How should a small business manage a full-time job

Posted by Damian Roberti on

How should a small business manage a full-time job

Many people aspire to start their own e-commerce firm. It's a difficult procedure, but it's not as difficult as you may think. Allow us to walk you through the process.

According to Statista statistics, e-commerce is increasing at a pace of 20% every year. Because e-commerce accounts for only 14% of global retail sales, it is expected to continue to expand at double-digit rates for many years.

The potential is enormous, and for many people, e-commerce is the ideal home-based business: no boss, no set hours, and the ability to sell to an unlimited market.

However, internet commerce differs from traditional commerce in the absence of a physical storefront, dematerialized structures and procedures, and higher shipping and delivery expenses. Most significantly, the user is unable to touch or feel the goods.

Fortunately, the founder of an online e-commerce firm is enabled to tackle the problems by worldwide tools and services that make nearly everything possible, even with a small expenditure. In this e-commerce tutorial, we'll walk you through 10 stages to get you from idea to launch.


How should a small business manage a full-time job

The stages to starting a successful e-commerce firm are as follows:

A business concept
Market research and business plan development
Creating a Business
Creating the corporate identity
Product design, production, and packaging
shop online
Customer service, storage, logistics, and fulfillment
Sales and marketing

What is an e-commerce business, exactly?

A firm that sells things online is known as an e-commerce business. Depending on the sort of product it sells and the extent of subcontracting involved, it can come in a variety of forms and sizes.

When you initially go through some of the e-commerce essentials that you'll need to understand, such as production, packing, storage, shipping, customer support, and, of course, the web shop, you might feel a bit overwhelmed.

Even if you have a fully fledged e-commerce firm, you will outsource shipping and delivery, as well as maybe storage, to third-party vendors.

In the most severe example of drop-shipping, your whole product cycle is outsourced, and your e-commerce firm is just responsible for selling and marketing a product online. The constraints of storage and transportation vanish in the case of a virtual product like downloading software.

Essentially, the actions you must follow are determined by the goods you sell and the model you select. Each stage of the process has resources and partners that may assist you in getting your product to market. Let's take a closer look.


How should a small business manage a full-time job

How to build an e-commerce company from the ground up

The first step in launching an e-commerce firm is to come up with a business idea. Put the restraints aside and consider the product or service you wish to make and offer with an open mind.

It will be secondary whether it becomes a home-based firm supported out of your own money or a worldwide brand funded by investors.

Once you've decided on an idea, you'll do market research, identify your target audience, and develop a business plan, which serves as the economic blueprint for your company.

The firm may then be registered, its identity designed, and its product developed. Set up your production and packaging processes, as well as your online shop and storage and fulfillment services. Finally, you begin your sales and marketing efforts.

Step 1: Come up with a business concept.

Your e-commerce business idea is the most important thing to identify since it affects so many things. If you're considering starting an internet business, you've probably already thought of something. Ideas might be simple or complicated.

They might take a long time to prepare or none at all. The more simple it is, the more competition you will face. The more difficult it is, the more money you will need to put in. A lucrative firm is one that has an excellent business plan.

You can't know for sure, but if you conduct market research and develop a business plan, there's a strong chance your business concept will have matured into something viable.

How should a small business manage a full-time job

Tips for coming up with company concepts

Your company concept might be a lifelong pursuit or something that occurs to you while showering. You can brainstorm ideas, browse publications, and conduct online searches. Just keep in mind that a concept might change and improve over time as a result of research and feedback.

The pub test: Go to a bar, order a drink, and tell a stranger about your concept. Does it take off?
Grandma's Test: Can you communicate your concept to your grandmother? Make your notion as clear and understandable as possible.

Step 2: Planning and market research

Getting ideas is simple for some individuals and difficult for others. You must test and enhance your company concept once you have discovered it. Market research and feasibility studies should be your initial moves in this direction.

The goal is to determine the size and characteristics of your product's market. Is your product concept marketable? Is it possible to manufacture the product? You should also consider the future of your company. What will be the product's life cycle, and are there any dangers or deadlines associated with it?

