Throughout the years I have helped many clients to start different types of businesses, ranging from personal trainers, market traders and photographers to ecommerce shops. E-commerce shops seem to be topping the trend, as potentially you can make money while you are sleeping, out and about with friends or even walking the dog. And E-commerce shops such as eBay, Depop, Shpock, Gumtree, ETSY, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Amazon are growing increasingly popular. Before you start your own business it's imperative that you know what you want to sell, find a niche market and stand out from the crowd.

Things to consider before you start:

1. Stop procrastinating; procrastination is the biggest thief of time. If you want to start trading online open an account and familiarise yourself with the website and get a feel for it, after all this will be your new business venture.

2. Research the market to determine if the product is in demand or in decline. Does it have a niche market? Is the market saturated? It is very important to understand your product, market and consumers. You also need to consider your product, packaging, storage options and the cost of delivery.

3. Create a brand. It’s often said imitation is the biggest sign of flattery. Research your competitors and learn from their product designs, styles, website layout and fonts etc. to create your own unique offering. But don’t get caught out by overstepping the mark on creative rights like copyright or design rights. It is important to stand out from the crowd and catch the eye of potential buyers. BE CREATIVE!

4. Your suppliers can be the lifeline of your business. It's important that you build a healthy relationship with them as they can save you in desperate times. It’s usually best not to rely on only one supplier, and to ask the following questions:

•Will you buy your stock in bulk or individually?

•Is the supplier UK based or abroad?

•What is the time zone difference?

•What is their preferred method of payment?

•What are the delivery time scales?

5. Test the market. Get a feel for the platform by buying and selling products and understanding the process involved.

6. Keep good records. We all hate paperwork however it is imperative if you want your business to be a success. It doesn’t have to be complicated; you can use pen and paper or accounting software. Also record your sales, as it will allow you to gauge the peaks and troth's and to understand any trends in your business.

7. People buy people. Positive reviews can be the deal clincher for the consumer, and on the other hand, negative reviews can cripple your business. Responding to reviews is important, for example where a customer is dissatisfied with the product you should respond in a timely and professional manner.  

8. Time management is an integral part of any business, there are 24 hours in a day - use your time effectively. Dedicate a certain amount of time to your business and increase or decrease the time accordingly.

Starting a business can be easier than you think. If you take time to research and to prepare properly, you will be well on your way.

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