I want to start by telling a little about who we are and how it all started.
Few months ago my wife and I decided to shift from what we have been doing before and do something different in our lives. After being trained in architecture I ended up doing construction and it wasn’t something I am a big fan of doing. I know that customers really like when their projects are done by a perfectionist who give attention to every detail to make sure everything is done right. But I questioned myself – Is it really the only thing I can do? What if I would redirect my energy and instead of killing my back doing construction I would concentrate on designs that inspire me and bring them to others?
That was a turning point when the idea I was nourishing for almost 2 years came true and we started working on our online store. At that point my wife and I were selling on eBay for about a year but after some unexpected surprises we decided to relocate all money from eBay and use them to start our own little store. We didn’t have much money to start with and to be honest, we really didn’t expect that all of them will be spent on a website design and legalities around business registration. After all we ended up with almost nothing, but we wanted to go forth and have our dream come true.
We started very small and brought some watches that we liked and that are very popular in Russia and Ukraine right now. That was it for a start, but in a little while we met one talented designer from Ukraine who made first colored socks for his country. After seeing his work we knew we had to have those socks at our store and now we do, although in a very limited amount.
Where will your money go:
- When starting an online store make sure to have enough money to register your business (doing it yourself would be cheaper, but I wouldn’t recommend).
- Have enough money for a website design. I bought an e-commerce template, but ended up with a company who rewrote my WordPress template into Java, where I have a back office with all needed tools for dealing with products, pages, and SEO. If you think you can do it yourself and adjust a template to your needs – go ahead, do it, and save yourself some money. (I tried it, but didn’t work our for me). Stop lecturing me, I know I should have kept it in WordPress and I still might do it sometime later.
- Logo design, business cards, other office supplies.
- Depending on your type of business you will either need money to invest into materials and tools, or money to buy products from manufacturers.
- You will probably end up paying for shipping costs on your orders. If working with smaller designers you might be able to negotiate on it.
- Plan on SEO services, which also will require some money.
- Shipping supplies.
Things you should keep in mind when you start:
- Order in advance, shipping might take much more than you expected. Earlier in my posts I mentioned that we are waiting for bow-ties, and yes we still do. Who knew that the shipping will take so long? It’s almost 1.5 months and still no signs of it coming.
- Good SEO costs good money, so read some good books while you work on your design. It won’t make you a SEO guru, but will give you many good ideas which you can implement on your own.
- Designing a website plan to have a blog that would be fully integrated into your website. No matter what type of commerce you do blog will help you to keep your website updated and will bring more traffic.
- Be real, don’t expect your website to make you ton of money right after you start, unless you pour thousands of dollars into advertising and promotions or have some big connections.
The bottom line:
It’s been 2.5 months since we started working on our store and I know it’s still a long way to go until we will be able to grow and bring more things to our customers, but we are going for it anyway.
Those were just some points that we have experienced and wanted to share with those who might be thinking of something similar and we hope you will find them helpful to you. I wish you would do less mistakes than we did, but even if you make some don’t be afraid to go for your dream, it worth it.
Remember, no matter how good your business plan is it won’t make you any money unless you start implementing it by stepping out of your comfort zone and doing things that have to be done.
Feel free to leave your comments and share your experience, we will be happy to hear from you.
Viktor & Iryna Stakhov – http://limitedavenue.com