Starting A Business During A Recession Sounds Crazy!
Why would someone in their right mind choose to leave the safety of a nine-to-five job to launch out on their own? Starting a business during a recession seems risky. For some it’s a necessity. Fewer jobs are available and unemployment benefits are running out. For others, it is simply the right time to start out on their own.
The circumstances for starting a business do not matter, and to be honest, the timing really doesn’t matter either. Economic cycles happen. Many successful companies were started during downturns. Texas Instruments and 20th Century Fox started during the 1930’s depression. During the Oil & Market crash in the early 1970’s Microsoft & Apple started.
When you look at the list of successful companies that were started during times of economic uncertainty, it doesn’t seem like such a crazy idea to start a new business!
However, you may be thinking – “well that’s great for those companies; they had lots of venture funding and could throw caution to the wind. Those companies could afford to lose money while they built their empires.” That’s true. Many of us aren’t so lucky. In fact many small start-ups must operate on a shoe string.
Fortunately there’s a place where you can sell your goods or services without the overhead of a big corporation. A place where you can build your business, have a built in customer base and continue to innovate and grow. And the best part is that it’s designed specifically to help the small business owner. It’s called eBay.
“Oh,” I hear you saying: “eBay, that’s a flea market. I have new products to sell”
“eBay? That’s great if you have items to sell, but my business provides a service.”
Those are common misconceptions about eBay. In fact eBay offers a variety of ways to help you build your business.
- Inexpensive listing fees that help keep your advertising budget low
- A store subscription which is an easy way to get your products online
- Classified Ads for services
- Real estate and vehicles listings
With all these different ways to help you build your business eBay is the perfect place to test the online market and hone your Internet based business skills.
Of course the one principle any small business owner can never forget is that to build your business you must market it. Without customers, you’ll never succeed. EBay does a pretty good job of bringing buyers to your door, but you must get them to come over the threshold, make the purchase, and then get them talking about you or your products to their friends and neighbors.
With eBay it’s easier than ever to market your business, especially on a shoe-string budget. Let’s take a quick look at this essential ingredient to any successful eBay Business.
First you need to understand your unique selling proposition (USP). What makes your product or service different or special? Remember that your USP should always answer your buyer’s biggest question: “What’s in it for me?” Once you can quickly name your USP you’ll have the foundation for all your marketing.
Next you need to understand who your potential client is, what they look like, what they do, how old they are, and where they ‘hang out.’ If you understand your buyer you can find and target your efforts specifically to them. For instance many collectors are middle age – they’re buying nostalgia. That demographic fits the FaceBook user perfectly. Knowing your buyer will be there, you can set up an eBay to FaceBook feed. You’ll need to ‘friend’ FaceBook users and strike up a conversation. But the listing part is completely automated by eBay.
EBay itself provides many community groups, forums and neighborhoods. If you are selling coffee related items, you can join eBay’s largest neighborhood “The Coffee Lovers.” Don’t pitch to these users. Simply post questions and answers whenever possible and become part of the community. Once people know and trust you, they are much more likely to buy from you.
Another important marketing tool is email. Using an electronic newsletter allows you to stay in touch with your customers without a big marketing budget. EBay provides store owners with a tool to capture email addresses and contact your customers about specials, new products or news about your store. It’s free, so take advantage of it.
These are just a few of the many marketing tools eBay provides its users. Marketing your eBay business will help you build a client base. When the economy turns up – they’ll buy more. If you treat them right, when the economy dips again, they’ll stay with you instead of price shopping in other stores.
Don’t let the daily barrage of bad news stop you from pursuing your dream. Starting an eBay business is a great way to begin building a successful career online. It’s helped over 800,000 people nationwide make a part or full time income. Most of them are operating profitably on a shoe-string budget. EBay is easy to use and the barriers to entry are low. And once you’ve set up shop, don’t forget to tell customers how to find you. Marketing is the real key to success in any small business.
Cindy Shebley is a eBay Certified Business Consultant, Education Specialist and author who teaches throughout the Northwest. As an eBay Certified Business Consultant, Cindy helps clients grow their businesses and teaches them the marketing techniques needed to stay competitive in today’s marketplace. Today Cindy is an eBay PowerSeller who sells photography, video equipment and supplies for eBay sellers. An author of several books on eBay including The eBay Marketing Bible, Easy Auction Photography, and How To Squidoo.