A few tips to help you out when starting an eCommerce business

When you start a whole new online business there are so many unknowns. Just the mere fact that you don’t know what to expect can cause stress and anxiety. Add to this the fact that it is a start-up company and that you’re not sure of your potential, realisable market share, you may get overcome relatively rapidly. But there are several facts that can help you tremendously. Unfortunately if you do not have a mentor or a person to advise you about these things you’ll have to experience them on your own. The following bits of information might prove useful to any entrepreneur…

1. Locating Products is not always easy.

Finding products to stock your site with could be a problem. Without a doubt there are plenty of so called “wholesalers” who are prepared to engage in “drop shipping” to suit your needs. They are not, however, always the most suitable choice. To begin with, one should test each prospective wholesaler or drop ship partner because you are putting your reputation at stake when using their service. Personally, I dislike having, in part at least, to rely on a third party to ensure the success of an endeavour. Nevertheless it has to be done.

Then there’s price. Obtaining the margin that makes the business worthwhile is another obstacle that needs to be overcome. If you are going to go to all the trouble of building a great site and spending time linking it and building its standing, you might as well make a respectable living at it. I spend considerable time investigating my competition and try to offer something that they tend not to carry. Sometimes you need to reach into your bag of tricks and work out which goods you are able to bundle together to make your products more unique. Further, it’s always smart to thoroughly explore the option of importing your merchandise from the very beginning. Using the drop shippers to explore the sales potential and then import for a better margin is a good planning tactic.

2. Starting off on a shoestring budget doesn’t work.

We are inundated with so many stories about people starting up successful businesses on a limited budget. Truthfully, that is just about the most aggravating of mind-sets that is publicized nowadays. If you’re planning on entering the ecommerce business world, plan a budget and ensure that there are enough funds to do some of the things that rob you of your precious time. Starting websites on a shoestring does not work and you will probably just drive yourself up the proverbial wall. Just the linking strategy that it takes today to be a player can take up a large part of your budget.

.3. Develop a system

If you are starting from scratch, build your site around a system. Take into consideration how people are going to navigate their way around your site. What kind of paperwork are you going to need? What type of software programmes do you need to stay well organized? How often do you require the account to check over your figures? Do you need assistance with some manual labour? How exactly does merchandise get shipped out in a timely manner when it’s purchased? These are all things you need to consider prior to “opening” your “doors” for business. You want to build an enterprise that doesn’t hold you prisoner. It should be systematized so that anyone could come in and pick up what you are doing and how you do it.

4. When shipping a product, plan for the worst case scenario.

If you are intending on utilizing a drop shipper, find what the system is for complication correction before you start. What is their return policy? How do you handle a part that is damaged or broken? How is the tracking dealt with? What if a customer has a query you cannot answer? Again, this is a situation that somebody other than yourself could take control of your reputation. One should also understand that shipping damage is a reality. At some point in time, your merchandise is certain to get lost, damaged or stolen. You have to know this is going to happen or it’s going to cause a great deal of anxiety when it does. Pre-plan this into your budget. Evaluate what percentage of your merchandise you will have to exchange or reimburse from the very start and it will never surprise you. It is a fact of life. When using notable shippers, it’s highly beneficial to understand the shipping process. When you deliver something it’s likely that you packed the item or had it packed. It gets picked up by a driver and taken to the local sorting station. Then the merchandise either gets trucked (ground) or flown to another sorting facility. It is then sorted and put on the correct truck or plane to go to the desired destination town, probably sorted again, put on a truck and delivered to your customer. In any case, there a lot of hands touching your product and a lot of opportunities for damage. The greater persons involved the greater the probability of damage opportunities.

5. Your enterprise can be an emotionally charged roller coaster.

Your business could possibly drive you mad if you’re trying to “wear all the hats”. Just realizing that almost nothing goes smoothly all of the time is somewhat comforting. It took me quite a long time to realize that hick-ups are simply par for the course. Problems are routine and no company is trouble free. I have a few touchstones that help me to remember that the sky isn’t falling when I start to feel like I’m not really getting anything done.

• Sometimes my creativity is just not there, and that’s ok.
• Certain activities are not crucial to the production of value
• The more funds I invest getting help or automating is that much more money I save in time further down the road.
• Link building is as essential as making sales
• I must pay myself first
• Statistics help me focus on the demands of/trends within the market
• There are certain things I can perform with my time that are excellent for my company, do those first.
• Lists help me stay organized.

With any luck, the above 5 points will assist you when planning your brand-new enterprise or continuing an already extant and on-going project. Taking the unknown out of the equation is always the most helpful of tips.