Trying to Build an eCommerce Store with a Tight Budget? No Problem!
Building an eCommerce store is a risky investment, but being limited to a strict budget doesn't mean that you can't get your own online business started. As long as you have the right combination of expertise, work ethic, skills and ambition it is possible to kickstart a successful eCommerce business with little to no money.
"If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse."--E. James Rohn
If you have a great idea, but not enough money, you shouldn't let this stop you from working towards your dream. I'm not going to lie to you. It's going to be hard. It's going to be stressful. But it will also be worth it. Here are a few tricks that will help you get started.
1. Focus your Business Around What you Know
The first rule of business is to focus on something you know and are good at. Now is not the time to experiment or venture off into uncharted territory. Before you start working on your business plan, I recommend that you write down your strengths and weaknesses (SWOT analysis). By doing this you will be able to identify your niche, future strategy, and minimize outside help.
"If its your passion and you are genuinely interested in sharing it with others then you are much more likely to find success. Also, focus on initiatives that are 100% direct return and promote core products. The more general the advertising and the promotion the less direct return you will get, the more money you will waste and you could even potentially overload customer support. " -- Dara Greaney, CEO at BuyAutoParts"
2. Make or Resell Something Useful
If you're not sure about your product or service yet, look for inspiration. You can do this by taking a long walk and observing things that people need, or things that could be better. Write down 10-15 ideas and go through them when you arrive home. Filter these results after you take into account about feasibility, and costs.
You can also be successful in the eCommerce industry by reselling things. If you aren't a creative person there is always the option of drop-shipping.You can also repurpose items from garage sales and thrift stores. Reconditioning an old piece of furniture can make it worth $100 more.
3. Ask your Friends to Help
It is extremely important to create a customer base. This is key for obtaining positive reviews, testimonials and referrals. There is no shame in asking your friends for help. Give them a discount and ask them to share your products on social media many agencies are doing including Cuddle Marketing INC. This will help you reach out to new audiences.
4. Whatever you do, Avoid Unnecessary Expenses
You will have to invest a few hundred bucks to get things started, because there are certain expenses that cannot be avoided. Nevertheless, instead of spending $2.000 dollars on something you think is 'cool', simply go for its $100 version. Being frugal at the start of your eCommerce business will keep you from getting buried in credit card debt. Costs can quickly add up, so make sure you have a solid business plan in place. Use tools like Evernote, Microsoft Office or Ideator to turn ideas into real business.
5. Consider Using Low-cost Services
You can't do everything by yourself so you should consider utilizing some low-cost services for menial tasks. There are plenty of places like Upwork (former Elance) and Fiverr where you can hire designers and web developers. A logo design should cost between $5 and $25 dollars. Make sure you sort applicants by reviews and job history to avoid getting scammed.
6. Sell... Yourself
Well, not actually yourself, but the things you can do. I will assume that you have some SEO, marketing or content writing knowledge. Better yet, you may be a brilliant accountant, programmer or designer. If you want to obtain some funds for your new eCommerce business why not sell your services first?
7. Never Give Up
Don't expect everything to work out from your first try, and don't get depressed if you're not achieving your goals as fast as you'd wish. The difference between unsuccessful and successful businesses is that the latter were promoted by individuals who were always eager to try a different tactic to make things work.
8. Nurture Meaningful Relationships
I believe that a kind word or recommendation from a relevant influencer is worth all the money in the world. Try to reach out to like-minded people who are ready and willing to promote your business. If you made a sale, don't forget about your customer. Send appreciation messages or offer discounts to transform them from return customers to brand advocates. These are the people who will propagate your business to other audiences (and it won't cost you a thing).