Let’s be honest: you’re going to make a lot of business mistakes when starting out. And as an e-commerce entrepreneur, you’re going to live, learn, and grow from these startup mistakes. But just because it’s inevitable that you’ll make a few along the way, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try avoiding some of the most glaring ones.
Here, we’re going to highlight five of the biggest first-time business mistakes people make when starting an e-commerce business. Your great idea and big dream got you here. Now we’re going to make sure you can stay on track to making that happen.
- Starting Without A Financial Plan
According to Small Biz Trends, 29 percent of businesses failed because they ran out of cash. When you have a great idea and feel inspired, it’s natural to want to pounce on it and get started right away. But while having ambition and drive is great (and necessary for any entrepreneur) you also need to make sure you have the resources to get started and keep you afloat during the notoriously tough starting phase. Our best advice? Keep your head high and expect the best, but always plan for the worst.
- Copying Your Competitor’s Strategy
Your competition obviously is doing something right. But, that doesn’t mean you should copy what they’re doing and place your product in there instead. As the folks at Conversion XL put it, the only conversion rate you should be comparing yourself to is the one you had last month. That’s because while you might think x,y,z are behind your competition’s success — it is most likely a variety of factors. Just because you copy their formula for success doesn’t mean it will work for you. Plus, it robs you of the chance to show the world why you’re different and prove why your product deserves to fill this gap in the market.
- Not Knowing Your e-commerce Competitors
There are two extremes: the new e-commerce entrepreneurs who are laser-focused on studying their competition, and those who have done no research at all. While it’s not good to copy your competitor’s strategy, you also can’t create your own unless you know where you stand. When you study your competitor’s product and place in the market, you can then use that to create a strategy that highlights where and how you fill the gaps they’re leaving. If you need help getting started, InfoEntrepreneurs.org has a great guide to help you identify your competition and what they’re doing.
- Not Investing In High-Quality Content
Eighty-seven percent of consumers rate product content as extremely important or very important when deciding to buy, according to One Space. So, while the purse strings might be tight when starting out, investing in well-lit, high-resolution photos and smart product descriptions is essential to your success. If you can’t afford to pay someone to write branded descriptions, learn how to do this yourself so you can at least make it professional and search engine optimized. Oberlo has a great guide. If you can’t pay a photographer, HubSpot also has a great guide on how to master taking product photos on your own.
- Not Delegating Tasks
We get it, small e-commerce businesses often start off with one person who wears all the hats. But the best entrepreneurs realize when it’s too much for one person and it is time to delegate tasks. This helps in a few ways. The first is you can hire experts who have more knowledge on a subject — such as social media marketing, for example — than you do to take things to the next level. Second, it frees up your time to focus on big picture decisions and the things you’re actually good at. If you can’t afford to hire a part- or full-time employee, you always can consider using a freelancer from somewhere such as Upwork to pick up the slack. Neil Patel also has a great guide on how to figure out if and when it’s a good time to hire an employee.
While these business mistakes might seem daunting now, you’ve taken a great first step in avoiding them by understanding what they are and how they could hurt your business. And don’t let this list make you feel paralyzed either! Take these biggest mistakes to heart and use them as inspiration to better your overall strategy.
We are Fetchr; a company specialized in e-fulfillment. We help e-commerce entrepreneurs grow their business in the Middle East. Let’s make it happen! One box at a time. Learn more here.
This blog is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be considered business or legal advice. MENA 360 DWC-LLC (Fetchr) will not be held liable for the use, non-use or misapplication of this information, lost profits, personal or business interruption, or any other loss.