Selling products online has never been easier, indeed, millions of people around the world have quit their regular job and turned their focus to e-commerce. Rather than jumping in with both feet, you are advised to do your market research to make sure that your products are in demand, and once you have made a decision, the next step is to create a business plan, and with that in mind, here is a checklist to make sure nothing gets overlooked.
- Business Plan – This will consist of a business overview, details about marketing, start-up costs and projected sales forecasts, and a good business plan will cover every angle, ensuring the start-up is successful. When you think the plan is finished, ask a business guru to take a look, and they will likely find a few issues, then after some amendments, your plan is good to go. Until your business plan is complete, you should refrain from doing anything, as this will reveal any underlying issues that need to be addressed.
- Funding – It is critical that you crunch the numbers and have access to the funds you need to get the business off the ground, so to speak. Far too many start-ups fail within the first 6 months due to money problems, and if you are short of cash, take out a short-term business loan, which you can repay over one year.
- Digital Marketing – Finding a good Google AdWords company is easy with an online search, and the SEO specialist can create an aggressive digital marketing plan that will drive traffic to your e-commerce platform. If you are prepared to invest in digital marketing, this will boost your web traffic, and with a running budget every month, you can get the edge over the competition.
- Logistics – The moment a customer orders a product, the clock is ticking, and the goal is to get the product to the customer’s address as soon as possible. Slow deliveries will kill your business, and the best solution is to outsource the logistics to a third-party provider, who is geared up for picking, packing and delivery. All you have to do is deliver your products and packaging to the logistics provider’s warehouse, then you simply forward orders via email, which means you never have to handle the product, or any part of the logistics process. The logistics company can handle large volumes of orders, but if you are not busy, that’s fine, and you only pay for the services you use.
- Website – Of course, you want a professional job, and by talking to a web developer, you can choose a design and the work can begin. The first thing to do is register a domain name, then you need to find a company to host the site, which is something the web designer can do for you. They will also administer the site if you would rather, which leaves you free to do other things. Here are some money saving tips for every entrepreneur.
- Legal Aspects – Of course, you will need to register your business and take out some form of public liability insurance, not forgetting to check whether you require any licences for the products you intend to sell. You cannot sell copyright products without the written consent of the copyright owner, and the penalties for infringing copyright laws can be severe. If you plan on hiring staff, you will need employer’s liability insurance, and any business vehicles should be fully insured.
- Product Wholesaler – You could actually bypass the wholesaler and go directly to the manufacturer, which will save you some money, and with an Internet search, you can easily source a good supplier. Some large manufacturing companies will actually package products and deliver them to your customers, for an additional fee, of course. This means you do not have to handle the products at all, which streamlines your business processes.
- Cyber-Security – If people are paying online via your website, then your site needs to have SSL certification, plus you should source an established cyber-security provider to ensure that your website is always secure. Here is some UK government advice on cyber-security, which is well worth the read.
- Range of Skillsets – As the owner of the business, you will need a generous helping of determination and motivation, and be prepared to encounter many obstacles, as you no doubt will. You need to be diplomatic with customers, firm with suppliers and set a good example for your staff.
If you have covered all of the above, the stage is set for the big launch, and with an investment in SEO services, you will receive a high number of site visitors, which should lead to sales. Never give up and always remember than giants like Amazon began in a garage, and with steady growth, your business empire will be something that gives you a great quality of life.