Steps to Jumpstart Your Own Home-Based E-Commerce Business
While roughly 600,000 new businesses are starting each day, there are considerably more people who dream of becoming an entrepreneur. While there are infinite types of businesses that can be started, in countless industries – it can be difficult to narrow down the possible trade options to something that you could personally be successful in launching online.
Determining Which Products to Sell
ComScore reports that the top-performing online product categories are books & magazines, computers/peripherals/smartphones, computer software and consumer electronics. ComScore’s analysis shows that there is a strong willingness of consumers to spend money online for in-home entertainment and Break The Web can guide you in leveraging your e-commerce business. While this is good information to know, entrepreneurs must feel a personal connection to their new business and its products to be successful.
Complete the following steps to figure out which type of e-commerce business you would personally consider starting.
- Review your resume. Take a formal look at your experience and consider doing business in the industry where you have the most experience, or dealing with products that you fully understand. It is easier to sell products or market within an industry in which you understand and know well.
- List your personal qualities. Write down things that like to do, for instance, working with kids, reading business reports, researching, designing, photography, or advising others. If you are at a roadblock on what to write, think about the things you enjoyed most at work, or even at home. Write down at least five to seven different things.
- Find need not fulfilled. The key to becoming successful is finding a need for a market, or niche market, in which is not being satisfied. For instance, Dell started in Michael Dell’s garage when he upgraded IBM compatible PCs to resell at a margin and found a need in the market for customers to order customized computers. Another success story is eBay when the founder Pierre Omidyar set up as a test and was surprised at the results and realized there was a need to match sellers of used products to potential customers in an auction environment. And better yet, Netflix began when Reed Hastings received a $40 late charge for returning a video and wondered by movie rental businesses were not run more like a health club, with a monthly fee for unlimited rentals.
- Have personal interest or passion. You must have a personal interest in either the product or industry to sustain the momentum and drive needed to get the business going. Entrepreneurs that decide to sell a product because of the high-profit margins may never realize the potential if they do not feel the drive to promote it each day.
- Research. Find out all that you can about the industry, competition, costs, and pricing. Look at the current demand for this product and market trends. If this is a unique idea or one where there is little current research available, then consider hiring a marketing research firm to gain insight on if it would be a profitable venture.
- Evaluate. Discuss your top choices with family, friends, and those within your social network. If you know business professionals, ask for their opinions as well.
Purchasing a Pre-Packaged E-Commerce Business
Especially if you are not sure anything about web design or coding, then it could become costly to set up a customized or unique e-commerce business. While there are companies which provide start-ups with a hosted e-commerce website for a monthly fee, they tend not to offer a selected number of templates that look a bit out-dated. While this is an affordable route for those on a budget, it may make it much harder for the business to gain popularity and grow in the beginning.
Pure eCommerce, the winner of the Startup Nation award, offers entrepreneurs a unique, themed website that already has vendors lined up and everything ready to start marketing to potential customers. This option may cost more upfront, but it does save much time and legwork – which can be overwhelming to new entrepreneurs. Also, they offer consulting services to ensure the new contractor is trained to handle the tasks of running the e-commerce business.
Beware of Offers that Seem Too Good to be True
Many websites on the internet aim to scam unsuspecting, new entrepreneurs. Stay away from offers that seem too good to be true, because most likely — they are scams. Becoming an entrepreneur requires much time and hard work, so if you see an offer where for a reasonable fee, you will become a millionaire quickly – leave the site immediately and do not give it a second thought.
Whether you decide to sell products wholesale from vendors, used from garage sales, or products that you make at home – decide on business in which you feel a personal connection. It is not just the product or service that will make a business profitable, but the drive and energy of the entrepreneur.