How to start an eBay business involves methodologies that mirror starting any offline business and many new entrants try and turn a ‘hobby’ into an income where they can leave their present job. Whilst this can and does happen it's more of a fluke. This is the number 1 mistake that budding eBay entrepreneurs make!
In order to help you get started ‘successfully’ I have put together five important tips which you should find very useful.
1. Ensure you have a business plan
This is the most fundamental step to take to ensure success. It's critical. If you ‘fail to plan - plan to fail’. The business plan doesn't have to be the most complicated document you have or will ever write in your life. It must be a clear summary of goals which you want to achieve and the strategies and tactics which you will adopt in order to achieve those goals whether they be lifestyle orientated, financial or both.
The business plan should encompass analysis on eBay as a market, what is or isn't selling, will the products you envisage selling or perhaps buying for resale offline have a market? What about competitive pricing? It should also include the structure of the business i. e. a limited company or sole proprietorship.
It sounds like a lot of hard work. It can be but it can also be fun when you watch how your goals start becoming reality!
This is sometimes referred to as market intelligence. If you are a beginner to eBay this is vital. To ensure the best possibility of success, research the market - see what is selling. If what you're looking at selling hasn't got a market you run the risk of losing money. There's a simple formula
Find Good Market = Get Competitive Product = Make Money
Don't over complicate it. A great initial place to start your research is a free site pages. ebay.com/sellercentral/hotitems. pdf . This will give you a lot of data to work from as a starter.
3. The Store
As with any business there are choices to be made. For an eBay venture this will encompass what ‘format’ you are going to present your goods (assuming you are a seller).
Many eBayers have started out buying a few items first then selling a few items and learnt as they progressed. That's fine! That's the way they started. The key is that many have progressed. The successful ones have their own store. I'm sure you will have seen quite a few of these stores through your eBay searches on previous occasions. The point here is that depending on your plan as outlined above you will have to decide which ‘path’ you will take - the slow and easy organic growth or the eBay store as a beginning.
Many of my clients have actually taken a ‘hybrid’ solution. They have already had existing ‘offline’ businesses and found an additional niche which would fit into their existing business model using eBay. This has been a better and more cost effective alternative to them than having a fully fledged ecommerce store.
You can have the best business plan, the best product, even the most competitive pricing but if your presentation sucks then you are not going to make sales.
The number one turn off for bidders is bad presentation. This encompasses poor quality photographs, bad layout and very poor item descriptions.
What many people fail to realise that eBay is an auction. It's not just about having wonderful products - it's about the customer feeling that she has just bought something of value and benefit to her. You only get one chance to make a first impression.
Look at competitors sites - see how they present and try and better them. Remember this is business!
5. Payment and Delivery
You may think payment is success. You've achieved sales. Yes and No. A satisfied customer is success after the process. You see a satisfied customer will buy off you again!
Payment is nearly always via paypal. Most people seem to be comfortable with that. You should always make it easy for people to purchase. One vital area for success after a sale has been made is to thank the customer. You would be amazed how many people do not do this. It's a wasted opportunity to develop a commercial relationship!
Delivery is where things can get really screwed up. Items should be well packed and where possible presented. This encompasses whether the item is ‘posted’ or downloaded. As a potential store owner you should also be aware of drop shipping allowing you to act as an affiliate without taking on stock risks. Certainly worth considering as your business grows.
If you are looking at how to start an ebay business then you should as a minimum consider these five tips as a starting point.
Without Action you’re dead in the water. You need to advance beyond the Plan and the Market Research. Many eBayers are taking the right action and they are the ones that make the money and have been able to quit their day jobs!
If you are starting out, or even an advanced eBayer then visit eBay-Zone.com . See how easy it can be to set up an eBay Niche store.
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About the Author:Peter Burke MBA has been writing journals and Articles for publication for over 7 years and is Managing director of a Consulting Company in the UK.