Starting a business is not easy. If it was, everyone and their mother would have one (spoiler alert: they don’t). According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 20% of small businesses fail within the first year. The truth is that you need to know how to start a business before you take the risky plunge.
But don’t be discouraged! Our small cosmetics wholesale company has managed to make record sales this year alone despite 2020 being synonymous with doomsday. This serves as the ultimate starting point to turn your side hustle into your full-time business.
Remember the 5 tips below and you are bound to succeed:
1. Refuse to quit when the going gets tough
As the famous Billy Ocean once sang, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Yes, it’s cheesy, cliché, and easier said than done. It’s also an essential mindset of starting a business.
When we started our company, we had to make huge sacrifices. My co-founder had to sell his car. We both only had enough to cover the expenses of our business initially. The employees of our company consisted of just us.
For years we had to keep our goal in mind and have no doubt that this risk would pay off. And it paid off big! Starting a business will always be difficult, no exceptions. Some days will be horrible, some days will be great. Everyday will serve a bigger purpose.
2. Create your site on a platform made for ecommerce
Unless you’re a web developer, please don’t try to craft your store from scratch. Many platforms have built-in functionality to hit the ground running. In particular, they even have the ability to create custom reports. You’ll be able to let customers checkout on your site, you can track their buying patterns, and see where your traffic is coming from.
What’s also good about platforms like these, is that they have easy ways to regulate and boost your search engine rankings. It just makes it simple to update crucial SEO data like your site’s meta description and meta title. Information like this not only lets potential leads know what your company is all about, but it lets search engines know too.
“Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” – Tony Hsieh
3. Stay agile and vigilant toward market changes
Now more than ever, small businesses need to stay on top of changes in the market both domestically and internationally. Even in the best years, it’s important to monitor the market and have the ability to quickly make changes in order to survive.
Stay on top of trends. Know the supply and demand of the market your ecommerce site is focusing on to stay ahead of the competition. This year especially has served as a good exercise in being flexible. Have a master plan, but leave wiggle room for the unexpected.
4. Make customers your focus from the first day
Your customers are the lifeblood of your company. If you can’t absolutely commit to being empathetic to them, you might as well have no customers.
By focusing on providing as much value as possible to the customer, you will always win. Especially when starting a business, as you enter an area that already has established competitors, one of the easiest ways to begin to take market share is by providing a better experience.
That means having the ability to accept a smaller margin or dedicating more time and resources to areas that influence the customer experience the most. That could be in the form of customer service, pricing, or any other factor.
Figure out your customers’ different buyer personas. Who are they? What are the problems they face? Tailor your content and strategy to fit each individual’s needs. You do both them and yourself a disservice without knowing this.
“No matter how many customers you have, each is an individual. The day you start thinking of them as this amorphous ‘collection’ and stop thinking of them as people is the day you start going out of business.” – Dharmesh Shah
5. Identify which CRM systems you’ll need
Starting a small business in the modern era has added more obstacles for entrepreneurs to overcome. Make it easy for yourself and use services that allow you to manage your customers. You’ll likely need a software that lets you respond to inquiries and need another to launch robust, segmented campaigns for marketing purposes.
Research what CRMs you’ll need ahead of time, and which ones would be the best fit for you. It will save you time and a headache later when you inevitably expand your business. Also, good CRMs can give your small business the ability to collect key information about your clients. Buyer patterns and problems become apparent with this kind of software.
6. Choose a market you understand
Just because your friend made 6 figures off of selling a certain product doesn’t mean you will. The web is saturated with courses telling you how you can double your salary by selling this one thing. The majority of consumers won’t find success this way alone.
Simply, the more you understand about the products or services you are selling, the easier it is to create a marketing strategy for your business. The same goes for finding suppliers and most importantly, understanding your customers.