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What to Know Before Buying a Retail Store

If you’re in the market for a retail store, you should read this first.

Some people are born to own a retail store. They have the drive, work ethic, and the personality to continually attract new business while keeping current clients happy.

Maybe you already know you’re the type of person who would thrive in this line of work, but you haven’t taken the plunge yet.

If you’d prefer to buy an existing retail business over starting your own from scratch, here are some tips to help you on your way.

Choose a type of retail

While there are literally millions of different types of items your retail store could sell, the basic premise is always the same - you’ll offer a selection of goods in a brick-and-mortar space, keep them in stock, and keep your customers happy.

You’ll be spending a lot of time at this retail store, so choose something you’re passionate about, whether it’s high-end dog accessories, handmade small-batch chocolates, or purses your Aunt Judy designed and sewed by hand.

It’s also vital to make sure it’s a product or industry you understand well, so you’re not learning how to run a business at the same time as learning to navigate an industry that’s brand new to you.

'Learning as you go' is possible when you own a retail store, but it can be difficult.

Search businesses currently for sale

Once you’ve decided on the type of retail store you’d like to own, there are some things to take into consideration .

Where is your ideal location? Is it easy enough to get to? Are there other things nearby that will help drive new business when you don’t have marketing resources, such as large chain restaurants or shopping malls?

It’s also important to choose a shop that has an established customer base in its community, is in a good location, and has earning potential that matches your goals.

Furthermore, if you find a business for sale that meets your criteria, you may be in a better position for a small business loan. Banks and other lenders prefer to give these types of loans to established businesses with a proven record of success.

Do your due diligence

Once you’ve found a store you’re interested in purchasing, make sure it’s a good investment.

Why is the current owner selling their business? Was it too hard to make a profit or just break even? Or are they simply ready to retire? Will the existing employees stay on? These are important questions that need to be answered.

Also, consider environmental factors. If the community around the business is planning a large expansion, or if parking is impossible, these are things you cannot change, so you may want to look elsewhere.

All in all, owning a retail business can be very equitable and rewarding, as long as you go into it with realistic goals.

Setting yourself up for success before deciding which business to purchase will go a long way toward financial and business success.

Bruce Hakutizwi

About the author

USA and International Manager for, a global online marketplace for buying and selling small medium size businesses. The website has over 60,000 business listings and attracts over 1.5 million buyers to the site every month.


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