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Hi everyone,

For those of you who have just started out with your online store, you may be thinking about how to grow. Unfortunately, starting an online business is the easy part, growing it into a larger established store is where the real challenge begins.

Below are 8 golden rules every new online store owner should follow to grow profitably.

  1. Don’t grow too fast. While it may be tempting to grow as fast as possible, this is a direct path to failure as most businesses don’t have the cash, staff, or infrastructure to grow successfully. Don’t be afraid to grow steadily and profitably.
  2. Stick to your brand. While it’s good to adapt to your customers wants and needs to a certain extent, don’t get tied up trying to satisfy individual customers, you will not survive as a business.
  3. Focus on customer retention. It’s easy to focus all of your efforts on attracting new customers but it is a well-known fact that retaining existing customers is up to 10 times less expensive than acquiring new ones. Customers who have already bought from your online store are much more likely to purchase again than brand new customers. Target your existing customers with email marketing to turn them into regular buyers.
  4. Always monitor cash-flow. No matter what else happens, your cash-flow is the most the important financial statement. It is easy to manipulate other reports but the bottom line is, if you have more money at the end of the month than the beginning, you have a positive cash-flow and that is GOOD NEWS.
  5. Keep a close eye on your online reputation. These days it is very easy for somebody to publically slur your online store via social media or review sites. Just one bad review could put off hundreds of potential new customers. Watch and listen to what customers say about you, thank those that speak well of you and respond to those that don’t with a solution to their issue.
  6. Ask your happy customers for referrals. This is an often forgotten marketing method despite being one of the easiest!
  7. Keep overheads low – This applies even if you don’t own a brick & mortar store, are you paying too much for shipping, payment processing & other costs associated with running an online store? Ensure you are getting the best deals by shopping around the many providers.
  8. Don’t be afraid to take a holiday! It’s easy to get sucked into spending 12+ hours a day, seven days a week running your online store, but by doing this you risk burning out. Take a week off (or just a few days) and see how your business does without you. You may be pleasantly surprised!

Gareth Sales 

VP-ASP Shopping Cart Software

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Good advice (Sunday, February 3, 2013 00:00)
This is good advice Gareth, thank you.I recently read an article about an online apparel business that grew to quickly and couldn''t fulfil their orders, this led to many bad reviews on Twitter & Facebook and created a very bad online reputation for the company!

Ted - VA, USA
Thank you Ted (Sunday, February 3, 2013 00:00)
I'm glad you found this blog useful.

I've heard several stories similar to the one you mentioned, it's just very hard to resist growing as fast as possible for a lot of business owners as their judgement is clouded by that bottom line!

Gareth - Melbourne
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