Starting a business in the UK can be a daunting task to take on but it can also be highly rewarding. Having a business idea and actually getting that idea off the ground are two very different things. We are going to talk through a few tips on starting your business to ensure you’ve got the best possible start.
Starting your own business
Starting your own business may seem glamorous from the outside but the reality is that it requires long hours, dedication and determination and that’s just in the beginning. But seriously, starting your own business isn’t too difficult these days and there are hundreds of thousands of resources right at your fingertips and you can start your own online shop within a matter of minutes.
Do your research
If you already have an idea of the type of item you’d like to sell, great! But if not then why not try to get some inspiration from our best online business ideas for 2020 blog. Once you have your product chosen, you’ll want to do some really in-depth market research. Find out what sort of demographic you’re targeting, their age range, location, interests etc and this will give you a good idea of the type of customer you’re wanting to attract.
This can then help inform you of how you should be selling as well as a host of other decisions you’ll have to make before even opening your metaphorical online shop doors. Knowing more about your customer and their behaviour will help you determine where is best to market your product, but we’ll come to that shortly.
Once you’ve got a really good idea of your customer, you’re going to want to do the same for your competitors. You can start by typing in the product name on Google and having a look at who is ranking on page 1 for the product name. Take a look at who is selling your product or similar products to you, their price point, where are they advertising, are they doing any particular campaigns around it etc.
Once you have a good idea of who your competitors are, what price point they’re at and the audience they’re targeting, you should be able to (hopefully) identify a need that they aren’t meeting for their customers, whether that be the price point, quality or customer service for instance. If you are able to do this then this will give you a great advantage over your competitors and should be the main selling point for your business.
So you should have now researched both your target audience and your competitors and have a good idea of where your business would fit in. And now for the exciting part, making all of your hard work a reality.
Why build your own online brand?
Setting up an online shop is a great way to dip your toe in the water so to speak. You’ll be able to still keep your full-time income while running your business on the side. This can allow for time to get your business off the ground and drum up some brand awareness. Eventually, you’ll be able to focus fully on your online business if you choose.
While there are many benefits to setting up online, there are more benefits to setting up your own online shop rather than selling through sites like eBay or Etsy.
When you sell through their platform you are also boosting their brand and not your own. Building your own brand is arguably the most important part of creating your own business, especially with businesses popping up everywhere, your branding is what makes you stand out from the crowd. Think about Nike, Adidas – Apple, Samsung – Gucci, YSL – they all have their own unique brand and products but are still competing against one another.
You’ll also be very restricted with any customisation which means you’ll have the same layout as every other seller on that marketplace. This in turn also makes it more difficult to get your brand name out there. Many shoppers only see items when shopping on marketplaces, not individual brands and companies which means even if they buy from you, their experience of your brand isn’t memorable.
Marketplaces will also make it really easy for shoppers to compare similar items that will be offered by your competitors, resulting in less of a chance that your product will be purchased. Sites like these will also charge you a percentage for each sale you make, a listing fee in some cases and that will affect your bottom line.
If you want to avoid this, you’re better off creating your own ecommerce shop. Not only do you have complete control but your costs are fixed and it allows you to build your brand.
You decide on not only the theme but the structure, navigation and the look and feel of the site. You can essentially build the personality of your brand with your website and the rest of your channels i.e. social media will follow that. You’ll be better able to tell your story to your customers with your ‘About Us’ page and create a rapport with them, which will help increase the likeliness of them becoming a loyal customer – storytelling and creating an emotional connection is a powerful tool.
You’ll also avoid any unnecessary fees such as listing and sales fee’s mentioned earlier and have better control over your business costs, especially with a fixed fee for your online shop.
A highly important aspect of having your own website is that you’ll be able to capture customers’ data and link your online shop to a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool in order to market to them further. This data will open up a wide variety of marketing opportunities such as re-marketing and PPC (Pay Per Click).
Our final point is perhaps one of the most important ones, especially when your working in a competitive market – your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Having your own website means you’ll have your own SEO ranking so when a user searches for an item you sell on Google your website will appear as one of the search terms.
SEO isn’t as easy as that but with an EKM online shop, your product feed is already generated by EKM so that you can submit your products to Google Shopping via your Google Merchant account. You can also try to influence your site’s SEO ranking by creating your own content like on a blog for instance.