General Ecommerce Advice
The Opportunity Cost
Opportunity cost is a theme that runs throughout not only business but life. If you're spending your time doing one task, it means you aren't doing another task. And if the other task is more important or crucial to the success of your business, you are putting your whole venture in jeopardy.
If you're starting a new business its very likely that you're on your own (or there are a small number of you) and you are trying to do everything.
Its important that you try and automate as much of the menial tasks as you possibly can. Its also important to consider the cost of doing one job as opposed to another.
Focus on what tasks are important to the success of your business and skip the unnecessary tasks (like fiddling a bit more with your logo or trying some new colour combinations).
Not Eating The Frog
If every morning the hardest thing you had to do in that day was eat a frog, then inevitably you'd find yourself leaving that task to last. After all, who wants to eat a frog?
But if you made a point of eating the frog before you did anything else that day, all the other days tasks would seem easier.
'Eat The Frog' is an important concept to grasp. If you don't get the hardest jobs out of the way first then you'll find that they roll over to the next day, and then to the next, until your entire to-do list is full of eat the frog jobs and nothing else!
If you have to eat the frog sooner or later, might as well make it sooner.
Planning To Fail
The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley. Whilst you can plan for every eventuality, things never turn out as we plan them to. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't plan.
Without rolling out yet another cliché failing to plan is planning to fail, and even though you know your business won't turn out as planned, you will have a clearer insight into the possible problems and solutions if you sit down and think about them before you're in the midst of a crisis.
Not Grasping Your Numbers
A business owner once said to me 'Adwords is very expensive'. I asked her 'but do you make a profit on the orders you get through Adwords?'...her answer....'I don't know'.
The problem here isn't that the lady didn't realise that the overall cost of Adwords wasn't important and that it was whether the advertising was worthwhile or not - although that is a problem - its that her comment demonstrated a fundamental lack of understanding what her profit margins were on each product that she sells.
Knowing how much profit you make on any product isn't rocket science. But a failure to have a firm grasp of your business's key numbers is one of the most common reasons that a new venture will fail.
Know your business's numbers inside out.
Not Knowing Your Customer
If you don't know your customer and know what they want from your products, then you don't know your business and it will soon fail.
Good and successful business owners build their products and services around their customers, not the other way around. Its much easier to find your customer and then create your product rather than create your product and find a customer for it.
Finding a connection with your customer is critical to being able to sell to them, and if you don't know who you are supposed to be connecting with in the first place then what hope have you got of selling to them.
A Website Is Not Like A Shop On The High Street
Many people think that having a website is akin to having a shop on the high street. You just have to site around and wait for people to find you and then boom!
Well it doesn't work like that. Having a website is like having a shop on Chapel Street in Cawston. Heard of it? No I didn't think so, and neither has anybody else.
Getting a website is the easy part, getting people to visit your website is the difficult bit.
You'll only get people to your website with a serious marketing plan and (often) a budget to match.
Think you can be a success without marketing? Think again.
Submitting To Confirmation Bias
Bias confirmation is a well known human tendency.
Its the ability (or disability) that we all have to ignore information that's telling us the opposite of what we want to believe.
Statistics can very often tell two sides of the same story, and having a strong belief in one side of that story can lead you to ignore all the information, statistics and data that's giving the other side - and focus on whatever backs up your favoured side.
Knowing how to avoid confirmation bias is an important skill to acquire and one that is sure to help you on your road to success!