Developing an online business can be fulfilling and profitable. In today’s blog post, we’ll give you the key elements to making your online business a success from the first day.
Have a Website Presence
Having an online store means having a website. It’s not enough to have a basic one-page site, either. You’ll need an eCommerce platform that allows you to sell. Consider the mechanics, like how customers create accounts and add items to a shopping cart, and if you have security measures to protect customer data. All these elements are important from the very beginning when you’re developing a website. Don’t neglect them!
Chances are, it will take time to develop an online customer base and get the word out about your business. That’s okay—just make sure you’re planning for it accordingly. Unless you already have many dedicated customers who have expressed interest, it’s probably not a good idea to operate on a huge scale from the very start. You don’t want to run the risk of pallets full of unsold inventory or a gigantic empty warehouse. Instead, start with the basics and have a plan for how you’ll continue to grow along with your business.
Have a Shipping Strategy
Shipping is an often-overlooked part of the online business development process. Here, thinking ahead is key: at the very beginning, you may be able to ship fifty orders a day right out of your office or warehouse. Will you be able to handle the shipping volume when it balloons to 1,500 or 50,000? It’s a good idea to have a strategy in place for shipping before it’s too late and you find yourself overwhelmed with orders. In addition, certain retailers such as Amazon have stringent and inflexible standards that are often tailored to bigger companies. You can give yourself a leg up from the start by finding a fulfillment partner that can tailor their plan to your business size and model, so you’re not paying extra for services you may never use.
Plan for Expansion
Starting small doesn’t mean you have to stay that way. It’s essential to have basic plans in place for expansion. You don’t want to get caught off guard by your website’s growth and find yourself struggling to keep up with increased order volume and more visibility. Calculate how many sales you can handle comfortably at current levels and identify pinch points to improve if sales and inventory volumes increase. Think about the following:
- Do you have enough workers?
- Do you need to increase your marketing budget?
- Can your website handle more traffic?
The specific steps you’ll need to take will vary based on your business model, but simply identifying them and having a workable plan in place for improving each will alleviate many of the growing pains that businesses experience.
Whether you’re a new entrepreneur or an expanding business owner, starting an online business is an exciting time. If you keep these few simple tips in mind, you’ll be ready to stay ahead of the game and be prepared for any surprises that might come your way. By focusing on developing a workable website, setting realistic expectations, planning your shipping strategy carefully, and preparing for expansion, you’ll find the challenges you’ll face are much more manageable.