Starting a successful ecommerce company can be really hard if you have no idea what you’re doing. Becoming a successful entrepreneur is all about creating a must-have product or service that does something better, more easily, and less expensively than existing solutions.
It’s a vague formula, but if it’s all you have when you’re starting a business, it’s not the worst place to start. Below we’ve outlined a couple of things to keep in mind if you’re planning to grow a successful business from the bottom up.
Be Efficient, Not Necessarily Original
Albert Einstein said, “The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” We’ve all seen the Facebook movie… Would anyone argue that Mark Zuckerberg was not a genius?
Legions of successful entrepeneurs in the world were people who were already aware of amazing concepts, and were able to improve on them in order to stand out. Ray Kroc from McDonald’s ripped off the famous burger from two brothers on the corner, and then expanded it into a business model that worked. Now, of course, there’s an ethical dilemma to some of these methods. But we’re not saying you should be evil. The philosophical argument that we’re proposing is that nothing in the business world is truly original, so the best way to get ahead is to seem original while also trying to push forward the best kickass business model that you could fathom. At the end of the day, your customers don’t care how weird or different you are, as long as you have something that works. If it doesn’t work, people aren’t going to give a flying hoot how cool you are, because you never delivered something that was awesome to begin with… It just seemed awesome on paper.
Know Why You’re Here
Why are you in ecommerce? Is it something that’s close to your heart? If not, you should probably consider doing something else. You’re talking about involving yourself in something for years, and you’re going to be working way harder than some schmuck in your office who’s only there from 9 to 5. If you don’t have the commitment to be the best business owner that you can be, then you should quit while you’re ahead. There are too many sharks in this world who will eat you up if you don’t have the commitment to run your own online store… But if you want to be one of those sharks you need to start listening to the game.
Listen to the Customers
You’re an owner of a new ecommerce business. You just opened your own store. What products do you want to sell? If you’re smart, then you already did your research, you have an intuitive understanding of what’s going to sell, and you’re now way ahead of the game. However, if you’re just sitting around in your underwear waiting for good things to happen, then you should probably consider flipping burgers for Ray Kroc.
Products that are close to your heart aren’t always going to be the things that sell. Clearly there’s going to be a cynical aspect of only marketing to a demographic. Go on Calvin Klein’s website, for instance, and ask yourself if Calvin Klein cares about the products he’s selling as much as the customers do. Chances are, he probably doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean he’s doing something wrong.
If you’re keeping your ears open, and you have an intuitive understanding of what the customer wants, you might actually be doing yourself a bigger favor by pushing out products that people actually want to buy. Think of it in the sense of going on a date: you’re not going to buy your date the drink that you would want. That’s just being selfish. So in that sense, of course Calvin Klein is going to check the demographics to see what kind of underwear young men are going to want to buy. If he didn’t do this every day, then he wouldn’t be Calvin Klein. But once in a while, if he really wants to, he can throw in the kind of stuff that he himself would be personally interested in buying… Because why not? If I was Calvin Klein, I would probably want a few things in there for myself, to see if anyone would buy it.
The point here is, don’t just put stuff on your store that you got from your mom and pop’s garage, because then only people from your family are going to be buying the stuff (and even they don’t want it). Do your research, keep your ears open, see what people want, and then you could be the guy on the date who’s getting lucky that night because he actually asked his date what she wanted to drink.