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10 Mistakes to Avoid if You Want to Run Your Store Successfully

Updated on September 24, 2015

As you can see, stores open and close, some of them last years, other months, but why?

Many people want to follow the dream of having their own business, and they try their chances with the goal of achieving big profits. However, many times the preparation is weak, and the mistakes are many, so they end their business with losses, disappointment and a real bad experience.

This hub is mostly based in Stores/Shops and the mistakes that should be avoided. You may find some of the mistakes not applicable in your country because of the cultural difference.

These are ten mistakes that I have seen happening for several times and some people still fall on it. Some of them you may think that are too stupid, but there are people doing them and not understanding that it is a problem, others are problems from the employees and not necessarily of the owner.

I chose this ten mistakes by observation, they are the ten most common mistakes that I have seen for a while.

Store, essential even in TV Shows
Store, essential even in TV Shows

The Examples

Many of the examples you can read in this hub were real, there may be other events that led to the end of the business, but mainly it was due to the owners mistakes..

1 - Trying to Change Habits

You may expect that people will change their habits after the introduction of a new product, since the new product is better, but do you think they are ready to change in less than a year.


Ostrich Meat was introduced in the Portuguese Market and at first it sold a few units, since it was something new and different, however the time passed and Ostrich Meat started to disappear from the Markets, since no one wanted to buy a different type of meat, since they had the choice to buy the meat that they were used to.

2 - Expect Selling more than what you Have

Some people made plans to open the store thinking they would get extra income after opening it. They expect to open a store that sells items A, B & C, and they know they are not lucrative enough. However since they expect they can sell Z & X in the future, they think that profit is guaranteed.


The future owner of the Store was planning to sell newspapers and stationery products. However he knew that it was not enough to sell that, so he thought that after he had opened, he would increase business by selling Lottery and having a Tobacco Vending Machine. Since he could not get such things in the short run, he ended up closing his store and ending his business with losses.

3 - Not Knowing the market

You may think that your products are going to be sold as soon as you open, because there are lots of potential buyers. But do you think they will go to your place and actually buy what you sell?


Being 21 years old, unemployed and the parents had a store available, this potential business man thought that the best product to sell was Clothes, so he decided to open an Apparel Store. He did not know the market, and his idea was the clients would appear by themselves just because he had clothes everyone wears. Unfortunately for him, the potential clients he thought preferred to go to big Apparel Stores and buy from Stores with a Brand. Few months later the Store was closed. The most clients he had were his friends.

Location is essential
Location is essential

4 - Choosing Location

You may think that you will have a monopoly on your area, since you are the only one selling the product. However are you really going to sell it there?


The store opened to sell sport fishing products, and there weren't any similar stores near (maybe not even within a radius of 5Km/3Miles). The motivation to open the store was the owner that liked so much fishing that he opened that store.

The reason for being a bad business was obvious, it was not near a fishing area, neither from fisherman, so the clients were almost impossible to get, since the location was not attractive.

5 - Using Your Store as Your House

You may think that your place has to be comfortable like people at their home. However, not everybody has the same opinion of the home decoration, and may not feel welcome.

Remember that in order them to enter, they have to feel good.


The owner of the store wanted to have a cozy place for his clients. One of the biggest problems that can keep the clients away from the store is the smell, don't forget that some people are allergic or may not like.

Another thing is being dressed as if you are at home, the owner of the clothing store, realized he had much more clients when instead of him inside the store, it was his girlfriend inside. People would feel more welcome when there was an well dressed woman inside than a man in tracksuit.

Are you prepared?

If you had the opportunity, do you feel prepared to open a Store in a month?

See results
No excuses to be late, not even being unprepared for the Daylight Saving Time
No excuses to be late, not even being unprepared for the Daylight Saving Time

6 - Being Late

When you run a store it is true that you are running your own business, but you have to be careful, when you decide the schedule of the store, it is your compromise with the Client


This is about another store that was selling Newspapers, the business could run fair enough, but the newspapers were sold early, when people left home, so whenever the store was closed, people would buy it somewhere, after a while, even if the store was open no one bought the newspapers, because no one wanted to go there in the morning. People could not be late for work, just to buy the newspaper next to them.

Another example is an insurance agent that has an office and an employee, although there could be no clients during 4 hours, sometimes there were already two clients waiting for the opening hour, so whenever there was a delay at the opening, there were two dissatisfied clients.

7 - Having many friends at Your Business

You may think that if you have friends in your store while you are there, it is a good way to spend some time while you are in. However how many clients can you lose, that can look inside your store and feel not wanting to enter, since they might be seeing strange movements. They may think that they are not welcome.

So when inviting friends, guarantee that they are attracting clients instead of moving them away.


In a small restaurant the owners like to have some friends to spend some time whenever there were no clients. However this also worked to keep the customers away. The friends started to occupy the best places, and since they felt at home they talked loudly and whoever looked inside did not get the best impression. Even the loyal customers started to prefer other places to eat, and the owner ended up with his friends as the "biggest" clients.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

8 - Not using the Show Window

Your Show Window is a way to see what your Store sells, without that, your potential clients try to look at the interior of your store but they cannot see well the products. If you put them on your Show Window, they will be attracted to look at it.


At a Pharmacy the sales of products that people were embarrassed to say, started to grow after these products were shown in the Show Window. That way the people entered in the Pharmacy and said "I wanted to buy that product on the Show Window".

Not using the Show Window is one of the mistakes many people do, they use the show window to put some stuff, instead of using it to attract clients.

Online or Physical

If you were about to sell your hand made products, would you prefer selling Online or Physical?

See results

9 - Not Open, Not Selling

Unless you have an online shopping, you are not 24 hours open.

You may think that it is a stupid mistake, but some shopkeepers think that their store does not need a schedule and open whenever they feel like. Well if your client cannot count with you, are you really expecting him to go to your store?

This is similar to Being Late, if you are not open in the early morning, you cannot expect to be selling.


The Owner may think that if he is not there, the clients will try to call for him, but that is not what happens, whenever he was not in the store, he thought that being near the store was enough to be present. Sometimes people that were really interested in buying something asked to a neighbour store if the store was open , and the owner was called, or if he was near he would noticed there was someone looking for him, as you imagine the client would not be very satisfied for the waste of time.

Tearing Money by Alejandro Tamayo
Tearing Money by Alejandro Tamayo

10 - Having Profit? Spend Wisely

You may think that your business is running well, and the future is great, but if you do not take care of the future of your store, maybe the future is not so brilliant.

One example is the people that spend their profit in their personal life, buying a new car and home appliances. After that sometimes they are with a debt and their business is not so great, since they did not invest in it.


The business was running with very good results, the store was profitable and the clients were enough. The business was good enough to sustain the owner, wife, and 20 year old son. The problems started when the profits started to be used to buy, a new car for the son and new things for their personal life, leaving the business without money to invest. After a while they started to use money that was supposed to maintain the store buying the products to sell, that was the main mistake, and after a few months, it went bankrupt.


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    • saitam profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Lisbon

      Thank you. I plan to write some more in the future.

    • Ania L profile image

      Ania L 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Very good read, a lot of useful tips! I shall read your other hubs related to this one, thanks for this!


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