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Did you know that there are more than 500,000 new businesses started every month in the US*? Crazy, right? I’m pretty sure you want to be one of them or you wouldn’t be here, so stop procrastinating and start building now.

Here is your 3-step action plan for today:

1) Sign up to get free tips for building your business + you’ll receive my guide to the Top 10 Mistakes New Entrepreneurs Make


2) Visit my blog to start getting clear, understandable, and actionable info to help you build your business

3) For personalized assistance, take a look at how I help new entrepreneurs and make an appointment with me

Have a great day and be proud of yourself for taking your first step towards becoming a business owner 🙂

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Guest Post: The Website Builder Secret They Didn’t Tell You

By on June 20, 2016

You’ve got a great new idea for an e-commerce website business. Investors have given you the green light and you are good to go.

Next on your to do list is to give your chosen digital agency the nod and your new world beating website will be given the development go ahead.

But wait!

Are you missing something? Is there something they didn’t tell you?

Open Source software may be “free” as in “given away” but out of the box it needs a ton of work to customise and make it look like the beautiful creation you envisaged it to be.

That Takes Time…And Time Is Money

A typical Magento developer on the top of their game charges out at around $100 per hour. And there’s no advantage in paying out at the cheaper end of the market because at $20 per hour it will take five times as long to get to the finished product.

Hot developers are in demand and do stuff very quickly. In a market where constant change is invariable you need to get to market as fast as possible to start repaying your investors.

When Boo.com collapsed in 2000, with it went £80m of investors cash. The original dot com bubble claimed many victims and this was one of the most high profile.

Lavish offices and thousands of staff on the payroll meant that the company swallowed four times the original seed fund of $30 million.

They had the right idea but the wrong implementation and we are still learning the lesson today.

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Ready, Fire, Aim!

The list of internet businesses that have pivoted from their original idea is eye opening:

Did you know that Twitter began life as “Odeo”?

The idea was to let people subscribe to podcasts but when iTunes got established the founders could see the writing on the wall. Odeo morphed into Twitter. Now it’s worth around $10 Billion.

Facebook started as “Facemash”

A “Hotornot” image comparison website. Now it’s worth over $334 Billion.

Instagram was originally a location service…

Where you shared your pictures and “hung out”. Today’s Value? Around an eye watering $35 Million.

If anyone of these bright ideas had run out of investor cash before they transformed from an ugly duckling then they wouldn’t be around today.

With hundreds of thousands of e-commerce stores all vying for attention your focus should not be on developing a new e-commerce solution that drives the competition into submission.

It should be on using your available resources to develop marketing techniques that outsmart them.

Using Customer Experience Tools

For example User Replay is a service that allows you to replay user sessions on your e-commerce website and identify the reasons for abandoned carts or other event based metrics.

Kana delivers software that enables users to take control of their browsing experience and makes online interactions more effective.

There are many more customer experience tools available to delve into the mind of your buyer and implementing any one of them will put you way ahead of the competitor that chooses to focus most of their energy and resources on developing e-commerce software.

It’s for that reason that online website builders are beginning to be taken seriously.

The combination of a scaleable hosting solution together with proven reliable architecture mean that there is far less risk to take onboard.

Development is quicker and far more cost effective than traditional website building techniques.

There is no point in reinventing the wheel.

Online website builders like Shopify, Bigcommerce, and, more recently, Lemonstand have an approach to e-commerce website development that can give you results far superior to standard digital agency output and at a fraction of the cost.

Here are some of the advantages to be gained by building your next e-commerce store “in the cloud”:

Hosting Scalability

By creating your website using the latest in Content Delivery Networks (CDN) you will be building in a secure and robust environment that will scale as you grow.

There is no need to employ server specialists to monitor your own servers and deal with the endless upgrade cycle of the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) platform. It’s all taken care of for you.

Customisable Templates

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for being afraid of using a mass e-commerce platform is that you’ll end up looking like everyone else.

