Ten Most Common Mistakes Made By Small Businesses On The Internet
This discusses common mistakes made by small businesses. Does any of this apply to you?
Many companies ignore the basic of business when they try to communicate with factories and distributors on the Internet. In this page we discuss some of those basics and why they are important to you as a business person.
As you read through this, you have to remember that is not possible to create a second first impression. So when you first send some information to a company you have to be very careful how you do it and what you say in that communication.
First and foremost you should establish immediately within your e-mail that you are in fact a currently operating business or that you are seriously committed to starting up.
This is extremely important because factories are continually bombarded by requests from competitors, teenagers, and people who are looking to buy at wholesale prices for their own personal use. And then of course they are continually approached by the scam artists that are attempting to defraud them out of product.
It is incumbent on you to distinguish itself from this group. And it is important that you do it in your first message.
Here are the most common mistakes made by people who are new to business on the Internet.
Failure To Present Yourself As A Business Person
Your e-mail address is like your business address on your business card. It should include your company name.
The mistake that most people make when they are starting up is to try and save money and not register a company name. They use a common e-mail address like Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, AOL, EarthLink, and many others. That is equivalent to going down to your local motel, getting their free stationery and using it as your business letterhead.
When you use a common e-mail address, without some other indication in your e-mail such as a website address, you create the image of an uncommitted amateur and time waster. If you are e-mail is competing for time against other e-mails in the factories inbox, you can be sure that you will get low priority attention, if you get attention at all.
Here is another page that further discusses the importance. Look Professional Or Get Ignored.
Solution: Here is a link to a company that will give you a free domain so that you can use e-mail over a company name. Lunar
Not Referencing A Web Site In Communications
A website is like your Yellow Pages listing on the Internet. A website does not have to be expensive. In many cases when you register a company name with a hosting company that will provide you with template that will allow you to make at least a single page website on which you can put your contact information and some basic information about your company.
Even if you are in start up and are not ready to sell, you can put on that website the name of your company, what you intend to do, and that the page is under construction. By doing that you show that you are committed to being in business and are serious about what you are doing.
If you reference a website in your communication with the company, the company will understand if you use an e-mail address like Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, AOL, EarthLink. It's a common practice to use such e-mail addresses during the first communications in order to protect one from spam from an unknown company. But when things get serious and it is important that information and price lists in fact be received, these companies expect that they send the information to your e-mail address over your company name. But remember, we said that you must include your website address in the communication to be taken seriously.
Solution: Here is a link to a company that will give you a template so that you can put up your basic web page immediately over your company name. It is the same one we gave you above. Lunar
Failure To Have A Business Phone Number
If you do not have a phone number or if you're afraid to give the one you have, it means that you're either not in business or that you are hiding something. If you are afraid to discuss the details of a product request with a supplier on the phone, you are simply not serious and a time waster.
Trading e-mails is slow, inefficient and does not create the relationship that a factory expects to have between its sales staff and a buyer. It is so much easier to make one telephone call and discuss the project. It saves everybody time.
Solution: Established companies, and serious companies in startup have and publish a phone number. Get at least a Skype In telephone number. It is extremely cheap. When you go to this link look at the voice mail and receiving phone calls options. Cheap Business Telephone Service After that get a regular phone number, and preferably a toll free number.
Providing Minimal Information
Successful business people recognize that it is important to give complete information to a factory so that the factory can provide them the best information and assign the best staff to their project.
If the factory provides you will form that you can fill out to give them information prior to them contacting you, it is in your best interest to fill it out completely.
Failure to give phone numbers, website addresses, definitive answers to questions about about how much product would be purchased at any one time or over a year, or provide other explanatory information that is requested by the factory so that it can do its proper research, makes you look bad.
Experience has shown us that the larger the company and the more experienced the company, the more time they take to provide complete information.
For example, when asked to estimate the amount of product that one expects to order, a startup company will often say that the amount will depend on price and quality, or it depends on variety, or it depends on market acceptance or something along these lines.
An operating company will say that annual purchases are estimated to be a given number of dollars per year. They understand that sales always depend on price and quality. And they do not have to tell the factory that but they do have to tell the factory about how much they would be ordering so the factory can decide whether the order would be too large or too small for that factory to handle.
Solution: Answer the questions in full and give useful answers. Don't give evasive answers. And don't leave empty boxes. Show you are helpful.
Not Understanding How To Communicate On The Web
Beginners do not understand how they damage themselves using a challenge response anti-spam system. Beginners do not understand that many e-mail services do not deliver mail to them. Beginners believe that because they did not receive an e-mail it was not sent. Beginners write e-mail messages that are arrogant, insulting, patronizing, and write as if they are the only game in town.
Solution: Start by reading the information here. Business Communications . And before you send an email, read it to be sure it is polite.
Not Understanding What Factories Do
Factories manufacture large amount of product to order. Factories do not maintain inventory and fill small orders. Factory sell to the trade. And that means they sell to businesses with tax identification numbers, business bank accounts and all those other necessaries that are associated with operating a legitimate business.
Factories have minimum order requirements. Factories create relationships with distributors and in some cases give those distributors exclusive rights to distribute their products in a given region.
Factories choose their clients. They do not sell to everyone. They do not even respond to every one that sends them a request for quotation. As a business owner, you have to prove yourself to the factory and show that you are a reliable client, able to pay, and it you will purchase above the factory minimums. If you cannot do that, the factory will not deal with you.
Solution: If you have read the information above, you will note that it is important for you, at an absolute minimum, to communicate over an e-mail address with a company name, show a website address, provide complete information, and show a phone number when you are contacting a factory or are asking a factory to contact you. And then you will have noted that you have to be very clear and polite in your communication with the factory if you expect a response.
And here is more about how to contact a factory.
Not Understanding The Shelved Cost Of A Product
Experienced business people understand that the true cost of the product is not the price that they pay at the factory or at the distributor's warehouse but rather the cost of the product on their shelves.
They know that it may be better to pay seven dollars for a product and have it delivered from a distribution warehouse in the United States than to pay three dollars for that same product and have it delivered from a factory in Poland.
In short, they understand that buying factory direct at the lowest price at the factory is not always in their best interest.
If you are not completely familiar with the concept of shelved cost, go to Using Shelved Cost To Price Products
Not Fully Understanding The Benefits Of Drop Shipping
Drop Shipping is the engine that drives small business on the web. It allows small business to start.
But it is a temporary measure if you are going to retail.
And it is an opportunity if you grow and want to wholesale.
Learn how it is used. Learn what to do as you grow. Learn how to avoid the scams.
Here are two important links.
Ignoring The Basics
Most people do not understand that business on the web is all about marketing. They chase products and systems. They throw money at technology in a subconcious hope that that will offset their lack of knowledge about marketing.
We refer you to a classic book that is all about marketing. Even if you think you understand marketing on the web, if you have not read this one, you are most likely missing something.
Read it. It costs money but the book is guaranteed. After you read it you have a couple months to get your money back. That is as good a proposition you will get anywhere. Go to Silent Sales.