Are you one among the thousands of Indians, dreaming big and planning to launch an ecommerce business soon enough? Have you done your homework and chalked out a detailed plan that would align your business strategy with processes and goals? Have you already checked your plan against the various pointers needed to begin an entrepreneurial venture ? Do you feel lost at times and with each advancing step you are facing real world challenges that are altering your business plan? Have you started feeling the pressure and found that the entrepreneurial journey is all uphill? Have you contemplated abandoning the plan and going back to a routine regular job that offers stability and constant income? that cannot be surmounted?
If you identify with many of the above, RELAX and take a deep breath, you are not ALONE! Most of the entrepreneurs who are running a successful business today have gone through this phase at some point or the other in their journey. Based on their experiences and inputs here are some simple tips that would help you in overcoming the challenges and establishing a successful business:
Choose a Product, Package a Deal
Coming up with a new product or service category is the toughest part of starting a business as the complete plan is going to be based on this decision. Even if you decide on a product it always seems that someone else has already been selling it for long. So, the trick lies in making the product even more attractive to potential buyers. For this you need to do a bit of market research and look for associated products and services opportunities. It’s common consumer behavior to look and shop for associated products at the same time. For example, if you are offering a clothing line, offer fashion accessories along with it. If you are selling mobile, offer cases and screen guard. Explore every opportunity that makes life easier for your customer and offer related goods and services. The key is to make your offer the best one so that the customer gets maximum value for the time and money spent at your store.
Source products, Spoil for choice
Once you have decided the product, sourcing it at profitable rates is the next challenge. In the digital age you have limitless options for exploring vendors and merchants for any given industry. All you have to do is to search for the given category on famous national and international directories like Alibaba, IndiaMart etc. Do a thorough research and contact rated manufacturers and suppliers for quotes and samples. This might be a time taking process but would go a long way in establishing the quality and credibility of your business. Always select multiple vendors for your products so as to offer a wide range of choices to your clients. Remember, customers keep coming back to a store that spoils them for choice and offers competitive pricing.
Be watchful, Stay ahead of Competition
In the hugely competitive e-commerce environment it is always advisable to keep track of your competitors. To stay ahead you should not only keep updating your catalogue but should also try to offer futuristic technology that gives a seamless shopping experience to your customers. Research the website functionalities and the product offerings of your competitors. Use competitive intelligence to offer better products, lower prices, and enhanced services than your arch rival and see your products flying off their shelves in no time.
Prepare a plan, Improvise to sell better
It is a real challenge to understand your business from scratch to end and factor in the critical resource and various phases right in the beginning. To do this, create a detailed business plan that would work as the roadmap for the smooth running of your business. This should include;
- Market research and analysis
- Plan for the end to end business operations
- Products and services on the list
- Key roles and responsibilities including employees and management
- Projections and goals for future
- Marketing and sales plan for at least 3-6 months
- Target sales and financial growth
- Defining funding needs and channels to be explored
Create a Brand, Market it well
Giving a name and creating the brand value for your business is the last but most challenging task in setting up an online business. To begin with decide on a company name, logo, a catchy tagline (based on your USP) and register a domain to sell your products and services online. Keep your domain name short, catchy, easy to remember and never make it sound similar to the name of your competitor. Opt for a logo that is simple yet creates an impact. Create a tagline that is short but conveys your brand’s uniqueness.
Despite having the best product and store you might not sell well if you cannot bring sufficient traffic to your store. To overcome this, challenge use every channel available at your disposal to market and promote your product in the digital playfield. Create a curiosity for your brand even before the actual launch of the website and associated services. Hire talented SEO to rank your website high on SERP (Search Engine Result Page), create a rich content base, use social web to get quality backlinks and invest in paid ad campaigns to create brand awareness. In nutshell, create a demand for your brand by generating interest.
Starting an online business and making it successful is certainly not a child’s play. However, if your structure and plan your business venture based on thorough inputs and research, no one can stop you from writing a new success saga in the booming economic environment of today’s India.