Starting up e-commerce? Think ahead – part 1

You do not need to physically start a company today to be in startup mode. Even after 2 years of operations you are still in startup mode until you establish solid business fundations. And that takes time and knowledge – not necessarily huge funds. If I could turn back time and get back to the starting point – I would introduce some tools much faster.

We already have a functioning company on the market, all the hard work on establishing webshop, logistics etc. was done and sales are going good – at least we think so. There are a lot of publications and books covering the first steps but less on what to do next. I will focus on the second part. 

When we start selling, we add products to webshop, we advertise but we often forget about the complete process chain. It is very tempting to sell what we have and even more what we do not have – quick reorder and we are good. On a smaller scale it works but we shall think big – we want to build business and get away from startup mode.

Most e-commerce platforms have a stock management option but lack crucial parts from the process chain. They are designed to support sales – but you want to have the whole team on deck – as sales is just part of the process. Purchasing goods, stock management, logistics, claim management – we need to see the big picture. 

That is why it is very important to think about what we will do in 2-4 years. What services and products we will be selling, how big sales will be, how we will deal with claims and product resending. Those are hard to predict – yes. But going 5x or even 10x what we think it will be – will save us a lot of time on cleaning up the mess.

More you sell and the more markets you serve the more complex all processes become. Different VAT rates, B2B, B2C, export invoices, correction invoices… Also talk with your accantacy if you need to deliver stock reports annually. With the management system it will take much less time and be easier for the whole team. 

On the market you can find tools like Baselinker or Subiekt (for Polish market). Start using one from day 1 – It will help you move faster. In Part 2 I will show tools I use and how they cooperate with each other.

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