You would be forgiven for thinking that the high street is dying a slow death right now, particularly after COVID and the increase in online shopping that came along with that.

However, although it is possible to buy a lot of things that people need online, there are some sectors where a face-to-face customer experience is much more desirable, and people will still search out small specialised shops to get things that they need.

If you are a retailer, and you are thinking of moving from wholly online to having a physical presence, it’s not all bad news. If you can find the right location, then there is still a possibility of success. Anybody can open a shop if they have enough grit and dedication to do so. The first step towards making your store successful is getting it off the ground cheaply. Here are several ways you can save on start-up costs for your new business:

Start With Cheaper Real Estate

While seeking out a prime location to offer great visibility might be tempting, these spots may also be expensive. Instead, consider looking for smaller storefronts that offer similar exposure with lower prices.

Also, keep your real estate costs low by choosing a location with multiple rental spaces. For example, shopping centres that feature two or three small retail shops may provide more visibility than a large mall since their stores are clustered together.

If the town where you want to open has a market, you might want to start off by running a market stall in the area, to test out how well your products appeal to the local population. Once you have a steady stream of customers at your stall, you should be able to guarantee a good start for your shop when it opens.

Look For Cheap Suppliers

The most expensive items you’ll likely need to buy are your store’s shelving, cash registers and other fixtures. Unfortunately, these purchases can put a major strain on your budget, especially if you don’t shop around first.

You’ll benefit substantially from contacting several different suppliers rather than just making purchases at the most convenient retailer near you. It pays to check out the competition to see who has better deals on these essentials of running a business. Also, consider asking your suppliers if they offer discounts for bulk purchases and/or possibilities of spreading payments.


Ensure your business is adequately insulated and up to code, such as with lighting and other measures so that you won’t need to pay extra money for public liability insurance if something unfortunate happens. Luckily, finding a cheap quote for your shop insurance is easy with a quick search online.

Skip Costly Extras Like Big Signs And Flashy Advertisements

While some small business owners believe they need to create fancy advertisement campaigns with expensive billboards, radio commercials and other expenses to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace, the truth is most small retailers do just fine without them. Save money on advertising by choosing inexpensive alternatives like having a simple storefront sign or handing out flyers at nearby businesses, instead of purchasing pricey advertisements in local papers and on the radio.

Also, consider making your own signage instead of buying it pre-made from a sign supply store. For example, you can make free banners to hang over your window by using cloth and paint purchased from a craft or hardware store. Similarly, you can easily make DIY signs with lettering cut out from cardboard and string for items like price tags and opening hours. Sometimes shops with a quirky, home-made appearance attract the eye more than a corporate feel.

Choose Cheap Building Materials

Don’t go overboard on new-and-improved features when setting up your shop. Sure, you might be able to afford some attractive extras like recessed overhead lighting and expensive flooring, but start small, and make improvements once your shop has been open for a while and proved itself. You’ll likely get cheaper alternatives that still look nice but cost less money.

Ask yourself what sorts of improvements will improve your bottom line-then focus on those improvements only. Also, keep in mind that many small business owners have found success with inexpensive items that are free or near-free during certain times of the year.

It’s still possible to succeed with retail premises, provided you choose your location carefully, and budget wisely. As some of the larger stores retreat from the high street there will be more and more opportunities for independent retailers to take their place. Many people love shopping as a pastime, and that may well continue for the foreseeable future.

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