Yes, you have a business website, constant posting online, availability of products, and the confidence to materialize your dreams. But just because you have these, does not mean you will realize success easily. You need to master a business skills list to increase your edge in your field.
So, what differentiates a successful e-commerce business from a poor one? It all boils down to hard skills. Hard skills are an integral set of competencies that allows a person to perform specialized tasks and responsibilities. They are over and beyond the traditional soft skills.
We compiled a business skills list that you must possess if you are planning to own an e-commerce website. All of these can be learned and can be adapted by reading books or through sheer trial and error. Everything boils down to your appetite to learn these skills and your desire to be successful in doing online business.
Skill #1: Knowledge of Accounting
Face it! Business is all about money. While it is fun to talk to customers and do your pitch, the process does not end there. You have to keep track of the money you have invested and the return of it in your bank account.
Most entrepreneurs do not keep track of this. They prefer not to be involved with the encoding and assessment of whether the business is doing good and not. Even receipts are put in different places waiting for the details to fade due to the lack of attention given to them.
True enough, auditors and bookkeepers can be hired to do all the work for you. But there lies the problem! This is money we are talking about. You cannot just trust the earnings and even the outflow of your money to someone you do not know. Even if it is someone you have worked with or a relative of yours, money has its ways of talking into people’s heads.
This is the reason why you should learn how to do basic accounting. You do not have to know the difficult part of computing and comparing; the most essential part is knowing where your money goes – the inflow and outflow. Mastering the basics will give you a working knowledge of your finances.
Make it a point to make expenditures as transparent as they can be with proper documentation. Ask your personnel to do the following:
- Create an excel file,
- Properly tag expenses if they are an asset, consumable, reusable, overhead (if any),
- Tally the costs by category, and
- Compare with your projected expenses.
From here, review if you are hitting your target sales or not. Make adjustments and cuts whenever necessary.
Skill #2: Marketing
E-commerce is as difficult and laborious as managing a physical store. The competition is cutthroat, and there are many online stores as there are physical stores. The only difference is that your scope and influence is wider, be it local or international.
What makes e-commerce working is the efficacy of the marketing plan. As the manager of your own business, you must show your astuteness in creating campaigns and plans to attract new customers.
Some useful campaigns you can consider:
Monthly offerings – these are aligned with monthly celebrations like Valentine’s Day or Christmas. If you want, you can also make a special summer sale.
Payday sales – these are frequently used by any online business. Consider integrating this plan to yours as they often turn out to be lucrative and catchy to many customers.
Promos – Buy 1 take 1 or Buy 2 take 4 schemes still have their charm for many customers. As long as they think they will get more, they will buy it even if it is not a necessity for them.
Skill #3: Sales and Customer engagement
Doing the right pitch directly and effectively is still essential in running your online business. E-commerce works by getting your message across in a persuasive, strong way. Usually, they use lesser words coupled with attractive graphics, which make your product stand out more against competitors.
While knowing what to say and how to convince customers to patronize your product, turning them into loyal patrons is another story. The e-commerce industry banks on positive customer engagement. This means customers are more inclined to patronize brands and companies that put their concerns and questions first. Regardless of how obnoxious a customer is, a business must maintain a degree of tolerance towards them.
The online business that can pull this off often receives more popularity through word of mouth and reviews left online. Make it a point to exercise tolerance and provide all the information that a client might need.
Skill #4: Project management
Many online business owners have full-time jobs of their own. There is a tall order to manage time effectively to meet all the needs and demands of the business and their other responsibilities. From managing shipment to checking inventories down to auditing the expenses of the business, all of this must be managed and executed in a swift and orderly manner.
To help you manage your business, below are some useful tips to consider:
Make a checklist of to-do tasks – this enables you to keep track of orders and the things that you have to accomplish. It also keeps your customers happy as they do not encounter delays.
Try chatbots on social media – normally, there are auto-responses in Messenger that accommodates clients 24/7 simultaneously. You should consider doing this.
Skill # 5: Grit
Failures and angry customers are normal for any business. You might encounter dissatisfied clients trying to destroy you by posting bad feedback on your site or asking for full refunds. Even if things do not go your way, continue to persevere and sell your products online. There will always be good and bad days, which are unavoidable. You just have to deal with it!
Skill #6: Experience in the online dynamics
E-commerce business is all about understanding how online platforms function and amplify your popularity. To be successful, you have to be adept at navigating the online world. It might be hard for someone new, but once you get the hang of it, selling products in different parts of the world would not be impossible.
Here are things that you can do:
Watch YouTube videos on how to be successful online – there has been a lot of content about this. You would not be falling short.
Take time understanding social media platforms – they can be a bit tricky, but we promise that your efforts to learn this new skill would not be in vain.
Skill #7: Strategic planning and thinking
This is perhaps the most important business skills on our list. The online world is filled with the competition; almost everyone is selling and doing gimmicks left and right. If you are striving to be successful online, all you have got to do is to learn how to make use of all the technologies that you have and incorporate it with the basic marketing principles you know. After all, managing an online platform is not different from a physical business. In short, successful online managers know when to amplify an initiative, create a new one using all the things that s/he has on the table.
Skill #8: Creativity
The majority of the consumers that you will have are millennials. This age bracket is all about appearances and less functionality. While some value the latter, the majority of them are into the glitz and glamor of the products online. In enticing them, you would need to put up a nice photo or publicity material. It works most of the time and has become the main driver of sales.
Simple tips that you can do include:
Taking good pictures of your product – you do not need a fancy camera. All you need is good lighting, a good angle, and you are ready to go.
Think of catchy taglines – A great tagline should accompany your picture. One-liners often do the trick — no need to overthink this one.
Post on the peak hours – do it between 8 and 11 in the evening. This is the peak hours when netizens are actively surfing online platforms.
There is so much to be included in our business skills list. While these eight points encapsulate the fundamentals, there are other skills that you would need, including coding for websites or using a variety of applications. The most important thing of all would be your passion for learning everything about doing online business.