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    1. HarrisonB_17 is offline

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      #1

      Common Mistakes by Startups - Getting Started in the Resale Business

      Im in the beginning stages of planning a startup and Im concerned that I might not be doing everything I need to be in order to get off to a good start. I know Im going to make mistakes, everyone does, but Id like to know if there are any landmines that I should avoid. What are some of the most common mistakes startup businesses make? Any seasoned professionals who can offer me some tips? What mistakes have you made that were easily avoidable?
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    2. Sell_It_3289 is offline

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      #2
      This is a great question, because there are definitely certain elements that one should have in place before starting out. But you’re right: you will make mistakes and succeed if you learn from them.

      Probably the most critical factors that I can give you advice about, relate to the nature of an online business and what used to be common practice in startups before the internet, as I’m assuming your business is web-based.

      Here are some tips for you:

      Avoid printing materials.

      1. In the past, this was a necessity. You would typically have brochures and business cards made up. These are pretty much obsolete now for several reasons. First, you don’t have physical contact with customers and you don’t need a brochure. Your brochure is now your website. The website will be a startup cost, but it’s easy to change once you get the basic information on there. With brochures and printable materials, you are making a significant investment in sales materials, which most likely will change pretty quickly. This brings us to number 2.

      2. Your business will change quickly, so much more so that any details you printed on a brochure would most likely change before you get your money out of them. This is good news, though, because the cost to print professional brochures was into the '000s, which you would have to reinvest every time you needed to make change.

      Advertising

      It used to be standard operation that you needed to list your business in the yellow page. Well, no more. Instead, you want to use SEO search terms and structure your website so it provides relevant content to your target industry. This is your advertising. You might want to do a search on your business name and key terms and see how you come out in the search, and this would include yellow page-type services on the web, like “Yahoo” or “LinkedIn”.

      Speaking of websites, the creation of your website can get pretty pricey. It can cost hundreds of dollars to use a professional to create a site for you. While some might argue this is well worth it, because of the quickly changing nature of the reseller business, you can easily create a free site from the many free services available, like GoDaddy. Or you might know someone who is tech-savvy and will do this for you at a low cost. If you have to pay someone, make sure you get terms that mean the website will go live quickly, like in 30 days. This way, you have your primary means of soliciting business up and running, and you can get business coming in fairly quick. Be sure to discuss whether updates to the site are free. If it’s not, you want to know the charges for updates beforehand.
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    3. Thank you for this post:

      marko (26 Jun 2011)

    4. Chris2011 is offline

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      #3
      great advice.

    5. CatchMe98 is offline

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      #4
      Those are definitely good tips that relate to the web-based component of a business startup. I would add to this elements that are related to vision.

      For example, you might be focused on electronics and want to parlay this into a business. This is definitely viable; however, you need to consider whether your focus is too general or if you have a specialization. That’s the key to reselling: finding a niche and exploiting that niche.

      So, instead of electronics, maybe you focus on MP3 players, or computer parts, or accessories for electronics. Do you see what I mean? This will require some research to find out what the market is like, where there’s room for you in that market, and what kind of niche you can fill.

      That being said, once you find your niche, you have to market yourself where you find consumers who are interested in your specialized area. So, if you were a reseller of collector train items, you wouldn’t advertise in a computer store. Thinking in online terms, if you want to advertise your products, you want to go where you’ll find consumers interested in trains or consumers interested in computers.

      One example here is using Facebook. I’ve seen several colleagues have success here, and I think it’s because Facebook specializes their ads so that your ad for trains appears only for those users who indicate an interest. This is probably the most exciting aspect of online business: the ability to focus your ads to your target audience – and that makes your advertising dollars work for you.

    6. jackson is offline

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      #5
      The one piece of advice that I give out is to never stop trying. The stories of companies that failed are littered with the fact that at some point they gave up and threw in the towel. Successful companies keep on trying. Self-motivation plays in here. You will definitely feel like giving up and you will fail, but if you keep on trying and trying, you will eventually succeed by finding the right approach that works for you and your target market.

      This leads to another piece of advice: don’t try what everyone else is doing and think that it will work for your business. While some standard business principles hold true across the board, most companies have to find a unique vision and approach that makes them successful, so your own business model will include unique aspects that make your business successful. You will probably be tempted to just copy what your competition is doing, but, in all likelihood, this will not work for you. If you know in advance that it will take awhile for you to find your way, you’ll be more likely to stay in it for the long haul. That’s what your competition did to become successful, so don’t think you can bypass that period where you work out the kinks.

    7. HarrisonB_17 is offline

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      #6
      I think I was falling into that trap already. I’ve been following who I think is my competition. After reading this I realised that I was doing the same thing! This will definitely help me to change my approach and think outside the box.

      What would you say should go into the planning phase then? How can I rule out certain products or markets where I will be more likely to fail than others?

    8. Grassisgreen is offline

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      #7
      Finding a niche is critical, and ruling out overly-saturated markets is key. Take, for example, DVDs. You might at first think that marketing DVDs would be a no-brainer because it’s likely that anyone with a DVD player or computer is interested in buying them. Wrong. While the demand for DVDs is definitely there, using the criteria that people need a product won’t work. You have to factor in what the market is like.

      The demand is high for DVDs; it is one of the most competitive arenas around. If you just take a quick look at eBay alone, you’ll see hundreds of thousands of listings for DVDs – new and used. That’s because there is a finite number of buyers for DVDs and there are lots of sellers. Once the market becomes saturated with sellers, the competition increases and the price goes down. The profit on DVDs is actually quite small, making it hard to profit from them unless you sell an incredible number of units.

      Now, a niche within this market might be plausible, like if you sold limited editions or older, classic films, for example. That’s how you have to start thinking about your business: approach it from an angle that will net you a niche within a larger market. There’s always a niche to exploit; you just have to find it.

    9. Thank you for this post:

      marko (26 Jun 2011), reqquetta (25 Sep 2011)

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