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Today’s entrepreneurs know that Main Street’s best days have come and gone. The future isn’t just online, but in the present, too, and an array of marketing platforms make it possible for artisans and entrepreneurs to do business online with ease. However, it’s not always as easy it first seems. You’ll want to avoid some of these mistakes new e-commerce businesses make as they navigate the challenges common to starting a new business—whether that’s tangible or virtual.
Many ambitious merchants get so caught up in bringing their products to market that they don’t accurately assess what that market looks like. Before you supply, ascertain the demand—the marketplace is often crowded, and you want to make sure that you’re carving out a niche for yourself. Ask yourself: what am I providing that no one else does? What am I doing better than others?
It’s tempting to hit the scene with a full-fledged small business ready to take the world by storm. While ambition is a must for successful entrepreneurship, you need to temper that ambition with a sense of pragmatism. Trying to do too much at once can stretch you thinner than you can go, leading to faulty websites, confused shoppers, and worst of all, unfulfilled clients. You don’t need to open up with a vast line of products, nor do you need to have your hands in each and every aspect of the business. Know when to delegate and outsource.
We’re not just talking about shelling out extra for insurance at the post office—though that is an idea. Many startups who handle their fulfillment operations themselves—literally by hand—play fast and loose with their packaging and envelopes, underestimating the rough transit that mail often experiences. Goods may rattle around in their boxes and incur damage, and in some cases, even burst open, spelling disaster for sender and recipient. Secure anything you send out through a combination of proper container sizing and reliable tape. Tips for shipping safely can save money and your reputation.
Field of Dreams was a magnificent baseball movie. It’s hard to beat a mix of baseball history and magical realism. While it’s been a fine addition to the canon of great baseball cinema, it also unintentionally imparted a terrible axiom upon the public imagination: “If you build it, they will come.” It sounds great coming from James Earl Jones, just as any line does, but his character never tried to start a business on the internet. Mere building guarantees no arrivals, and this is one of the biggest mistakes new e-commerce businesses make. Marketing is a must for new businesses battling for attention in the infinite space of the virtual world. Get the word out.
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