Don’t let being an ecommerce entrepreneur keep you up at night – here are some ways to manage your business more effectively without having it manage you!
By: Catherine Perry
You know how people use the greeting “What’s up?” Well, if your response is “Me at 2:30 in the morning worrying about my website business,” then this article is for you. There is no doubt about it…as an ecommerce small business owner, you have a lot of responsibilities and, therefore, a lot to worry about. Do you experience sleepless nights worried about whether an order has been processed correctly? Or whether a possible customer can easily find what they are looking for? Or, if you are making any money?
If so, take some comfort in the fact that you are not alone. It stands to reason because you are the boss running a company that comprises many functions, just as a large company does, and you have to do them all yourself.
There are many reasons for you to be stressed. We especially like the way Rosalee Laws, owner of the website Renaissance and the Rosalee Laws Company, stated the following quote in a LinkedIn article.
That just about sums it up, doesn’t it? And, even if you are a 1-person shop with no employees, you still have to be responsible for yourself and family.
In this article, we highlight some of the main things you may worry about with your ecommerce small business, and offer just a few suggestions for ways to achieve a little more REM in your sleep!
What do you have to worry about? As noted above, if you are a one-person shop you have everything about running the business on your shoulders–selling products, attracting new customers, keeping existing customers, making a profit.
In making these things happen, you have to:
Shop for products
Make sure you have inventory using good resources
Market through search engines
Market through social media
Have a website that is working properly and is easy to use
Have a profit margin that is reasonable but high enough that you make money.
Let’s look at each one.
1. Shopping for products and keeping up with inventory availability
As you know, there are many resources for getting products for your website. Do your research and be sure you are developing relationships with vendors that make your life easier, instead of more difficult. When shopping for product vendors here are some qualities you should look for.
One that can quickly inform you of product availability. You don’t need to have to spend hours trying to find out if a product is available from a vendor. Pick one that has an easy and up-to-date system of inventory management.
One that provides you with good customer service. Pick a vendor that has helpful sales representatives you can get information from. When you need something from them, the vendor’s sales reps are your main lifeblood and should bend over backwards to help you.
One that is knowledgeable about product. Your product vendors are your primary source for the knowledge you provide for your own customers. If they don’t know the products, then your job is going to be even more difficult.
One that ships the products to your customers for you. This is referred to as drop shipping. If you are not already working with drop ship vendors, then we highly recommend you consider it. You can find out more about drop shipping here.
2. Marketing through search engines and social media
It is imperative that your online business is exposed to customers through search engines and social media. There is no getting around that. But, with everything else you have to do, SEO, SEM, and SMM some things can fall through the cracks.
Be sure you are performing search engine optimization continually. SEO is not something that can fall through the cracks. Stay informed on what the search engines (primarily Google) is changing in their formulas and what they want to see. After you have done the big work that encompasses optimization for your web landing pages, product descriptions, and product images, it is tweaking on a weekly basis to change up the wording on landing pages to keep it fresh.
Branding your business through your social media posts and campaigns is an important part of your online business but, again, can be an “aside” as you go about your regular daily tasks like processing orders. Existing customers and potential new customers gain knowledge of your business through social media and really expect it these days. Using software tools such as Hootsuite can help you with time management by allowing you to schedule social media posts ahead while freeing your time and brain up for the daily tasks you face.
3. Making sure your website is easy to use and efficient
The last thing you want to worry about is your website. Customers want fast and easy when shopping and buying. Be sure web pages are uncluttered and easy to read. Have a shopping cart experience that is simple and easy to use. When purchasing your website, have a company that stands behind servicing and educating so you don’t have those headaches.
You need to provide the value with your customers to make sure they are happy and satisfied. In this day, your customers have many choices for making their purchases. Give them every reason to choose you again and again!
4. Having a good profit margin
After all, you are probably running your small business to make money! So, having a profit margin that makes the product competitive yet provides a profit is key. Do your research. If you are offering free shipping, you will need to be sure your price covers your shipping costs and includes profit as well. This may not be easy to achieve, but it is very important.
5. Managing Your Time
Achieving the above list items make your life simpler with less headaches, but how do you get it all done? Good time management and good resources is how.
Managing your time doesn’t just happen—it requires a plan. Here is a suggested way to gain control over your time.
First, assess how you are spending your time now. Make a list of the tasks you do daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly.
Assign a percentage to each task (such as checking inventory levels, processing orders, working on social media, creating marketing campaigns, performing tasks associated with SEO, etc.).
Really analyze each and determine if there are some areas that you are spending too much time on or not enough time on.
Make a time block on the calendar for each task/activity. Here you are actually scheduling time to do these things. For instance, you might calendar Monday afternoons to write your blogs and schedule your social media posts for that week. This way, it is done and you don’t have to think about those things for the rest of the week.
6. Securing a website consulting company to help
Having strong website consulting company behind you can be a life-saver. Knowing that a company is supporting you by assisting in website logistics, vendor selection, shopping cart operation, website look and feel can be worth more than gold in alleviating headaches and worries. Pure-ecommerce helps you get a better night’s sleep by providing training, support, SEO services, social media marketing, and website design to take so much worry off of you. They stay on top of things so you can have more time.
Face it, there are only so many hours in a day. But, with good time management and a great resource behind you, you will sleep better at night knowing that everything is being taken care of!