There are many advantages to owning an e-commerce business. But if you’re successful, you’ll probably find that it’s just as demanding as any other job. In some ways, it’s even more demanding.
However, there are certain strategies for streamlining your business so that you’re not spending every waking minute on it. And most of these tips will actually maximize your profits as well.
Find tools that work for you
Technology has streamlined so much of our work for us that it’s usually easy to find tools to make our jobs easier. For marketing, you can schedule your content to automatically post to social media with tools like HootSuite and Tailwind. But there are also tools and apps for tracking inventory, bookkeeping, email management, and much more.
The best way to streamline your business is to outsource as much of your activity as you can. Obviously, you’ll have to take cost into consideration. But most of the time, you’ll be surprised at how inexpensive it is compared to spending time and resources doing it yourself.
The key is to stick to the business activities that only you can do and hire out most of the rest. For example, you can use statement printing services to print and mail out your statements. And you can hire virtual assistants to handle correspondence and marketing tasks. Virtually any task can be outsourced, so long as you find a reputable business to help you out.
Make a schedule and stick to it
It may seem simple, but one habit which can kill a business faster than anything is a lax work schedule. Maybe you started this business so you could sleep in and work when you wanted. But most of us find out very quickly that we’re not working as much as we think we are if we’re not on a schedule.
This is especially true in the beginning, when we’re trying to get our venture off the ground. And it also helps if you make your schedule very detailed. For example, set aside blocks of time to answer emails, return phone calls, source products, take inventory, etc. And do your best to only do those activities during their specified times. This keeps you from getting sidetracked with time-consuming tasks.
Take a day or two to re-evaluate your business model. See if you can find ways to cut corners or eliminate unnecessary tasks without affecting the quality of your work.
Some people find they are able to save time by removing their phone number from the contact page and making email their only available communication channel. Others find it beneficial to reduce the number of suppliers they order from, or just the number of products they sell. This way, their inventory and shipments are much easier to keep track of.
For instance, you might decide to only purchase Amazon return pallets for a period of time rather than spending hours a day searching for multiple items and vendors. You may need to comb your books to figure out which vendors tend to be the most profitable for you to work with.
Take time off
This may not seem like a good way to streamline your business, but it will help you avoid burnout. And when people suffer burnout, they lose enthusiasm for their businesses and their work almost always suffers.
So, the best way to make sure you’re as productive as possible is to schedule at least a day off every week to unwind. And just like with your work schedule, make a commitment to stick to it.