How to Open a Retail Store With Low Investment in 2023
Natalie Redman

While money does help in business, you don’t need a rich uncle or deep pockets of cash to start a company. Many successful entrepreneurs and business owners have managed to create their businesses with low investment - and so can you.

The growth of retail businesses is certainly growing, with 2,989,932 businesses in the US as of 2023. This is an increase of 1.7% from 2022.

“Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” –Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO

Even if you’re struggling to find the investment to open a retail store this year, it’s better to kick-start your business now instead of waiting for more funds to filter in. As Tony from Zappos put it, the money will end up chasing you down anyway.

In this guide, you’ll gain insight into the ingredients needed to open a retail store this year. Despite the competitive market, it’s an industry that’s always looking for fresh meat.

A step-by-step guide to opening a retail store with low investment

With low investment, it’s important to make smart decisions as a business in the early days. A lot of careful planning and preparation will help ensure your retail store thrives in its first year. We’ve put together a helpful, step-by-step guide to opening a retail store on a limited budget to give you the best chances of success.

1. Have a retail store business plan when starting a vape shop.

When starting a vape shop, it’s essential to have a retail store business plan. Regardless of what you’re selling, whether it’s vapes or handmade candles, every company needs a business plan.

Outline what you’re looking to achieve as a business and how that translates within a retail store environment. Explain what products you’re looking to sell. Include any market analysis you’ve gathered, and be sure to create an organizational structure. All of this is helpful when looking to acquire more funding later down the line.

2. Create a presence online with social media and a business website.

A social media presence is a must-have in this day and age - yes, even for a retail store. In order to stay in competition with the commercial giants and online viral sensations, your retail store needs active social media platforms and a business website.

Whether you decide to go through the eCommerce route or not, having a website provides a digital face for the business. It’s a way of helping potential customers learn more about the business and what it has to offer.

3. Start off as a boutique and keep stock low to avoid waste.

When it comes to running a business off very few funds, you need to avoid waste. Wasted stock is like flushing your money down the toilet. Who does that? If it helps, you may want to start off your business as a boutique to help give a reason for the limited stock you have available.

As the business grows, so too does the stock. Reducing waste is also a good look for the business to the general public. PWC’s June 2021 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey found half of all global consumers surveyed, have become even more eco-friendly.

For retail businesses, especially fashion retailers, those eco-conscious consumers are worth keeping on side - so keep your wasted stock levels low.

4. Utilize a variety of marketing efforts online and offline.

With little to no investments, your business needs to work hard online and offline to get noticed. The benefits of the internet mean any small business or start-up is able to utilize advertising online. It’s a lot cheaper to pay for advertising online than it is through traditional media such as radio, television, and print.

Get creative with your marketing strategy and take advantage of what low-cost marketing methods are available both online and offline.

5. Learn to negotiate with vendors and suppliers.

To help shave off some of the costs that come with retail store ownership, negotiate with vendors and suppliers.

The art of negotiation comes with practice - and confidence to negotiate in the first place. Remember the saying, ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’? - well, it’s true. Don’t feel as though you’re being cheeky to ask for a discount or a better deal. If you’re not happy, then suggest you’ll go elsewhere for your business and they’ll likely offer you something better.

6. Avoid overstaffing initially.

To avoid spending all of your limited investment at once, be careful with staffing. Overstaffing will have you financially responsible for many people and that might not be a financial responsibility you are able to uphold in the early days.

Don’t create a rod for your own back when starting a business on a budget. Be careful with your recruitment and only hire the individuals you need for now.

7. Be on the lookout for additional funding.

While your business is flourishing like a beautiful bouquet of flowers, it’s always important to make like a bee and get busy looking for additional funding. There’s always investment out there to nab, so connect with investors and be on the lookout for any opportunities where funding may be available.

The internet has a lot to offer in the way of connections too, so dive deep into the web directory to find your latest investors.

Opening a retail store on low investment is doable in 2023

Even if you’ve only got a bit more than two dimes to rub together, opening a retail store on low investment is possible. With the help of the internet, many individuals and small businesses have managed to turn their retail dream into a reality.

Be sure to put detail in the preparation and don’t rush in your decision-making. With the right idea and a carefully laid business plan, your retail store could be the next big retailer in 2023 and beyond.