this FREE report, all the information that will enable you to fulfill your dreams and goals and set the foundation stones for your future business success. We have given you the steps to take to do your planning and research, to provide you with all the tips and information required and give you the confidence to take your business on to be financially successful.

I have seen the heartache and pain that failure causes, but more importantly to me, are the many success stories, as they have given me the knowledge of their “steps to success” to pass onto you.

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There are many thousands of websites already in existence out there on the internet posting very good information on all the individual aspects of business startups. So, I suppose you’re wondering how we might be able to assist you with your startup that they don’t?

Well, we can help you by bringing all our knowledge and all the information available out there, together on the one website that poses all the questions you need to ask yourself, and gives you all the tools to answer those questions to equip you with the skills and knowledge to succeed financially and prosper in a fantastic industry.

As we all know, retail business is going through some tough times in some areas. (as if I’m telling you something you didn’t already know.)

Why is this you ask? Well there are some that would say it’s all because of eCommerce eating into our business, cost of labour, running costs, etc. etc. etc. Yes, all of these elements do have an impact, however, there are many businesses thriving and we need to understand what makes a successful physical retail business today.

As many great marketers have been saying, "physical retail is with us for the long haul", we just need to adapt our business to take advantage of the changes and ensure we embrace technology as it develops so that we don’t just stay ahead of our competition but stay ahead of the consumer.

In past decades we used to say that you needed to reinvent yourself every seven years, well that has changed dramatically with the constant change and development of technology and the ease with which your customers embrace these new technologies, you must now be prepared to constantly reinvent yourself to stay ahead of the changes. Never be afraid to change.

IF YOU WANT MORE!!! MEMBERS AREA – TOOLS AND CHECKLISTS

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If after you have read the free report below, and you feel you would like some hand holding and take advantage of our tools, templates and checklists plus have direct access to me to mentor you through the process, we have put together a program of classes in the members only area of Retail Startup in a Box.

The classes give you all of these tools, templates and checklists which will enable you to record all your research and introduce strategies and find information to support and assist you in your existing business or your business startup to achieve success and financial independence without the time and stress.

In fact, we believe you will take your business on to become as successful as those market leading companies. Successful business is never handed to you on a silver platter, it requires passion and dedication, but we know you have that because you have come this far.

We have removed all the hard work of researching the areas involved in setting up and running a business by providing you with one site location that "provides all the answers", saving you countless hours sitting in front of a computer, instead of doing what you do best, selling product to your clients.

We have designed our mentoring/membership program to assist both the Retail Business Entrepreneur and Retail Designers. We so often find that the designer is not engaged early enough in the setting up process, so we want to instill in both the retail entrepreneur and retail designer the importance of early engagement of the project team.

So, to recap, what we have done for you is provide a great framework below for free that outlines the steps involved, however if you do wish to take advantage of some hand holding by me, plus all the tools, templates and checklists, all you have to do is register below or click here, for our program. It is only $97 per month for a 6 month period consisting of a minimum of one eclass per week. This is fantastic value given that you are investing your life plus ten's of thousands of dollars in your retail business startup and you do not want to put your investment at risk of failure. So ensure you protect your investment by investing in good advice.

 

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Just remember, that building your business will be a team effort and it is important that you assemble your master minds/mentors, or your business design team early.

Your team of master minds or experts may look like this.

 

  • Accountant/Business adviser
  • Business Mentor
  • Lawyer
  • Retail Store Designer/Architect
  • Builder
  • Graphic Designer
  • Web Designer/Technology Guru
  • Real Estate Agent

You will find that you will call on these master minds or experts many times while setting up and running your business. They will be an integral ongoing support network going forward, take full advantage of them, every business needs them.

So in this tough climate your team “must” value add for you, their client, just as you the retailer must value add for your clients.

Some inspirational words to get you motivated:

Retail is Theatre
To paraphrase one of our great retail guru’s Martin Pegler :-

“Retail is the stage and people are the audience who come to see, to shop and to be entertained.”

It is up to us to create a great stage for our audience so they will have an experience to remember.
They will spread the word and of course return for more.

So, now that you’re ready to continue let’s take you down the path to setting up a successful business…………………

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Some useful
Guidelines                             
to follow

There are three main business models in business startups:

  • Starting a new business from scratch
  • Buying an existing operating business
  • Franchise businesses.

All the above have advantages and disadvantages and there are similarities with the three models listed and the following section serves them all in various ways however, we will be concentrating on “starting a new business from scratch” in this report.

