Over the last decade, the number of e-commerce stores based around the world has skyrocketed, as more and more people discover the convenience of online shopping. Indeed, in the United States alone, the e-commerce industry is set to generate more than $490 billion in sales by 2018.
However, along with this popularity has come immense competition. As barriers to entry have decreased significantly, first-time and serial entrepreneurs have jumped into the sector en masse.
As a result, it takes a lot more than simply creating a digital shopping cart and selling a few bits and pieces to make an e-commerce site a success. If you want to become a long-term e-commerce entrepreneur, it is important that you find ways to educate yourself and learn how to stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons. Read on for three steps you can take today (that many first-time business people don’t) to put yourself in the best position for success.
1. Build Up Helpful Strengths
Firstly, you will increase your chances of becoming a well-regarded, long-term entrepreneur if you try to emulate some of the top traits that the best business men and women demonstrate. Take a look at some of the main characteristics of a successful entrepreneur in any industry and you’ll typically see the same key things showing up time and again.
Passion, for example, is an important one. If you want to stick with your venture long term, even when you’re feeling out of your depth, overwhelmed, stressed, tired or sick of having to make lots of tough decisions, you need to be extremely passionate about what you do, and remind yourself of why you do it on a regular basis.
Similarly, read interviews with some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and you’ll see that they always display determination and adaptability. Having determination helps business people to “keep on keeping on” when faced with complications and setbacks, and also makes it easier to rebound from seemingly insurmountable difficulties. Adaptability, on the other hand, helps entrepreneurs to cope with changes (whether in their industry, locale or specific venture), and also to take advantage of changes that happen to present opportunities.
If you want to be a success in business then it is also vital that you develop your communication skills. Being able to communicate effectively in person, in writing, and over the phone and other methods will help you in a variety of ways. For example, top skills in this area will make it easier to:
- Network and build helpful relationships
- Make your desires clear to your employees
- Persuasively market and sell your business to potential investors, customers, journalists, and job candidates
2. Be Open to New Things and Keep Learning
Next, if you want to help your venture grow long term, and to build multiple successful businesses over the years, you should ensure that you have a growth mindset. Being open to new things and to constantly learning will help you to improve your skill set and your knowledge, and to keep gaining helpful experience over the years.
One of the most popular ways to learn new things is to simply read reports, blogs, books, newsletters, industry magazines and the like. These avenues can be great sources of information about a broad array of topics, including trends in your area, business concepts, processes and the like.
It also pays to attend workshops, courses, seminars and other educational events and facilities where you can continue your education about business topics such as marketing, sales, finance, human resources, and administration. You can also expand your horizons and learn lots of great new skills and information if you join relevant business clubs and associations.
3. Surround Yourself with the Right People
Lastly, even though you may start off in business doing almost all jobs yourself because you don’t have the funds to employ staff members, you will find that you will never build a truly successful organization purely by yourself. It is necessary, at some point, to surround yourself with the right people who you can not only delegate tasks to but who can also bring knowledge and experience to your team, as well as provide emotional support.
In the early days, you can gain access to assistance at a low cost or for free if you turn to friends, family members, community groups, industry associations and local government workers. Over the years, as you have more cash available, you can then start to outsource jobs to specialists and contractors, and then finally hire some employees. Being able to delegate work to others will help you to work on your venture, rather than in it, as well as bring additional ideas and contacts to your organization.