Guidelines for performing market research and planning

Information and market data abound on the internet. The majority of everything you require should be available online. If you need to undertake market research, you may do so online as well. Conduct a survey, conduct interviews with experts in the subject, and check for regulatory standards that your product must meet.


How should a small business manage a full-time job

Ask prospective clients questions in a survey while you're researching the market. See if you can get in touch with them.
Be critical: You're at the creative stage, so it's normal for you to be upbeat and see only possibilities. However, it is crucial to be skeptical of the data at this point and to try to identify the risks connected with your company plan.

Step 3: Create a business strategy.

It's finally here: the step you've been dreading: the business plan. To be clear, there isn't really any other option. A business plan explains your company's quantitative dimension and can assist you in focusing on value and avoiding problems so you may open a lucrative online store.

A business strategy, on the other hand, can take many different shapes and levels of detail. It doesn't have to be a grueling workout.

How to Create a Business Plan

In a business plan, you'll construct hypotheses for investment, sales growth, fixed expenses, pricing point, and gross margin based on your product concept from step 1, explain the market you investigated in step 2, and define your product idea from step 1.

Use hypotheses: Your hypotheses will be established in the business strategy. The better you grasp the theories that your company was built on, the easier it will be to evolve it.
A live document is a business strategy. As your expertise and experience grow, so does your business strategy. Throughout the creative process, you should reread and enhance this document.
For e-commerce, use KPIs: For an experienced entrepreneur, factors such as cost per client acquisition, average order value, conversion rate, customer retention, and customer lifetime value can be useful in developing a business strategy.

How should a small business manage a full-time job

Step 4: Formalizing Your Business

You will need to form a corporation at some time in order to conduct business. On the one hand, the firm should cover the expenditures you spend throughout the development process, but on the other side, starting and running a business is expensive. You're ready to register a corporation after you have your business plan in hand.

Advice on how to register your business

When starting a business, it's a good idea to look at different company kinds and determine where you should register it. You must also include the company's name. Perhaps you've already settled on a name for it. Give it a good name that is related to your name or your product idea.

Entrepreneurs are remarkably kind toward one another. Anyone who has started a business would happily provide you with advice and ideas. Don't be embarrassed.
Maintain a minimal setup cost: You have no assurance of company success or even money at this point, so keep your startup expenditures as minimal as possible. Focus on providing fundamental services at the lowest feasible cost.
Maintain minimal operating expenses. Because the time to first sale might be lengthy, you must keep your operating costs to a minimal. Be cautious.

Step 5: Creating a corporate identity

You probably already have branding, logo, and name ideas for your shop as part of your product concept from stage 1. The goal of this stage is to turn those aspects into assets for the firm. Getting design assistance from professionals is a fantastic idea.

You can save money by using online platforms like 99designs, Upwork, or Fiverr, but you'll likely spend less time with someone you can meet in person and share ideas with.

Designing your company's identity: some pointers

You can go through a thorough brand positioning process for your corporate identification, but it may be enough to work around the firm name, have a designer produce a related logo, and establish the primary brand elements like colors and font kinds. At this point, you should also register a domain name.

Once you've decided on a domain name or shop name, create social media profiles with that name. The profiles do not need to be active, but booking them now will prevent unexpected surprises later.
If you spend money on logos and branding, you should also spend money on trademark registration, especially if you are in a competitive field.

The sixth phase is product development.

This step does not need you to complete Step 5. Design and product development may work together. The number of phases in your product development process may vary depending on the type of product. What matters is that you have a finished product at the conclusion of the process.

Product development advice

Product development entails conducting feasibility studies, designing the product, building a prototype, and, if the product is exceptional and employs a novel technique, filing for a patent.

Crowdfunding: Once you have your initial version of your product, a crowdfunding campaign is a wonderful approach to get it into a real-world market setting. It might be stressful and difficult, but it is something you will not regret undertaking.
This process is likely to be outsourced to external vendors. You should hire professionals, pay them a fair wage, and create contracts to safeguard your intellectual property.

