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The need for fresh and quality foodstuffs is a public health concern here in Juba. A grocery store refers to a shop which sells varieties of food products both fresh and dry, including fruits and vegetables, cereals, meat, produce and dairy milk. .

Groceries offer convenience (in terms of having all your various food products under one roof). Grocery stores are in demand all over the world, making them a good business to get into – particularly in South Sudan where they have a comparative advantage since they sell effective, better or preserve quality of foodstuffs and address public health concerns.

  1. With the right location, items in stock, and pricing structure, you can start turning a profit quickly after opening your store. Here are some steps to help you set up your groceries store and tap into your fortune in the business.Getting started

After doing a needs assessment and deciding you need to start a grocery store, here the different ways on how to get started:

  • Plan first: As Alan Lakein puts it, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Lay down a plan tackling every aspect of your business. Having a well contented business plan will inform and guide you in every step of the way. Read more on “Writing a Business Plan” on Brisker Magazine May 2018 Issue.
  • Decide on the kind of grocery store you want to start: In your business plan, you should specify clearly on the type of grocery store you would like to start. This may mean the food items (fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy milk, etc.) you will be selling.
  • Know your Competitors: visit some few groceries stores around and inform yourself on the products they are selling, which products move fast, what are their strengths and weaknesses and also think of how you can out-compete them.
  • Cost Analysis: Analyze your total startup cost for the general operation of the business; include your taxes, rentals (if you will be renting your store), materials cost and other direct and indirect costs, at least for the next six months.
  • Acquire necessary licenses, permits, and insurance required to run your business In South Sudan you need about four business registration documents to operate your business without any problem from relevant authority. These are Certificate of Incorporation; Membership Certificate from South Sudan Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture; Tax Certificate of Registration; and Operation License from the State Government. And any other relevant document for the inspection.
  1. Decide on the location

Securing a strategic location is paramount in this business. As the name implies, it should be convenient to get to. Your store should be accessible by the local community. You may also need to check at a location where there is high population density, use high visual colors and with open windows to the streets. These should be locations off the beaten path, junctions, busy streets or near local marketplace.

  1. Do your homework / Research

Research is best place to start from; it helps you to have a better understanding of the market or industry you want to venture into, the products and their prices, consumption pattern, market size, who are the suppliers in the industry and their scope of supplies, who are the players (competitors) – the leading firms, what is their scope in terms of the number of stores, number of employees, what services they offer, and what their competitive advantage is.

Then make a comparison between the concepts of your grocery store and that of your competitors and the industry. If you find any concept that gives you an advantage or you have an advantage over (be it location, prices, buying power, promotion etc.) then that makes it a good business. But if at all you don’t have any advantage, then it may be a hard business to venture into and/or you need to consider another business opportunity.

  1. Writing your Marketing Plan

Develop your marketing plans early in advance in order to save you money and time. When developing your marketing plan, first analyze your local competition and customer base; secondly, analyze overall grocery store industry, and then providing a plan for advertising, signage, and retention of customers. Plan out details of when your business will be open and where it will be (if known).

  1. Secure the required funding

Your Business and Marketing Plans are the Key to Raising Capital. A well-written plan will show potential investors that you have carefully thought through what you intend to do to make your business profitable. The more detail you offer investors about how their money will be used, the more willing they will be to invest. The financial projections of your business plan should be realistic and attainable. your plan should be so thoughtful and well written that the only question it raises in an investor’s mind is: “How much can I invest?”

  1. Establish relationship with suppliers

You’ll need wholesalers to supply you with the food items you will sell. When you are choosing a wholesaler you may need to consider the needs of your business as the first priority. Establishing a good relationship with supplier(s) from the very start will yield efficiency in delivery and will build strong trust. A good supplier will even allow you to take goods on credit and make payment later.

  1. Get necessary equipment for your store

Purchase any necessary equipment for your store. You will need a cash register, refrigerators for perishable foodstuffs, weighting machine or quantifier, shelves, just to mention a few with high visual fitting and fixtures outside, interior design and ceiling.

  1. Stock your store

After everything is set it’s now time to stock the store accordingly. Lay out your store shelves, and stock them with items. Use a method that will make ordering and restocking easy. Place your higher-priced or easy-to-steal merchandise within view of the sales person or cashier.

Consider who your primary customers will be and adjust your offerings accordingly. For example, if you are in a residential area, it would be beneficial to stock necessities like milk, vegetables and other daily household needs so that locals will not need to go far.

  1. Hire right people for the business to help you

Hire employees wisely and where necessary. Since your business is just starting you may not even have enough to pay employees or else they will be chopping the little profit you are making. For instance, if you will be full time on the job you may probably just need an assistance or cash or alternatively a security person.

  1. Offer services

Consider offering additional services such as direct delivery to customers, free promotional materials and special deals. These might work well and attract customers to your store.

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