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10 Dos and Don’ts Of Launching Your Own E-commerce Business

10 Dos and Don’ts Of Launching Your Own E-commerce Business

Like everything else these days, business also has gone online. The traditional ways of doing business are slowly losing their charm and the next generation of aspiring entrepreneurs are jumping on the new wave of online business – because if done correctly, adding an ‘e’ to your commerce can take your business to a whole new level.

Not just with entrepreneurs, the new way of doing business is also leaving its mark on consumers. According to UPS study, 70% users said they prefer their favorite retailer online.

Taking your business online though, is trickier than you’ve imagined. It takes time, patience and durability to pass through hurdles and run a successful e-commerce. If you’ve decided you want to leave your mark in this burgeoning digital economy and are resolute in your desire, then these 10 basic do’s and don’ts can help you a great deal.

1. Do give your time to make your site look good

The number of entrepreneurs testing their luck in the digital world is too damn high and giving your business a pleasing professional look is a must if you want to stand out among myriads of players who are playing the same game.

Yeah in an ideal world the content should matter more than cover but when the competition is too high, little things decide the tie and the design of your site is one of these little things.

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There are many guides on internet which can help you with the design of your site. Website builders are great tools to help you with designing by reviewing your competitors.

2. Don’t just assume people will find your site

Do good things, sell unique products and people will find your business one way or another. This concept of business might work in a Disney world utopia but unfortunately, it does not work in real world anymore.

The internet is simply too big for a random viewer to stumble upon your site. You should work on planning ways to get more direct traffic. Social media reach can aid your business a great deal in terms of publicity. Good SEO also helps public reaching via search engines

3. Do work on building a concrete platform

It’s obvious that you learn the details of the art through experience but you cannot always cross the bridge once you reach the river. Having the correct features planned and doing the risk analysis always helps.

It’s tempting to be courageous and just go out on the battlefield but you have to make sure you have readied your weapons and prepared a decent backup plan. Some mistakes are costly to fix so make sure you do the best you can to prevent them from happening.

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You have to take care of technical issues like finding the right hosting solution, managing the scalability of your website and security along with other non-technical issues such as scalability of business, customer support and market penetration right from the beginning.

4. Don’t waste your time trying to sustain the company single handedly

You are founder, marketer and leader of your business. So basically, you are a one man band. But if you’re spending your entire day trying to bring everything into balance, then note this is an idea that’s not worth pursuing.

If you want to launch a successful ecommerce business then you should be able to do the main work in the least time possible so you can focus on other aspects like growing and scaling your business.

5. Do set budget aside for tests and trials

The hardest thing for an entrepreneur to do is admit his product is really not that great. Though you might passionately like the idea you’ve created, there is no guarantee that it will work.

If you wait months, or even years to find out the actual performance of your product, it might just be too late. Do surveys, sell samples before going mainstream and test your product thoroughly before you decide to invest your time and energy on it.

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Conduct surveys or try selling samples of your product before spending blood, sweat, and tears to launch a company online. Even if your product has legs, you should always test and refine first.

6. Don’t put features above strategy

It’s easy to be quickly overwhelmed with your efforts. It’s good if people of certain demographics are giving you good reviews but you can always paint a bigger picture.

There are always voids in market which need filling and always room to innovate something new. If a month has passed and you are still trying to refine negligible design elements, then you are stuck in the vicious loop of feature-bias. Focus on more important aspects, the ones that actually increase the output not just the appeal.

7. Do listen to your customers

People are entitled to their opinions and they are opinionated. So you’ll receive all kinds of comments about your business. Yeah, reacting on every single one of them is nothing more than a waste of time but you should definitely acknowledge their opinions.

Your customers help you point out frailties that you otherwise would have ignored. Evaluate their suggestion and work for a remedy. If you listen to your customers, it also develops a bond of loyalty and trust.

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8. Don’t inaccurately measure your success

E-commerce is not rocket science. It’s seasonal. It has its carnival and its droughts. Compare year-over-year, not quarter-over-quarter, as ecommerce is highly seasonal.

Comparing your July traffic to your June data does not give a clear picture of your progress. You should set aside a statistically accurate interval and compare your metrics. Compare July to July, winter to winter or year to year if you want an accurate report of your progress.

9. Do your best to efficiently manage email lists

If you have done your homeworking designing a fantastic site, then growing your email list as soon as you launch an ecommerce is a must. It’s one of the best ways to boost traffic later on.

Add email lists as a key-performance indicator when you’re measuring success. If you ignore this part, you might find yourself sunk in a rabbit hole trying to pay your way out through advertising, sponsored content and other paid outlets.

10. Don’t give up quickly

It’s easy for entrepreneurs to get frustrated if their idea does not work but many of them fail to realize that it often takes time and patience to thoroughly test out an idea and success does not come overnight.

If you believe you truly have a million dollar idea then you should be willing to risk anything for it. You should not hastily desert a project because it’s not working well for the time being, because it just takes relentless hard work and there is always a silver lining. Who knows – you might even get lucky!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via static.pexels.com

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. And that’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task but if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps:

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal (let alone financial) without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream. And this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it is for. It could be anything like kid’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

2. Keep Them Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said – “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

4. Short Term vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach towards achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It is important to bifurcate goals in short term and long term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as short term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short term vs long term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

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5. To Each to His Own

The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

By now, you would be ready with your financial goals, now it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 step process –

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough; and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self realization is the best form of realisation and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different bucket so that you know which bucket is eating the most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pump up your savings rate.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and then manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement is to put the savings on automatic mode i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (for example – mutual funds, retirement corpus etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

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Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Rise Again Even If You Fall

Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

5. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make Savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

So the key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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6. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

Therefore in order to stay the course, it is advisable that you keep yourself surrounded with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

7. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

So if you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energised to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot more easier for you to follow you and track your progress.

At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

8. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

Just like “no one is born a criminal”, no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference.

Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

It is here where that classification will help.

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So as a general rule, for all your short term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less as compared to equity instruments.

10. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding,

Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.

So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

Start investing early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

11. Measure, Measure, Measure

All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

Do measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

The Bottom Line

This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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