Congratulations – you’ve decided to start your own business. Mapping out how your products will flow through your business’s supply chain and how you are going to reach more customers through your marketing efforts are just a couple of the considerations that may be keeping you awake at night. Profit, growth, and the all-important aspect of cash flow are also going to be pretty high on your agenda too.
Here’s five key considerations that new and prospective business owners can make practical use of as they move their companies forward.
1. Finding more customers
The success of a business depends on its customers. If you are considering running a business through an eCommerce platform, you should anticipate spending a sizable chunk of your budget on marketing.
One of the best and well-proven ways to win more customers is to ensure that your business supplies quality products backed up with first-class customer service. Whether you intend to start a home-based online business or work from an office, here are some tips to help your business achieve customer loyalty and respect.
Firstly, remember that anyone can make a mistake in business. Your customers’ perceptions of your company and brand will be shaped not by such mistakes, but by how you resolve any issues they have.
Secondly, it takes a massive amount of effort and money for a business to gain new customers compared to the cost of keeping an existing one satisfied. Sometimes, you may have to sacrifice some of your profits to retain a good client, which is still a much smaller cost than the price of replacing them.
2. Trying new sales channels
The skill for most managers and small business owners comes in the form of managing ongoing expansion in a scalable and sustainable way. There is little doubt that one of the most effective ways to expand your sales and customer base is through moving into new markets for your existing products.
If you are planning to sell business-to-business (B2B), your target market likely consists of retailers that have a specific interest in your products. This may entail pitching your products to retailers whose existing products complement yours. For example, as an independent jewelry designer, you may benefit from targeting a clothing retailer with a range of footwear or fashion accessories.
Going in too cheap, offering payment terms that are all in the buyer's favour, and forgoing your minimum order requirements may all seem like great ways to get your products on their shelves. The bad news is that unless you are an established business and you have a proven trading history with such clients, that path may well lead to cash flow issues.
3. Ensuring that you are making a profit
Some operations with large turnovers can easily slip from profit to loss. Whether or not you already have experience in running a small business, it cannot be stressed enough just how important it is to have access to the full range of costing data. From the cost of your raw materials or products to every aspect of your overhead, every process of the business is going to impact the bottom line.
Business-to-consumer (B2C) operations that scale up turnover through B2B are often faced with issues relating to calculating their new optimum wholesale selling price. The main factor that such businesses should always consider is that the more they sell the more competitive they can afford to be. Once your business calculates a break-even point for minimum order volumes, there is nothing to prevent you from implementing a sliding scale. In effect the more volume your customer is prepared to buy the better the terms can be and that in turn also acts to encourage larger sales volumes.
4. Making it easier to sell more
Bringing your wholesale business online should be a key item on your small business setup checklist. Considering that many wholesale customers already do much of their personal shopping online, there is a very strong argument for moving all of your sales to an eCommerce platform. With all of your business activities in one place (online), collecting and analyzing data will also be much easier and that means your business will be able to react instantly to buying trends.
One of the main concerns that stops offline customers from buying online is the loss of the human touch. Customer service and support needs to be right at the top of your list of priorities if you intend to make a success of an eCommerce business.
5. Focusing on business growth instead of manual processing
Getting things right from the outset is one of the most important steps to starting your own business because these are the foundations that you will be building your business on. While pen and paper or inventory management spreadsheets may work well for a small turnover, they don’t provide the scalability that a wholesale eCommerce operation needs.
We know that our customers came to us because they wanted to manage invoicing, shipping, inventory management, and wholesaling online, without the headache of spreadsheets.
The more aspects of your business operations that you are able to automate, the more time you will have to do what you do best - making your business work. Through moving your operations onto an eCommerce platform and managing your inventory through a reliable cloud-based system, you will streamline every aspect of your business.
Building a solid foundation
Industry standard integrations are something that any business should consider when planning to automate through eCommerce. From ordering and payment to inventory management, accounting, and tracking, you can have all of your operations managed in one place.
By laying the foundation of reliable and flexible small business management systems, you will be able to grow your business in a controlled way, collect crucial data, and improve your cash flow.