It seems like everyone is starting a business of their own or running a side hustle these days. So, if everyone else is doing it, why can’t you? Thanks to technology and social media, starting a business is easier than ever, and there are hundreds of resources that are affordable or even free that you can use to get your business off the ground.
One of the best types of businesses that you can start is an ecommerce business. Because the overhead is relatively low and you’ll be conducting your business online, getting an ecommerce business up and running is more affordable in comparison to other types of businesses. Plus, with all of the resources available, you’ll have all of the help and direction you could need. If you’re considering starting an ecommerce business, here are 10 of the top resources that will help you get your business started and running smoothly:
Oberlo is an incredible resource for ecommerce entrepreneurs. Their software helps you start a drop shipping ecommerce store with ease, but even if you aren’t interested in purchasing their software, they offer other resources that you can access for free. They post blogs and resources that will help you with everything from deciding which products to sell to providing ecommerce eBooks to help you get things running quickly and achieve the success you want. Since their focus is on helping ecommerce entrepreneurs, it’s a must-have resource that you’ll wish you had discovered sooner.
2. Google Trends
One of the most important aspects of starting any business is market research, and an ecommerce business is no exception. Whether you’re trying to figure out what you want product or services you want to sell, or you’re looking to gauge the popularity of the idea you’ve come up with, Google Trends is a tool you’ll want to use. You can search any term or topic and get insights into how many searches and what kind of searches are done so that you can determine whether or not what you’ve chosen is worth pursuing further and what kind of market there is for it.
When it comes to market research, in addition to searching a topic’s popularity, it’s important to ask people what they think of your idea and find out whether or not they would purchase it. You can use surveys to help you get more information about your target audience, find out what price point they would pay for the product or service that you offer, or discover what qualities they think your competitors are lacking. SurveyMonkey is a great tool to help you collect that information, and you can use it for free. Once you’ve had enough people fill it out, you can sort and look at the data you’ve received and decide how to move forward.
One of the keys to a successful ecommerce business is an attractive, fully-functioning website that has a capable store. Unless you’re an experienced web designer and programmer, though, or have the budget to pay for one, that’s not always easy to achieve. Luckily, there’s Shopify. You’re likely familiar with the ecommerce platform that enables businesses to have a trustworthy store on their site, but if you’re starting an ecommerce business, you’ll need to become more than familiar with it—it’s worth the purchase.
Foundr is an online magazine with courses, podcasts, and a blog that entrepreneurs can use to help them get their businesses going. The site has a lot of valuable information that will help you in your endeavors, including a comprehensive guide to business models—which you may need if you haven’t decided on your business model already.
Having beautiful graphics is extremely important when running a business online, but when you’re just getting started, you can’t always afford a dedicated designer to help you get what you need. That’s where Crello comes in. Crello is a free graphic design program that you can use to create everything from an animated post or Facebook post to a presentation you plan to make online.
SEO is a major part of any business, but it’s especially important for those who are solely ecommerce. It makes it possible for people who are looking for your products and services to find you, even if they’ve never heard of your specific business before. It helps drive traffic and sales and should be a big part of your marketing strategy. If you’re not already an SEO pro, you might feel overwhelmed by it, but thanks to Moz and their blog with how-tos and guides, you can become an SEO pro on your own in no time.
Customer service is of the utmost importance when it comes to running a business, but it can be hard to take care of everything on your own or with a small staff. Zendesk offers products that can make everything a lot easier, though. From guides to live chat and messaging features, it’s worth the investment; it will enable you to take full control and make the most of your customer service efforts.
While running a business may not be all about the money, you have to keep an eye on your cash flow and get your bills paid to grow your business into a success. QuickBooks makes that easy by keeping you organized, assisting with invoicing, expenses, and even employees. Plus, it can be integrated with several other programs, making business operations that much easier to manage.
10. Fishbowl Inventory
When you’re selling a product online, you’ll have inventory stocked up that you need to organize. Not all programs out there are very compatible with small businesses and their needs, but there are some, like Fishbowl Inventory. It can assist you with everything from tracking assets to shipping, and if you’re not sure it’s right for you, you can do a free trial before committing.
What resources have proven most valuable for you while starting your ecommerce business?