6 mindsets to avoid for new e-commerce startup
No doubt, e-commerce is hot nowadays and we have witnessed many new e-commerce startups in recent years. Like any other industry, only the strongest ones made it and many have gone.
From our observations, there are some common and shared mindsets for those who didn't make it, and hopefully these will be helpful if you intend to, or are starting a new e-commerce business.
Read also: 7 reasons why online fashion retailers FAIL
#1. Blindly copy what others are doing
This seems like a sequel from the group buying cloning craze back in year 2010, many are just blindly starting e-marketplaces nowadays. In most cases, they have no idea what they are up to, it could be the most 'suicidal business' to start in e-commerce now.
If you are not Rocket Internet or some well-funded setup, it is more like how you differentiate from the rest, in terms of business model, product / service offerings and understanding consumer's demand.
#2. Build a website or app first then wait...
Yes, this is usually what happens subsequently after copying (as mentioned in #1 above). Some business owners still think that customers, traffic, sales will drop from the sky after getting the website launched.
The slightly better ones know they need to run marketing campaigns via search, social media etc. but they have no idea how to do it. No traffic, no leads, no sales, remember this.
#3. Start with almost zero resources
As mentioned here, e-commerce is not something that you can always start with zero cost or minimal resources. How can you hope for business growth when you don't believe into your own business and invest?
Unless you are offering something that is so unique, it is best to plan ahead and commit the resources for business development and marketing. The smaller you invest (money, time and effort), the smaller chance you will achieve any success.
#4. Too confident on your offerings
It is good to be confident in what you are doing but it might not be the case for over-confident. We have seen many who brag about offering something different, or products that no one else is selling in the market.
There are definitely both opportunity and risk for this, but being unique or special means nothing if the market demand is not strong.
#5. Focus too much on raising fund
It is not rare to see media hyping e-commerce business securing say $1 million funding, in most cases is this considered an achievement? Business should be proud of $1 million profit, instead of $1 million funding.
While we understand certain "make the world a better place" or "conquer the market" businesses require fund to scale, shouldn't entrepreneurs focus on making the business profitable (or big potential to be profitable) before anything else?
#6. Trying too hard to get attention
There are many entrepreneurs and startups attending every possible events, seminars and conferences. While sometimes it works for acquiring leads or generally business development, it is worth considering whether the time is better spent on the actual business itself.
Some are also trying too hard to get media coverage. While you might get some PR juices, the media will come look for you by the time when you achieve real success.