Now there will be some of you who feel you know all there is to know about what type of business you are going into. However, I urge you all to read through these tips/guidelines if only as a refresher because you may just find the odd important point to follow when doing your personal research.

Stick to the following guidelines, and make these your ground rules:

  • Do not procrastinate
  • Do not spend excessive amounts of time mulling over the exercises.
  • Investigate fully and respond/answer positively
  • Only answer once, don’t go back and rethink it, you can over think it.
  • Stand by your decision.  If you keep going back and re thinking your decisions you will never move forward. Remember, your first decision is generally always your best decision.

Retail is a fantastic and rewarding business that can give you enormous personal and professional enjoyment and financial gains, but you must have a passion for it. With passion and a burning desire to succeed you will have the strength to withstand the knock-backs, hardships and difficulties that are part of any business today. Throughout history and including today,s entrepreneurs, you will find all of the successful individuals were driven by this "burning desire" to achieve their goal.

 

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“Know your Market / Niche”
Selecting and researching
your business thoroughly

 

You most likely have a good idea about what Niche you are passionate about and want to get into, however you must still do your research.

So where do we start? If you have not already done so, your first step is to find a niche market  that you are passionate about, generates excitement in you, and one that you truly believe in and fulfills and satisfies the  “needs, wants, desires and frustrations” of your clients.

The people who are excited about what they do are the success stories. You will be one of those and remember, research, research, research.

So think about “you” for a moment, what is going to make you a successful and special retailer?
Remember, you can have a passion for the business above the product.

What's your driver? Is it the thrill of counting the money at the end of the day, or is it selling a particular product and communicating with your clients. Some people can sell anything as it’s the thrill of the sale, hence money, rather than the product.

Have you asked yourself:

  • am I passionate about running my own business
  • what excites you about retail
  • what is your target demographic
  • what is your competition
  • what is your point of difference or hook
  • what do your clients need and desire the most
  • what trends are occurring in your business
  • is your business a destination
  • does your business rely on readymade passing trade / customers (retail malls, strip shops etc.)

Now remember, identifying which niche market is going to work best for you is essential. You will find your niche market will consist of other businesses that all satisfy the same client needs wants desires and frustrations that you do. With so many choices in front of you it can be hard to decide, but never be afraid of competition, it will drive you to greater heights.

Research is a mandatory action not a maybe action.

Now, once you are convinced of your niche business selection, you need to move onto the next most important phase:-

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Setting up your
Business Plan
Reason Why You Need
a Business Plan

So, you’re now at the point where you need to establish your business plan. You might be asking yourself what are the main reasons for a business plan when setting up a bricks and clicks or physical business. Well there are many reasons, one, it's your statement of your business goals and aspirations, however the single most important reason is to get funding. (unless you are one of the lucky ones who has cash!!!!)

Why do I need a business plan to get funding you might ask?

Well, investors and lenders, particularly in today’s market, want to make sure that you have a plan to operate and grow your business profitably. They need to know that you have done all the relevant research on competitors, customer demographics, management plan, financial plan / analysis, etc. etc., to limit their risk and so they receive a profit on their loan or investment in your business.

However, your business plan is also your blueprint for your future. It sets the direction for your business and keeps you on track once you're up and running. It is the means by which you clarify your business strategy, operational milestones etc. It will form part of your operations manual and gives direction and purpose to your staff.

So, do your research, you will have some answers from your research on business niche. However, before you can complete your plan you will now need to make quite a few decisions about your business including:

  • structure
  • marketing strategies
  • finances

Your business plan should not be seen as a one off document never to be visited again. It will be an active document that’s reviewed and updated regularly to stay ahead of changing market trends and the direction your business may take.

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In very simple terms, your business plan should include as a minimum the following:

  • Executive Summary: This is a one-page overview written after your business plan is finalized. This is the most important document in your business plan, so focus on it. It must be a fantastic eye catching document that is concise and to the point. It must be a document that people want and will read. If they don’t, you’ve failed. We do not want that to happen, so spend time on this document.
  • About your business: This is typically called the management plan or operations manual. It covers details about your business including structure, registrations, location and premises, staff, and products/services.
  • About your market: This is the marketing plan. It should outline your marketing analysis of the retail business niche you are entering, your customers and your competitors. This section should also cover your key marketing targets and your strategies for delivering on these targets.
  • About your future: This section covers your plans for the future and can include a vision statement, business goals and key business milestones.
  • About your finances: The financial plan includes how you'll finance your business, costing and financial projections.

