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How to launch an online business on a low budget

11/04/2016 - Jordi Ordoñez

We’re going with a classic among classics, a question that you’ve probably asked yourself a million times, “How can I launch an online business on a low budget?”  There’s no magic formula, just a simple answer: invest in recruitment.

All kinds of emails have passed through my account asking for advice, tips, and other needs.  Probably one of the most common problems I’ve found is topical, “I spent so much on building my online store and I don’t have any sales.”  For practical purposes, operating an online store is the same as an offline store and basically the same as any business: if you don’t sell anything, you don’t earn anything.

In a physical store, people are often sensible; in an online store they’re not.  Everyone knows that if we open a bar on the corner, people will come.  Someone will pass by and want a coffee or beer.  Sometimes they’ll even want to have both at once, which is a bit weird but we’ll get to that later.  What we don’t know is if this corner bar will have visitors and sales when it’s in the cloud.

The good thing about the Internet is that everyone can find you.  The downside is that the same is true for the guy next door.  The good news is you can have customers from all around the world.  The bad news is you’re not that easy to pinpoint.

When it’s time to analyze why your business isn’t working, you’ll have to think really hard.  Many of these assumptions can be narrowed down to, “Look, no one enters the store” or “Look, those who come in aren’t potential customers (or qualitative traffic)”.

What’s bad about my e-commerce?

Perhaps it’s not in the best position, perhaps it’s not the most beautiful store in the world…anyway.  I’ve seen real crap at the sales design level.  As an example, I’ll give you the sales curve of a store that doesn’t have a mobile version and is laid out in tables.  It goes like this:

googlebot

It takes… a long time to load the page.

mobile

This is the graph showing orders

gráfico

Are you surprised?  Wait, I’ll show you the orders graph for just mobile phones:

grafico

116 orders in August without a mobile version.  We’re talking about a website that takes an average of 8 seconds to load each page from your mobile, whose checkout has 5 steps with 0 usable data entry forms.  It’s very sketchy, seriously.  They sell a ton.  Why?  Because the have a ton of traffic.

It’s a niche website with 35-50k visits a month:

grafico

As such, what this post is saying is: you don’t need to have a beautiful store.  You need to have a store that’s usable, where you can buy products and have a good stream of traffic.  Furthermore, you will gain customer trust over time.  That will come.  But, what should you do to launch an online business with little money?  Make sure that money brings you more qualitative traffic to what you already have.

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