In today’s world, more and more individuals seem to be turning to the internet to start their small businesses. With customers from around the world, it seems like a great idea, but there is some skill required to run a successful online business. Here are five steps to help you out!
Establish a Focus
Whether your business is online or offline, establishing a focus is the first step towards success. If you simply try to sell every random product that you own, you might find it difficult to establish returning customers. Of course, you don’t want your focus to be too narrow unless you know where to find a high volume of customers looking for your particular item. An example of a focus that is too broad is clothing. What type of clothing are you going to sell? Are you selling all different sizes? What about the style? You could narrow that focus down to trendy plus size clothing. This allows you to start targeting specific groups of customers. In this instance, you
might target young, plus size women. This population is large enough that you can find enough customers, but also is specific enough that your customers might return for more products.
2. Find the Right Platform
This might seem obvious, but in order to start a small business, you need a platform to sell your goods on. There are many different platforms to choose from and your choice will largely depend on what you are trying to sell. Once you establish some customers, you can even start your own website! Some common Platforms include: eBay, Etsy, Fiverr, Amazon, and Shopify. There are other platforms out there, but these are the platforms that tend to drive the most traffic.
Etsy: If your items are handmade or vintage, you might to consider selling them here! This platform offers a community like sense and is supportive to new sellers.
eBay, Amazon, and Shopify: These sites are fairly similar in that they offer a wide variety of products. Pretty much anything goes, however, most popular right not are electronics. Amazon is also a great place to consider selling your own ebooks.
Fiverr: This site is a place to sell your services such as advertising or graphic design. You start by offering services for just $5, but can increase the price by adding extra options.
Whatever platform you choose will depend on what you are looking to sell.
3. List Your Items
Once you choose your platform, obviously, you need to put some items in your new store. When listing your items, you should make sure to keep your titles professional. I would much rather buy a shirt with the title of “Elegant Women’s Size M Pink Evening Blouse Long Sleeves” than “pink shirt siz medium BUY me” (these were both taken from actual eBay listings when I searched for a pink shirt). Also, you should be sure to add detailed descriptions to your items. Your potential customers want to know the details!
In addition to titles and descriptions, you will need pictures of your items or services. Pictures are important because they are what draw your buyers in to your store! You should make sure to take professional looking pictures that are appealing to the eye. One tip is to take your pictures in a well lit area. Also, if you are selling clothing, make sure the clothing is clean and pressed before photographing. People tend to be lazy and if they feel they won’t have to iron or wash their clothing, that’s a bonus!
Lastly, you will need to consider a price for your item or service. This can be particularly tricky if you are selling handmade items because you want to make sure that you are getting paid not only for your creation, but also your time. You might also want to consider offering free shipping on some items as this tends to lead to an increase in sales. If you do offer free shipping, make sure to calculate the estimated cost of shipping into the cost of your item.
If you’re new to selling on the internet, you are going to need to establish a customer base. While the platform you choose will likely draw in some potential customers, it won’t provide you with enough traffic alone. You need to promote your products!
Promotion can be as easy as telling friends and family about your products. These are the people who leave you great first reviews! In addition, you can use sites such as Pinterest, Wanelo, and Weheartit to get your name out on the web. Also, if you have a Facebook account, this a great place to advertise for free! Try finding groups that relate to the items or services that you sell and post things regarding your products in these groups.
5. Shop Appearance
You want your customers to return and explore your shop, so you should make sure that your shop looks appealing! A great way to do this is by creating a custom logo and cover photo. If you’re not the best at graphic design, consider hiring someone to make a logo for you. This is definitely a worthwhile investment because it’s something that you will be able to use for a long time. It’s also important to fill in information about yourself and your shop. This shows your customers that you are a real person and that you care about your business.