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5 Must-Have Qualities for Running a Successful Retail Store Business

Updated on October 30, 2012

People who are interested in starting a retail store need to make sure that they are in a position to really make the store a success. This is particularly true in these tough economic times when many businesses are struggling to stay afloat. There are many things to take into consideration to determine if a business is going to be able to do well right now including the location and type of retail business that you are interested in starting. However, the true question of whether or not your business is going to do well has less to do with the store and a lot more to do with you. Ask yourself if you have the following five must-have qualities for running a successful retail store. If you do, you should be able to make your business work in spite of the difficulties that the retail economy is facing at this time.

1. A gift for working with people. The number one skill that you absolutely must have if you’re going to run a successful retail business is a way with people. You need to be able to get along with all different types of people. You need to be able to read people quickly and accurately so that you know the appropriate way to approach them. An aggressive sales approach is exactly right for some customers whereas others need to be left alone when they’re in your store; you need to be able to easily tell the difference. You also need to be able to work well with employees and others in varying positions of power and authority within your business. People who get along with almost everyone, know how to both talk and listen to others, can establish appropriate boundaries in all relationships and who truly enjoy being with people day in and day out are the people who are going to be most successful at running a retail business.

2. Ambition, drive and self-motivation. These three qualities go hand-in-hand to make you the kind of person who can keep a retail store thriving no matter what’s going on with the economy. You need to have ambitious goals for your business and the drive to work hard to achieve those goals. You need to be self-motivated enough to set a schedule and stick to it in order to realize your dreams without having someone lingering over your shoulder to make sure that you get your work done. If you are lazy, prefer being told what to do rather than figuring it out yourself or just don’t really have a strong sense of internal drive then you probably aren’t going to do well as a retail business owner.

3. Thirst for knowledge. You really need to have a strong thirst for knowledge if you’re going to stay on top of all of the information that you need to stay on top of to keep a successful retail business going. This will manifest itself most in the form of a passion for your industry. If you work in shoe retail, for example, you should be passionate enough about shoes to want to learn everything about the industry from how shoes are made to which celebrities are wearing what brands. This thirst for knowledge will make you informed enough about the store’s products to be able to successfully sell them to others.

4. Combination of creativity and organization. To run a successful retail business, you really need to be someone who is highly creative. You need to be able to come up with unique marketing and advertising for your store. You need to be able to design the retail space in a way that is pleasing to your customers. You need to be creative in bringing in new products. However, you can’t simply be artsy without also being structured and that’s where a strong sense of organization will come to play. If you can balance your creative energy with an organized approach to creativity then you’ll almost certainly be successful in your retail work.

5. Optimistic attitude. You have to be someone who naturally maintains an upbeat attitude about life if you’re going to make it in the retail business. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, you work with people and they prefer to be around positive energy. Secondly, there are many ups and downs in the retail world and you need a positive attitude to weather them. And finally, an optimistic attitude is what will let you find creative solutions to the daily and ongoing problems that will arise in any retail business.

There are many other qualities that you will want to have if you are going to run a successful retail business. For example, you will want to be decently good at math so that you can understand the numbers behind your work. You will want to have leadership skills, sales experience and a basic understanding of market trends. However, these are all things that you can learn or you can even hire someone to take care of for you. The five qualities listed here are not that way – you either have those qualities or you don’t – and if you don’t have those qualities then you should probably strongly consider looking at a career outside of the retail store ownership world because you probably won’t be successful. On the other hand, if you’ve read through this article and are thinking to yourself, “you know what? I’m a creative, organized, upbeat person with a passion for my business and the drive to make it work” then you’re probably someone who is going to do well as a retail store owner regardless of what’s going on in the economy around you. Put those skills to use and open up a store!


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  • profile image

    kevin 4 years ago

    What a bunch of crap if I 've ever heard it!!! Useless BS for how to run an online business. The author has obviously NEVER run one.

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    farengayts 5 years ago

    Заказ доставлен через месяц:-) 307!!! Всем советую! Эфект чудный:-) Респект администрации! Сайт 100% пусть и долго едет посылка, но оно того стоит! Всем свои советую только этот сайт!

  • profile image

    BENZ 5 years ago


  • mfriedstore profile image

    mfriedstore 6 years ago from 176 Flushing Avenue Brooklyn , New York

    This is really a big topic to discuss especially if you do start your own retail store. Thank you so much for posting.

  • RetailRich profile image

    RetailRich 6 years ago

    Everything you said is right on, however I would add that you'd better like "change". Retail is constantly evolving and constantly requiring change within your store. You cannot be complacent when it comes to your store. I would also add that in this day and age, "satisfying customers" is no longer enough. Satisfying customers doesn't get you loyal employees or customer advocates. A satisfied customer will still shop or go almost anywhere. You want them to think of your store first and foremost, thus exceptional service above and beyond is the answer. It is all about a willingness to create the best customer experience possible!

  • masonotahir profile image

    masonotahir 6 years ago from United States

    interesting article.... thanks

  • profile image

    Ron 6 years ago

    Great tips, thanks

  • profile image

    FelipeNeriMKT 6 years ago

    rEALLY an interesting article... I want myy own retail store...

  • rayvenperkins profile image

    rayvenperkins 6 years ago from USA

    Nice Jobs, thanks for sharing

  • profile image

    Salehoo 7 years ago

    All of these are right on point. If you don't like people or even working on the weekends. Then you would probably want to rethink opening a retail store.

    However for those that want to go for it, this article provides a good starting point to looking at yourself first.

  • profile image

    Annie 7 years ago

    Very Good article. My problem is, I have this nice stylish boutique, very eclectic clothes up to fashion and unique for all the taste , normal prices. As i said before my shop is well structured but i do not have sales, I am very good with customers very friendly and i can understand where i need to speak to them or not, i am just thinking where i am doing wrong, i very passionate , working hard , i cant find where the problem is.

  • profile image

    KENNY 7 years ago



  • Wooqer profile image

    Wooqer 7 years ago

    Interesting points.

    I'd add ability to read people's minds or rather their body language. That;s what working with people is really all about.


  • LeanMan profile image

    Tony 7 years ago from At the Gemba

    Good hub, I would add;

    Realisation that you do not know everything and the willingness to ask around for advice..

  • Neil Ashworth profile image

    George Poe 7 years ago from United Kingdom

    Nice article.

  • profile image

    projectsuccess317 7 years ago

    To become success you need to work hard from it...and consider lots of consequences and failures.

  • askjanbrass profile image

    askjanbrass 7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Anything involving sales is going to require a knack and finesse for working with people, so I'm not surprised to see that as your first point in this article! This is a great post. Thanks for sharing.

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    pdesigns 8 years ago from Dallas. TX

    You are exactly right about a thirst of knowledge. It also helps with thinking of new ideas to expand the business.

  • SEO Expert Kerala profile image

    SEO Expert Kerala 8 years ago from KERALA

    Am interested in retail bussiness ,But how i select a good product ,not interested in bulk investment in capital .....