Starting an online store has never been easier. You can get going today, if you choose to. Let me talk you through the steps. Please do not see this as some kind of ‘do this then that’ type steps because frankly, some things are to be done simultaneously. In life, in business, there are usually more than one moving piece at a time, no matter how ordered we may want it.
Being an entrepreneur is very much about learning to manage all the moving pieces and allowing them to work all at once.
Figure out what you want to sell
And this can be the part that stifles most budding entrepreneurs as they try to figure out what takes their fancy. There are SOOO many options available and trying to figure out what you want to sell that will have a sufficient profit margin can be the delaying factor.
OK, so assuming you do not already make a product yourself, then start by thinking of things you are interested enough in to talk about for long periods of time because you will be talking about it a lot. Maybe, you are into clothes, shoes, electronics – Think about it. What are you into?
Make a list and get deliberate and PICK SOMETHING! Do not let this drag on and on.
Include a little research into how many people are actually searching for your chosen item before fully commiting to it. You do not want to choose a product that no one wants. So pop on over to Google keyword tool and see how many searches your item has.
2. Research suppliers
Unless you intend to make the product yourself, you need a supplier. Some places to start include Alibaba.com and Aliexpress.com. Do a Google search for wholesalers and see if they stock the product you want. Check if they will deliver directly to customer (dropshipping) or maybe, you want to hold a little amount of stock to start with. It would be best to make sure you get a sample of what you are going to sell to ensure it is to a standard that you are happy with.
3. Start Building An Audience
Whilst doing the research, start building an audience of people who will be interested in what you have. It is so easy to set up a simple Facebook page and start attracting people. You might want to set up an advert to get eyeballs onto the page and start putting images of your product and social media updates about sourcing the product as well as plain old entertaining posts that have absolutely nothing to do with your product but everything to do with your ideal customers and what they would find interesting to watch, read and respond to. Social media is a great source of leads but you have to be social in order fro it to work. NOT SALESY!
4. Start Building a Mailing List
As you are building out the Facebook page, open an account with Aweber and create a list. Pop into canva and create a discount voucher that anyone who joins your mailing list gets access to on their first purchase with you. Start mentioning that on your Facebook page.
5. Decide firmly how you are going to sell stuff
You might choose to be an affiliate to start with because you do not have access to a whole lot of funding to begin and that is why being an affiliate is a great way to begin. You never have to actually own anything, you just send people over via your affiliate link.
Or maybe, you become the distributor or maybe you white-label products where you brand an unbranded item with your company name.
6. Create a Website
For eCommerce, I suggest you go with shopify for simplicity. It supplies a shopping cart and everything.
Please do not spend crazy amounts of time, trying to make everything fanciful. Pop on over to Fiverr and get a logo designed and if you are not able to set up the shopify site yourself – just get a little help to get going and to list your products. Fiverr is a great place to start as well as places like upwork and freelancer.
Load pictures of your items on the site as well. If you are selling physical products, get really good pics as that is how people will make a choice to buy from you. If you cannot afford a professional photographer then pop in to a local photography college and see if any students are willing to do it at a lower cost for a little exposure and for practice.
7. Keep building that audience
Through all of this, keep building an audience. And now, that a few people are on your mailing list, start putting together a bi -weekly email to send to them, making offers, educating your prospects, inspiring them and entertaining them as well.
8. KEEP PROMOTING, PROMOTING, PROMOTING!
This is what will make or break you. Even before you have done all the steps above, start blogging on your site. Again, use the google keyword tool to pick up topics that people could be searching for and write blogs on those. Also, write personal blogs about what you are up to and setting up the shop to help people get to know you and trust you as a human being, not just someone who is trying to sell something to them.
Put your blogs on Facebook, twitter. Use Instagram and/or Pinterest to list your pictures. Pinterest is better for linking directly to your site but you can still build an audience on instagram as well and keep pointing them in the direction of your store. Understand this – Most of your working day at the start will be used on promotion. Do not get caught up in doing fiddly things that make no difference to your bottomline. Keep thinking about new ways to get attention and get footfall to your site. Go into Facebook groups where your people may be hanging out and build relationships with potential customers, make sure that they can follow a trail to your site so make sure it is listed on your profile.
Do videos showing people how to use your products, do review videos as well whether you are an affiliate or a physical product seller.
It is that last point that people lose heart over. They do not realise just how much promotion goes into growing a successful business – Do not make the mistake of thinking that things are not working when they are. You just need a strategy that you stick to consistently. As I keep telling my DMs, Success is a habit – Are you willing to put the habit in place?
Here is my FREE ‘business growth in 90 minutes a day’ blueprint which will give you a list of daily activities to do to promote your business and attract more customers, clients, recruits. Download it FREE at RosemaryNonnyKnight.com/90min