No Regrets: Eye-Opening Advice From Seasoned E-Commerce Business Owners
There are many things you wish you could do over. Don’t make your business one of those things. There have been those that have come before you, and many failures you don’t need to repeat. Here’s what you can learn from the past.
Get A Good Website
This cannot be overstated: get yourself the best platform you can afford. A lot of ecommerce site owners want to save money when they’re first starting out. If you already have a proven idea, there’s no reason you shouldn’t add an ecommerce platform that will handle everything for you from security to sales to shipping.
Many website owners, for example, will choose a discount host instead of a hosting provider like WP Engine, Synthesis, Spark Pay, Opencart, Squarespace, or Lemonstand.
It might be the most expensive part of your business operation. But, this is the platform that will host your business – spend money on it. If this platform folds or you have uptime problems with it, it’s going to cost you a lot of money in lost sales.
Another rookie mistake that a lot of online entrepreneurs make is that they believe that they need to do everything themselves. This is so pervasive, and the reason that discount hosting is so prevalent. By doing everything yourself, you believe that you save money by not having to pay others to do IT work, or design work, or coding, or content creation.
But, you also take on so much yourself that you lose money because you have to do work that you’re not very good at – that slows you down and distracts you from the real money-making tasks that you’re already good at.
Sure, you might become an amateur web developer by monkeying with code yourself.
But, unless you plan on making that your profession, you should let a web developer do that for you. Instead, you should focus on either creating content or running your business.
You can also outsource your backend website management to services like WPcurve – a company that helps connect you to designers and developers so you can tweak and maintain your site without touching a line of code yourself. Another good option is Odesk.
Create Scalable Systems
A system is, by definition, scalable. Yet, when you say “system” to most business owners, they don’t know what you’re talking about. And, this is why it makes the list. You should be building a business that scales up without your direct involvement.
Businesses that you can “take a break from” whenever you want, that don’t depend on you to run, are the best businesses to own because it means you’re not trading time for money. You’re trading experience and knowledge for money.
There’s another benefit to running such a business – you won’t suffer from burnout. Many businesses that rely on the owner to run get “tired” after a while. And, the reason is because the owner gets tired, physically and mentally. It’s exhausting to run a business. And, without systems in place, the leadership will become like a dull knife – unusable and worthless.
Choose The Right Niche
Choosing the right niche in ecommerce is a lot harder than it sounds. You need to know what will sell and what won’t. But, most of the prevailing advice out there tells you to “follow your passion.” But, passions aren’t always aligned with goals.
The implications of this go way beyond financial goals, too. Your online business is going to determine who you end up being friends with, where you travel, the kind of lifestyle you live, what types of conversations you have, how much work you need to put in to maintain your business, how you spend your days, and how much time you get to spend with your family.
At the end of the day, the niche you choose ends up becoming your life. Not in the sense that it takes over your life, but in the sense that it shapes many of your other life choices. Choose wisely.
Ellis Law is an entrepreneur who started out with his first business venture aged 16. Now consulting part-time he enjoys sharing his experiences with other budding business brains!