At least once in your life, you’ll have a million-dollar idea. Something that you believe will absolutely take off. An idea for a business or product so perfect, you can’t believe that nobody’s thought of it yet.
In today’s modern marketplace, there are more avenues than ever to make your product a success. Ecommerce is one of these areas, with new entrepreneurs hitting it big seemingly every day — people who have taken their million-dollar ideas and turned them into a million-dollar reality.
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If we all have these million-dollar ideas, though, why aren’t there more millionaires walking around? This could be for a variety of reasons. Luck is one of them, but it’s far from the most important.
When it comes down to it, there are so few successful businessmen and women out there because very few people actually know how to take their grand idea and make it a reality. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all method of divining success or being able to tell which businesses will explode and which ones will implode.
While there’s no shortcut to success, however, there are a lot of ways to make your journey a bit more efficient. There are a few tricks of the trade, that, when understood and applied, will increase your chances of becoming a successful ecommerce entrepreneur. The following are a handful of tips that, if utilized correctly, will give you a great start on your way to becoming an ecommerce entrepreneur:
1) Know the Competition
Oftentimes, you aren’t the first person to think of your big idea. You need to know whether or not there are others out there who have already staked a claim to your potential market. Luckily, we have Google, where no business can hide.
Before you take any further steps in starting your business, scour Google for any competition you may have. Of course, competition isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If there are others out there succeeding with your idea or something similar, it means that there is a viable market for you to enter.
2) Have a business plan
Does this seem like a no brainer? You’d be surprised. The fact of the matter is that your million-dollar idea is worth nothing if you don’t have a million-dollar business plan to go along with it. While putting together a business plan isn’t glamorous or particularly exciting, it’s the foundation for all potential growth your business can have.
Simply put, with no business plan, there is no direction. There will be no cohesive brand formation. Your products will suffer and your image will take a massive hit. By putting a business plan in place, you’ll be setting out from a place of strength, and when times get tough (and times will get tough) you’ll have a reliable plan to fall back on and keep moving forward.
3) Own your online presence
There’s a saying inside the online marketing community that goes something like this: The best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of a Google search. What that means for your business is this: if you can’t get near the top of a Google search for your product or business, you’re in trouble.
Online presence management is huge, especially for new businesses. Managing your online presence involves creating a state of the art website and curating high quality content, which can be difficult at times. However, something as simple as creating a Google business listing will go a long way into gaining credibility and making your way to the top of the search engine.
4) Be a part of the community
This doesn’t just mean getting involved in local events or giving to a nonprofit, although, business owner or not, that’s something you should do. What being a part of the community means in terms of your ecommerce business is finding the niche into which your product fits.
Let’s face it, not everybody will like your product. Likely, most people won’t even know it exists. That doesn’t matter. What matters is making sure the people who will want your product know about it and that it’s part of their community. This can be done effectively through social media and online brand construction.
5) Utilize social media
Speaking of social media as a tool for brand building, you should make sure to get as much as possible out of sites like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Curate your feeds to match the image you wish to convey and go out of your way to integrate yourself into the community that surrounds your product.
This can be done through working with social media influencers or by utilizing SEO management software, such as SEMrush or SpyFu. Your social media presence will go a long way in determining how much of a hold you gain over the community surrounding your product.
6) Build your store
All of the marketing, planning, and brand management in the world will be for naught if you don’t back it up with a high-quality product. When you have the nuts and bolts of the business ready to go, you can (finally) focus in on your actual products. How you do this depends on what you offer, but it is imperative that your brand matches up with what you produce.
7) Have incredible customer service
This isn’t superfluous — part of forming a successful online ecommerce business is impressing customers, not just with your products or presentation, but with your customer service. Go above and beyond what is being asked of you; it’ll pay off in the long run by winning you long time customers that will carry you through the peaks and valleys of your business.
In truth, knowing these steps alone won’t get you far. Implementing them, however, will take you where you want to go. And that’s truly the final step: consistent hard work. There’s no substitute for it, but if you implement these steps in your ecommerce business, your hard work will become smart work as well.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.