The shop owners had never heard of the old saying “Just because you’ve built a better mousetrap, the public won’t beat a path to your door”.
You have to market your business, you have to go out to find your customers in the early years. I use the word ‘years’ advisedly.
But I’ll start from the beginning.
First of all, what do you want to sell?
Once you decide, if it is not a general item (clothing, food, etc) find an area where there are others selling similar products. The public already know that’s the area to go for those types of goods.
If you rely on passing trade, examine the area and look for footfall. For example, people have favourites for which side of the street they walk up and down on. Go to the area, have a coffee in a seat near the window and watch.
Once you have decided on your area and the best sides for footfall, look for an empty shop.
OK, you have signed a lease, decorated your shop, got in your stock and are ready to open.
Have 20,000 to 40,000 leaflets delivered, all offering a 20% discount. Be generous, you want crowds, and the more stock you turn over the more you’ll be welcomed by your wholesaler. These should all be delivered in the week before opening day.
Make Friday your opening day and the day before, hold a private champagne party the during the evening.
Invite the three local councillors, your MP and the local press editor to the party. You want good music blaring out with loads of champagne flowing, get a pile of empty champagne boxes in the window and put the bar by the window with the glasses piled on the bar. You’re objective is to interest the passers by so they come in the next day. Have a big notice in the Window, We are open from tomorrow at 9am.
This is as far as I am going with this article, but remember, you must market your shop every day for at least two years, special deals, lots of leaflets, advertising in the local newspapers – you want them on your side – Each type of shop is different, you must pick what works for you. But know this, it matters not what your product is, the bit about marketing your shop every day for the first two years does.