Today’s Business Environment:
In the past year, most online retail platforms including Amazon, Shopify, Ebay and others have seen their sales skyrocket. For most shoppers, buying whatever they need from the ease of their couch is the new normal.
This spike in online retail is also correlated with recent government policy. In a very tangible way, stimulus checks have enhanced the buying potential of Americans – and that extra cash is making a difference in consumer confidence.
As an aspiring entrepreneur, you might be wondering: is 2021 the year to chase your E-commerce dreams?
The answer is YES! But you need to be prepared...
Here are the 5 key steps to set up your E-commerce business for success and longevity:
All business ideas begin with brainstorming. Start with an idea, and assess whether it has demand or is under-served by the current market. Jeff Bezos could attest to this approach. He noticed that online retail wasn’t really an option when it came to buying books – so he left his job in Wall Street to create Amazon. And the rest is history…
After honing in on your product, your focus should shift to reaching your customers.
By the time your done with this phase, your middle name will be Logistics. Shipping, product size, storage fees, product life (perishable/non-perishable) etc…these will be the keys to your operations kingdom.
Don’t forget about Marketing though. And you’re going to want to think outside the box for this part. Here are some questions to get your creativity flowing: Will your product be seasonal? What is your game plan to acquire customers? What are your target demographics and marketing avenues? Which social media platforms will you target?
A lot goes into creating the actual infrastructure of a business. Starting a business requires government licenses and approvals, work space and furniture, equipment (like computers, cameras, printers), IT infrastructure (website and other software), and of course your product inventory. You want to have your business up and running before you actually start receiving online orders. This will help minimize any hiccups or roadblocks down the road.
- Part timer:
When going for a startup, especially E-commerce, it’s not a bad idea to start of slow. Maybe stay committed to your day job, but build out your new venture during your free time or on weekends. This slow and steady approach will help minimize risk.
Some starting entrepreneurs opt for loans to sustain their business, but tread lightly here. Interest payments can add up, ad impact overall revenue down the line.
- Gig it:
At a certain point, you will start to see your online sales increase. By then, maybe you’ve gone full-time, and your proud to say that this is your new main hustle.
Again, it’s never a bad idea to supplement a new business with more cash flow. Maybe its driving for Uber, delivering with Door dash, or freelancing online - extra cash is always a good thing. Every business faces highs and lows, and when your own establishment has that slow week, you can rely on your side gigs for that extra income.
Preparation and pacing is key. If you spend ample time upfront planning, and remain focused on each stage of business development, you can reach your own kind of business independence. Take it one step at a time, learn from your journey, and never be afraid to change and adapt.
Considering the economic and social trends of the country, it’s definitely the right time for you to bring your ideas and visions to life. Follow the steps above, and your business idea will blossom into a reality of revenue.
So what are you waiting for? 2021 is your year!