But that was then, and this is now. The “Big Box” retailers have all but destroyed the quaint storefront shops of not-so-long-ago, so we have to develop better business models in order to be successful. That’s not as difficult as it seems at first glance—in a very real way, it’s even easier now.
Today’s version of the downtown shop is an online store. It’s another example of the 21st Century version of “cottage industry”. From a physical standpoint, it may seem radically different from the bricks-and-mortar businesses of old, but it actually functions in the exact same way.
Online stores are the way to go for “the little guy”
One of the big advantages of the end of bricks-and-mortar—if it’s fair to say as much—is that the start up of an online business requires much less capital, and that’s a real advantage for a new entrepreneur. While launching a storefront business can require several hundred thousand dollars to get going, an online version can be done for just a couple thousand or maybe even a few hundred.
What does that mean to you as a new business owner?
- You won’t have to scrape up a high five- or six figure investment before even opening the doors.
- A high up front investment means HIGH RISK—everything you have is on the line!
- When you need to come up with that much capital most of it will come from loans; starting a business in-debt is one big strike against you from the get-go.
- You can keep your available capital to grow your business instead of having to service acquisition debt.
- If the business fails, you can walk away—your capital isn’t tied up in it.
In a real way we can say that the online business model has increased the odds in favor of your success.
Getting an online store launched
On the surface, starting a blog looks easy, don’t you think? You write articles to create content, respond to reader comments, accept a few ads and you’re in business, right? If only it were true! Pick any business you can think of and it’s never that easy
In almost any business you can imagine there are at least two co-equal parts; the generation of products or services, and the sum total of everything associated with bringing those products and services to market—what we might loosely call the business of running your business. You MUST have good products or services, but if your business doesn’t have a successful marketing system you’ll never make any money.
Many of us have outstanding ideas for products and services, mainly because they fall within our skill sets. But what do any of us know about running an online store? What do most of us know about marketing??? The answers to those questions are the primary reason why some businesses succeed and others fail!
Where do you find a good online marketing program?
From someone who’s actually doing it. I’m going to introduce you to one.
Steve Chou is a real guy—I know him from our mutual membership in our small, close-knit mastermind group that started in the fall of 2010. He didn’t approach me about his program, I approached him. Any program that will help people who want to start their own business is something I’m interested in writing about.
Steve and his wife, Jennifer, started an online store of their own so that she could stay home with their kids and still earn enough to replace the income from her old job. They took their online store from zero income to six figures in about a year. Do I have your attention yet?
What are they selling? Online wedding linens! I mention this because wedding linens are most definitely a niche, and that goes to prove that the possibilities of what can be profitably sold on the web is nearly endless. Your idea—what ever it is—may not be as far “out there” as others would have you believe. The internet has changed everything.
Running the online store is Steve and Jennifer’s main business, but Steve decided to develop and share their strategies and tactics with other would-be online entrepreneurs through a comprehensive program. If you want to start selling on the web this is a real opportunity to jump start your plans.
Will the program cost money?
Yes. But if you’re going to be an entrepreneur you’re going to have to get used to investing at least some money in your business. You can spend a little capturing the knowledge of others who are already doing what it is you want to do, or you can do it “old school” by trying to reinvent the marketing wheel. That’s a lot more expensive.
Consider what’s involved in developing your own online marketing plan and what you’ll avoid if you use an established program:
- The time it takes to develop a workable plan
- The money it costs to develop the plan
- The mistakes you’ll make along the way (costing you more time and money)
- The stress that comes from wearing two hats—product/service supply and marketing
- Learning all the technical crap that comes with doing just about anything on the web (this has been a HARD lesson for me with this blog)
- The uncertainty that comes with the launching of any new marketing program
The purpose of having an online marketing plan for your business is to eliminate all of these problems and delays. Starting a business of any kind relies heavily on confidence and nothing will build that more quickly than a fast cash flow.
You want to be able to hit the ground running with what ever it is you want to sell. This is a critical piece of launching and succeeding with an online store, so this is not the time to be frugal. The carpenter’s adage is “measure twice, cut once”—your chance to do all the necessary “measuring” for your new business is now.
Check out Steve’s online store program and see if you can’t use it to jump start your online business plans. Seriously, if you’ve never run a successful online business you need to get some sort of instruction before taking the plunge and spending thousands of dollars feeling your way through the dark.
If you wanted to learn how to sky dive would you hop on an airplane, throw on a parachute, and just jump out of the plane? No, you’d get training first wouldn’t you? You should do the same with a new business—get some sort of training.
There aren’t many places you can go to or people who you can turn to who will teach you how to run a business, but Steve Chou is one of them. Use his expertise to your own advantage.
If Steve’s online store plan works for you, I’d like to feature your story here on OutOfYourRut. If we’ve helped free you from the corporate cubical in any way then that’s a story we’d like to tell!
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