It’s never been easier to start a small business than in the age of e-commerce, but the internet’s endless expanse can also be daunting for those who may not know where or how to start. However, aspiring entrepreneurs shouldn’t be alarmed by this seeming barrier to entry. The internet’s infinite reach points to the boundless opportunity that “dreamers” can capture by selling online.
The tools to build an effective online presence are more accessible than ever, and that simple fact should encourage many who have considered starting a business in the past to finally take the first step. Even for those who aren’t digitally savvy, services exist that professionally design a site to your specifications at a reasonable price point and with a speedy turnaround time.
For those ready to turn their “million-dollar idea” into more than just a wish, here are a few tips on how to get started.
1. Cast a wide net across marketplaces, but make an effort to own your selling channels.
With boundless competition in the digital world, small businesses just starting out need to be scrappy to get noticed. That means doing everything possible to have their products appear across major marketplaces as well as their own stores, meeting customers where they are.
Social platforms and marketplaces, like Facebook, Etsy and Amazon, also hold value for new businesses, serving as useful tools to widen brand reach, stay searchable and build credibility with an already robust customer base. Web presence providers know this, and they make integration easy by offering builder packages that cooperate with these marketplaces, making getting and selling online a snap.
Business owners need to view marketplaces as extensions of their selling operations, but it’s important not to over-index. Platforms like these make money off of fees and eat into sellers’ profits, so a wise course of action is establishing credibility and then funneling customers back to your company website. Building brand recognition is often the hardest part of getting your business off the ground. Third-party marketplaces can be a great place to help with visibility early on, but ideally, you won’t be too reliant on selling through these channels.