10 Aug 5 things you need to know about starting online
So you’ve taken the plunge and made the decision to start your own business. Congrats! I’m sure you’re smart enough to know that no matter how good your store looks if you don’t act like a business you will probably fail. Harsh but true.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
1. Learn from those that have done it
Become a sponge for knowledge. Soak up as much as you can from those that have done it. Chances are you lack the experience right now, so gain from others. Learn the mistakes they made, avoid the pitfalls they fell into and most of all, learn, learn, learn.
A word of free advice though; don’t get ‘paralysis by analysis’, make sure your learning gets backed up by action. Learn to prioritise what’s important and focus on doing those tasks first. Learn to say no and remember, ‘if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no’. Don’t get distracted by things that don’t matter.
2. Never compete on price, you will fail
Have you ever played darts? You know you have to finish on a double right? Well if you’re dart skills are as good as mine then you keep missing the doubles and before you know it you’re left with double one, the lowest and only way you can win the game. If you plan a business based on price you WILL fail. Before long you will be cutting your prices to compete in a crowded marketplace and you’ll be working twice as hard to make the same profit. Your business will be like the darts game, at the lowest possible opportunity to win.
3. Automate as much as you can
You will be the driving factor behind your business and with your thirst for knowledge, you will know where to apply your time more effectively. You don’t, however, have to work hard. Work smart and automate your processes as much as you can. Yes you maybe starting out small, perhaps even on your own, but think big. When your online store starts to grow you will have to scale-up everything, not just your stock. Your internal systems, your order fulfillment, your communication with customers and suppliers, these all need to be slick to save you time and money.
I guess that’s why Shopify is the preferred solution for over 500,000 businesses as it’s so flexible as well as scalable.
4. Find your USP
Reality check; your prices, your products or your services aren’t unique. You may think they are, in fact, you may try and promote that they are, but they’re not. If you have a uniquely low price, a competitor will price match or beat you. Your product, you’ve probably got it from a wholesaler who makes thousands of them. And your service, well doesn’t everyone say they give great service? In fact, as consumers, we expect nothing less than great service. So guess what, the only thing that’s truly unique is you…
Yep, you’re the reason why your business will succeed or fail! This is positive, be entrepreneurial about this and make sure your back story is watertight and worthy of a good brand. People will become customers because they associate with you and your story, not because you’ve slashed your prices.
5. Make your profit when you buy, not when you sell
This may be the most common mistake for newbies when starting an online store. It’s not as simple as buying a product, stick a markup on it and sell it. All your competitors are doing that and more…when buying/sourcing products you should shop around. The chances are more than one wholesaler is making/supplying the product you want. Or at least an alternative, but make sure you never compromise on quality. If you spot the same product and the price is wildly different, it’s probably too good to be true, so be warned.
Shop around, get a competitive quote or look at buying in bulk to get the unit price down
If you’re manufacturing the product yourself, apply the same principles. You will have raw material suppliers, outsource staff, carriage and packaging costs. Shop around and get the best value you can.