So you’re thinking it’s time to expand. Your ecommerce business has been doing well, and taking your side hustle to the next level might be a great way to open up a whole world of opportunities for you. There are a lot of incentives to running your own business:
- Full autonomy over your schedule
- Unlimited earning potential
- Ownership in your product/business success
There’s a key moment in the life of any business when they go from a moderately successful idea to a full-fledged business. You might be asking yourself: are you ready to take that next step?
Before you take the leap and quit your day job, first you need to determine what sets successful ecommerce businesses apart from those that are destined to fail.
How Well Do You Deal with Failure?
When things aren’t working, are you the type to go with the flow or do you tend to be fearful and resistant to change?
Honest answers to questions like these are at the root of why some entrepreneurs are successful while others with similarly good ideas flounder. Knowing where you fall on the spectrum will help you to identify potential hiccups before they have a chance to rise towards ecommerce success.
It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.J. K. Rowling
If you know you’re not the type of online business owner to bend without resistance or take risks when the outcome might result in failure, you’ll be more likely to set your boundaries early and stick to them.
Boundaries have their place, but rigid habits can be devastating to business growth because they tend to lead to stagnation. It’s important to know the difference between the two.
Being flexible, taking risks and embracing failures are all integral parts of success. As Elon Musk once put it, “If something is important enough, you should try. Even if the probable outcome is failure.”
Many innovators throughout the centuries would agree. The truth is, nothing exceptional was ever accomplished or created without the risk of failure. Failing allows you to start again with new insights and solutions, and that insatiable hunger to get back on the horse is one major fundamental piece of the entrepreneurial mindset that sets successful business ventures apart from unsuccessful ones.
Getting Better at Failing
If risk-taking isn’t natural to you, make it your intention to grow this skill. Juggling the responsibilities of ensuring your part-time gig has everything it needs to evolve into a full-time enterprise takes an exceptional amount of bravery and confidence.
If you can’t be confident in your vision, no one else will be either. Now’s not the time for feelings of inadequacy, so if you have doubts about whether or not you’re cut out for this job, make it your primary goal to learn new thinking habits.
Your daily subconscious thoughts determine your outward actions and will either lead you to success or drive you toward failure. Whether you gain confidence from affirmations, talks with your therapist, aerobic exercise or from the energy of other entrepreneurs, be sure to set aside time daily to get into a mindset that will allow you to face the challenges of starting your own full-time business with fortitude, strength and determination.
Relationships Are Integral to Business Success
Your relationships are at the foundation of a successful online business, and one of your primary initiatives from day one should be to build and maintain healthy relationships. These bridges will be your lifeline as you grow your business and will continue to serve you for years to come.
Right now, you may just be a team of one, but if you want your business to grow you’ll need a workforce who can act as your team to help you accomplish more. Hiring professionals with strong backgrounds in their field who share your work ethic is just one piece of the puzzle. Ensuring that your team can work together toward a long-term goal is another essential part to growing into a full-time SMB.
Without customers, you don’t have much of a business. But before you begin to budget for a customized marketing campaign, tackle the basics.
By delighting your customers with an out-of-this-world experience the first time they shop – whether that comes from great customer service, exceptional prices or a seamless checkout process – you’ll create an opportunity to solidify a customer relationship.
Good customer relationships create repeat business, loyal brand ambassadors and free referrals.
Building relationships within your industry (or with industries that you’re able to form a logical partnership with) will have a significant effect on how far much business can grow.
Proper networking is a vital part of your business’ success story for a variety of reasons:
- You’ll Find More Motivation – Building a full-time business takes a lot of hard work, dedication and confidence. Surround yourself with people who share your dreams and passions as well as your fears and failures to keep you motivated.
- You’ll Get Free Advice – The bigger your supportive business network, the more you’ll be able to benefit from the knowledge and success of others. Industry relationshipsallow you to gain insights into growth and expansion, product sourcing, marketing opportunities and so much more.
- You’ll Build Referrals – Building industry relationships and being active in your community allows you to stay at the forefront of people’s minds when they’re looking for partnerships or providing referrals. You’ll be able to connect with people you otherwise might never have met, thus creating a world of new opportunities that can benefit you for years to come.
Successful Businesses Budget Smart
A common mistake new business owners tend to make when deciding to grow their side hustle into something more substantial is to begin funneling money into the wrong types of assets. With so many incredible marketing opportunities out there, it’s no wonder why business owners get caught up in these types of budgeting mistakes.
After considering the initial cost of business expansion, such as a more robust Quickbooks license or a better website design, and calculating ongoing expenses such as web hosting, insurance and payroll, you may simply not have the budget to engage with all of your desired marketing channels – at least not right off the bat.
When deciding whether or not a marketing expense is justifiable and worth pursuing, consider the following budget aspects:
Cost of Acquisition (CoA)
This is the money you’ll spend to get a customer. A customer could be someone who completes a single purchase, creates a subscription or simply provides a referral.
Calculate the cost of acquisition by dividing your marketing expenses by the number of customers you acquired during that period. For example, if you spent $100 on Facebook ads and ten targeted users became customers, then your cost of acquisition was $10 per customer.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
The second piece of information you’ll need when deciding if your marketing costs are yielding any fruit is the customer’s lifetime value. You’ll calculate the customer’s lifetime value by subtracting the acquisition cost from the money this customer brought your business or is projected to bring in over time.
As long as the cost of acquisition doesn’t exceed the value of the customer, you’re in the green. Here’s a simple equation:
CLV > CoA = $$$
Understanding Your Business Goals
Having measurable goals is essential to establishing whether or not your business is on the right track.
For ecommerce businesses, many goals will naturally be hinged on conversions, and that’s a great place to start because it provides a solid baseline for future revenue comparisons. But not all of the metrics you measure should be revenue-oriented.
Understanding which measurable aspects of ecommerce site performance contribute to your business’ success will ensure you set the right kinds of goals from the beginning and can optimize for success in the future.
Learning how to effectively use tracking tools like Google Analytics to analyze user behavior, purchase trends, page engagement, newsletter signups and successful conversions from your various traffic channels will provide you with broad and granular insights and ideas, as well as pinpoint problem areas such as unprofitable landing pages, ineffectual site flow or an uptick in abandoned carts.
Here are some metrics you should focus on when trying to take your part-time online business to full-on ecommerce success:
- Top landing pages
- Top exit pages
- Abandoned carts
- Customer location
- Site search terms
- Product performance
- Time to purchase
Creating a successful online business starts with a good product idea. Your philosophy, mental integrity, relationships, connections, how you manage your budget and how you use data to improve your ecommerce site are all aspects of the journey toward your SMB ecommerce growth and success.
Studio is designed for entrepreneurs just like you. We’re a full-service digital marketing agency built to grow your ecommerce store from a part-time thing to a fully-fledged ecommerce business. Growth isn’t just your site’s sales and performance – it’s your brand, your customer base, your marketing expertise, and your confidence as a business owner. From web design and development to search engine marketing, social media marketing, and conversion optimization, Studio is here to grow with you.