Five Key Steps to Start Your Own Small E-Commerce Business
Starting your own business can daunting. Even though the internet has made it more accessible than ever, and eCommerce is one exciting road towards success.
Still, it can be extremely difficult to know how to start your own small eCommerce business that will actually do well enough to generate revenue. There is so much to do and so much to take care of.
By creating a plan of action is necessary to prioritize your resources as you develop your own eCommerce business plan. What most people lack is patience, determination and the ability to plan. It’s very easy to become overwhelmed in the early stage of starting a business.
The key is to stick to a proper working plan. The good news here is that all the tasks that need to be done to start your business have been done a million times previously. So, you don’t need to waste your brainpower on figuring out WHAT to do.
Here are important steps to starting a business that you need to know in order to move your business dreams to reality.
So, are you all ready to be your own boss? Let’s explore the five key steps to start a small business of your own.
Define Your Business
1.Create a Business Plan
While it’s great to start a new eCommerce business with lots of big ideas, I suggest to put all your ambitions aside and focus on the most practical step of your eCommerce business plan first.
For starters, you really need a simple online medium to sell all your products. A basic store template on a reputable platform - Shopify serves perfectly for this purpose.
Don’t overthink! Just ask yourself these simple questions:
a. What Do You Need To Do In Order To Get To Profitability?
The first step you can measure your profitability is by knowing what your buyers want. To measure online buyers’ interest in your item, you have to identify:
1. How often your customers are searching for the Products (you are or want to offer)
You know the market need for your product is high when there are frequent searches for your items.
You can easily see how many people are searching for items that are similar to yours by using the Google Keyword Planner. This tool indicates monthly search volumes for relevant product keywords. Any merchant with Google AdWords can use the Keyword Planner tool, regardless of which marketplaces they use.
These frequently searched keywords and phrases will allow you to align your business with buyers' demand. Including more keywords in your store will help you move up in google search and gain better visibility to encourage more site visits and sales. For an instant, a seller who sells mobile cover/case online might see the keyword search data above and edit their homepage to have more information about deliveries.
2. How other merchants are offering the same products
You will meet a large number of competitors in the eCommerce industry - selling the same products or services you are offering. If multiple merchants are trying to profit off the same items, there’s usually enough buyer interest to sustain sales.
Confused about how you will get the number seller, selling the same products? Well, go to e-selling websites like Amazon, eBay or Walmart’s and search for your main product keywords. You can easily check the number of search results related to your product to see how many different retailers are offering similar items.
While demand is essential for profitability, a high number of sells offer points towards greater competition. If there are lots of merchants selling your products, make an effort to highlight the unique aspects of your business with a diverse marketing strategy.
3. How you can sell your products
Never stop checking the number of merchants selling your items — you’ll also want to make sure these merchants are actually selling your products to assess demand further. Merchants, for example, might flock to sell hyped-up, but sales quickly slump once the buzz dies down. Make sure your product has consistent demand, and isn’t just a trend, by checking its number of sales.
Compare the complete listing with the sold listing - if the sold ratio is high, indicates a good percentage of merchants are selling your items and demand is strong.
b. How Are You Going To Pay For The Products - With Good Profit Margins?
Here is the formula that helps you calculate your net profit margin.
There is no exact benchmark for this figure as profit margin varies from industry to industry. Generally, healthy margins are close to your industry’s average and gradually increase over time.
If you think long and hard these questions will actually pay off - you‘ll end up with a good starting plan. Be realistic, do you research and know your number. A good practice is to draw all your jigsaw puzzle on a paper and then join them all with a smart actionable business plan.
2. Come Up with a Good Name
Trust me, coming up with a brand name is way harder than preparing for a business plan. It has to be good and unique. It doesn’t have to be perfect or fancy, look for words like Google, youtube, etc. Just keep one thing in your mind, you will be saying this name a lot - in your URL, website, social sites and so on…
Coming up with a good name is one of the most important steps to start a small business. Let’s have a closer look and see what matters:
- Be Confident with the name - Honestly, confidence is all that really matters. It’s definitely been the most crucial step to come up with a name. If you don’t love it, you can’t sell it. You will be selling 24/7/365.
- Pick Something Unique - The general rule of thumb when you search for a name there shouldn’t any established business or product that already has the same name.
- Must be Memorable, Branded & Simple - Don’t make it harder to find and known.
- Keep in mind the .com of your name - This is pivotal! It’s unbelievable how many people take this for granted and completely ignore the domain name. If you want your audience to take your business seriously, make sure you have the .com.
You can use namemesh.com to search for a perfect domain name - it uses various techniques to intelligently modify existing keywords to generate new words that are very brandable.
3. Process for Coming Up with Business Name
Here are some tips that help you succeed with the step of naming your new business.
- Brainstorm words, ideas, beliefs, etc.
- Create a list
- Do a google search - skip if that’s already a known business
- Make sure the domain name can be acquired
Other useful tips:
- Imagine your name with a logo
- Imagine it on your products
- Say it loud. How does it feel? Sounds good? Well, then keep it else look for another
- Hop your options nearby and note general peoples’ feedback
Next, Choose Your Business Structure
Once you have created a foolproof business plan, all you need to focus on the structure that best suits your business. You choose will be dependent on a few circumstances, such as the size, type of business, or a plan to grow your business.
Note: No business is set in stone - the circumstance may change with time.
You can start out as an entrepreneur or a partnership, and then change to a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation once you get a bit established.
Build Your Online Store
After you successfully created your business structure - it’s time to build your online store.
Whatever design you chose needs to be compatible with your eCommerce software (Shopify, Woo-commerce, etc.), too.
There are literally hundreds of eCommerce shopping cart platforms. Choosing the right eCommerce software is not that easy. You need to smartly evaluate stuff like loading speed, features, compatibility with your business structure, SEO-friendly features, compatibility with different payment gateways, your web developer skills, and much more.
Choosing eCommerce CMS tools like Shopify can help you set up your store easily. They contain a lot of templates to start with and an easy to integrate eCommerce platform that doesn’t need development support. Pick a theme that suits your target audience and prices that reflect the success you anticipated.
When your website is all set, place a test order to make sure the process is smooth for the customer.
Setting up your online eCommerce store is much more than adding your products and content. Make sure your email marketing and automation set up as well.
This is very very important to set up BEFORE you get traffic. Email marketing is crucial for driving conversions. Make sure you set up coupons, thank you emails, and upsells so you can turn visitors into shoppers. You also have to think about customer support.
Create & Maintain Everyday TO DO List
Now that you finally have your business up and running, keep track of regular tasks that keep a business running, keeping up with inventory, namely doing payroll, keeping up with inventory, updating the website, blogging and sharing fresh content on social media.
Create a proper list of daily tasks and schedule them on a project management dashboard or manage online. This ensures that all your tasks will be completed on time and help you run your business smoothly.
Set Future Goals
Usually, while starting small business entrepreneurs naturally focused on their first weeks and months. However, in most industries, the purchasing cycle is much longer.
Create a strategic plan for your next 12 months. Examine your competitors, investors, and peers to help you decide what new goals need to be set and what needs to happen so as to be successful in the long term.
No matter what type of business you start - selling products, offering any service, building a digital product or launching a startup. There are going to be ups and downs all you need to stay focused and motivated.
However, if you stick to the flow - define your business, plan a complete structure, Build your online store, maintain a todo list, and set future goals you will start generating the revenue you always dream of.
Share your ideas, thoughts, and experience in the comment section below.