A lot of us have the dream of owning an online store, but we don’t know where to begin or how to get the ball rolling. Whether you’re stuck trying to develop new business ideas that don’t already exist all over the internet or you can’t begin to process how to build a website from scratch, the actual process of mapping out all the details of an online business can be challenging. In fact, getting a concrete plan in place to move forward might be too much for some people to wrap their minds around without help. If you’ve been considering going into business for yourself with an ecommerce store, here are a few tips to get you started today:

Develop A Solid Business Plan

Although it can be tempting to think you can just pop open a Shopify store and get to selling, taking the time to develop a solid business plan will make it more likely that you’ll become successful. In fact, 16 percent of entrepreneurs who wrote business plans ended up being more successful than those who did not, according to a study published by Harvard Business Review.

Start by drafting the overall concept of your brand, including what type of goods you’re potentially going to sell and any other relevant information you can think off, including a marketing plan, budget, or even a brief on why your product is important. Then take that firestorm of ideas and start mining them for repetitive themes — that’s your brand identity starting to peek through the noise. Invest some time refining those details until you can craft a concise statement that summarizes the vision you have for your business moving forward.

Know Exactly What You’re Going To Sell, and Why

Knowing what you’re selling and why you’re selling it is the foundation of your business, so you need to know your products or services inside and out in order to become successful. It really doesn’t matter if you’re selling something as specific as used racing skis or something as popular as social media account management services, you just need to know what it is you’re marketing and who you’re marketing it to.

For many entrepreneurs, ecommerce businesses are passion projects and the products and services offered are highly reflective of the interests of the store owner, but it’s not a necessity to have mutual interests or commonalities between you and your customers. It’s only necessary that you understand you consumers’ interests; in fact, some business owners may even find it easier to sell products they’re not interested or invested in, since it makes it easier to more objectively consider what attracts your consumer base without being influenced by your own preferences.

In addition to understanding your customers’ needs in terms of your product or service, it’s also critical to spend some time at this point considering what your customers’ buying habits are like. If you’re marketing a product or service aimed toward men, it’s worthwhile to understand that 40 percent of males aged 18 to 34 reported they would prefer to buy everything online, for example. This may mean you offer more goods or a wider variety of services than you initially planned, for instance; the takeaway, of course, is to use relevant information to refine and adjust your sales model along the way.

Make Sure You Have Enough Set Aside

Finally, when it comes to starting any business, you’re going to require some capital to get things moving. While it doesn’t have to be a ton of money, it should be enough to buy inventory and sustain growth. With as much as 69 percent of Americans keeping less than $1,000 in savings, it’s understandable if you have to pause things for a minute to get your finances in order before getting off the ground. The last thing you want is to launch a successful business only to have to halt operations because you don’t have enough capital to scale.

That said, you do have options outside of just waiting until you have enough money saved to feel completely confident in quitting your day job and risking it all on a new business idea. There are a wide variety of business loans and lines of credit available, and you should take the time to explore all your options and compare rates and terms before you make any final decisions about financing. Although taking out a loan can be a financial risk, it could be one that pays off with both dividends and the freedom of becoming your own boss.

Have you successfully launched an ecommerce store? Share your success strategies in the comments.

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