Here at LedgerGurus we have been privileged to contribute to the growth of our ecommerce customers (watch a video about this here), specifically SaaS and consumer product businesses. Lucky for us, we get a front row seat in witnessing growth across various companies. As a result, we’ve noticed common themes associated with their success in growing an ecommerce business. (We are slightly jealous that we are in the services industry where it is much more difficult to grow!).
So, what is the secret sauce in growing an ecommerce business? You’ll read all sorts of “7 best tips” or “5 keys”. These articles can have valuable insights and information, but at the end of the day, we’ve seen how you don’t necessarily need to know all these tips and keys!
The secret sauce in growing an ecommerce business: outsourcing
The reason you don’t need to learn all the best tips and tricks in growing an ecommerce business is because you can outsource almost everything you do in today’s world of business and technology! Ecommerce businesses are unique in their ability to outsource because of their cloud-based business platforms and being involved in the global market. Because they sell online, literally everything else can be off premise as well. The purpose of this blog is to convince you that outsourcing needs to play a key role in growing an ecommerce business.
You’re not sure how to make your product? Outsource the manufacturing. You don’t have a warehouse or the staff for shipping? Use a 3PL. You need a digital marketing strategy? There are experts to help you. You need web development? No need to hire a full-time web guy. You need product design? There are companies that specialize in engineering and design and can do it at a fraction of the cost of hiring someone. You need better inventory management? There are tools that handle that and experts that can implement it for you. You need good accounting help? You can grow to many millions before the cost of a service like ours comes even close to the cost of full-time staff.
Basically, there are expert freelancers and companies who can help your business with every need you encounter. Successfully growing an ecommerce business is about having a vision and putting the necessary pieces together (often through outsourcing) to make this vision happen. This methodology will allow for rapid and successful growth, and trust us, we’ve seen this work first-hand.
Some of you may be freaking out about outsourcing your business away, and that’s normal! But hopefully we can calm some of your fears. Here are three of the most common outsourcing fears we see for ecommerce founders:
Outsourcing is generally more cost-effective. But we get it: as an ecommerce founder, you may not have the funds to outsource all your needs. You are probably trying to do a lot of the work yourself. This is okay in some situations, but at some point, you will need to let go! You might be an expert in one or two areas, but there are people out there who are better at most of your business needs. In the long run, it will be more cost-effective to outsource your needs to them.
So, if you simply don’t have the funds, what do you do? Your business needs to have two things: (1) a product with good margins, and (2) a stellar vision. With these two things in place, you should be able to either internally fund your outsourcing needs within a short period of time or raise the necessary funds to do so.
Control is a classic disadvantage of outsourcing, and it’s real. You’ve seen the stories of overseas manufacturers building a cheaper product that sells better than the inventor’s original. Or the web developer that builds someone an app, but then turns around and builds a better, cooler app based off the same idea. This stuff really happens! Scary huh??
Losing control of your product or business should not always prevent you from outsourcing your needs. Instead, realize the risks. Then make sure you mitigate these risks where needed. This can be through building a unique brand or not putting all your eggs in one basket. Or, believe it or not, there is probably an expert who can consult you on mitigating these risks!
When outsourcing, there is always the concern of quality. Are you going to pay $5,000 and get something back that’s worth $500? It happens. We suggest testing multiple companies for a project. For example, if you are looking for someone to help you with PPC ads, try 3-4 different freelancers or companies. Find the one that is best for you and move forward with them. It can also be a good idea to work with a third-party who has experience sourcing services in areas you aren’t as familiar with.
Growing an ecommerce business through outsourcing
Hopefully some of your outsourcing fears have been calmed. Now, let’s just finalize this vision of growing an ecommerce business through outsourcing…
We don’t want you to necessarily see yourself as a one-person business outsourcing every need that comes up. Bringing the right people on board, at the right time, can also be important to success. These people can help “put the pieces together” through outsourcing. A team is better than in individual at deciding when, what, and with whom to outsource your needs.
Whether you are an individual or team, when it comes to effective and rapid growth, effectively outsourcing is the secret sauce. The advancement of technology in recent decades has laid the foundation for growing an ecommerce business through outsourcing. Finding the best talent, at a fraction of the cost of internally hiring, is at the tip of your fingers.
So, it’s time to let go. Start the process of learning how to best outsource your needs (more to come on our blog about how to effectively outsource). This is the best capability for you to learn when growing an ecommerce business.