“Can I start an ecommerce business with no money?”
You can start an ecommerce store with a few hundred dollars.
And make it big enough to earn you thousands of dollars in revenue per month.
Yes, you might be limited by a budget but that doesn’t mean you cannot start a business with it. It is possible to start a business on a tight budget if you know how to do it right. You need to learn the skills, access to the right tools and know-how to do it.
Tips To Start An eCommerce Business For Under $250
- PICK THE RIGHT PRODUCT TO SELL ONLINE
Choosing the right product is necessary. You have two choices here:
- Make your own products and sell products like baked cookies, customized t-shirts etc.
- Resell manufactured products from brands
Decide what you want to sell. And don’t be too quick or too slow on taking a decision. Make a list of products that come to your mind and are good for your business. Research on the internet about it. Gather all information you can get. If possible, talk to people who are in the business. And get understanding of competition, margin and suppliers.
Also, choose a product for which there is huge demand and is moderately priced. The buyer consideration is high on expensive items. And niche products have small markets. So choose items that can give you good business in early days. You’ve to set the ball rolling from the first day.
- MINIMIZE BUSINESS EXPENSES
Don’t fancy yourself an office. For now, your laptop or desktop is your workstation and your home is your office. Don’t hire employees either. More so for work which you can do. The Internet can help you with most of the jobs or check with a friend on someone in the family who can help you. Hire a freelancer for your online store. You can get good help at low costs. But, use it only if you cannot do it on your own.
- START WITH A BASIC STORE
Start by building a basic store, you can, later on, improve it as business picks up. To build a store you would need a domain name, hosting service and an ecommerce platform. Visit www.godaddy.com and pick a low-cost domain name. Don’t spend more than necessary on buying a fancy domain name. Pick a name which is short, easy to remember and relevant to your business.
To get a low cost hosting services, read this article- 10 Best Web Hosting Prices Compared (Amazon, Google, Wix, etc.)
There are many good ecommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, Volusion, which come with a monthly subscription. The plan pricing can range from $29 to over $300 per month. Choose a basic plan that allows you to build a good enough store. Most of the platforms offer free-trial, sign-up for them as that will give you 2-weeks of space to pay for the plan.
In our article – How To Choose The [Right] ECommerce Platform For Your Business? we have recommended some of the best ecommerce platforms.
- ADOPT DROPSHIPPING MODEL
In case, you’re planning to resell products then dropship products. Dropshipping has come across as profitable and hassle-free business model for ecommerce businesses especially for those who are just starting out. In dropshipping, you don’t have to buy the product nor ship. Your store will only sell the product and on receiving the order will pass it to the dropshipping company who will then ship the product to the customer. You will get the profit from the transaction. Read this – The Ultimate Guide to Dropshipping to understand the model in detail.
The biggest benefit of dropshipping is that it eliminates the need for building an inventory and a shipping partner. That saves a lot of upfront costs for you. However, you have to pay signup cost to the company.
If you are building your store on Shopify then you can integrate your store with a dropshipping company Oberlo. Shopify has an exclusive partnership with Oberlo.
Read this exhaustive list of dropshipping companies based on product type to find the right company for your business.
- FOCUS ON PROFIT
The common adage of business is to first get customers and then look for profits. Reverse it for your store. Earn enough profits first to sustain your business. So don’t cut on margins or get sales at no profit. Keep an eye on profit and reinvest the money back into your business.
- MARKET YOUR STORE
One mistake people, who build a business on tight budgets is to ignore marketing. Promoting your store is important. More so in the early stages when there’s not enough awareness about your store in the market. Here are a few free and paid ways to attract customers to your store-
1. Start by promoting your store among family & friends – Yes, your first few sales must come from people you know. So start by promoting your store among your family members, friends, neighbours, office colleagues, and acquaintances etc. Send them text messages and email and tell them about your new store. Ask them to promote it among their friends and on social media. Also, use the opportunity to get feedback on your store and business.
2. Promote your store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram etc.- Social media has become an excellent way to drive customers to your business and get sales. Create your account, post good content relevant to your users, talk about your products and engage with the audience. Facebook and Instagram have some excellent features to support ecommerce businesses, try them for your store.
Read my posts –
3. Invest some budget in advertising: It takes money to make money. While free marketing methods work they take time to deliver results. So invest some money in marketing your store. You can run ads on social media and Google Adwords on a low budget. I would suggest starting with a budget of $100 a month and reinvesting the profit earned from the sales back to the marketing. But you need to focus and optimize your budget spending and ad effectiveness. Start with a few dollars and spread it across channels- Facebook, Instagram, Adwords etc. Identify the best performing channel for your store. Similarly, test different ads- copy, CTA, graphics etc., to find the best ad.
- SAVE EVERY DOLLAR
Don’t spend what you have not earned from the business. Spend only when there’s no other way out. Look for free or cheap alternatives. Money saved is money earned. Remember, there’s always a way out. You just have to look for them. Here are few ways-
- Use free image sites to get images for your store – Pexels and Unsplash
- Use free themes to build your store
- Adwords offer some dollar credit (around $50) for ads. Use it.
- Learn photoshop basics to edit images. There are many free tutorials on YouTube and Udemy.
You can start an ecommerce business with few hundred dollars. Let’s see how much it costs you-
Building an Online Store
Dropshipping Sign up
So it takes $250 to start a business and keep it running for a month. Your target should be to earn profits of more than $250 from your store in the first month. Reinvest the profits back to your business. Slowly scale your business and grow big.
And don’t change and chop often…
Don’t run after every idea. Stick to your plan. The prime requisite for success is patience. Think your plan hard. And once decided stick to it. Give your business time to grow. Keep working!