Running a Successful Online Store: Beyond Technical Stuff

Discussion in 'Articles & Tutorials' started by Kuler123, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. Kuler123

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    Jul 25, 2013
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    Hi there! I just want to share an article of my team about running a successful online store. Give me your ideas and I hope it helpful for somebody.

    Yesterday I posted on Google plus Community: “What do I need to start an online business/ store?” I have no experience with business, especially online business.

    What happened?

    A lot of people commented on my post saying that: “Yes, I have the same question !Running a successful online store? What can I do now? ” Lots of shares and follows as well. This means many people have such concern.

    And what happened next?

    Some ecommerce developers jumped into the discussion and offered me (us) their solutions: “I can help you build an online store in a few minutes” or “We offer a thorough ecommerce solution for you from setting up to maintaining the store”.

    I was dizzied!

    What can I do with this e-store? I have a source of product. I already have some clients queuing. I know a little about how to set up an online store (with the help of my colleagues – OpenCart theme designers and developers ). But I’m still messed up because I don’t know where to start.

    I sat down for a while to think of what I need to do from the scratch.

    Out of a sudden, there were some business-mind experts appearing to help me out of the mess. What did they say?

    Smart business practice is to focus on what you’re good at and hire experts to do the things you’re not experienced or confident in, especially the technical. But find someone who can help you develop a strategy for your online store, not just build you an e-commerce website.

    Well, it’s what I was thinking of E-commerce is more than just technical stuff. It’s business. And real business needs a clear business plan.

    The conversation went on till a man named Chuck Bartok – an online business consultant – listed out five essential things to define before opening an online shop. I did a thorough research on the list and found out really helpful resources. Wait, I’m sharing with you now.

    # 1: Write down your plan of action and cash flow projection
    Plan of action and cash flow projection or cash flow forecast are the basis for any business. If you want to develop your online store in long-term, these things are essential steps.

    Plan of action definition: A sequence of steps that must be taken, or activities that must be performed well, for a strategy to succeed. An action plan has three major elements (1) Specific tasks: what will be done and by whom. (2) Time horizon: when will it be done. (3) Resource allocation: what specific funds are available for specific activities. Also called action program. (business dictionary)

    A cash flow projection definition: Estimate of the timing and amounts of cash inflows and outflows over a specific period (usually one year). A cash flow forecast shows if a firm needs to borrow, how much, when, and how it will repay the loan. Also called cash flow budget or cash flow projection. (business dictionary)

    Below are business plan templates for you to get started with:

    Business plan templates and tools
    Download action plan template

    And cash flow projection templates: Download 12-month cash flow projection

    #2: Spend time studying market of the products you expect to sell

    If you already have a product, market research will tell you which type of clients you should focus on, if you’re meeting their needs and how you can develop your product better to make it better than your competitors’.

    Normally you have to do both primary and secondary research: Interviewing with people, spreading a survey to segmented clients and examining information on the Internet. Don’t just interview people you know or using information from the Internet.

    In online business, you need to take a good care of customers’ behavior on Google: What are they searching for? From that you will know what marketing strategy to apply for your product. Using tools like Google Keyword Tool, Google Keyword Trend and Social Media to see what exactly your customers are looking for. Spot them the right way!

    Below are helpful resources for you to do market research:

    New products from market research: A Kellogg’s case study
    New Product Market Research Template from Survey Monkey

    # 3: Focus on smaller niches and think out of the box
    Why focusing on a smaller niche, not large ones? Surely targeting a smaller niche will make things easier in every aspect like finance, management and marketing. As we’re all startups with less resources and experience so working on smaller niches will save our initial investment and accumulate managing experience through time.

    Just identify a niche that you can exploit. And be creative. Think out of the box. Think of what makes your product different from other competitors.

    Here is a case study on how to find your niche market.

    #4: Form a mastermind of like-minds and share
    What is a mastermind group? Well, I guess most of you know; in case you don’t know, here is what Napoleon Hill said:

    Master Mind group consisted of a staff of approximately fifty men, with whom he surrounded himself, for the DEFINITE PURPOSE of manufacturing and marketing steel. He attributed his entire fortune to the POWER he accumulated through this ‘Master Mind.’”

    I suggest you read “Think and Grow Rich” of Napoleon Hill to understand more about a mastermind group as it’s worked for many successful individuals since the book was published in 1937.

    What is the hint of a mastermind group? Napoleon said:

    No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.

    Generally speaking, a mastermind group will create a “third-mind” of specialists’ power to help you archive your goal. Just form a group of six to ten people who share the same concern and reach out for advice whenever you’re in need.

    You can read more about how to form a mastermind in articles below:

    How to form a mastermind group, and why you’d want to
    Why Mastermind group really work: A case study

    #5: Use time tested proven quality tools and system from the beginning

    Running a Successful Online Store
    So what are high quality tools and systems here?

    A high quality email follow-up provider (auto-responder) with engaging letters, full of questions and opportunity for prospect-customer to engage.
    Short and clearly defined “landing pages”.

    Of course the first thing I recommend is Google Services for business – my best man. You should consider making use of him as well.

    Other qualified systems and tools for your business success (that we’re also using right now).

    + Jira system from Alassian – for project management and issue tracking
    + Mailchimp – for email marketing and email list management
    + Dropbox - for document sharing among your team
    + Evernote Business - capture notes, ideas and share knowledge with your teammates

    Most of the above systems and tools start with a FREE or low pricing package that is suitable for start-up businesses. Highly recommended.

    #6: Innovate after cash flow is adequate

    And why innovate after cash flow is adequate?

    Innovation is always in progress but as your “cash flows” positively you can more easily utilize the Risk of Innovation.

    Being very conservative in the application of businesses principles, our clients enjoy high ROI, the freedom of little to no borrowed capital and comfortable margins.
    Are you ready?

    I’m sure you’re curious to take the first step right away, but just step back a bit to think of the whole picture. After you’ve finished this list, you will go half way ahead other people and your online business will grow more sustainable.

    If you have idea or experience in how to start a business online, share with me and other audience in the comment box.

    And share with your friends on Social Media if you find this post useful. Thanks!

    This article belongs to KulerThemes
    You can find it here:

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