If you’re ready for a career change and have ever thought about opening your own business, now may be the perfect time to do so. Ecommerce has experienced substantial growth over the last four years and is expected to nearly double by 2021. While sites such as Amazon, Wayfair, and Zulily dominate the market, small and artisan businesses have plenty of opportunities to carve out their share of the trillions of dollars spent online each year.
Funding your future
Unless you have an excess of cash, you’ll have to figure out ways to finance your new business. This can be accomplished by taking out a small business or term loan, using credit cards, or using an asset-based loan to finance expensive equipment. Do your research and know what small business financing options are available. Furthermore, if you plan to secure a traditional loan, you’ll need to keep your debt paid down to ensure your credit rating remains favorable. One of the worst things that can happen to a small business is to be in a position to grow only to be denied the funds to make that happen.
If you’ve never managed a website before, you’re in luck. There are many platforms that offer easy-to-use and affordable ecommerce templates. Using a pre-designed site is the quickest way to launch your online business. ThemeForest.net lists the best-selling ecommerce templates for 2019.
The advantages of using an existing design are many, including the ability to drag and drop your images and make changes without fuss. However, if your product or service doesn’t fit neatly into the proverbial box, you may be forced to invest in a complete design. Unfortunately, this can cost thousands of dollars once you factor in programming, graphic design, content, and other little nuances that go along with branding your business online. Georgia Web Development provides more details on options that affect web design costs.
Working from home
Many ecommerce startups begin in a home office. That can pose challenges for those of you used to a structured environment. While setting up your office is not difficult, it does take planning, and you’ll need to be diligent in keeping clutter to a minimum. Make sure your home office space is located outside of your primary living areas to reduce distractions and pick a spot with plenty of natural light, which will keep your energy levels up. A standing desk and multiple monitors will increase productivity.
One of the biggest perks of starting an ecommerce business is the ability to take your business anywhere. If you want to continue running your business efficiently away from your desk, you’ll need a good working device. Tablets are ideal because they’re large enough to perform tasks easily but are still small enough to be portable. Consider investing some of your funds in a new tablet like the iPad 10.2, which is just as powerful and capable as a computer. Its versatility will allow you to easily complete tasks, whether you need to review files, take care of invoicing, or communicate with customers. Another good option is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6, which is also equipped with powerful hardware as well as the ability to connect a detachable keyboard.
Master the art of marketing
When it comes to marketing, your best bet is to start where your business lives: online. Learn how your customers shop and promote your storefront in a way that caters to their habits. Growth Marketing Pro lists Facebook advertising, affiliate programs, and viral marketing tactics as smart ways to market an ecommerce store. During this time, it’s also important to look for a web hosting company that offers reliable service; that way, the site is up and ready to work when customers or clients arrive.
Avoid common mistakes
Running an online shop isn’t always easy. There’s a lot to consider, including how to work your profit margins so that you can remain competitive. You’ll also need to find ways to not lose money on shipping while keeping your customers happy. One way to save on costs and inventory is to dropship your product. Just make sure to carefully research which products are in demand.
Don’t ignore the competition, but don’t become so distracted by your rivals that you lose sight of your goals. Another major mistake that’s a huge turnoff to buyers is not having content that accurately reflects your products or services. This includes imagery and well-crafted product descriptions.
Keep it accounted for
Finally, if you want to maintain your success, you’ll have to get cozy with the books. Unless you plan to outsource accounting, you’ll need a software platform that can help you keep up with everything from accounts payable and accounts receivable to inventory and taxes.
If you’re fed up with the nine-to-five grind, starting your own online store is a great way to dip your toes into the entrepreneurial pool. But be smart in your actions by planning ahead, getting the right funding, and making your workspace one that enhances your productivity.
- Dean Burgess (Guest Post)