For everybody starting a small business in the modern day economy, here are ten tips to get you off the ground.
1. Get More Outside Advice
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you know more about your business than anyone else, because let’s be honest, it’s your business. Get any advice possible from a team of business advisers.
It’s always good to seek financial experience, ecommerce experience and having someone with experience and skills that you don’t have. This could be a board of directors for a corporation. Or, it could be a quarterly lunch or get together over a beer at the local pub.
Talk through your objectives for the short term and you’re likely to get some good feedback. If nothing else, you will need to organize your thoughts and push yourself through a review of your business on a regular basis.
2. Be sensible with your money
You can never have too much cash, everybody knows this. Apple’s stockholders seem to think it should reinvest its cash or increase dividends, yet this isn’t always the way. Keeping whatever loose cash you have is sensible, leaving it available for reinvestment.
Invest in mobile, multichannel marketing, and new products to sell. Save it for a rainy day or new investment, the possibilities are endless!
3. Traffic, Revenue, Profit
Focus on building the biggest brand with the most traffic. It’s harder to do today with the number of ecommerce operations, but whatever your business, grow your traffic and revenue first. You can begin to tune your operations for higher profitability. We’re not saying that you’ll lose a huge amount of money but just be willing to sacrifice some profits for future growth.
4. Emphasize Multichannel Selling
Advertise your products on Google Shopping and use Google’s Product Listing Ads. This will help you and your band to become visible on comparison-shopping engines, which in today’s credit crunch economy is a huge player in sales. Building scalable pay-per-click campaigns isn’t a bad idea, especially when your search rankings diminish because of a Google algorithmic change.
Sell on the marketplaces best suited to your products. Look at new social commerce opportunities with Pinterest, a great way to subtly advertise products. Use Facebook and Twitter. Get your online store mobile friendly now. Make sure your emails are mobile friendly too.
5. Do A/B Experimenting and Testing
Creating a great customer experience in your online store usually takes many iterations. You need to constantly improve your search and navigation, merchandising, shopping cart, and checkout. Give A/B experimenting a try – even if you don’t pull in 100,000 hits a month, try subtle changes and see the conversion rates! Focus on your shopping cart and checkout where you may have the highest impact. Try a mini-cart and a one-page checkout — both are likely to show positive improvement.
6. Delegating Tasks is Good
Delegating more responsibility to a couple of key staff members is vital to avoid getting bogged down with tasks. They will benefit through the opportunity for more personal growth. This will allow you to focus on more important strategic avenues compared to doing the same tasks.
7. Go Low Rent
You own an ecommerce business. You don’t have to impress anyone, especially not your staff. You’ll rarely, if ever, hold a customer meeting. Keep your rent low to maximise profits and reduce unnecessary costs. Have adequate space and equipment and this will help your profits and help lower your breakeven point.
8. Adjust to Economic Changes Quickly
If you find yourself with too much space, equipment, or staff, try to downsize quickly. Don’t let yourself bleed cash on unnecessary, unneeded things that you are not using or resources that you don’t have fully utilized. You can always shift back.
9. Do More Ecommerce Networking
Today, networking conventions are everywhere, regardless of size. You can even do it online via websites like LikedIn. Building business contacts is vital in running a successful business. Have a large network of vendors, consultants, and business owners who share common interests or understand your company. Read ecommerce blogs and articles and be sure to attend webinars. You’ll know far more whilst running your business.
10. Use Analytics
Using analytics in many areas of your business is key in finding where you’re going wrong. Let your analytics drive your marketing, product selection, store design, and operations. Use every tool you can to capture and analyze data that will help your online performance. Make decisions based on the numbers, not what feels right.