Starting your own business in Retail or Hospitality? Here's a checklist - Kotak Bank
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The Retail and Hospitality industry is booming, and business prospects appear to be quite promising. With the foray of fresh players, the industry has also turned more dynamic and picked up pace. While this sector presents impressive opportunities, it is also one of the most challenging businesses to sustain a profit. If you have been toying with the idea of starting a venture in this space, there's enough homework that needs to be done beforehand. A detailed study & planning, and careful attention to details are definite requirements.  Add to that imaginative marketing, proficient management and ample working capital! But first things's how you can go about getting started:

Firstly, get your Business Idea right

Quite often, people jump into doing a retail business they are very excited about at the onset. But few years down the line, they realize it wasn't really the way to go. While it is difficult to predict the future of any business, it is critical as well as challenging to figure out these few key things with respect to your venture:

  • What is the mission of your business?
  • What problem will you be solving?
  • Who are you working this out for?
  • Why will your customers come to you?
  • Is it possible to make some good money out of this?

Talk to experienced minds in this sector, and also to potential customers. This will bring on board new perspectives and give you multiple ways to approach your business idea. For instance, you can opt for a retail business even on a part-time basis or have a home-based business idea (for e.g. catering right from your kitchen). Whatever your passion and mission, keep moving ahead narrowing down options, and in a direction that caters to your strengths.

Next, get on with Market Research

The retail and hospitality market in India is believed to nearly double to US$ 1 trillion by 2020, with income growth and urbanization being the key drivers. Even as you plan to step into an industry booming with players, get started with a thorough research to understand the new territory.

  • Study your product/service well
    Whether you are setting up a store or going online, study your product or service well. Search the internet, read books from the retail/hospitality world, browse through magazines and news sites. Involve freshers or college graduates who would love to help by filling up questionnaires and collecting key data that will provide deep insights and help you optimize your business idea.

  • Know what your customer wants
    Every business needs a USP. Figure out why the customer would prefer buying from you or availing your service. Know who your potential customer is, what they buy and why they buy it. Market segmentation can help in detailed customer profiling based on demographic, psycho-graphic and/or product usage categories.

  • Know your competition
    Study the competitors of your product or service. Check out if their customers are happy. If they are, find out the reason behind. If possible, identify grievances the customers may have.
    In retail, market research bodies like The Market Research Society (MRS), Association for Qualitative Research (AQR) and Independent Consultants Group (ICG) offer help and timely advice. The ICG has developed a guide named Commissioning Qualitative Research on how to derive the best out of business and avoid making common mistakes.

Chalk out a Business Plan
If you are venturing into retail, you will need to decide whether to go online or have a physical store front? If you are considering physical store fronts — be it for retail or hospitality— location plays a key role, and can strongly boost or undermine your business. There are some key decisions you would need to make and plans you'll need to freeze, before you start out. And that's precisely what a business plan helps you do.
A business plan is like a road map that outlines the business goals you wish to achieve, and describes how you intend to achieve them. It will include strategies to reach your goal, potential problems your business could face, possible solutions for the same, the organizational structure, sales forecast, marketing strategy, pricing and payment aspects, start-up budget and an expansion budget if possible. A business plan helps outline risks, you understand costs and deliberate upon cash flow and inventories as well.
For a hotel business plan, you could include:

  • Who will be your guests? Business people, tourists, students etc.
  • Where will be the location? Seaside, close to business centers, centre of the city etc.
  • How big will be the hotel? Facilities, workforce, etc.
  • What services will you offer? WiFi, Lounge, Gym, Conference room, discotheque etc.

  • Make your Business Legal

    To announce to the world that you exist, you must first register your business. Take help from an attorney or a specialist, so that you don’t miss on any nitti-gritty. Your business could be a Sole Proprietorship, a Partnership or a Limited Liability Company etc. Decide on a business name and do check the availability for the same. To protect your intellectual property, consider registering a trade mark. Before beginning operations, also register for taxation. You will need to a list of approvals like Shops and Establishment License, Trade License, Clearances from the local Municipal Corporation, and other Licenses depending upon the state & nature of business.
    Make sure to initiate and operate your business with the right permits and licenses in place, to avoid hassles in future.

    Regulatory Bodies

    Business regulations and licenses vary depending on your type of business and even location.
    In the retail & hospitality, there are regulatory bodies such as Retailers Association of India (RAI), The Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI), and such others, you'll need to take approval from and register with. If you have standardized processes in place, you can save a lot of time and boost your efficiency.

    Look for Funds

    Prepare to spend money in order to make money. The key is to optimise your spends and make sure you are getting the most out of your investments. First, figure out how much capital you need. Calculate your startup costs like Rent and Operations, Technology and Communications, Inventory, Marketing, etc. The next step is procuring the money. Timely finance can smoothen your business initiation and operations. For a Business Loan, you may need to provide the bank your credit history, financial statements, business plan, projections, and/or personal guarantees. You can get in touch with our Relationship Manager who'll guide you with the right products and services.

    Promote your Business/Service

    While quality and pricing are important, it is also vital to capture the attention of your customers. The way you market your business can set the future course of your business. Tell the world you are here with an impactful opening ceremony. You could get local media coverage or make yourself known through social media, email advertising, google ads and more. Create hype by opting for the right mode of communication, and promoting your offering through simple and effective marketing. This way, you can free up more time for business management and customer service. You can also gain an immediate presence in your local area or community with feasible freebies. It is important to maintain a constant connect with your audience. Let your customers know where you are and how to get in touch with you.
    Here's wishing you all the very best for your venture. Get ready to focus all your energies on the project and take it to new heights.

    Read Also: How to run Logistics business

    If you liked what you read, then check out the article on how to run your retail and hospitality business seamlessly

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Disclaimer: This Article is for information purposes only. The views expressed in this Article do not necessarily constitute the views of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. (“Bank”) or its employees. The Bank makes no warranty of any kind with respect to the completeness or accuracy of the material and articles contained in this Article. The information contained in this Article is sourced from empanelled external experts for the benefit of the customers and it does not constitute legal advice from the Bank. The Bank, its directors, employees and the contributors shall not be responsible or liable for any damage or loss resulting from or arising due to reliance on or use of any information contained herein.