How to Start and Stay in the Retail Market

How to Start and Stay in the Retail Market

Starting your own retail store takes a lot of initial planning. There is so much more to it than simply choosing a place, setting up your goods, and opening your doors. After the early planning stages, it is hard work to stay at the top of the retail market. Denver has one of the most vibrant retail scenes in the nation with its lively downtown shopping district, strong regional anchors, and eclectic neighborhood businesses. So, where do you fit in and how do you stay in? A small business attorney will help you with every phase – from planning and daily operations to maintaining and expanding to helping you sell when the time is right – throughout the life of your retail business.

Start on Solid Ground

As a small business owner, you will hear again and again how crucial it is to choose the right legal structure for your retail store. Your business entity affects everything from the taxes you are required to pay to the permits and zoning laws that govern your business. Determining the right products and services as well as location are also business planning essentials. You may have a passion for your product, but you have to figure out how and where to sell it in order for it to be profitable and make sure you have the right market for the product you love. For instance, you may love meat and be the best butcher around, but a meat market in a highly vegetarian area is a recipe for disaster. Before you commit to a lease, consider if the ideal location for your product is ideal for your budget. Sometimes, second best is better. A great space that costs too much and causes you to close is a lot worse than a pretty good space that allows you to thrive. A business attorney can guide you through state and city laws as well as review and create contracts and agreements.

Establish Good Vendor/Wholesale Relationships

Once you have settled on the right product(s), it is time to find the right vendors. In order for your retail store to offer products at a price and time that suits your customers, you have to partner with vendors who understand your needs and vision. Communicate your goals and expectations at the start of the relationship. If your vendor knows that timing, cost, and consistency are important to your business, then they are likely to focus on those areas. Other areas to keep in mind when selecting a vendor include returns, defective items, credit, and payment terms among others.

Recruit the Best Employees

Hiring the best sales staff is just as essential to the success of your retail store as having the right product. With the influx of millennials who have migrated to Colorado in recent years, it may be more important to hire someone who fits the culture rather than someone with the highest qualifications. Cultural fit covers a variety of characteristics, including alignment of values, work-life balance, company mission, and customer relations. You may think a college degree is necessary, but someone who lives and breaths your products may put someone who doesn’t love your products but has a degree to shame. Once you have found the ideal staff, be sure to train them beyond their daily roles. You can avoid many costly mistakes and lost customers by ensuring your employees are well versed in your store’s policies and procedures. The better equipped they are to handle the unexpected or uncommon situation (and feel empowered to do so), the better customer service they will deliver. You may let them know that for repeat customers, they can offer an occasional small discount. Not only does this make your employee feel that you trust them, it allows your customers to feel your business appreciates them. Whether you need help hiring employees, drawing up their contracts, or [if things take a negative turn] letting them go, your small business attorney will be there.

Fine-Tune Your Marketing

Your marketing plan should be in place before you open your retail store. This should incorporate promotional, branding, and advertising ideas. Determining not only how your customers shop, but also where they dwell (e.g. social media), will point to where your marketing budget should be spent. Since retail has become an omnichannel business model, you would be remiss not to consider each way your potential customers like to do business – brick and mortar shops, mobile applications, catalogues, FAQ webpages, social media, live web chats, telephone communication, and more. Expanding your channels with a consistent brand and message will expand your reach.

If you need help starting a retail store, contact me, Elizabeth Lewis, at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Colorado Business Attorney. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com

Contact Us Today

Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C.
Your Denver Business Attorney
501 S. Cherry St., Suite 1100
Denver, CO 80264
720-258-6647
Elizabeth.Lewis@eclewis.com

Sign Up For Our Email Newsletter

Privacy by SafeSubscribeSM





How to Navigate Denver’s Commercial Real Estate Market

How to Navigate Denver’s Commercial Real Estate Market

There may come a time when your small business has outgrown its retail or home office space. This is great news as it means you are ready to expand. It also means you are about to jump into the competitive pool of Denver’s rapidly changing commercial real estate market. With developers scrambling to keep up with demand, every size and type of real estate – from historic manors and Beaux-Arts buildings to factories and warehouses – is being repurposed for trendy niche retailers and giant corporations alike. The average asking lease price for warehouse space in some neighborhoods jumped by more than 50 percent from 2010 to 2015. By the end of 2016, retail development hit its highest levels since 2010 with nearly 1 million square feet under construction according to the CBRE. Without a team of professionals on hand, like larger organizations have, a small business attorney can help you make decisions about location, leasing or buying, tax deductions and compliance, and protecting your assets. Whatever type of retail space, office, or other commercial property you may need for your flourishing business, consider these five helpful tips before you commit to a contract.

