With an increase in public appetite for kitsch boutiques and eateries it is hardly surprisingly that the number of independent retailers has risen by an impressive 110 percent in the last five years. The public distain for chains has created the ideal economic market for retailers to thrive, as they respond to consumer demand across all retail sectors.

The annual report conducted by Simply Business into high street businesses and consumer habits highlighted a rise in business start ups, with the North West witnessing the largest increase in local and small businesses. Independent food and coffee shops proved the most popular start up among local entrepreneurs with numbers soaring by 31 percent over 12 months.

Now is the time for mirco and small business owners to act; a change in consumer habits has allowed independent retailers to surge ahead of the chains for the first time. However, as the number of retailers increases, business start ups must carefully evaluate their competition in order to maximise their chance of success in a flourishing yet potentially crowded market. Following these five easy steps can place you and your business on the path to success:

1 ) Understand your customer

For customer centric businesses having an in depth understanding of your target audience is essential in maximising earning capability. Customer experience is central to the success of independent retailers and identifying your unique selling point will help you to capitalise on this. In a market where value is placed on individuality, creating a clear brand identity will separate you from competitors.

2) Plan, plan and plan again

If you are hoping to secure any funding from traditional lenders, it will be necessary to construct a comprehensive business plan in which you assert your commercial aims and objectives.

Whether or not you need funding, talk to professional advisors and peers who have been there and done it; there will always be factors that you have not considered and costs that you haven’t accounted for. Listening and learning from others will help you to foresee and prepare for these things.

3) Location, location, location

For local businesses finding the perfect property in a prime location can be the factor that makes or breaks a retailer. Increase in demand for certain areas especially in Manchester’s Northern Quarter means reasonable rents and a suitable location are hard to come by. Negotiating a commercial lease requires specific focus and technical knowledge; consulting a solicitor who specialises in commercial property can ensure you receive a lease tailored to your business requirements at a competitive rate.

4) Development & promotion

Promote your products and services, both online and offline. For local businesses, running an offline campaign can increase brand awareness in your target community. However, don’t under estimate the effect of online channels. Using social media is an effective and free way of increasing brand awareness outside your local circles; it also allows you to communicate immediately and effectively directly with your customers and vice versa.

5) Legal advice & support

As with all business start ups there are many legal practicalities to consider, it is important to seek the assistance of a solicitor to discuss the best possible structure for your business, as well as what documents you require to make sure you protect your business from the outset.

Here at Farleys Solicitors our commercial and corporate team have a wealth of experience advising business start ups across all industries and sectors. Our unrivalled knowledge allows us to offer comprehensive legal advice and support across the full spectrum of commercial law. To speak to a specialist solicitor regarding your business or company call 0845 287 0939. Alternatively please complete an online enquiry form.