Secrets to Success: Small-Medium Retail Business

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There are more than a few ways for small-medium retail businesses to fail. They either fail to reach their potential or just fail to grow. Failing to grow will not be a problem – if the owner is happy where the business is.

The tough times are when these retail businesses are in a very odd place between big and very small. At this spot, the owner is doing a lot of work and still not growing his business as much as he would like to.

What makes some of the retail businesses to grow and most of them to hit the wall? It all boils down to 2 most important differentiators:

1. Leadership:

Origami ships

Leadership is not just about giving energy, it’s about unleashing people’s energy.
– Paul Polman

A good leader would have the right attitude, vision, courage, determination and the ever-important planning and discipline. Another over-used word to add up to this list is indeed ‘passion’. Here is a real secret: passion is critical, but it will not make up for falling short in the other categories. Many owners have failed in business, and they were all passionate. So, it is just not enough.

You just cannot build a business without having the right set of people. A good leader/owner would have the right metrics to hiring the right employees making sure they are motivated.

A successful leader is also a good manager who creates a work climate that encourages productivity. If your employees who serve the customers aren’t charged up about coming to work, it would definitely show in their performance, hurting your overall growth.

A survey found that 42% of the employees at small-medium retail businesses are happy compared to 27% of them who are in larger stores. So it doesn’t take much of an effort for a leader to keep his employees motivated and happy.

A good leader would set the foundation for a successful retail business with the right determination, attitude and indeed the right set of people.

2. Operations:


When the planning and strategies of your business are done right, the next step would be to implement these and get things executed without much deviation. Many reports on retail failures cite poor execution as the number one reason for failure.

Most business owners tend to end up working in their business instead of working on their businesses. When it comes to growth and scale, the ‘all hands-on’ approach will not work. Sometimes owners lack relevant business and management expertise in areas such as finance, purchasing, selling, and hiring.

These small-medium retails face severe competition and a bumpy ride on the path to success. It helps when a few processes pass through automatically, without the involvement of the owners at every juncture. In this way, it makes an easier way for them to leverage and scale.

In a study conducted by KPMG to understand the impact of adopting the technology by Indian small-medium businesses, it was found that ones which had adopted technology grew twice as faster and hired employees up to 5 times of normal retails which didn’t go digital.

Retail businesses which adopted the power of digital to leverage their business had 52% of their customer base in other cities compared to 32% of the regular retail businesses.

So why do most of the small-medium retail stores fail to adopt the Power of Digital? Two major reasons
– They simply don’t understand the benefits of going digital
– They lack technical skills to get online and benefit from the internet

Going digital would let you manage your stocks, finance, product tracking, customer service and even theft control thus improving profitability. Thanks to some really great solutions available for businesses of all sizes.

Today, automation isnt just for chains of retailers and big businesses. Its all about realizing the need for change and doing the right thing which can to make it happen.


A good leader with the right set of tools to automate his business with the right set of people would be the perfect ingredients to make any retail business into a Successful Retail Business.

Are you a good leader running a retail business? Would you take your retail business digital?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.