  1. Make a New Plan
  2. Choose the Right Location
  3. Decide Whether to Lease or Buy
  4. Have Exit and Dispute Strategies
  5. Know What You are Signing

1. Make a New Plan

Even if you have been in business for years, you need a revised plan for your expansion. Consider your needs versus your budget. Do you have the resources to close on a property or repay a loan? A solid business plan is an important factor for lenders who are considering your loan application. Within your business plan, lenders are looking to see whether you have a marketing strategy – have you considered your competitors? The habits of your targeted customers and neighborhood? A back-up plan to deal with the pitfalls? A small business attorney will help ensure your plans and real estate choices are realistic and the best for your business.

2. Choose the Right Location

When selecting the area or neighborhood for your business, there are many factors to consider. Demographics, surroundings, centrality, visibility, and compatibility with your desired image are a few of the areas you should research before choosing your location. You would also benefit by researching forecasts and trends for the district (e.g. new projects, funding, crime rates, and other public records that may affect your business). It is essential to be aware of the current and potential value of the properties you look at, especially if you are going to buy rather than lease.

3. Decide Whether to Lease or Buy

A storefront or office space can boost your business’s image. Commercial real estate not only provides a dedicated space outside of your home, but it can help with marketing. As with most real estate, buying commercial real estate is more expensive in the short term than leasing, but less expensive over the long term if you intend to stay in the location. While buying gives you more flexibility and an asset to use when financing other parts of your business, it also means you are responsible for all aspects of your property, including maintenance and additional liability. An attorney will help you decide whether leasing or buying is right for your business.

4. Have Exit and Dispute Strategies

It is important to have an exit strategy if your business does not perform as well as anticipated or your plans have simply changed. What if you can no longer afford the property? What if unexpected factors in the area are negatively impacting your business? What if you decide to sell the business? You should be prepared for these types of scenarios as well as any arising disputes. Tenants of commercial property have fewer consumer protections, and leases are binding contracts. To avoid conflict or severe penalties, be sure to have your small business attorney review any lease or purchase contracts before you sign.

5. Know What You are Signing

By this point in the process, you may be fairly familiar with the world of commercial real estate and its accompanying laws: landlord/tenant laws, disclosure laws, zoning laws, contract laws, insurance laws, etc. Leasing or purchasing agreements fall under contract law and can be very confusing. Your attorney will go over these contracts with you line by line until you fully understand what you are signing in order to prevent any surprises or compliance issues in the future.

If you need help with leasing or buying commercial real estate, contact me, Elizabeth Lewis, at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Small Business Lawyer. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com

Contact Us Today

Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C.
Your Denver Business Attorney
501 S. Cherry St., Suite 1100
Denver, CO 80264
720-258-6647
Elizabeth.Lewis@eclewis.com

Sign Up For Our Email Newsletter

Privacy by SafeSubscribeSM





Niche Retail in Denver – The Key to Your Small Retail Store Success?

Niche Retail in Denver – The Key to Your Small Retail Store Success?

You have decided to relocate or open a niche retail store in Denver. There is an established market for your product. Financial and business plans are in place. You are honing in on your desired location, then you learn more about Colorado’s business environment. A recent 7 News Denver story (May 31, 2017) reports that retailers with a significant Colorado presence could be closing stores, citing overbuilding and a shift in consumer spending habits. Consumers have been spending more money online while moving away from traditional brick and mortar businesses. What was once considered a niche market on a product has become over-saturated. Despite this, you know Denver is the place for your retail store. A small business attorney in conjunction with a tenant-focused leasing agent can help you find the right location for your product as well as guide you toward the right channels for doing business. This post will cover some key information on location, product, and delivery.

