There are a lot of skills required for running a business. During the startup stage, entrepreneurs often have to wear multiple hats as small budgets make outsourcing or hiring talent difficult. Thus, entrepreneurs learn new skills from various ecommerce resources. Other skills are developed through trial and error. This list includes 10 business skills you need to start an online store. Don’t worry if you haven’t mastered some of these skills yet, you can always learn them or outsource work in these areas as your business grows.
In ecommerce, you’ll be using marketing skills to gain new customers, grow your social media audience, write compelling product descriptions, plan promotions and more. Fortunately, you can find countless marketing articles on a range of marketing topics online. Whether you need to learn how to optimize your store or master Instagram influencer marketing, most entrepreneurs can develop marketing skills through trial and error.
Marketing skills are the lifeline for ecommerce businesses. Many of the top-performing stores on Oberlo have entrepreneurs with marketing backgrounds running them. The ability to market your products allows you to create ads with better results, understand which Shopify apps will likely boost sales or write an email that converts into sales.
Most entrepreneurs can confirm that sales skills are essential for running an online store. If you decide to supplement your dropshipped products with exclusive ones or if you want to have your products in physical retail stores sales skills are essential.
Sara Blakely once said, “Everything about my journey to get Spanx off the ground entailed me having to be a salesperson – from going to the hosiery mills to get a prototype made to calling Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. I had to position myself to get five minutes in the door with buyers.”
For ecommerce businesses, you’ll still be required to be a salesperson. If a customer is unsure about whether or not a specific product is right for them, you’ll need to be able to persuade them to buy the product if it’s right for them.
Sales skills will be beneficial for your business because it allows you to understand the difference between a hard and soft sell. By understanding the difference between the two, you’ll have a better understanding of when to use each one. For example, many think of ‘hard sells’ when they think of sales. An example of a hard sell would be ‘Buy this lip gloss right NOW.’ An example of a soft sell would be giving away a free sample-sized version of the lip gloss or a guide on picking the right lip gloss for your skin tone. It’s important to know where and when to use soft and hard sells on your online store.
As a store owner, you’re responsible for managing your store’s customer service. You’ll be required to process refunds, respond to customer inquiries and manage feedback. Having customer service skills will allow you to keep customers even if they’re unhappy with their first purchase. Also, it’ll let you understand your customer’s needs because you’ll be in regular contact with them. You’ll also regularly need to use your customer service skills while communicating with customers before, during and after their purchase.
Customer service skills are essential for online stores as it allows you to build relationships with your customers. The stronger your customer relations, the easier it is to serve them products they love. If customers are constantly complaining about the quality of a specific product, you could easily change the supplier and offer a higher quality version. This keeps your customers coming back. It also lets your customers know that you’re committed to keeping them happy and listening to their needs.
Jeff Bezos once said, “The best customer service is if the customer doesn’t need to call you, doesn’t need to talk to you. It just works.” While you might not be manufacturing the product, you have the power to choose products with high order volume and high reviews. Taking the time to read the product reviews before importing a product into your store will help you understand whether or not the product should even be on your store. Add products to your store that your customers would love everything about: the look, the feel, the quality. If you do that, you’ll maintain a positive reputation.
Financial acumen is one of the most important business skills you’ll ever need. When you’re first starting your online store, you might not take it seriously. However, as your business grows, you’ll need to master your ability to budget, invest, and forecast. You’ll be required to pay your government’s taxes. Also, you’ll need to know what type of things you can write off. You’ll also need to make sure that you’re still making a profit after all costs have been paid.
Understanding accounting and finance will allow you to take your business to new heights. You’ll be better equipped to determine how much money should be spent on marketing, employees and more. In addition, you’ll know how to save your business some money when sales are generally lower. You’ll also know how to grow your profits through reinvestment.
Now let’s go into some soft business skills you’ll need. Most entrepreneurs need to be adaptable. Even if you choose to become a dropshipper, you’ll make use of this skill. For example, during Chinese New Year, manufacturer’s shut down production for a week or two. During this time, you can choose to accept orders. However, shipments will be noticeably delayed for customers. Most online stores decide to stop running ads and processing orders during this time. As an adaptable person, you’ll know when to pivot or make changes to your business to accommodate events like Chinese New Year as they happen.
Being adaptable is a business skill you need to start an online store because it keeps your business alive during tough times. When technology changes, some businesses choose not to change their business model. However, this can eventually kill the business. For example, BlockBuster, a video rental company, chose not to change their business model to include online video streaming. They had an opportunity to buy Netflix but decided against it. In the end, BlockBuster closed their doors and Netflix’s model survived.
Time management skills are needed to start an online store. Many store owners start their business’ part-time while still holding full-time jobs. Balancing the workload of a small business in the few hours after work can be difficult. After a long workday, it’s normal to feel exhausted. However, you still have work that needs to be done in a timely manner to ensure customer satisfaction.
You’ll use time management skills to ensure that orders are processed the same day your customers order. Since products are being shipped from China to countries as far as Canada and the United States, it’s important that you don’t delay order processing.
One of the great things about mastering your time management business skill is that you learn to maximize your time with the same number of hours. You’ll know which tasks are priorities allowing you to ensure your time is spent well.
One of the business skills you need to start an online store is determination. Og Mandino once said, “Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” Determination will help you overcome adversity. It’s what keeps entrepreneurs motivated even if they have several failed business ventures under their belt. It’s what helps them ignore the words of their haters and skeptics. If you have a big goal that you’re trying to accomplish, you can help develop your determination as it helps drive you.
The best thing about being a determined entrepreneur is that it makes adversity bearable. Most determined businesspeople don’t even realize they’re experiencing adversity because they’re so committed to achieving their goal. No negative thought or obstacle can stand in the way of their success. They’re ready to handle every challenge and do whatever it takes to make their dreams come true.
Resourceful entrepreneurs always find a way of figuring things out. They know who to contact if they’re having a problem they can’t solve. They know how to use search engines to learn how to do something. They know when to ask for help and when to solve a problem on their own.
Being resourceful means you know how, where and when to get the information you need. By being resourceful you become an independent entrepreneur. It allows you to find information on your own without constantly needing to rely on others for help. Whatever you need to figure out you’ll always find a way.
Sometimes, the answers you need can’t be searched for online. In those cases, a resourceful person would take the lead and run an experiment to find out the answer on his or her own.
Creativity is one of many business skills you need to start an online store. Even as a store owner, it plays an integral role. You’ll be utilizing creativity when writing product descriptions, coming up with ideas to make your website stand out, and marketing your online store. Problem-solving also requires some creativity. Sometimes to solve complicated problems, you have to think outside the box for a solution that allows you to run your business without negative consequences.
Creativity is a great business skill to have because it allows you to differentiate your brand from competitors. It also allows you to find other paths to your goals when obstacles present themselves. In addition, it allows you to come up with solutions to complicated problems.
As a store owner, you’ll also be utilizing your strategy skills. Creating a strategy for long-term growth will keep your business alive for more than just a few months. Those who are able to strategize can see a future for their business and have a plan of attack for it. They don’t merely create an online store to make money right now. Instead, they create a business to make money for life.
One of the key benefits of being able to strategize is that you’re able to consider the long-term consequences of short-term decisions. You’ll be able to foresee potential problems and come up with a plan to minimize risk. You’ll also know which risks are worth taking and which can be disastrous. In addition, you’ll know where you plan on being in five, ten or even twenty years.
Which business skills have you already mastered? Are there any other business skills you think should be on this list? Leave a comment below to let us know.