Over $1.9 trillion U.S. were spent on online retailers, coming from 1.61 billion individuals across the marketplaces. The projected growth of spending is on track to $4.06 trillion by 2020. These stats are telling, not only about online shopping growth, but its underlying need for necessary business resources to compete on an level playing field.
Common complaints about shopping online include:
- Inability to understand the product
- Difficulty in returning items
- Navigating product options
- Privacy concerns
- Lacking a cohesive user experience
I wouldn’t be caught dead without the necessary resources I (and clients) use in online business operations, so let me share what these are and why they need to be part of your business venture…
First are the online markets to verify the product and/or services. This is accomplished by placing an offer into the market, measuring reception, and then scaling for growth.
Both Amazon and Shopify allow you to setup shop and quickly begin testing the markets. The low-overhead and built-in analytical tools are irreplaceable for the early stages of the business. If the market bites then all that’s needed is to place more effort into filling out your presence on the platform.
Eliminating ‘product options’ and ‘user experience’ complaints: Check.
Second is covering the basics (aka the “behind the scenes”) of the business operations. This is the area that is often glossed over because it’s somewhat tedious and boring. Yet, it’s essential. I’m talking about necessary items such as:
- Legal documentation
- Workplace & logistics
Resources like LegalZoom and RocketLawyer makes it a breeze to manage all legal requirements to operate the business legitimately. The “workplace” is satisfied through resources like an iPostal 1 Business Address to have a virtual address and digital mailbox (excellent for customer relations). Then, logistics is covered with shipping services by USPS, FedEx, and UPS and fulfillment centers.
Improving the ‘returning items’ concern: Check.
Third is outsourcing which eliminates the troubles of finding local talent when you’re strapped for cash or lack a talent pool. Outsourcing a-la-carte’s the skill selection. This satisfies any need for the business operations without a hard commitment.
Outsourcing is a vital resource in online business for all types of needs:
- Technical documentation
- Customer service
- Order fulfillment
- Data mining
- Design & development
- Content creation
If you have a need, then look no further than UpWork, Indeed, Monster, Facebook, Reddit, or ZipRecruiter to find qualified candidates to fill positions and reach goals.
Improving ‘product understanding’ via campaigns: Check.
Hitting on the fourth resource, is the security software & hardware used to keep the business operational during cyber-attacks or natural disasters. What’s more to say about security and privacy concerns that hasn’t been covered extensively already?
- Back up data
- Use common sense
- Keep systems updated
- Run firewalls and virus scans
- Block physical access
The necessary resources I won’t get caught without include MalwareBytes, Microsoft Security Essentials, NordVPN, BitDefender, and externals by Seagate or WD.
Finally, reaching number five, is generating capital which is a resource of its own. Finding funding has changed quite a bit over the past decade making it easier to acquire capital to explore business ideas. Notable is the act of working with venture capitalists to exchange a part of the ownership for an injection of finances to propagate growth.
There are other options and helpful resources like Kickstarter, GoFundMe, Patreon, and Kiva that could give the needed cash to realize the business.
You see? It’s not as simple as slapping together a site, pushing a product, and hoping for the best. There’s a lot going on behind-the-scenes to make business happen. These were the resources I use daily – I hope you find them helpful!
Be sure to share your best business resources with a comment!