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Category Archives: owning an internet business

What Does “Back to School” Have in Common with Ecommerce?

Pure-Ecommerce-Back-to-School-Ecommerce-Blog

By: Catherine Perry

Well, it’s that time of year again…time to get the children ready to go back to school. Why does the summer always fly by?! Even if your children are grown and you have long ago gotten them out of school, this time of the year will always be “back to school” time in our minds. The dog days of summer set in and the days begin to get noticeably shorter and we begin to think about cooler mornings, getting back into a routine, and football!
So, we started thinking about how being an ecommerce owner is relevant to going back to school and immediately we saw common elements! Some of the characteristics that are integral to being an engaged, successful on-line business owner are like going back to school. Here are four examples:
  • Being a life-long learner
  • Being adaptable
  • Measuring your business
  • Continuing to grow
Let’s look at each one of these four characteristics.

Being a Life-Long Learner

Just as “back to school” means getting ready to begin a routine of learning and education, being an ecommerce owner also requires a routine of learning and education. Operating an ecommerce business is a learning experience—not only in the beginning stages but for as long as you run the business. As an on-line business owner, you are constantly learning new things because the ecommerce world is constantly changing. The methods of marketing that worked several years ago may not be effective today. The inventory you carry may change due to trends in your industry sector. The search engines change their requirements for ranking constantly.
These are just a few of the subjects that you are learning all the time as an ecommerce business owner:
  • Marketing your business
  • Advertising
  • Analyzing Key Performance Indicators
  • Optimizing your site for the search engines
  • Staying abreast of latest trends in ecommerce
By being abreast of these aspects of ecommerce you’re ensuring that your business is in a position to compete!

Pure-Ecommerce-Brian-Tracy-Quote

Being Adaptable

Just as going back to school brings changes in daily routine and activities for which you have to be adaptable and flexible, so does running an ecommerce business. As an online business owner, you are constantly in a state of change that requires you to adapt.
One example of something that changes is meeting the needs of your customers. Your customers’ needs are in perpetual state of movement, so you must adapt and change with them.
Another example of where you must be adaptable is in meeting the requirements of the search engines. Search engines are constantly changing their requirements for ranking and you must adapt to those for your website to be found.
And yet another example is changing inventory to change with trends. Many ecommerce industry sectors are susceptible to trends and you must be adaptable with them.
These are just a few examples, but the point is that being in ecommerce requires you to adapt to constant change and to be flexible in addressing those changes.

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Measuring Your Business
Just as students are evaluated and measured to see their knowledge level, an ecommerce business owner measures his/her business to see how it is doing. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are measurable values that demonstrate how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. Companies use KPIs to evaluate their success at reaching targets.
Monitoring KPIs help ecommerce entrepreneurs identify progress toward sales, marketing, and customer service goals.  As an online business owner you want to measure indicators to see what part of your business is working and what part may not be working. As an example, it may be a goal for you to increase site traffic 50% in the next year. Relative to this goal, a performance indicator might be the number of unique visitors the site receives daily or which traffic sources send visitors (pay-per-click advertising, search engine optimization, brand or display advertising, or a YouTube video). Here’s a couple of additional articles we found that might help you on this subject:

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Continuing to Grow

Just as students need to continually grow in their knowledge and performance, as an online business entrepreneur you and your business also need to grow so that your business grows. You should always be striving to increase traffic and sales, improve processes, increase customer satisfaction, and provide better service. You should always be creating new and fresh marketing campaigns to brand and bring new visitors to your site. These goals enable your business to grow and not stagnate. An ecommerce owner can’t rest on laurels. Once you do that, your business will stagnate.
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We have just scratched the surface of comparing “back to school” and being an ecommerce owner. Come up with your own comparisons. Our four—being a lifelong learner, being adaptable, measuring your business, continuing to grow—are at the core of ecommerce. If you have these, you can be a successful ecommerce entrepreneur.
Just like you’re a kid going back to school, get prepared to have a successful year! Be energized! Get excited! But, do the work!

6 Reasons Why Ecommerce Entrepreneurs Can’t Sleep at Night

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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.

Pure-Ecommerce-Quote-Rosalee-Laws-Blog

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.

 

Pure-Ecommerce-keeping-up-with-inventory1. 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.

Pure-Ecommerce-keeping-up-with-seo-sem2. 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 Pure-Ecommerce-keeping-website-user-friendly

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!

Pure-Ecommerce-keeping-good-profit-margins4. 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 Pure-Ecommerce-balancing-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.
  1. First, assess how you are spending your time now. Make a list of the tasks you do daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly.
  2. 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.).
  3. Really analyze each and determine if there are some areas that you are spending too much time on or not enough time on.
  4. 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.
Pure-Ecommerce-good-ecommce-consulting6. 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!

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