Starting your own business is a major decision. It’ll cost you a lot of time, money, and stress. However, it’s one of the most fulfilling and lucrative endeavors you can take on. The opportunties for small business owners have never been greater.
With enough planning and market research to back you up, you can develop a promising business structure for your brand. With the rise of e-commerce amidst the coronavirus pandemic, it’s critical for business owners to find an efficient and reliable shipping strategy.
In this article, we’ll discuss what it takes to start a small business with market research and the right licenses and regulations. You also need to work on your product or service, your business structure, marketing plans, and your shipping strategy to build your store.
Starting a small business: all you need to know
If you’re going to build a small business, hone in on your niche and do market research. From there, you can validate your target market and build on your brand identity.
To open your store, you’ll need to apply for business licenses and permits.
Do market research
Market research is fundamental for any business, big or small. It will help you learn about your target niche and industry trends to create compelling marketing materials and product ideas. It will also minimize your risks for scaling up your business.
Larger companies would do huge market research surveys and focus groups. If you’re still building your small business, you don’t need a huge budget or complicated technology to do market research.
All you need is some creativity and research tools to find meaningful insights for your small business:
- Q&A social media platforms: Quora and Reddit are perfect platforms to collect information straight from your audience. On top of that, Reddit has communities called subreddits where you can find the candid thoughts and opinions of users regarding a specific topic.
- Amazon Reviews: Amazon is another treasure trove for relevant and up-to-date customer reviews. Positive reviews will help small businesses understand how customers are benefitting from a product, while negative reviews will help address the growing needs of your target market.
- Facebook Groups: Small business owners can instantly engage in discussions within communities by joining Facebook groups. You can also conduct interviews on Facebook, and with over two billion active users per month, this isn’t a market research tool to overlook.
- Competitors’ platforms: Take a look at your competitors’ websites and social media platforms. Checking their audience engagement strategies and available products will help you leverage your business.
Learn about licenses and regulations
Both online and physical stores need to look into getting business licenses and permits.
Make sure to research the industry requirements in your state –– you’ll need to have these approved before operating your business.
Key components of starting a small business
Develop your product or service
After doing thorough market research and finalizing your finances and business permits and licenses, you should work on developing your products or services.
Unless you have a massive capital, it’s not possible to start a store as big as Amazon. Concentrate on niche products that do well in the industry based on your market research.
For product-centric businesses, here are the general approaches to developing your product:
- Come up with original products: Whether you’re making a handmade product or you’re sourcing from a manufacturer, make sure to include original products in your listings to stand out in the market.
- Product customization and personalization: Allow your customers to make additional product requests to customize their orders. You can also incorporate your own creative style into existing products, like backpacks, T-shirts, towels, and caps.
- Consider your inventory: With a drop shipping fulfillment method, small businesses don’t need to keep products in stock. Instead, the products will ship directly from the supplier to the customer.
Choose your business structure
Most small businesses operate as sole proprietorships when only a single person is liable for the entire business and its activities. A more complicated option is to operate as a corporation, which involves multiple owners in the business.
The most popular e-commerce business models include drop shipping, print on demand, wholesaling, and white labeling.
Aside from considering the number of business owners involved, these are some of the important considerations when choosing a business structure:
- Business location: Your country and state will outline the types of business structures to choose from, and the specific requirements you need to look into.
- Business type: Specific industries function well under varying business structures, so look into the pros and cons of different models based on the type of business you’re running.
Small business shipping
Since small businesses operate on a limited budget, most owners will be tempted to choose the cheapest option. While It’s critical to find economical solutions for your business, don’t make the mistake of overlooking quality when it comes to deliveries.
Your shipping strategies will have a huge impact on customer satisfaction. Imagine the expenses and headaches you’d need to go through due to delayed, lost, or damaged packages.
When considering small business shipment options, make sure to look into your order volume, package details, type of cargo, the delivery destination, and shipping insurance.
Most small businesses debate whether to choose parcel shipping vs. LTL freight shipping. Parcel shipping can be expensive, but it’s the best option for businesses with small and irregular shipments. If you want to ship your products at an affordable price, go for LTL or FTL freight shipping.
Look for reliable LTL shipment services that cater to a wide range of industries.
Start your Small Business with GoShip.com
It’s not enough that you have a strong business model and compelling products. To stand out in the industry, you need to prioritize the quality of service and customer satisfaction.
With the growing importance of e-commerce, business owners need to start looking into reliable shipping options that will handle their products.
Freight marketplaces like GoShip.com make it easy for small business owners to find reliable and affordable shipping companies.