Step 7: Packaging and production

With your prototype in hand, you're ready to start manufacturing on an actual product.

You'll discover more outsourcing chances than you think, and the first decision you'll have to make is whether to set up your own production, which takes time and money, or whether to outsource portions of or the entire process.

Packaging may be thought of as an extension of the production process.

Manufacturing and packaging advice

Based on your prototype experience, write thorough requirements for your product's manufacture. Determine the size of your first batch. Define the materials and quality requirements for the final product.

Get expert design guidance for packaging, then decide whether to pack at the time of manufacture or at the time of delivery.

Regulatory requirements: Depending on the type of product and the market, your product may be subject to regulatory requirements or certifications. Make some inquiries.
Labeling: You will need to label your goods to specify the components for various products and marketplaces.

Create your internet store in step eight.

You now have everything you need to create an online store using an e-commerce platform. Choose your platform and begin by adding products, customizing the storefront, linking your payment solution to your firm, and inputting stock information. The top online shop builders will help you every step of the way.

Tips for establishing your store

You must first select your platform. You can increase the capabilities of your website for e-commerce if you already have one. You may use an e-commerce site as your primary website or create a store without one. Once you've made your decision, the rest of the procedure is simple and led by the platform.

Select the appropriate platform: Before making a decision, do some study. Perhaps even try a few. Because this is a product you'll use on a regular basis, usability is crucial.
Channels of distribution: Consider marketing outlets at this point. Some platforms work better with particular sorts of channels than others. SEO, affiliate marketing, Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are just a few examples. Check the e-commerce platform for compatibility if you already know your marketing channels.

Storage, shipping, fulfillment, and customer service are the last steps.

Storage becomes a significant difficulty when you make a physical product. To determine the size of your storage requirements, you may need to replicate your complete supply chain and know your inventory turnover.

Products that are manufactured and dispatched on demand will not require storage, allowing you to focus on the fulfillment problem of transporting and delivering the sold goods to the customer.

You should also think about your customer service choices at this point. Your customer care team must be able to test fulfillment, adjust delivery modifications, and notify customers.

Storage, logistics, and fulfillment advice

It's time to locate a storage facility and a provider once your manufacturing location has been determined. The next stage is to figure out how to get your goods from storage to the buyer and set up data collection points so that your customer service can oversee each step of the process.

Locate your storage solution as close to your manufacturing as possible, or as close to your target market as possible. Storage is cheap and easy to come by, but it may quickly add up.
Simplicity: The fewer stages in your supply chain, the more opportunities for mistakes. Make your setup as straightforward as possible.

The eleventh phase is sales and marketing.

You may now create your online store and begin marketing your e-commerce activity once your production and supply chain are in place.

After spending so much time developing your concept, creating your product, and figuring out how to get the product to clients, you'll feel that the most crucial part of the job is over.

But this isn't totally accurate. Your most difficult task may be to market the goods, and you are most likely the greatest person to do so.

Sales and marketing advice

As a soft launch, identify your sales and marketing channels and increase awareness and reach as much as feasible without advertising. Then create a company launch plan and identify viable marketing and sales channels for your goods.

You'll almost certainly try and test marketing strategies that don't work. Collect data and learn from every campaign and effort you do, so that even if a financial investment fails to pay off, you will have learnt from the experience and will be able to perform better in your future campaign.
Email subscription: If you already have email subscribers, email marketing is one of the greatest channels for e-commerce. Email contacts are worth their weight in gold, so start acquiring them right now.

Now it's time to conquer the globe.

Your e-commerce firm is up and running with possible access to a global market of billions of consumers once you've completed the 10 phases of this procedure. This is the beginning of a new journey, not the end of a process.

Your goods will be promoted. It will be purchased and consumed. They will provide comments, and you will desire to improve and develop your firm as a result. The path to conquering the globe may be long, but you have already made the first step.