If the business you're planning is specific to the season and you want to capture your share of holiday consumer sales, the clock is ticking. Don't wait until the Christmas shopping season is in full swing to open. "Traditional retail stores say you should open in [the fall] and do a shakedown, so you're ready for the Christmas season," says Ed Crow, president of Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, market development consulting firm E.L. Crow Inc.
Crow adds that smaller retailers, particularly those offering gift and other impulse-buy items, may be able to open in November and enjoy respectable revenues. However, if your store is one that needs time to establish a clientele--such as an art gallery or a high-end retailer--don't expect much from your first Christmas season; instead, use this time to build for the future.