Opening your own store can be one of the most exciting and rewarding adventures as a creator. Like most things in life, the first time you try, you learn the hard way through trial and error.
While every mishap can be an opportunity to learn something new, there is no reason to repeat every mistake other entrepreneurs had made when they were starting their own business.
First entrepreneur, then creator
You may want to spend all your time on developing and manufacturing your products, but now you are not only a creator but a business owner as well and your business should be your first priority.
Now is your duty to handle tasks like networking, marketing, invoicing and payroll. A good idea is to get yourself acquainted with those tasks before launching. Once orders start coming and bills piling up, you won’t have the time to learn how stuff like logistics or supply chain works.
Also, having mapped down your business processes before opening your store, it will save you time for the thing you love the most: creating.
Plan your taxes ahead
As an employee, it’s easy to take for granted taxes. But now you are going to be a business owner and employer, and state and federal taxes will be your responsibility.
Small business owners sometimes assume that the IRS isn’t concerned with their tax liability. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, reports suggest that the IRS has increasingly targeted small businesses for audits in recent years.
Not accurately planning for your taxes can jeopardize your growing.
Be careful how you set up your website
As a creator or manufacturer, you may probably know very little about programming. Before committing to hosting and e-commerce solutions, though, you need to do your own research and ask the opinions of others.
Some e-commerce solutions like Shopify are more user-friendly but very limited regarding customizations, while others like Magento allow you endless possibilities to customize your e-shop and improve your supply chain processes.
Another tip that could be lifesaving is to pay your hosting service directly than rely on the developer. While it is easier to pay fewer people, your business is more susceptible to blackmailing incidents, and you don’t want a frustrated developer threating to shut your e-shop down because they haven’t paid the hosting service.
Choose the right tools
There are many tools out there – many of them completely free – that can help business owners. Google has a fantastic suite of cloud-based tools that allow you to work efficiently from anywhere, but there is also a ton of great products with low subscription costs but significant benefits.
When running a store, it is also necessary to organize your stock and orders with an inventory and orders management system. At the start, manually tracking inventory on spreadsheets may seem a good enough solution. But, as soon as your product list grows along with your business, spreadsheets will become a headache for you, depriving you of quality time, which you could use in other aspects of your business (or personal life).
Making use of such solutions will also help you gain the trust of your customers (which means more sales). You may lose customer trust if you offer an item that is out of stock when the client thought it was available.
The work never ends
Even if you set up all the right systems and map every process down, you might still find yourself unable to handle everything. New businesses usually are a one-man-show that is at the same time the marketer, the press representative, the shipper and the receiver, the website developer, and the manufacturer.
Asking for help, even by hiring a part-time employee, can alleviate some of the stress and allow you be more efficient in your work.
In any case, opening your own online store for the first time is such a rewarding experience that every problem can be coped with.
Eirini Kafourou handles communications for Megaventory the online inventory management system that can help small businesses synchronize stock and manage purchases and sales over multiple stores.