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E-commerce Entrepreneurship: Steps For Starting an Online Business

Small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) represent a significant segment in the world of e-commerce. The advent of the Internet has made it easier for the average person to establish and grow a successful online enterprise, but the rules about reaching new contacts and gaining new customers is in a constant state of flux.

Fortunately, there are a number of time-honored techniques and approaches that apply to the vast majority of startups and we will be examining a few of them here today.

Ecommerce Entrepreneurship

The Pros and Cons of E-commerce

The key advantage of e-commerce over traditional marketing is the ability to reach a broad audience – even a global audience – with a drastic reduction in overhead. Modern e-commerce solutions make doing business online as easy, if not easier, than going to a brick-and-mortar retailer or service provider. SMBs have the opportunity to market virtually any kind of product or service across oceans and even cultural barriers.

The downside comes in the form of public trust. In the wake of Target’s security breach last holiday season there have been countless other smaller-scale security issues affecting businesses of varying descriptions. It is a valid objection that any e-commerce entity needs to address, but it is far from a deal-breaker for most consumers. Take the appropriate measures – and be able to demonstrate your commitment – to ensure the safety of your customers’ information and you will earn their trust.

Starting a Successful Entrepreneurship

What follows is a thumbnail sketch of some of the steps you need to take when establishing your e-commerce presence online. Remember that many of the classic rules of marketing still apply in the cyber arena but the approach will always shift with current trends.

  • Develop a Solid Business Plan – Your business plan is the road map for your small business and will help it grow into a medium-sized or even larger corporation over time. A good plan has sound structure and a clearly defined marketing strategy. Your business plan should include your company’s mission statement and include specific goals you have for growing and maintaining your business long-term. It should also outline strategies you intend to employ for launching your website and for generating a constant stream of meaningful content.
  • Know Your Competition – The potential for stiff competition in the e-commerce world is a greater concern than in the material one. Traditional businesses rely on location to serve the needs of the maximum number of customers, whereas an online retailer can just as easily sell widgets in Scranton as in Sacramento.
  • Create a Financial Plan – The level of resources at your disposal will determine the momentum of your business at startup. Your financial plan should be realistic and it should have information regarding equipment and assets, economic and industry overviews, sources of funding and projected income. It should also include any pertinent financial documents like break-even analyses and balance sheets. Finally, it should contain information related to cost for website design, business maintenance and development and any other related expenses.
  • Get Market Support – The willingness to engage in a bit of trial and error is vital to your ability to reach your target market. It requires no small amount of patience and attention to detail. Expect to have to adjust your marketing strategy to meet the demands of your target niche.Today’s e-commerce businesses employ social media networking as a means of connecting with their market. The ones who engage well with their prospects are the ones that see the greatest rewards from their efforts. The key is in providing content that is relevant, high-quality and meaningful to the customer. The hard sell approach simply will not work in a social setting.
  • Develop Your Marketing Strategy – Your business will not grow if no one knows your site exists. This is why it is so important to have a planned-out marketing strategy that satisfies all the demands of your target market. Some methods for this include devising a strategy for market dominance or zeroing in on a small niche and expanding from there. These things can help limit competition and build a sense of trust in your brand.

These factors are key in the development of a new online entrepreneurship but they are far from the only things you will need to consider. Be sure to always be aware of market trends – they change constantly – and maintain an arsenal of resources that is current and relevant to your target market.

About Graham Lyons

Graham is the SEO and Social Media Marketing Manager at Cozy Digital and the editor of the Cozy Digital Blog as well as contributing content for most of our social outlets like Facebook, Twitter and G+. Graham has been working in, and writing for the SEO / SMM industry since 2001 and is still as dedicated and passionate today as he was when he opened his first Website Design, Ecommerce and SEO company in 2004. You can connect with Graham and Cozy Digital via the social media links below:

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