  1. Deciding on Denver for your niche retail business
  2. Finding your niche market in Colorado
  3. Going omnichannel to expand your niche retail reach

1. Deciding On Denver For Your Niche Retail Business

With its distinctive retail districts, community-centric shopping centers, and a vibrant downtown, Denver caters to an eclectic consumer palate. Young families, artists, entrepreneurs, and active seniors alike call this pulsating metropolis home. Denver has long been ranked as one of America’s best cities and is rapidly becoming one of the hottest retail destinations. U.S. News and World Report recently ranked it #2 out of 100 best cities to live in, based on being a desirable place to live and having a strong job market and high quality of life. This all translates into confidence that you have picked the right place for your retail store. As you narrow your neighborhood search, it is important to know the zoning laws associated with any prospective location, even if you plan to operate, in any part, from a home-based business. It is also essential to know your business neighbors and protect your business from potential ones that can harm your business. A small business attorney will safeguard you and your business by helping you decipher zoning and other mandatory licensing laws as well as reviewing any contracts, such as a lease, before you sign.

2. Finding Your Niche Market In Colorado

A niche market is defined as the subset of the market on which a specific product is focused. It is a targetable portion of a particular market that other businesses may have neglected or overlooked altogether. There may be several shops in the area selling artisanal foods and craft beers – a good example of what was once niche market becoming more mainstream – but, you can further establish your niche by using only locally sourced ingredients or offering additional means of obtaining your products/services, like delivery or a “product of the month” club. You could even focus on a subset of potential customers, like catering to seniors. One local brewery got very clever with their customer base and decide to cater to cyclist who love beer by opening a craft brewery where you can have your bike repaired!

Having established that your product is unique, desirable, and available, your focus will turn to marketing. Location, business structure, and ability to reach your target customers will further determine the success of your niche market business. A small business attorney will see you through each phase of opening and operating your retail store.

3. Going Omnichannel To Expand Your Niche Retail Reach

An omnichannel approach can keep you at the top of your niche market. Broadly defined as a multichannel business approach to maximizing customer experience, omnichannel marketing merges at-home, in-store, and mobile shopping into one seamless experience. It is not enough to grab the attention of potential customers or clients; you must hold onto it. How do you do this in a way that is not a deterrent and that is effective and natural to their everyday lives? According to a Forbes article, you need to track consumer behavior, deliver relevant messages, and manage your customer relationships in real time. A true omnichannel customer experience integrates all of the various channels completely. As a small retail business owner, you may not be able to broaden your presence through all of the same methods as a large corporation, but there are options, including social media advertising, in-bound marketing, Google Exchange Network advertising, and online as well as brick and mortar storefronts to name a few. A small business attorney will be there for you as you navigate the various contracts you may be presented with once you decide to expand into advertising and/or marketing your products online.

If you need help finding the key to your small retail store success, contact me, Elizabeth Lewis, at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Small Business Attorney. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com

Contact Us Today

Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C.
Your Denver Business Attorney
501 S. Cherry St., Suite 1100
Denver, CO 80264
720-258-6647
Elizabeth.Lewis@eclewis.com

Sign Up For Our Email Newsletter

Privacy by SafeSubscribeSM





4 Important Things To Do Before Opening a Retail Store

Dreaming of opening your very own boutique, an artisans shop, or even a small franchise? There are a multitude of important considerations before you jump into the vibrant mix of Denver retailers. And, just when you think you have done your due diligence, you may encounter unforeseen obstacles. Whether it is an issue with a contract or agreement, choosing the right business entity, dealing with wholesalers, managing staff, or marketing your product, a small business attorney will help keep you on track. This post will cover four major parts to starting your own small retail business.

  • Product
  • Plan
  • Location
  • Finances

Product

You likely already know what you want to sell before you explore many other important factors. A working knowledge and passion for your intended product are great, but they do not guarantee success. Conducting research in order to gauge the demand for your product and keeping current on sales trends are essential to your potential for profit. The U.S. Census Bureau publishes retail trade reports every five years. These can help you measure the demand for your products.

Also, establishing relationships with product suppliers or wholesalers requires agreements and contracts, which a small business attorney will help you navigate.

Plan

Your product determined, it is time to create a comprehensive business plan. This will include a detailed description of your inventory, target customers, how to meet the needs of target customers, competition, and advantages you have over the competition. You will need to provide details about the organizational structure of your store and design a marketing strategy. Deciding on a business structure (i.e. sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, etc.) will determine which tax forms you are required to file. An attorney provides tax advice and representation in the event of any audits, penalties, or other tax issues, so you should establish a relationship with a Colorado small business attorney before you file any forms with Colorado or the federal government.

