This is a guest post for Skills You Need.
Want to contribute? Find out how.
Skills You Need to Start Your Own
E-Commerce (Online) Business
The benefits of an e-commerce business are incredibly appealing. You'll break past your geographical limitations, increase visibility for your brand and spend far less money on maintenance and rent.
In essence, you'll enjoy many of the advantages of owning a store without the downsides of a physical location.
At the same time, starting an e-commerce business isn't as simple as selecting a name, writing up product listings and cutting the digital ribbon. You need a certain set of skills if you're going to succeed or you may struggle to attract attention and acquire the customers you need to sustain growth.
So what should you keep in mind as you continue? What points should you remember as you build your online business?
We'll walk you through everything you need to know about the process, looking at a few of the skills, qualities, certifications and resources relevant to your goals.
Essential Skills for an E-Commerce Business
Like any business, it's best to begin on a foundation of research and planning. You should have a firm grasp on the basics of e-commerce, the different business models and their compatibility with your idea. To that end, you'll need to trust in your critical thinking skills as you evaluate and apply information.
You'll also need to develop your communication skills. After all, you're entering a market with many competitors, and you'll have to find a niche where you can comfortably settle. In many situations, you can work with other business owners in related or "shoulder" niches to cross-promote your product or service.
A strong grasp on money management will prove useful as well. Unless you've saved enough to start your business, you'll likely need to look into financing options, which aren't always the same when dealing with e-commerce. It's common to crowdsource funds through various sites like GoFundMe.
Money management skills will also help you with any debt you might currently have. If you need to pay off your student loans, it may seem somewhat challenging to balance that obligation with your commitment to your business. An understanding of money management can pull you from a difficult situation.
Finally, you should work toward improving your productivity. Owning and operating an e-commerce business takes continuous effort, and it's all too easy to lose your momentum before you make real progress. An ability to maintain concentration is a valuable asset when you stare at a screen for hours on end.
Essential Traits for an E-Commerce Business
Beyond the skills in the previous section, persistence is important. It's a trait you should foster, as it may very well determine your success. Persistence is the difference between giving up when you're stuck and pressing forward, just as vital as analyzing data and networking with other professionals in your industry.
You'll need to demonstrate a certain degree of flexibility as well. Unless you can adapt to sudden setbacks, manage unforeseen issues and maintain your calm in emergencies, your business may take a turn for the worse. Fortunately, you can develop these traits in much the same way you can develop a skill.
When looking at various areas of improvement, you may feel unsure about your work ethic. It seems, at first, like something you can't change, an ingrained part of your personality that you can't alter. This is far from the truth, and with time, you can gradually improve your focus and master self-discipline.
In short, you'll need many of the qualities and skills any business owner should have. Most of them are just as relevant to e-commerce as they are to a brick-and-mortar store, from financial management to problem-solving. E-commerce is different than a physical business, of course, but they have a long list of similarities.
As you move forward, you should also consider an accessible degree program to further your education. Whether you pursue a class on campus or online, you'll gain knowledge and insight with value for your operation. Over time, you'll find ways to expand your business and address areas in need of improvement.
Necessary Certifications for Business Owners
In addition to your traits and abilities, you'll also have to consider the certifications you'll need. For example, you'll need to obtain your business licenses and permits. Though your store is online, your city, state or country may still need to approve your operation, with everything that approval entails.
In addition to licenses and permits, you might also need an Employee Identification Number, or EIN. This will help you open a business bank account and assist with filing taxes, even if you don't plan on having any employees. Basically, your EIN is a unique number that aids in identification and paperwork.
However, it's essential to note that the process for establishing your e-commerce business will differ from place to place. You should set aside time to research the rules and regulations in your specific area as you proceed, studying the details to ensure you remain in full compliance with your region's laws.
While the skills and traits above are crucial to your success, an enthusiastic attitude isn't enough to get your business off the ground. A positive attitude is important, of course, but you have a decent amount of homework you'll need to do before you can take the next step in starting your e-commerce business.
Maintain a Positive Outlook
You've seen the appeal in an e-commerce business, and you're excited about taking the next step. Just remember the skills and qualities you'll need to develop as you assume your new role as a business owner. Give thought to the necessary certifications, and exercise a small degree of caution as you continue.
As long as you focus on self-improvement, research some standard business practices and fulfill your region's requirements, you can feel confident in your future success. It may seem like a lot to take in, but when you move through it gradually, you'll see the process is relatively straightforward.
With that in mind, get started on your building your business! Your work will pay off soon enough!
About the Author
Kayla Matthews is a productivity writer and self-improvement blogger. You can read more work from Kayla on MakeUseOf, VentureBeat, TinyBuddha and Inc.com.
To support Kayla further, subscribe to her productivity newsletter.