Our next step to success is:-

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Choosing a
Successful Location
for Your Business

By now, you have completed your business niche research and know what your business type is. Now, in respect to site locations, there are many types of locations and probably more than one would fulfill your business niche.

So the type of location you choose depends largely on the type of business you’ve chosen, but there are many mixed-use areas and creative ways of utilizing space that you should review, and give some thought to each of these types of space before making a final decision.

For example, typically there are retail spaces available within business parks, office buildings, and residential developments so they can attract the restaurants and stores that business tenants and residents want nearby. Regional shopping centers are often home to an assortment of professional services such as medical, legal,  accounting, insurance, etc. as well as retailers. Will your business rely on a ready-made shopper base such as major shopping centres / malls, that these centres provide with a major as the draw card?

There are many things to consider for all the various site locations and the best way to gain confidence in the location you have decided on is to come up with a list of all possible sites you are considering, build a simple spreadsheet and evaluate them with as much objective data as possible.

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Again research is paramount in determining your location suitability such as:

  • mall shopping
  • regional shopping centers
  • strip shopping
  • standalone site
  • greenfield site
  • destination or isolated site

With each of the above types of site location you will need to address different issues so your spreadsheet matrix should contain as many questions as you can introduce such as:-

  • does the location fit your ambitions/aspirations for your business
  • do you require disabled access requirements
  • do you require your own parking facilities
  • do you require there to be public transport available to your business
  • how will the location affect your staff
  • are there other facilities in the area for the amenity of your staff
  • what are the service requirements of your business and does the site cater for them
    • power supply
    • water
    • gas
    • drainage
    • kitchen exhaust
    • air conditioning
    • grease arrestor
    • medical trade waste
    • toilet facilities

Your location must be absolutely right for your business. "OK" is just not good enough. Do not be seduced into second best because the costs are less. It will cost you more in the end.

So the list of questions above will really get you started and knowing the answers is 80% of the battle. Your spreadsheet will address all the pros and cons of the various sites you are assessing to enable you to make the correct choice of location for your business.

We do have in our Membership Site a spreadsheet already setup that gives our members a comprehensive list of questions / information at your fingertips to assist in this research, so if you feel you need some hand holding…….….

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Now that you know your niche, have setup a business plan and selected your site, it is now time to develop your Company Brand and Store Image.

This step is so important to ensure your shop and your products are aligned so you can produce a fantastic and financially successful and winning image.

This is your make or break stage, so read on…..

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Creating a powerful
Brand and Image
for your Retail Business

We are now getting into the exciting stage where you will start seeing the fruits of your business research with the design and creation of your BRAND and IMAGE.

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OK, now that you have been through the process of discovering your niche and your point of difference you must now develop a “BRAND” for your product so you need to develop a concise brief for your Graphic Artist.

You might ask what value can a Graphic Artist / Designer add to my business strategy?

Well, your Graphic Artist is the branding / image visionary, who is abreast of current trends and thinking. Your Graphic Artist is the expert who will take your vision for your business niche ideas and product, your brief on how you see your business, and conceptualize it, and provide you with a unique brand that will set you apart from your competition.

The brief for your Graphic Artist should convey the personality of your product or products:

  • what you are selling
  • need a name that conveys the nature of the product
  • a detailed description of your product or products

Branding is more than making a new logo or company slogan. It is the silent message that the buying public receives and motivates them to tell others about their purchase. Real branding increases the profitability and lowers the cost of getting new customers.

The Graphic artist will do the hard yards for you in selecting and designing your complete branding package:

  • name
  • a memorable brand or logo
  • colours
  • business cards
  • labels
  • envelopes
  • web pages
  • Signage

Your brand must promote and convey your product or business to establish a strong and healthy image. Your business is only as strong as its Brand.

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So, we now have a fantastic brand, we must now create a Powerful Store Image.
Your Store Image can be described as the overall look and feel of a store and the series of mental pictures and feelings it evokes within the beholder. For the retailer, developing a powerful image provides the opportunity to embody a single message, stand out from the competition and be remembered.

We've heard it again and again – "You never get a second chance to make a first impression”.

Just remember, your retail store image is the perception that people have when they see and hear your store name, think about your retail store business, or see your product or merchandise. While store layout, presentation, signage and displays can all change from time to time, they must always remain true to your underlying store image.

A successful retail business strategy includes plans for creating a positive and memorable store or business image. Apple is a great example of how simple and how successful an image can be, MacDonald’s is another example. This is what we are striving to achieve.

When selecting your Retail Store Designer it is important that you engage them early in the business development process. Your Retail Designer can advise you on the many aspects of store setup and design that you may not have expertise in, such as site selection, service requirements etc.

