10 Steps On How To Start a Mini or Large Supermarket

Supermarkets have come to be part of our day to day lives for the convenience they bring along when it comes to shopping for our groceries and many more products that we use in our daily lives.

It has been proven over and over again that supermarkets are one of the businesses that can easily survive in any location as long as it is situated in a place where people live and work.
As time goes on, we have come to appreciate how useful these supermarkets/ stores are to us which has sent so many of us thinking; how do I start up one. Though like any other business, it requires deliberate planning, capital and business skills.

Depending on the vision you have for your supermarket business. You can either decide to start small or on a large scale depending on some factors.
Now, if you are serious about starting a business that may afford you the opportunity to deal in various products (commodities), then you should consider these tips that can help you start your own supermarket business from scratch and build it to profitability:

In Summary:

  1.   Feasibility Study

  2.  Business Plan

  3.  Register your business

  4.  Plan your finances/capital

  5.  Choose location/premises for your business

  6.  Source for commodities/suppliers

  7.  Stocking (inventory)

  8.  Employ the right staff

  9.  Purchase the right POS Software/System

  10.  Advertise your business for brand awareness

1. Feasibility Study

A feasibility study is one of the most essential things that can really give you the necessary thrust in the process of starting up your supermarket business.

A good feasibility study will help you understand
your target market and their consumption behaviors which will help you in making informed
decisions on which products to include in your catalog; it can still be helpful in forecasting the
suitability of the business in regard to how long your supermarket will take to break even.

2. Business Plan

For any business to survive, it must have a well-formulated plan which will always act as a guide during the implementation process.

So investing in a well-formulated business plan is the best way to start your journey. So, ensure that you take out time to sit back and draft a good business plan
(Supermarket business plan) that can serve as a guide for your business.

In case you don’t have the skills required to come up with a good business plan, then you can hire a consultant to help you out.
This can be equated to having a good professional driver to help drive you through a long journey that you are yet to start on.

3. Register Your Business

From the word go, it is better that you get it right with your mini or large supermarket business venture, and getting it right means you should register your business with the right authority in the country where you want to start your business and get every required permission and license before opening your supermarket to the public.

It is very important that you register your supermarket business so as to enable you to obtain your Tax Payer’s ID and all other details that will enable you operate in the community you chose to establish your supermarket.

If you’re in Uganda or plan to start the supermarket in Uganda,the link below shows the steps you have to go through to register your business with URSB (an organisation responsible for registering businesses and companies in Uganda). How to register you company/Business in Uganda

4. Plan Your Finances or Capital

When starting a small or big business i.e a mini or big supermarket, it may not require a lot of capital depending on the number of items you are planning to sell in your business.

The initial investment may be overwhelming since you will incur a lot of expenses before profits start coming in. With this in mind, you need to come up with a document i.e a spreadsheet that will help you estimate the initial investment you need for your business venture.

The initial costs you will incur will include but not limited to Business Licenses and permits, rent, equipment. branding, inventory, insurance, utilities, employee salaries.

With the above estimates, the next step will be how you will get the fund.

The are numerous ways you can get funding for your business .i.e personal savings, business loans, angel investors, crowdfunding etc.

5. Premises/Location

A feasibility study has been done and now it’s time to put your focus on the premises in which your
supermarket is going to be located.

The location you chose to situate your supermarket determines
how fast and successful your business will grow.

It is important to locate your supermarket in a premise that has easy access, ample parking space, and I know you wouldn’t want to compete with the already established supermarkets, so it would be better if you chose a premise where there is no business the same as yours
So make sure to make the best decision in regard to the premises that will house your business.
Truthfully a facility with limited packing will likely affect the number of customers that visit your supermarket per time.

6. Source for Commodities/Suppliers

Now that you have gotten the most suitable premises for your business, the next thing is to source for the products and or suppliers that will supply you with stock that you will be selling in your shop.
You do this in regard to the feasibility study that you carried out earlier.

You have to make sure that before you source for commodities/ suppliers, you truly understand your target market so that it can help you in stocking the right products that are going to suit customers’ needs;otherwise you will end up with dead stock just holding your money on the shelves which may lead to expires hence losing the money you had invested in.

So you should only target those items that you are sure are going to sell for at the moment your main objective is making sales hence making money.

7. Stocking (Inventory)

With the most reliable suppliers in place, it’s time to start stocking. Stocking and shelf arrangement go hand in hand.

With the right stock and well-arranged shelves, it works like magic. Position the
stock in a way that it wouldn’t give a shopper a second thought or a hard time trying to look or reaching for an item.
And more still I doubt even with the right stock if you would buy let’s say bread that is stuffed in the same shelf with soap.

So the right arrangement gives the shoppers the confidence that whatever s/he
is buying is handled well hence building loyalty among-st your customers.

8. Employ the right Staff

A supermarket business is not a kind of business that you can easily run alone; you will need a team people to work with.

The number of staff would mainly depend on the size of your shop, if you
operate a bigger supermarket, then you must hire enough staff that can help you manage the supermarket
It’s important to hire reliable and honest employees with good customer relations for it’s the team that you have that is going to help you make money or lose it.

They are the ones who mostly interact with your customers so, with the wrong people in place, everything can go wrong so fast. Good customer relations is key so emphasize it while recruiting a team to work with.

9. Choose Your POS/Supermarket Software to Systematically track sales, inventory, accounting etc.

Gone are the days when businesses used to keep records in books.

In this technological advancement era, there are different ways that you can smoothly run your business without you having to worry about being cheated or losing money.

This can be achieved through purchasing and installing a POS system or software that will help you track your business performance.

You can easily get to know how much sales you have made minus you making annoying and unnecessary calculations hence saving you too much time.
With the right system in place, you can easily get to know your sales, track inventory and run reports at the press of a button.
So an investment in a good system will save you the hustle of running and monitoring your business for you will have your business at a press of a button or at your fingertips regardless of where you are depending on the system you have invested in. A good system makes work easy and fast.

Some of the systems that suit this kind of business include :

American POS System

EzyPOS Point Of Sale System or software -(Its a trusted 5 star retail POS software based in Kampala – Uganda)

LightSpeed POS System

NCR Silver Small Business POS solutions

The list is very long and your features of interest and budget will determine which one you will choose.

10. Advertise your business for brand awareness

Now that everything or almost everything is in place, then the next thing to do is to officially open your business to the public.

So now how do you make the public aware of your newly opened business?.

There are different avenues to exploit in doing this. Public address system at the premises to alert the locals and passersby that you are now ready for them could work miracles.

You can also decide to advertise on television or in newspapers. But the problem is that all these forms of advertisement come at a cost and most of the time a higher one. So why supplement the above with social media advertising.

This form of advertising tends to have a wider coverage depending on which social media platform you have opted for. It comes at a much lower cost and the results tend to be much better in relation to the cost.

So technology is here exploit it to give your business that much-needed push in alerting your target customers that you are now up and running. Advertising is the only way to push traffic in your supermarket hence improving sales.


Starting a business like a mini or large supermarket may seem very hard at the beginning but when it stabilizes in the long run or shortest time possible, the fruits are satisfying.


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