Modern tools have made it possible for almost anyone with a computer and Internet connection to start an online business. However, there’s a whole lot of work that goes into building an enterprise and seeing it flourish for years.
Scalability is one of the essential aspects to consider when planning your venture. A scalable business is one that can cater to the ever-increasing demands of your consumers, even with limited resources.
It’s relatively straightforward to start your e-commerce enterprise nowadays. All you need is a computer, Internet connection, and the determination to succeed.
Here are five tips that you can follow to jumpstart your online business this year:
1. Look for Solutions to Common Problems
The first thing you should do when starting an online business is to have a commodity. It can be either a product or a service. To come up with this, you must take a step back and observe the common problems that plague consumers.
This part doesn’t even require capital. You just really have to be more mindful of other people’s woes and listen to their feedback. Check online forums or do keyword research to read about situations that frustrate consumers. You can even start with the things and processes that you feel are too lengthy or inconvenient in your home.
For instance, the can opener was created to make it easier to eat canned goods. You can even merge two separate inventions, as is the case with magnetic bottle openers, which allow you to open bottles and store the device conveniently on the fridge.
Afterward, conduct a simple validation test to assess whether your idea is profitable. One way to do that is to ask random people about what they think about the product or service. Get their feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the concept so that you can evaluate its profitability objectively.
2. Find Reliable Suppliers
After coming up with a product or service that you want to focus on selling, you should scout for a reliable supplier to provide quality materials or goods, if you wish to have a buy-and-sell business model. Finding the right vendor is critical to the success and scalability of your enterprise.
You don’t want to leave your customers hanging in the future when your supplier can’t provide your materials all of a sudden. A little delay in delivery or a slight increase in the price of your items can lead to a drop in sales.
3. Establish Processes and Systems with Scalability in Mind
One of the most damaging mistakes you can do in the early stages of your business is to neglect to account for scalability. Forgetting to prepare your company for growth is like saying that you’re not planning to succeed in this venture.
With this, you have to invest all of your time and energy in ensuring that your business has a solid foundation. This means creating processes and systems that solve your current and future needs. Always focus on quality over quantity.
Don’t just purchase tools to provide quick fixes on issues that you encounter along the way. Instead, find the root of the problem and look for ways to overcome this particular challenge so that you minimize the risk of the same problem plaguing you in the future, where you have much more to lose.
Automating tasks, such as data entry and inventory, is also valuable for small business owners. These activities can be tedious and time-consuming, so you should invest in a customer relationship management system (CRM) to serve as a centralized database for all your data.
These are the primary tools, aside from a CRM system, that you should have for your online business:
- Accounting Apps – Accounting is a crucial part of a business, and you’ll need all the help you can get, especially with taxes. With this type of software, you just have to encode your revenue and expenses, and the program automatically calculates the net profit as well as your taxes.
- Scheduler – A scheduling tool can help you manage and keep track of your appointments. There are lots of free apps online with premium features for a minimal subscription fee.
- Communication Software – You need tools to communicate within your company as well as with suppliers and clients. Skype and Zoom are probably the most popular video conferencing apps you can find in the market today, while Slack is useful for chatting with your employees.
- Content Management System – A CMS is a software program that allows you to create, modify, and manage digital content all in a central location. This tool can help you boost your online presence and reach your target audience.
- Payment Collection – You also have to provide a convenient way for your customers to pay. Since you’re an online business, you’ll need to partner with a service provider that processes credit card payments.
4. Create a Website with Compelling Content
A website is crucial to your online business because it serves as your store on the World Wide Web. It’s where you can post the official price of your products and services as well as introduce your brand history and advocacy to consumers.
Your site can also be a valuable source of information for your customers. This can help boost your authority as a leader in your industry by including tutorials on how to use your products as well as other resources. Employ e-commerce marketing strategies to maximize conversions for your website.
5. Be Familiar with Online Business Laws
Even if you’re running an online business, you still have to adhere to the government’s laws regarding your industry. Make sure that you study the various rules and regulations on taxes, salaries and wages, as well as trademarks and copyrights.
When starting your online business, you have to think about scalability to ensure the success of your venture in the long run. Find a product or service that solves consumer problems and look for reliable suppliers for high-quality materials or goods.
Next, you should create your processes and systems with growth in mind so that you won’t encounter problems in the future. Create a website to reach your target audience and, lastly, study the different laws for your online business.
Steve Lunny is an online entrepreneur who sells products using different social media platforms and websites. Even though Steve is doing business online, he still hires full-time employees to ensure that his customers are taken care of.
When Steve is not busy managing his own business, he shares his experience in online entrepreneurship by writing articles and making videos online.