3 things you need to outsource to grow your online businessBy Amirul Mokhtar · 14th June, 2016
Time is a big challenge that part-time entrepreneurs face when running an online business. They go to work during the day and after work, will spend time on their business. They all have dreams of spending quality time with family, go on long vacations, and see the money roll in. That is why they started an online business in the first place.
But that dream is very far off if you don't leverage your time effectively. When first starting out, it will be difficult because you are still figuring out the procedures and processes of your business. At that point, it is really important to do things yourself so you really understand how your business works. Now as you get the hang of it, you will need to learn to leverage to grow your business even more.
In this post, I will share with you the 3 things that you need to outsource to grow your online business.
1. Manual sales process
Take a look at your business. How does your typical sales process look like? If you are selling on Facebook or any other social media platform, it might look like this. You receive a message from those who are interested in the products you are selling. You then attend to their inquiries and if they are interested, you will share your bank account information and wait for them to transfer the amount to your bank account.
After they show the proof of payment, you check your account to see whether it has been transferred or not. Once it's confirmed, you process the order.
This process involves a lot of manual work and takes up a lot of time. You will need to handle more inquiries as your business grows. You can use technology to outsource this process. Having a website for your business will cut down the process of attending to every inquiry or message. All of the products and the descriptions can be displayed in your website so you can direct people to your website if they want to know about your products.
Even better yet, is an online store with shopping cart system built-in. With an Ecommerce solution like EasyStore, not only can you set up a website for your business but you are also equipped with product, order, and customer management tools.
The improved process will look like this:
a. Potential customers view your products and description on your online store.
b. They add the product to their "shopping cart" and proceed with checkout.
c. Customer and shipping details are filled in.
d. Customer makes purchase through secured payment gateway.
No more replying to every inquiry and checking whether you have received the payment or not. This means you can be spending quality time with your family and still have sales come in.
2. Packaging and shipping
The fulfillment process also takes up a lot of your time. You need to pack your products and go to the courier service office to have it shipped out. There are many different ways you can outsource this process. One of the way is to use the dropship business model.
By using this model for your business, you do not need to deal with inventory and the shipping part. All of that is done by your supplier. (You can read more about it here)
Another way you can outsource this process is through 3rd party fulfillment services. They are a logistic company that will take care of packing and shipping your orders. How it works is you have your inventory placed in their warehouse and you forward the order information and they will process it for you. If you are using EasyStore, you can export out your orders with complete information and forward it to the e-fulfillment provider.
Other benefits they can provide is efficient inventory management and also information on your products such as best selling products.
No, I'm not saying that you should outsource your workforce in another country but if your business is growing and you have your business procedures figured out, maybe it's time to get extra help around the office (or house). Think about where in your day to day business process takes up the most time. Instead of using fulfillment services, maybe you can hire someone to help with the packing and shipping. Or maybe even hire someone to help with the marketing.
Hiring extra help may be additional cost, but if you are having trouble growing your business, an extra set of hands is probably what you need. You can look for interns or part-time workers to lower down on wage expenses.
Since time is valuable when running an online business, you need to outsource those processes that take up the most time. When you leverage your time effectively, you can focus on things that matter the most for growing your business. For example, you can save up time so you can go around and build networks. Strategic alliances is a great way to grow your business. If you are spending time packing and replying to messages, you will not have the focus to look for partners.
You can also start to focus on building relationship with your customers. Maintaining a good relationship with your existing customers will make them advocates of your business. They will bring in more customers to your business.
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