Small business owners presumably create their ventures with the aim of making profit. Some want to supplement an income. Others want to replace one. But if an entrepreneur doesn’t enjoy the process of marketing and managing the business, it can be little different than having a job you don’t like.
Depending on which survey you accept or which expert you trust, small businesses fail between 80 and 90 percent of the time. These so-called failure rates are not terribly precise because there isn’t a universal definition of business failure.
Some of these “failed” business closed because the operation had become too expensive to maintain. Rather than generating income for an owner, these failed ecommerce stores had become a financial burden. But the real problem could be that the owner failed to manage the small things, the “boring stuff,” the process of running the company.
But the real problem could be that the owner failed to manage the small things, the “boring stuff,” the process of running the company.
Other “failed” businesses die of neglect. The entrepreneurs managing them don’t really like doing the things that keep the business running.
Ecommerce entrepreneurs should love the process of operating the business as much as earning a profit, since the latter is always a result of the former.
Ecommerce Entrepreneurs Should Love Marketing
Marketing is the act of communicating the value of a product, service, or company to potential customers with the goal of selling to those customers. It is also the ecommerce entrepreneur’s primary activity.
Many a new online storeowner has stared at a site traffic report counting individual visitors or contemplated conversion rates with a Zen master’s intensity.
Online storeowners should be passionate about written descriptions, photography, site design, email subscriptions, organic site traffic, conversion rates, cart abandonment rates, and customer loyalty. A good A/B test needs to be fun.
This needs to be the case because new ecommerce business owners might spend the majority of their time working on marketing. If that ecommerce entrepreneur doesn’t like the act of marketing, the work will be tedious.
Ecommerce Entrepreneurs Should Love Technology
The term ecommerce describes exchanging or trading, if you will, products or services over the Internet. It is truly electronic commerce. And ecommerce has few forms. It is, perhaps, most often associated with online shopping, but it can also be business-to-business sales or it may even be used for services or licensing.
In all of its forms, ecommerce depends on technology. And ecommerce entrepreneurs need to have a passion for the Internet and a passion for working with technology. In fact, nearly every aspect of operating an ecommerce business requires the use of computers and software.
Folks who love their flip-phone, check emails rarely, and print everything probably won’t be comfortable running a company completely dependent on the Internet and software.
Folks running ecommerce companies should be excited about tech.
Ecommerce Entrepreneurs Should Love Customer Service
Customer service is the new battleground for ecommerce, according to Michiel Gaasterland, marketing director for Robin, a customer service solution. In an article on the Kissmetrics blog, Gaasterland described how important it is for online stores to compete on customer service.
“It’s no secret that today’s online shopper has more choices than ever. New web shops are opening every day, and great (new) products continually flood the marketplace,” Gaasterland wrote.
“To put it simply, it’s a jungle out there, and customers are lost among all the names, choices, options, and brands. What’s worse? Customer loyalty is at an all-time low. Brands just don’t have the staying power they once had (or were thought to have).”
In this context, it is essential for ecommerce entrepreneurs to know customers, in the sense of understanding needs and interactions. They must seek to make it ever easier for those customers to shop, and when a problem arises, these entrepreneurs must act immediately to solve that problem.
Thus, customer service is another area wherein new business owners will be investing a lot of time. It will be important to like the work of learning about customers, modifying your site and processes to make shopping smooth and easy, and responding with a positive attitude when problems arise.
Ecommerce Entrepreneurs Should Love Products
In brick-and-mortar retailing, it is a common practice for manufacturers to sell their products to retail store employees at deep discounts. Brands like DeWalt tools or Traeger grills know that if they can get the retail salespeople to use and like their products, those retail salespeople will do a better job of selling those products when a customer comes into the store to ask a question. Marketers for these brands know that it is easier to sell products that you believe in than it is to sell products you don’t care about or, worse yet, don’t even like.
This holds true for ecommerce entrepreneurs too. The products sold need to be interesting and engaging to the business owner, because a lot of time will be spent writing about, describing, and taking pictures of those items.
Storeowners should have a passion for their products. Imagine, as an example, a storeowner who is making a short video to describe a DeWalt drill. If you looked on the DeWalt website, you would know that this drill has an LED light: “LED light with 20 second delay after trigger release.”
This might not seem like much. But in the video, the storeowner could describe just how awesome the light is.
“One of my favorite features is actually the LED light. Not long ago, I needed to drill a few holes on the inside of a cabinet in my garage,” the storeowner might say in the video. “In spite of having great overhead lighting the inside of the cabinet was as dark as a coal mine. In the past, I would have had to try to hold a flashlight in one hand and the drill in the other or called one of my kids away from the X-box to simply hold a light. But this drill’s integrated LED made it easy. Every time you pull the trigger, the LED shows you the way. What’s more, the light stays on for 20 seconds after you release the trigger, so you can look around. It is simply a great feature.”
Ecommerce Entrepreneurs Should Love Numbers
Numbers matter in ecommerce. Online storeowners will need to work with and even be passionate about numbers.
There are, of course, the accounting activities. Accounts payable and receivable will need to be managed. There are inventories to count, value, and monitor. Numbers will drive business decisions too. Which carrier do you use for shipping? How, when, and where do you invest money in advertising or promotion?
Numbers are simply part of the business.
There are lots of ways to make money, and, in the end, ecommerce entrepreneurs will spend the majority of their working time focused on the process of running the business. So it is important to love the process as much as you love the profits.