You must also develop a brief for your Retail Store Designer that outlines the full scope of works you require him to cover in his fee proposal to you, the minimum is outlined below:

  • managing Consultant
  • engaging of all services consultants
  • liaise with Center management
  • liaise with specialist contractors and suppliers
  • coordinate the services consultants
  • prepare preliminary sketch designs
  • prepare final design documentation
  • submit final design to Center Management for approval
  • submit to all relevant authorities for approvals
  • submit documentation package for tender
  • supervise construction

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Now remember, both your Graphic Artist and your Retail Store Designer should be working on your business concurrently. This is a team you have put together not a group of individuals.

You must take full advantage of your design team. You are paying them for the best advice available so it is important to ask them for recommendations on builders/shopfitters, sign manufacturers etc that they have worked with previously.

So when selecting your builder, ensure that you and your design team have reviewed several of their completed works and talked to the store owners to get their comments and testimonials on the builder.

Remember, when you select your builder he must be engaged as part of your team as well. So you must get the full team together to see if there are any personality clashes.

Remember, a good retail store builder/shopfitter can save you many thousands of dollars on methods/systems of building your shop through his experience. Take full advantage of his knowledge, his tips and tricks and techniques and ensure your Retail Designer is receptive to “advice” from him.

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Documenting your unique
business specific
Business Operations Manual

You probably think you know what your operations manual is for, but hey, it does not hurt to hear it again. Let me repeat it for you.

Your operation’s Manual is your Mission Statement.

Your operations manual places the mission of the company, and the means to achieve that mission, in front of all your employees for reference and inspiration.

You cannot run a successful business if you do not have a roadmap for managers and staff to use as their guide for leading your business along the path to success. Your operations manual will describe every aspect of how your Retail Business functions to achieve your specific goals.

You need to then ensure that this set of processes should be used by all your staff and managers as a reference, a decision-making tool and for training purposes.

Any new staff member you employ should be able to read the operations manual and understand how your retail business works and, more importantly, why your retail store/business does what it does or sells what it sells. This will be your bible.

Your operations manual will contain segments of nearly all the areas we have discussed so far, however it is your bible and must contain the strategy behind every aspect of running your business, down to the ordering of the toilet paper.

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It will contain descriptions of the following but will not be limited to:

  • mission statement from CEO or business owner
  • organizational chart
  • employee information (protocol, contact #’s, etc.)
  • human resources (hiring/firing, vacations, overtime, payroll, training etc.)
  • products & services
    • the Industry the organization
    • business management
    • daily operating procedures
    • end of week, end of month, end of quarter and end of year procedures
  • sales policies and procedures
  • customer service policies and procedures
  • employee retention
  • on the job training
  • quality control
  • health, hygiene and safety
  • financial management
  • risk management
  • advertising & promotion
  • reports & records (business reports, keeping records, etc.)
  • security
  • maintenance & repair
  • legal matters

This is a general requirement list but the contents of your operations manual must be tailored to suit your particular business model.

 

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Management and Training
Staff Selection
The Key to Success

Well, now that you have made the big decision to establish a retail business, you must now give careful thought to the selection of staff members including of course managers. Remember, do not be afraid to engage someone to do your recruiting for you.

This can be an onerous task and does require personal skills that not all of us are equipped with but you must ensure you are involved in the process. You must be happy and confident with your staff selections. You will all be part of the business.

Now, your managers are your first step. They are the linchpin between you the owner and the staff and handle the day to day running of the store, but remember this, everybody on your team must have access to all management levels. This is your team, your image, and your staff will be selling it for you.

From my previous experience with interviewing and employing many staff over the years, although experience is high on the agenda, remember that some of your prospective staff/employees will be straight out of University or College and will not have any working experience.

So those people with great personalities, enthusiasm, and that willingness to learn and progress would be where you should look.

In retail your staff are the ones at the coal face, they are the ones who are entertaining your customers, this requires that inner talent. You can teach these skills but look for the naturals.

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You must provide:

  • good income levels, they don't have to be over the top
  • a great place to work
  • an inspiring work environment, remember, happy staff who are looked after and trained well
  • a considerate and understanding management who listen, not just direct, will get the respect and results you want for a financially successful business

Engage your staff in conversation other than their work, find out what they love to do outside work, you may find out some things about them that you can help them with.

Ensure you find out a little about their interests, what makes them tick, you will be surprised what you will find out about them and how that will assist you to develop their skills.

