New Year is the time of new beginnings. If you’ve decided that this is the year to fulfil your dream of becoming your own boss by starting your own e-commerce business, our tips will help you get off to a flying start.
Most new entrepreneurs don’t have the funds to give up the day job and must grow their business by working on it in the evenings and at weekends. If this is you, it’s even more important to find the most efficient ways to run your new e-commerce business, so you can maximise profit and avoid getting swamped before it really takes off.
A master plan is the key to success
You have a great idea, and you’re raring to go – but there are two traps you may fall into before you even begin.
1. Jumping in without proper direction: The excitement and energy levels in the conception of a new business is brilliant. But diving into a new business with no overarching plan or process to follow can result in heavy losses and disappointment. With this approach you risk losing direction, customers and money – before you have even begun!
2. Overthinking and procrastinating: This can be paralysing for a brand-new e-commerce entrepreneur, and it is inaction which is the barrier to many products or services never making it to market! It’s easy to focus on the problems which you may face, the competition you have or the initial investment you are required to make.
The answer to both stumbling blocks is to devise a business plan. You may find sitting down and planning your business helps to crystallise ideas, and with a little research you may even be able to eliminate some issues that had been holding you back. Outlining goals, a direction and a future plan for your business has been shown to increase your chances of success. With a clear strategy you minimise the risk of wasting your energy and time on aspects of your e-commerce business which will not serve its growth or success. However, be careful not to get too caught up in the planning and miss the opportunity at hand. Keep your plan simple and include distinct timelines by which to complete steps, so you can keep yourself – and your business – on-track.
Effective time management can increase efficiency and reduce the risk of burnout
Defining the investment of your own time in your new business allows you to build the ever-important boundaries. It’s vital to value the true cost of your time, and ensure you are not underselling yourself. If you are also juggling a full-time job whilst your e-commerce business grows, then it’s important to take care of yourself and make sure that you can fulfil your day-to-day responsibilities whilst managing your online business.
The best way to maximise the time which you do dedicate to your business is to ensure you are fully focused during that allocated time. Using your business plan, you can easily see the overarching goals and follow individual action points to reach these goals. Avoiding multi-tasking and instead carving out distinct times during your day for uninterrupted, task-focused work will allow you to produce your highest quality work. Distractions can be constant when you are working from home, but headphones and a designated space to work can help you get through that to-do list faster. The more productive and efficient you are, the less likely you are to become disillusioned and exhausted from the input to your new business.
A designated space allows you to manage your orders effectively
You are probably beginning your business in the comfort of your own home, and there is nothing wrong with that! However, if you do not have a designated space in your home for your product, paperwork, computer and administrative tools, you may find that you are overrun within a couple of weeks – especially if your e-commerce business is a success from the get-go!
Setting up a space within your home will allow you to contain the chaos that usually comes with a brand-new business. It’s important to ensure you are organised and prompt in your production and fulfilment of orders – a smooth customer journey is the key to retaining loyal shoppers and securing your business’s ongoing success! Knowing when to make the leap and rent or buy additional space is also key, so be sure to work that into your business plan.
Limit time wasted on deliveries and returns with a parcel delivery box
With an at-home start-up, space is often very limited, which can mean next to no storage. As a result, you are unable to bulk order and may be receiving never-ending deliveries of supplies and packaging to your home. This can be disruptive and costly to your business, and you can find yourself frustrated when precious time is interrupted by constant deliveries. Even worse, you could miss vital deliveries – especially if you’re out at your day job during normal delivery hours – which then become lost or damaged. Aside from time and energy spent in trying to retrieve parcels and tracking down packages, missing deliveries can have an even more significant impact; this is a problem which could limit your ability to fulfil orders properly or process returns in a timely way, ultimately risking your reputation and loss of custom!
And those stresses are without the inevitable returns to your e-commerce business. A robust returns policy increases the chances of a sale, so it is important to have a clear system when it comes to receiving returns to ensure you are not overwhelmed by this inevitable part of owning an e-commerce business.
A Penn Parcel Box can take the initial strain of receiving returns and deliveries away from you or others in your household. There is no longer a need to be at home on certain days or at certain times for deliveries or to stop your work and come to the door to receive parcels. The Penn Parcel Box is a clear solution; a one-off investment in a secure delivery box will give you freedom and flexibility in your new e-commerce business. In a range of sizes, the Penn Parcel Box can cater to your business needs, with the added bonus of helping store personal deliveries too! Our secure parcel box will protect your e-commerce and personal deliveries from both thieves and unpredictable weather, keeping them safe until you are ready to retrieve your items from the secure, powder-coated box.
For more information on how the Penn Parcel Box can allow you to manage a more efficient online business by taking care of your deliveries, contact our friendly team on 01424 429 641.