Insights, observations, and stories from the front lines of ecommerce and online marketing

Advice from 15 Entrepreneurs on Running an Ecommerce Business

Running a successful ecommerce store isn’t easy. It takes grit, perseverance, and a lot of luck to hit it big.

Luckily, you’re not alone. We talked to 15 of our most successful customers to find out what’s helped them drive more sign ups, get more conversions, and stay successful in a challenging market landscape. Here’s the advice they gave to anyone starting a brand new ecommerce business:

Learn Everything You Can

Be a podcast sponge! You’re busy handling the day to day of growing a business, but take time to listen to podcasts on everything entrepreneurial. Have them playing in the background while you work. Every week we hear something that pertains to what we’re doing/what we can do better. Always we open to trying new processes even if things are going great.

Oh and buy lots of succulents for your office space!

—Lora and Darren from The Succulent Source

 

Keep Your Team Lean

Keep your team as small as possible. We’re a very small team and everybody kind of does everything all the time. I suspect if we had three times as many people we’d get half as much done. We’ve just been very lucky that the product connected with people and that’s hard to control, obviously. It pays to be lucky.

Paul from Hubble Contacts

 

My advice would be to stay lean. If you are at a place where you need to add more employees and lease additional space to handle your growth, strongly consider raising your prices to slow the growth before you expand your costs.

Kevin from 80s Tees

 

Always Know What's Most Important

You can’t do everything. So stop trying.

Dave from ZUMI

 

Prioritization is key. We have a lean team, which allows us to be nimble, but we also have to make choices on where we choose to spend out time. Not having time to do everything should not be considered a weakness when it comes to running a growing business. Instead, it’s important to make sure that the initiatives that are going to have the biggest impact on your business are getting the manpower that they need.

Lauren from Dormify

 

Keep it simple. If your offer isn’t right, nothing else works.

—Tyler from Bombtech Golf

 

When you are first starting, you will have so many ideas for marketing or new products to sell that you will want to get to everything as fast as possible. Although your mind might be in the right place, it can be counterintuitive, because you begin to overwhelm yourself as your to-do list starts growing and growing.

It’s best to take things one at a time, write down your ideas and don’t rush to them. Everything will work its way into your business plan as you begin to make progress slow and steady.

Jesus from Paper Tacos

 

Try Everything

Don’t be afraid to try something new or even tweak something that is already successful. The conversation we’re having is a perfect example. I mean, we were doing okay with the buy one free, get one free; but then we saw something new or different and said, “hey let’s give this a shot.” And in a matter of two hours, I’ve got something completely different on my website that happens to seem to be significantly more successful. And if it wasn’t, what did I lose? Three, four days, two, two three weeks of trying something?

Greg from Jumparoos

 

Try to do something to progress your company forward every day, regardless how small the task. It’s the small wins that add up!

Conrad from Samui Bags

 

Keep trying new strategies until something clicks! I can’t even remember all of the marketing and sales strategies we’ve tried over the years, but we’re now finally gaining traction and word of mouth sales!

—Valarie from Foodez Frames

 

There Won’t Always Be a Right Answer

Plan to fail often, but fail smartly. Measure, make changes, repeat.

—Luke from Nested Bean

 

I’ve listened to a lot of business audio books in the last 12 months. To me, it feels like every piece of advice on strategy has an opposite and equally valid argument on the other side. That can be confusing and paralyzing in the beginning—it was for me, anyway.

I think you have to accept there are no right or wrong answers. You can waste a lot of time searching for the undeniable truth. Time is our most valuable resource, so just accept the shades of grey and proceed with caution.

—Stephen from New Running Gear

Just Do It!

Just go out and do it. When John came up with the idea, it was a conscious decision not to study the market and develop extensive business plans. We were just gonna get something up there and test it and see how it goes. We act quickly here because we have to. Just go out and do it.

Mark and John from John’s Crazy Socks

 

Don’t give up. And don’t get ahead of yourself. Some people make 

bad decisions and even though they have a really good idea, they are terrible at execution and spend money foolishly or buy T-Shirts before they’ve even launched. I meet a lot of people who say they are about to launch their company and then you talk to them two years later and they still haven’t done it.

Just get started and do your own thing and don’t get wrapped up in all of the things that you “should” be doing because there isn’t a should, I don’t think.

I just keep thinking about the word grit. You gotta have grit.

Hannah from Honest Beef

 

To someone that’s debating whether or not start their own business for the first time, I would say “Do it, don’t wait.” There has never been an easier time to do it. The amount of free resources and tools out there to get started are immense. Even in the seven years since we started our company, this landscape has drastically changed.

Things will never be perfect, so make the jump, experience is the best teacher. You will make mistakes, but in the end you will be stronger for it.

—Marley from Spirit Hoods

Want more advice from our customers? Learn about their challenges, marketing tactics, and more with our library of customer stories.

entrepreneurship, Inspiration, eCommerce

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