Thinking about starting an online store? You have googled your eyeballs out, spent hours researching and you are still nowhere closer to creating or setting up that online store.
Worst if you just want a side hustle. The information overload is a mountain that looks impossible to climb, especially if you do not have the time or resources to go all in!
Stop and consider this before diving in…headfirst.
1. Keep it real
I know social media makes it look easy. People are making money and you just want your piece of the pie. But let’s not be naïve, statistics show that many online stores fail within the first four months. Yes, this is a short life span, only because anyone can do it. Some do it to make a quick buck and get out. And there nothing wrong with that.
But your aim should be to make sure you do everything possible to make a success of it. We only get to see the popular online businesses when they make it big, but not many consider the sweat and tears to finally get to that “overnight” success.
So, what’s it going to take before you can launch your very own cool online store?
Now I am not talking about a 40-page business plan (total exaggeration cause we all know how no one likes these). Draft plans…dare I say, even a list of things to do is okay to start with. You can adjust, review, and elaborate on it along the way.
In any new venture, mistakes are going to be made and being prepared is going to make it much easier to fix these mistakes or even better, avoid them altogether.
So best that you first get pen, paper and a quite place to gather your thoughts and make clear what you want to achieve.
3. What’s in your hands and what’s not?
A good place to start when considering your plan: –
Time – if you already working full time, how much time will you be able to invest in creating, building, and maintaining your online store?
Money – how much do you have to invest in: Start-up costs, updating and maintaining your site, shipping and delivery, marketing – which platforms will you be using, staff – will you need help or not, partnerships – what will they bring to the table?
Skills – what can you do and what would you need to hire people to do on your behalf?
Assets – do you currently have stock on hand, ready to sell? Will you need to pay for special memberships, purchase materials, or storage space?
Plans for growth – what do you want to start with, and where do you want to go with your online store? How are you going to prepare for a sudden rush of orders or an unexpected increase in social media activity?
Plans to handle slumps – how are you going to make it through periods of little to no orders? What will you do to get things going during these periods?
Granted, jotting down these points may seem overwhelming, but the good news is that you do not have to have everything perfectly figured out for you to continue.
What you will need is some foresight, grit and a great attitude. If you want to keep your online business going, you will also need determination and a lot of flexibility.
4. But before getting started think about answers to the following questions:-
What am I going to sell?
If you creative and going to make your own product, great for you. However, if you like many of us who are less talented, who don’t have stock on hand, you need to decide what you going to sell on your online store.
Not only that, but you also must figure out how you going to differentiate yourself from all other online stores who are selling the same or similar products. You could just sell items that are trending to make a quick buck, but then you will have to deal with many other competitors doing the same thing.
What is my brand and why?
Brand – this word gets thrown around a lot and often when we think of the word brand we think about names, like Apple, Nandos, McDonalds, but simply put, brands are perceptions.
It includes the company culture, vision, values, purpose, and objectives. These components are conveyed through a company’s logo, colors, actions, personality, tagline, typestyle, voice, messaging, etc.
To find your “brand,” think about why you want to start your business, what you want your business to stand for (values), and how you want to convey that to others. For many our brands reflect who we are and align to our personal values.
By the way, if your only reason is to make money, sadly you going to be added to the almost 90% of online stores who fail within the first 4 months.
What is my niche?
If you have your own merchandise, figure out where it fits in the online world of e-commerce. Then, take some time to figure out who your competitors are and figure out how your brand can stand out from theirs before you start selling.
What is my business name?
Choose a name that aligns with your brand. Yes, your brand needs to be finalised before you have a name. The reason for this is that your company name, logo, and colors should all be representative of your brand — they are all part of the perception you want people to have of your business.
How am I going to get my merchandise to my customers?
Is someone going to make or supply the product? If so, will you be willing to order in bulk, carry your own stock, and ship orders yourself or do you want someone else to do this for you?
To decide, make a list of the options available. Will you do this yourself from start to finish or will some of all of it be outsourced to another company?
Regardless of the option, do your homework. Weigh up your options and make an informed decision. Read the T&C’s and consider what components will be in your control and which not and what the impact of these will be on our brand.
Where do I want to spend my time vs my money?
If you are starting an online business with very little resources, you will need to use what you already have available to you. Find what best works for you, be flexible and review it as you go along. Be smart about your time and money so you use both as efficiently as possible.
Setting up your online store
The first thing you want to do when starting an online store is to gather your images, logo, your brand colors, and the descriptions for the items you plan to sell.
There are many tools/applications available to assist with the actual setting up of your online store, some even with free trials BUT if you can’t be bothered to brave this part on your own, give us a shout and we will be happy to assist.
After the store framework is created for you, it’s time to fill in the content and delete any sections or pages that you don’t want. Once done, get someone who you trust to review and give it to you straight. Be open to their suggestions and only then publish.
Now that you have some idea of where to start. We hope this piece finally gets you to put pen to paper and start on that plan, in the hopes of getting you to launch your online store sooner than later.
If you in a hurry and can’t wait to figure it all out, no worries speak to us now and we will hold your hand and take you through the process one step at a time. If you want a partner that will give you sound advice, set up your online store and help you walk the journey in growing your business…look no further.
Give us a call on 087 109 1000 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org