Surveys have shown that people talk about themselves about 40% of the time during one-on-one conversations. It’s all about discovering the strengths of your staff and utilising those strengths. Give your staff opportunities and challenges, they will respond for you.

Staff turnover in most businesses suggests poor management and it is an enormous cost burden to have to continually train staff.

So, in respect to training, the first thing you must do is induct the new staffer into your business.

They must be introduced to all staff including business owner, made to feel welcome and able to ask questions if they are ever unsure of process or role. They must be given a written statement outlining their roles and responsibilities.

We must as stated in the previous chapter, have a well-developed staff training program in your operations manual which will contain a section on the role and responsibility of each staff position from Owner/Manager to cleaning staff.

Remember, your operations manual is your mission statement, it must be issued to all staff and they must make themselves familiar with your business goals and aspirations.

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What do your clients really
need and expect?
Your Marketing Strategies

To some degree we have covered the broad scope of your clients needs in our niche research, however in this changing world we must stay on top of our customer’s needs to stay ahead of our competition or …to stay ahead of the customer.

So with some of you entrepreneurs out there who already have a business and your customers already have a relationship with you, consider how you can leverage that relationship to build offerings with your customers instead of for them. Build it with your customers, and they will buy from you.

When marketing your brand the more you know what your customers want, the easier it is to have a strong relationship with them.

However, it is often a trap when you are starting out to generalise or base your assumptions on what you think or hear customers actually want, you must listen to your customer to find out what they want not what you think they need.

Your job now is to deliver superior service that attracts and keeps customers day in and day out. Satisfied customers say they are willing to drive a little further for great service.

What keeps the customers satisfied is:

  • knowledgeable and available staff
  • friendly people
  • good value
  • convenience and a fast finish.

Once they have finalized the deal they are now on their time not yours and they just want to complete the transaction.

The bottom line is that it will be the quality of your service that will get you repeat customers and grow your business not just price.

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Integration of Ecommerce into your Bricks and Mortar Business to create a “Bricks and Clicks” Business

It is important for you in today’s world of technology to integrate ecommerce as part of your retail business strategy from the very start of your planning process, and it must form an important part of your business management plan.

It’s now not just about staying ahead of your competitors, its staying ahead of your customers. We are dealing with the most tech savvy customers in the history of retailing and they have already done their research on the products they want to buy, be it in your physical store or in your online store.

So the first thing to do is develop a brief for your website designer and introduce him to your other consultant team members. Again, do this at an early stage as your website designer will have valuable input on how your Brand and image will work / function on the internet.

Remember, your website design must be fully integrated into your company/business Brand and be visually and literally recognizable with your business image.

Your website should be meticulously designed in order for it to stand out against the competition. Make sure all pages are tailored specifically to your products with clear concise descriptions, ease of navigation.

Once you have your site up and running you must engage an expert to optimize your site with strong SEO practices and ensure you have all text and marketing slogans proof read by the best copywriter you can engage and then have them checked again.

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So, setting up an ecommerce store in parallel with your physical business has many advantages such as:

  • exposes you to a worldwide market, if that is what you are aiming for
  • expands your trading hours
  • gives your customers variety in their method of purchase
  • makes the purchase quick and fuss free
  • gathers lists of your customers for future marketing campaigns
  • good for gathering testimonials
  • easy to find your Store Name, Location, and Contact Information

Today‘s shopper expects convenience. Retail Merchants integrating bricks and mortar stores, ecommerce sites and catalogues etc. will increase repeat purchase rates and achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction.

Now that you have integrated your physical retail business and your ecommerce site you now need to look at how you integrate current mobile and POS technology to the floor of your store.

Your customers will be reviewing the products on your shelf with the products on your competitor’s shelf around the corner on their mobile apps. so it is the satisfaction of the customer that will build your business.

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Technology and systems are changing on a daily basis with the advent of smart phones, apps etc. so with any multi-channel consumer interaction, traffic and sales are being driven from one channel to the other.

In "online-to-store" or "store-to-online" situations, the limitations of one channel are mitigated by the strengths of the other therefore maximizing your sales with the integration of multichannel business.

So there it is in a nut shell.  We have outlined all the major areas you need to address in your business startup but if you still find it all a little daunting, there is an easier answer! For just $97 per month you get access to my Membership website where we will guide you through all the various stages in full detail step-by-step.

Plus you get access to me via email and phone to answer your questions make suggestions, and point you in the right direction. To find out more click here.
 

Thanks for coming into my site, you can only progress from here.

Regards

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Warren Meadley

 

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