You do not need to know so much straight away!
For some reason new business owners spend a great deal of time on planning activities. Yes, this is of course good, it's never a good idea to enter into any business venture without doing your research first. However, the point I am about to make is that you only need to know enough to get started, then you should perfect things and expand as you go along. Why? Because otherwise you get caught in a trap of 'Information Overload' which ends up slowing you down.
Take this example of a client of mine:
Aim – To start an Internet based business to sell her bags which are hand made by herself.
Experience – She has sold them previously at events and fairs and they sell well.
Reason for wanting an Internet based business: Sales decline in Winter months due to lack of events to attend, so an Internet based business will allow her to continue selling all year round.
So, you see that is a great business that has existing sales, and just needs to be converted online. After the initial discussion we did not meet for two months, so when we finally did, I asked her for an update.
Current situation: Still no Internet site, but have spent over $ 1000 educating itself on Internet marketing and is currently studying Up-selling (the art of selling additional products to a customer once they are ready to checkout on your online store)
My reply: OK … but have you at least rated which software you are using and which hosting service you will use?
Her: No, I will do that once I know how the store will work ..
Do you see what happened here? She forgot to focus on what was really important and got lost in the detail.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO WORRY ABOUT UPSELLING UNTIL YOU HAVE CUSTOMERS!
So obtaining customer should be you No.1 priority. For that to happen, you need a simple sales page, hosting and a way to take payments. But at the beginning – KEEP IT SIMPLE.
I tried to explain, that by wasting two months without an online store she was possible losing customers. And regardless of whether she was learning 'upselling' or not, that was definitely money she was losing.
Folks, I can not stress this enough. Make sure whatever you are doing is 'Just Good enough' first and then work on perfecting it. According to Pareto's law it is only 20% of what we do that is important, so do not waste your time trying to perfect something when there are more important things to focus on.
Want to know how this story ends?
We went back to her home office and took the following immediate action:
- Found a good hosting company (the same one I use and recommend) – 10 minutes work
- Brought a good domain name and transferred the DNS to point to the right host – 10 minutes work
- Searched for a free website template, made some simply changes, added 3 pictures of her product and some contact information. – 30 minutes
- Decided it was easier at this stage to take payment by checks until she decided on a merchant account or paypal.
- Waited for the site to go live (have to wait for DNS – so out of our control)
We put less then one hours work into the site and it was up and running. Yes, it was not the prettiest site I had seen but it was good enough and it did the core job. Of course, she was going to work on improving it, but at least now she had started, and was able to see what needed to be done.
You want to know what happened? She went to a event that weekend where she was selling her bags, and she added a leaflet in every bag telling people about her website. When she had got home, she had received 2 emails from people, who had purchased from her that day. They had shown the bag to some friends and they wanted one too, but they did not know how to get one, so when they saw the leaflet they tried the website!
You see, if we focus on what core functions are important we can get started and make something good enough to work. Do not get stuck in a spiral of 'Information Overload' just get started with what is important.