Business is Business
Being involved in the entrepreneurial world, especially e-commerce, is NOT somewhere I saw myself being years ago! In all fairness, did any of us? If so, it was not MANY of us… I am a firm believer that we were born in a lucky age, where the generations and CENTURIES of commerce changed rapidly: With the formation of the internet. This gave us an AMAZING time to be entrepreneurs, with access to the WORLD from a DEVICE! There are tools and services that let us move goods and money around the world securely and with a click of a few buttons. We have access to supply chain solutions that make e-commerce possible for EVERYONE! And as great as this whole new-fangled E-Com thing is…. We need to remember this little tidbit: Business is still business.
Ok, so that’s obvious, right? Business is business. DUH, TIM! (remember saying “duh” 20 years ago?) But I think that there are a few things to point out that we get swept up in. Maybe it’s the shiny object syndrome, maybe it’s the barrage of internet marketing out there, or maybe it’s just our short attention spans now! So, please humor me as I point out a few facts that SHOULD be obvious, but that so many people in our industry seem to forget!
People Buy Things
Again, another “duh” is in order here, right?? But let me explain myself…. No matter what E-Com platform we are selling on (or maybe even NON e-com!), we rely on people to buy things. So for them to fork over their money, we need to OFFER them things! And I suggest a large catalog.
I see so many people spending ALL their time on ONE product! ONE hope and dream! But, let’s all stop focusing on that “Golden Goose” product and just offer MORE. The lower sales volume items are (IMO) even better! We aren’t focusing all our business on ONE product, we have LESS competition, and we can SPREAD OUR RISK out among SEVERAL products (of which one or two may later get saturated or shut down). In addition, the lower volume items require less capital and focus, so you can afford to launch more of them.
So let’s stop focusing on that FINAL LITTLE HACK or TINY PPC TWEEK on the one or two products we have, and realize that people buy things. A LOT of them! So lets spread our wings and offer them to them!
In all my dealings in this space, I see a TON of information regarding the technical aspects of selling a product. I see people engineering these great spectacles of automated touchpoints, great optimization to let platform AI “rank” us better, etc etc etc. But, when all is said and done and people DO land on our page or our product, they have to be SOLD!.
Now don’t misunderstand me… There is HUGE importance in those other things! But, if we get SO wrapped up in the technical details of things and forget to add a little finesse to the listings, then our conversions suffer. All those people shopping don’t care if your title is STUFFED with keywords, or your “backend” is perfectly executed. If you have crappy sales copy, images, and you don’t SPEAK TO THE CUSTOMER…. Then you are missing out.
Also keep in mind, you don’t have to do it all! You can find GREAT ENGINEERS if you are not great at it, who can handle the technical aspects. Are you a giant nerd that can handle the backend but not sure how to SELL in your listing? No problem! There are a TON of great copywriters out there that can hook you up!
It’s Just Business
Again, I know…. Obvious right? But it’s not. I see SO many sellers forget that THIS IS A BUSINESS! They spend time, effort, energy, money…. And aren’t making any in return. I know there are times to slog through things and hope it hits the “inflection point” and becomes profitable. But many times your ideas, products, and such just WONT work! This is one reason why I like focusing on MANY products (as stated in point 1). But we are human. We have emotions. And we get SO TIED emotionally to that one product or idea, that we never pull the plug and move on to greener pastures!
Now I am NOT talking in a broad sense here about entrepreneurship. I have had SEVERAL failed businesses or ideas, and I kept moving along until I got it figured out. What I DO mean is that you may have a product idea that sucks. You love it! But it completely sucks. No sales, no demand, whatever. Just remember… This is only a business. Don’t get tied in too deep personally, and move on to a new product!
Also… This is not a charity! It is a business! Make sure you are analyzing your profit/loss and make sure you are making money! I hate seeing people that work 50 hours a week and run themselves ragged, for 40k a year. That ain’t a lot of money…. Year one may be important to do that! You gotta bootstrap and carry on! But at some point, if you aren’t growing, you may be dying and not even realize it. The way to fix this is to take an OBJECTIVE look at your business and figure out what is working, and what is not. Even if you LOVE one aspect but it is bleeding you dry of money or energy: CUT IT!
Life is short. We have limited time on this Earth. We need to spend time with our friends, our families, our hobbies, ourselves. And I believe that entrepreneurship (especially via e-commerce) is one of the BEST ways to achieve more of this! And there are SO MANY GREAT OPPORTUNITIES FOR EVERYONE! You just gotta get off your butt, hustle a bit, and keep trying till you figure it out!
Tim Jordan is a strategist for PingPong Payments, an award-winning Fintech company helping e-commerce merchants globally.