Even with the best laid plans, one bad customer experience shared via social media can close your newly opened doors. A good small business attorney will work with you to develop a solid online marketing strategy as well.

Location

As with your product and plan, you will need to research potential locations for your business. Whether it is best suited for Denver’s creative Art District on Sante Fe, eclectic Union Station, or historic Larimer Square, you will want to select a property that meets your needs and budget. Your research may entail searching public records to see how a location was previously used, analyzing the foot traffic and demographics of the neighborhood, and finding a location that is visible to your customers and consistent with the image you want to project. Your attorney will assist in every aspect of your business formation from finding the ideal location, entering into lease agreements, hiring employees, drafting company documents, and filing the required state and federal paperwork.

Finances

Determining all of the expenses your business may incur when starting out will help you to spend more wisely and begin earning sooner. Plan for rent and operation expenses, such as security deposit, utilities, and staffing. Figure out if you will need to make property improvements and customizations, which are associated with a multitude of costs, including construction, furniture, fixtures, equipment, and office supplies. There are also expenses related to technology and communications (computers, phones, internet, point of sale (POS) terminals, card readers, scanners and printers), inventory, and marketing/advertising. Other required fees come with licenses, permits, taxes, and registration. Beyond borrowing money or obtaining a commercial loan, there are numerous options for small business loans. The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several of these loan programs for entrepreneurs. Regardless of the type of financing, a small business attorney will review the written agreements and interpret the terms in order to avoid misunderstandings or defaults.

If you are starting a retail store and need an attorney, contact me, Elizabeth Lewis, at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Small Business Attorney. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com

Contact Us Today

Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C.
Your Denver Business Attorney
501 S. Cherry St., Suite 1100
Denver, CO 80264
720-258-6647
Elizabeth.Lewis@eclewis.com

Sign Up For Our Email Newsletter

Privacy by SafeSubscribeSM





Sweeping Changes to Alcohol Sales Law in Colorado

For many years, a battle has raged on about Colorado grocers and larger scale retailers being able to sell at multiple locations throughout the state. To head off a potential ballot measure come November, Governor John Hickenlooper has signed into law SB 16-197.

The new law allows for a “phase-in”, where grocers and larger retailers can move from selling the less-popular 3.2 percent beer they can sell now, to selling full-strength beer. The law takes effect in January 2017 and further allows these businesses to sell in up to 20 locations over the next 20 years, whereas current law allows permits only one location per business to sell in the state. More sales in more locations can also mean more revenue for the state, as consumers will presumably have a better selection when doing their grocery shopping, so greater sales will be made at that time. More sales = more taxes.

While there have been opponents and proponents to the bill outside the halls of the Senate, the bill had bipartisan support, partially derived by compromises reached during the final days of this legislative session. Opponents have been voicing concerns over the impact it would have on “mom and pop” liquor stores, and the craft brew industry, and proponents have have assured those smaller shops that they too will benefit.

According to the bill’s enhancements, smaller shops and even the tiny corner drugstore would have the ability to have up to four licenses, and the ability to sell other items, such as fresh food products. Additionally, the bill has provisions that encourage (but don’t require) the buying of Colorado products, which would be managed under the auspices of a designated manager.

Even with this significant change taking place, Your Choice Colorado (an opponent to the legislation) is considering a ballot measure in November so voters can weigh in with their own opinion about what they would like to see on grocer’s shelves. It’s not certain if they’re pursue this measure, but supporters of SB 16-197, such as Keep Colorado Local hope they don’t. “This historic compromise protects local small businesses and Colorado’s unique craft brewing culture while allowing the phase-in of alcohol sales in grocery stores.”, states their Facebook announcement, following the Governor’s signing.

Only time will really tell how this new law impacts small businesses and consumers alike, but for now, it looks like at the very least, shoppers will have more choices when they’re picking ingredients for dinner.

If you need legal help, don’t hesitate to contact me at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Small Business Attorney. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com.

Contact Us Today

Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C.
Your Denver Business Attorney
501 S. Cherry St., Suite 1100
Denver, CO 80264
720-258-6647
Elizabeth.Lewis@eclewis.com

Sign Up For Our Email Newsletter

Privacy by SafeSubscribeSM