Most e-commerce providers have around eighty responsive templates for you to choose from and they are all highly customisable using simple website development techniques.

In fact the latest templates from Lemonstand use Open Source libraries that make development of your own custom look and feel a breeze.

Third Party Integration

When online website builders first came to prominence they were clunky and difficult to use.

Now, instead of trying to incorporate every feature into their design they use integration with third party “best of breed” solutions by default.

Now you can integrate your e-commerce solution with Accounting and Salesforce functions or email solutions like Mailchimp and GetResponse.

Low Cost

The monthly fee charged equates to what you would pay for a decent server to host your Open Source solution. What you save by managing it yourself is lost in maintenance and hosting fees.

Giving You Back Your Most Valuable Asset – Time

If you are paying developers to produce a custom e-commerce solution then they are using up your time bank. Time is not infinite. We only have so much of it to use before our work is done.

It’s far more preferable to begin with something that does the job and evolve it as you gain customer feedback. Using customer experience tools will show you where to invest wisely.

Summary

Building your e-commerce solution “in the cloud” allows you to take advantage of the very latest in hosting technology and build quickly on “barebones” e-commerce technology.

You don’t need to sink large sums of money into website development to start taking orders quickly freeing up cash to spend on customer experience analysis.

 


TonyCooperTony Cooper

Tony Cooper has been building e-commerce websites since he first discovered the Internet in 1999 and has worked for several successful internet startups.

Now he runs a website dedicated to e-commerce website builder reviews and associated tools to help the startup entrepreneur.

You’ll find all the information you need to build a successful e-commerce website at Storebuilder.co.uk

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How Your Second Language Can Help You in Business – Trust Me, It’s Not What You Think

By on June 14, 2016

Today is a quick and somewhat quirky episode, but it’s a really unique tip I want to share that might help you make better business decisions. I’m a bit of a Freakonomics addict. While I still run this business, I

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Guest Post: 5 Crucial Problems of Family Businesses

By on June 7, 2016

It’s guest post week. Today I have Dayton Uttinger talking about the troubles many family businesses face. Here’s Dayton: You’ve overcome the twelve different obstacles that others have set for you and the forty that you created for yourself and

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Being Right vs. Being Successful

By on May 30, 2016

Today I want to share with you a bit of advice that my mom gave me long ago. It took me a really long time to be able to actually hear this advice and apply it, but ever since I’ve

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Guest Post: 5 Personality Traits to Evaluate Before Starting a Business

By on May 24, 2016

This week’s guest post is from Kayla Matthews (Image by Viktor Hanacek): Starting a business often sounds like a promising prospect. On your own, it’s easier to reap the benefits, work around a flexible schedule and take full control of

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ISO: Minority Angel Investors

By on May 17, 2016

This is a repost that was originally shared on the Chicago Urban League’s Linkedin page. I typically keep my work at CUL separate from this blog, but I am too excited about this event coming up to do that. Join

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Guest Post: Why Entrepreneurs Should Never Stop Learning

By on May 10, 2016

Another guest post for you today, this time from Danielle Levine. Here she is: In the words of Indra Nooyi, the CEO of Pepsi: “You must continually increase your learning, the way you think, and the way you approach your

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Guest Post: Common Small Business Accounting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

By on May 3, 2016

This is a sponsored guest post. Accounting is an important part of any small business. While it might not be the most glamorous part of your job, messing up your numbers can stunt the growth of your business, so you want

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Guest Post: Definitive Guide to Getting a Mentor, with Exact Scripts

By on April 19, 2016

It’s guest post time 🙂 This week I have Bennett Garner discussing how to find a mentor, which is something that everyone knows is important but many of us (myself included) have failed to ever actually do. As an entrepreneur,

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The Tool That Helps You Define Your Business’ Brand

By on April 12, 2016

Today will be a quick post because I’m going to pull from a company called Brand Amplitude and will just give an overview and then send you off to their resources. Brand Amplitude has an awesome tool for helping business owners