Recall that at the start of this article I mentioned how easy it was to start an online business? The other side of that coin is that every man and his dog is doing exactly that. Online consumers are jaded, and impatient. It is not easy to convince them to spend their dollars with your relatively unknown startup because there are millions of relatively unknown startups, and most of them are complete rubbish.
A Web analytics program tells you how shoppers are using your site. It reveals where users come from, what pages they visit and what keyword searches brought them to the site. An analytics package enables merchants to calculate their conversion rate. (Your “conversion rate” is the percentage of your visitors who make a purchase — a critical fact to know and track over time.)
On paper, this whole checklist might seem like your business should run like clockwork. In reality, you will not get everything right the first time (no one ever does). You might be losing customers during checkout, your content might not be competitive enough to show up in search engines, your business value offering might be misdirected , and so on.
From my development work with hundreds of managers and executives in leadership programs in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America, from research interviews with many managers in the United States and abroad, and from witnessing managers facing a range of critical moments, I have concluded that their thinking and experience tend to point to a core of just 15 mission-critical leadership principles that vary surprisingly little among companies or countries.
Here’s the thing about checklists–they change all the time. One day’s tasks will differ from the next day’s. One holiday’s packing list will differ from the next. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll need to design from scratch over and over again. Once you’ve perfect one design to suit your style exactly, you can use it as a template for future checklists.
Realize a couple of key facts: A) the prices for e-commerce software have fallen, so you don’t need to spend a fortune unless your needs are complicated, and B) many of today’s e-commerce packages include a full range of tools in one package, from an inventory management system to marketing tools. Many of today’s merchants prefer this “all-in-one” approach because it makes life simpler.
The first three points in this startup checklist basically require you to do adequate research into your market. You have to know what the value of your offering is to the people you are offering it to. For example, there's no point in pricing your premium content at $3 a posting when the exact same content is being given away at a larger, more established site.