1. Laying Plan
Sun Tzu mentioned in his Art of War treaties that a winning general always made calculations beforehand. Whatever your business, make a plan.
- What will you be selling
- Who are you going to sell it to
- How much you can invest into it money and time-wise
- Will it require shipping
- What are the costs
- What are the tax implications, etc.
Lay out in your mind or on paper exactly what it is you hope to do. That doesn’t just mean to know that you want to sell product XYZ online and have it ready and in stock, or at least available. To a degree you should also be able to understand the product itself, maybe even know it by heart and be able to talk about it. More on that later.
You also need to understand who your target audience is. Because these are the people you will be targeting in Step 2.
2. Conquering Grounds
Sun Tzu established at least nine types of battle ground a general has to understand in order to conquer. To these we will add the online ground: the internet.
Build your web site. Even if you are going to sell over eBay or Etsy, having your own platform is key. Select one that gives you the ability to update it yourself and can handle a shopping cart. Look into WordPress, Drupal and Joomla management systems, and look for a hosting service that fits your investment plans.
Make sure you have a good shopping-cart. You will probably want something that uses Paypal or Google Checkout to plug your clients into a credit card service. While there are a lot of ‘free’ and ‘cheap’ shopping-cart solutions out there, it often pays to invest a little into something worthwhile.
Once your site is done it is time to make it work. It needs to be able to connect into social media easily. Twitter, Facebook and the likes are essential. Get the word out on your product to drive traffic to your site. Have you friends post on it in their social media networks. Talk to others and network like there is no tomorrow. This is the toughest part and connects smoothly with Step 3.
3. Defending The Grounds
‘The best defence is a good offence.’ Sun Tzu mentioned something like it, as did Machiavelli. Don’t ever sit back and hope your business will run itself. Never stop networking, never stop marketing, never stop tweeting. Stay in touch with past clients and prospective ones. Help them out and give them advice.
Knowing your product will help you be taken more seriously. Talk about it, write about it. Find ways to expand your market and new clients.
No product is so good that it can run itself. An eCommerce store is just like a regular store: it requires attention and possibly a staff and employees. But most of all it requires your personal dedication and time, especially at the beginning.
So fire up that coffee-maker and get a comfortable chair — you may be in it for a while. But if you do it right, there could be quite some success in your future. Get more ideas at our eCommerce Category Page.