Key Point 7: Change is Inevitable – In Key Point 4 I stated that if you run into a person who has a business plan and they are not adjusting it constantly, get away from them. Business is like breathing. No breath will ever be the same, the molecules and air are constantly changing and updating, sort of like a PC. As business changes, so do the clients, so does the marketing strategy. What worked once, might not ever work again. What worked once, could possibly lead to a breakthrough the second time around. There isn’t any certainty, so don’t become too attached to an idea just because it worked once. A good example would be my sneaker store online. I realize that the majority of my online sneaker sales came from Ebay. My website only gets about 100 unique visitors per day. I have my best days on my website when I can luckily get 1000 visits to the site. This usually takes place over a 10 day period. My best day is earning one sale through my site. Not a very good number.
At the time that I was writing this section I had an Ebay store as well. With millions of potential customers, my market increases. I generated between 2-3000 dollars every 2 weeks on Ebay. While this is a good steady stream of revenue each month, I had to stay on my toes because my Ebay store had limits. I could only sell a certain amount of one type of product per month. Since I am selling shoes, when I list around 100 pair, I can not list again for another 30 days. I had to change strategies. I am not a person who is afraid to be seen, so I will attend flea markets on the weekends and I average, per weekend around 600-1000 dollars. This helps me to move more shoes.
In short, I adjust to the roads I have available. The lifespan of a business is strictly based on how fluid the business is. If the business is like a solid instead of a liquid, the business will hit walls instead of hitting them and sliding around the obstacles.
Ebay Addendum: In the process of editing this book I recently went through a case on Ebay that caused my account to be closed. I am adding this section here, because it is important that I explain what happened and how you can avoid running into problems. I no longer promote Ebay as a method of building your online sales.
I encountered the perfect business storm. The family went on vacation in June and at the same time, I had a person who purchased a pair of shoes on Ebay accuse me of selling them fake shoes. I had never been accused of anything on Ebay before and my ratings were 100%. As a matter of fact I had sold more expensive shoes through Ebay without a single problem and with excellent feedback. The person who was contacting me wanted to get his money back. I told the person to ship the shoes and I would refund his money, which is basic policy. The person wouldn’t do it. Instead of dealing with this, I told the person to start a case, because the shoe wasn’t a fake and I had evidence that the guy was trying to sell my shoe on his Ebay page. Because he couldn’t sell the shoe, he wanted a refund, so he was basically lying so he could get his money back. I knew I had the receipts for the shoe, stock numbers on the box and all of the relevant information to prove authenticity. All this person had was his words that the shoe didn’t smell real. In other words, I told the guy to start a case, because I was absolutely certain that Ebay would side with me and I refused to return the guy his money. I went on vacation and didn’t think a thing about this.
After two weeks in the California sun, I returned home and the case had been decided in his favor. Ebay ignored every bit of evidence that I presented and ignored the fact that the guy was selling my shoe on his webpage. They closed my account and my wife’s account which was over 9 years old. In closing the accounts we lost our Paypal account for the sneaker shop. Talk about a fatal blow.
At the same time that my Ebay account was closed, the market that I sold shoes in for over 3 years was shut down because the vendors were selling counterfeit purses and clothes. All of the legitimate vendors, people with flower shops, oil and perfume shops, paintings and bedroom sets, vintage clothes, me, no longer had a location to sell.
From when I left to go on vacation, in two weeks, I lost 6-10 thousand a month. How did I recover? This is my advice for you who are launching your small business online. Use the various forms of social media to build a following. Direct all traffic for your products to your personal website. Build up anticipation for the launch of your website and then make sure you have what the people want who visit your site. Relying on the various online stores to sell your goods may work faster and earn you a lot of money, but in the long run building your online presence on your personal website will enable you to control your destiny. At anytime a company like Ebay can remove you and you will have to recover. I was able to rebuild quickly because a lot of the people I worked with began to order wholesale. I have once again changed my business plan to focus on bulk quantities as a personal shopper. I allow my clients to wire funds directly into my account and then I use the various discounts I have available to me to purchase the items that they want. I have slowly begun generating the same amount of funds. However the last four months we were lucky enough to have the money to maintain and continue to buy inventory. You will encounter storms. You have to be prepared.