Get your start-up started

eCommerce | Opinion | Startup

By Tamara Mendelsohn

It seems Australians are moonlighting – as online shopkeepers.

A recent report shows that Australia now leads the world in terms of the pace of online business start-ups. Internet start-ups have increased 200 per cent from 2010 and 2012, four times the pace in the United States and Britain.

Driving these new business owners is greater demand for online retail. The study also shows Aussies are not only shopping online more frequently, but buying more each time they visit.

Starting your own online business offers the promise of greater creative freedom and financial independence but as with any new venture, there is always some amount of trial by fire. Here are a few tips for creating a successful online business without giving up your day job.

Manage your time. Whether you’re an early riser or prefer burning the midnight oil, find what works best for you. Recent data compiled by e-commerce platform Big Commerce shows that 48% of its Australian store owners are working on their online businesses well into the early morning hours. Running a store can require a lot of time and energy, but it’s important to separate your stress. Don’t let the worries of one job impact another and develop (and stick to) a routine that maximises productivity.

Think easy. Great designs are nice, but if your online store isn’t intuitive for customers, all bets are off. Re-evaluate the functionality of your homepage and make sure customers can get to where they’re trying to go.

Focus on quality. Use high-resolution product images and take the time to write detailed product descriptions from a customer’s perspective. If you want customers to spend the time reading it, spend the time writing it!

Try new forms of marketing. One of the most critical aspects for any online store is marketing, but it can be costly. Content marketing, such as blogging, is a great, low-cost alternative and offers small businesses a big bang for your buck.

Find your inspiration. Ultimately, success often boils down to having the passion and drive to keep things running through the highs and lows. When the going gets tough, remember what inspired you to start your own business. If you’re doing something you love, your passion will shine through and motivate to push on.

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