With a bit of strategic planning and careful execution, you can establish a thriving eCommerce brand in one year. These tips will help you get your eCommerce store online and performing well over the course of the next 12 months.
Start with a Plan
Before you do anything, devise a plan for how you will conduct your business. This should be done within the first month of launching your business, if not before. Determine your goals, establish milestones, analyze your market and develop sales strategies. Get clear on your funding requirements. Determine your key staffing and management needs. Keep in mind this is just the jumping-off point. Elements of your plan will evolve right along with your business.
Find Your Ideal Customer
Take an objective look at your business and ask who really needs your offerings. Answering this question will enable you to establish your brand identity, craft your marketing messages and choose your social media platforms. Again, this should be done as early as possible.
Develop Your Financial Model
Money is the life’s blood of a business. You have to get a solid idea of the ebb and flow of your income stream so you can manage it well. Remember, your profit is partially made when you buy—not just when you sell. Keep costs to the bare minimum. Try to match your payment terms to your suppliers’ so cash is coming in when it needs to go out. Pay close attention to the market to be certain you’re charging as much as the market will bear, while remaining competitive. This is an ongoing process that should be evaluated and re-evaluated as your company grows and evolves.
Leverage Your Credit
Keep your credit rating as high as possible and borrow to acquire long-term fixed assets in order to preserve your capital. Always pay your bills on time so your rating (and access to higher lines of credit) will improve. Lease depreciating assets where it makes sense to do so. Again, this is an ongoing process. So keep a pulse on your organization’s line of credit.
Work Social Media Hard
The marketing channel of choice, social media can provide direct access to your ideal customer at minimal cost. Your social pages should be vibrant, continually updated—and, above all, relevant. When it comes to targeting your key demographics, no other platform can offer you as much precision. It’s recommended that you secure your social media handles right away. If it takes you a little time to ramp up your social media presence, that’s fine. But be sure to get things up and running within the first three to six months.
Bite Off Only What You Can Chew
The temptation will be great to come out of the gate running full speed—especially when you are trying to launch a thriving business in just one year. Still, it’s important to remember you’re in a long-distance race as opposed to a sprint. Be careful to offer only that which you know you can deliver. The reputation you establish will stick with your business, and this will help it you make it positive. Focus your initial efforts around your core competency. Diversify into other areas only after you’ve mastered your foundation.
Please Your Customers
Go above and beyond what could possibly be expected to ensure customer satisfaction. You want to become known as a business that can be counted upon. In addition to earning a cadre of loyal customers, you will generate positive word of mouth, which is the absolute best form of advertising.
These seven tips on how to establish a thriving eCommerce brand in one year will set you well on the path to success. In a similar fashion, teaming with Yahoo Small Business will get you one of the best eCommerce platforms available.
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