Our current way of life is not how things have always been. For 99.9% of human existence, we only needed two skills: to hunt and to gather. Fast forward to the digital revolution, where our skill sets are constantly changing, and we don’t know what skills we’ll need in 10 years, let alone in 12 months.
In this episode of The Rebound, Australian futurist, author, and entrepreneur Steve Sammartino, Creative Director Tommy McCubbin, award-winning television presenter Rad Yeo, and APAC Marketing Lead at Shopify Bertie Ocampo discuss the important skills you need when growing an ecommerce business.
Unlocking your willpower
The first skill business owners need to harness is willpower. Steve Sammartino explains that, while the web has “nutritional, good content,” it unfortunately also has bad, sugar-filled sites that may cause more harm than good.
We have the odds heavily stacked against us. The web is programmed to be full of temptation, to be entertained instead of educated. It takes discipline to make the web a productive place. It’s in the commercial interest of these platforms to make it fun and addictive.”
Starting your business from home
For those who want to start a business at home, Bertie Ocampo suggests following these 12 essential steps, which identify everything from finding and validating your money-making idea to figuring out your shipping strategy to finally launching your product or service:
- Find a business idea
- Choose a business name
- Validate your product idea
- Write your business plan
- Get your finances in order
- Develop your product or service
- Pick a business structure
- Research licenses and government regulations
- Select your tools
- Find a business location
- Plan workload and team size
- Launch your business
Shopify research shows that many entrepreneurs cite independence and flexibility as the primary reasons why they started their business. Knowing why you’re making this decision gives you a better chance at making it happen.”
—Bertie Ocampo, APAC Marketing Lead at Shopify.
How to validate a minimum viable product
Before launching your product into the market, it’s a good idea to validate your product. Because until people pay you, all you have is a list of assumptions.
When validating a product idea, market research, surveys, and feedback from friends and family can point you in the right direction. But the first, and arguably the best, way to validate your product is to make a few initial sales."
Here are a few ways to test the waters before diving into launching your product:
- Set up a store to take pre-orders. This is a way to get product validation before developing your product.
- Launch a crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding is an advantageous way to get funding from the best possible source: customers.
- Sell products in person. Create an initial batch and sell to customers in person. It’s a great opportunity to share your story, get feedback, and explain the benefits of your product to potential customers.
Who to hire first
If you are struggling to figure out who you need to hire first, Bertie recommends doing a skills audit.
“Write down everything in your business that you do on a daily basis for one to two weeks and group them into categories,” she suggests.
These categories are:
- Customer service
Bertie says, “Rank them in order of what you’re good at and where you’re lacking. It will become very obvious, if it isn’t already, who you need to hire.”
Who’s getting it right?
Active Truth founders Stevie Angel and Nadia Tucker, met over their back fence while both were pregnant. After struggling to find the right outfit to bounce back into fitness, they mapped out a bold plan to make their own. Today, their activewear brand is empowering women of all shapes and sizes.
Get inspired: 15 Fitness Ecommerce Empires: Beyond Bodies into Growing Global Brands
But Nadia confesses that when they started the business, she didn’t have any entrepreneurial skills.
“When I started, I was a lawyer, and my co-founder, Stevie, worked in communications in a government agency. We started by Googling ‘how to start an activewear brand,’”
She said her skills as a lawyer taught her to examine issues and challenges from different perspectives and to pay attention to the details.
Nadia says Stevie brings essential communication skills to the business. “Stevie is an exceptional communicator, especially within the written form. Her focus on writing is important, particularly in the days of social media. Whilst there is such a focus on imagery and video, there is still an important part of the communications, which is the written word," she says.
For those young entrepreneurs who need to upskill, Nadia recommends knowing the numbers. She says, “It certainly isn’t the fun or sexy part of the business. But businesses that thrive and survive are cognizant of their numbers.”
Nadia also invested in additional educational tools, such as management courses and even a Year 12 accounting book.
Margins are important, your inventory levels are important. These are things you don’t think about when you have this great idea about a product that you’re selling globally.”
In order to streamline and scale, Active Truth uses Shopify Plus as its ecommerce platform. The founders praise Shopify Academy for helping them upskill.
Learn more: 6 Scalability Challenges Ecommerce Businesses Will Face—and How Shopify Plus Can Help
Nadia says, “Shopify Academy is a great resource, for beginners to people who have been doing this for many years. It covers short courses on inventory management, on paid marketing, data analytics—anything you can think of that is ecommerce-related, they have a short course for you.”
- Be mindful of what business tips and tricks you consume via online channels.
- Understand the 12 steps to starting a business.
- Learn how to validate your minimum viable product before going to market.
- Be mindful of who you need to hire first in your business.
- Invest in additional learning resources like Shopify Academy to upskill.
About season 2 of The Rebound
- Episode 1 of The Rebound Season 2 aired in Australia this Saturday, July 3, at 12:30 p.m., on Channel Nine. New episodes are released every week.
- Each new episode of The Rebound will cover a different theme to address the most pressing opportunities and challenges facing entrepreneurs today.
- The themes in chronological order are: Skills, Design, Storytelling, Pricing, Culture, Growth, Future of Work, and Crypto.
- For more information about The Rebound, visit the website.