Entrepreneurship is challenging. It’s also a cure – panacea of sorts – for thousands of people in the world who are looking to do something bigger in their lives. Something that’s pushes them to do more, helps them become more creative, and brings up a sea of opportunities.
Ecommerce is currently a 300+ billion industry globally and is only set to grow more. It changed the way people buy and sell products or services. We wouldn’t be too far off the mark if we said that ecommerce is one of those opportunities that you should embrace. Just how would you do it? Is it a path strewn with roses? Is there anything you should know about? Oh yes, there’s a lot to know before you start. Here are some hard truths you should wrap your plans around with:
Ecommerce is still business
Assuming you’ve been online for a while, we are sure you’d have seen some of this:
“How to Make 65,345 in a single month even without a website”
“Launch Your App. Make Millions in Your First Year alone”
“How A Skinny Kid from Ohio Built a Million-dollar business with nothing but Fingers, French Fries, Ketchup, and an Idea”
We’ll put this out, right now: none of that really works. They are too good to be true, and these opportunities don’t really exist. Ecommerce is still a full-fledged business; only the medium changed. What could have been an actual, brick-and-mortar store is going to be a website with products or services displayed.
Don’t be misled by hype. You’d have to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.
There’s competition. So, have a plan
The good news: if there’s competition, it means there’s money floating around for you to dip into.
The bad news: you’d need something more than just your products and services to sell better, build a brand, and make things happen.
The best way to get into business is to have a plan: write out a 156-page business plan (complete with sales forecasts, analytics, research, data, and the works) or scribble on the back of a tissue. We won’t tell you how to write a business plan. We’ll, however, tell you that there’s competition and you’ll need a way to stand out.
Think about it.
Prepare for digital marketing marathon
Apart from whatever it takes for you to start your ecommerce business, you’d have to dip your beak into a marathon of a digital marketing strategy. You’d have to start writing blog posts, build your network social media, think about emails you’d have to send out, plan for all the extra content you’ll create (including slide decks on Slide Share, guest blogger programs, Press releases, videos, and other content assets).
Would you be doing all this by yourself? Or would you hire others to do it for you? If you are hiring, are you going to invest in an in-house team or are you going to tap into a global pool of freelance contractors and consultants?
Prepare. Digital marketing is a marathon that has no finish line.
There’s shipping, logistics, and packing. Oh My!
If you have ecommerce or e-tailing business, you’ll have to think of shipping, logistics, printing out labels, and packing. Finding the right shipping companies as your preferred vendors, figuring out the most cost-effective way to print out your branded labels, and to pack your products into beautiful and simple packages is going to take up a huge chunk of your time and effort.
Now, that’s another humongous task you’d have to prepare for.
Finally, there’s the all-too important customer service
Kyle Wong of Forbes.com insists that “delighting” the customer should be a priority for startups. He believes – while agreeing with Paul Graham of Y Combinator – that while customer service might not exactly be scalable, it still out to be one of those things you should focus on.
There, we said it.
What holds you back from starting your own ecommerce business? Pitch in your worries and we’ll talk.