Creating a business that sells services, software, information or digital items gives you an advantage when you’re trading from your dorm room- as you don’t have the hassle of storing and shipping physical products. However if your business model is based on selling items it’s still something you can do even if you’re starting your company from college. Here are some of the things to consider.
Types of Items
The first thing to consider is what kind of items you will be selling. You might already have something specific in mind (perhaps you’re making the items yourself) but if not, your best bet is to choose something easy. Items that are small and lightweight are easy to store and post. Items that aren’t breakable prevent you from needing to use lots of bubble wrap and prevent having to re-send out items that haven’t made it. If you want to ship globally, make sure the products you choose aren’t prohibited such as batteries, aerosols and nail polishes. Things like clothes and accessories (scarves, underwear, belts, jewelry etc) generally always sell well, you could also look at current market trends and see what people are purchasing a lot of. Right now this includes things like coconut oil, matcha powder, e-cigarettes and liquid and paleo bars- among other things that reflect how health conscious we are becoming. As an entrepreneur, this is something you could take on board when you’re deciding on the types of things to sell.
Deliveries, Storage and Shipping
If you want to trade on a larger scale, or have opted to sell bigger items then you will need to hire some storage space to keep your items. You could either hire a lock up, a garage, some self storage- whatever works best for you. You will need to arrange things like deliveries around your college work, so being organised is key. Another option if you have cash up front would be to outsource to a specialist fulfilment company. Here your product will be stored, packaged and shipped without you needing to do any of the work. It will cut into your profit so might not be an option if your profit margin is already slim, but for some businesses it could be the perfect solution.
As a business your website is of the utmost importance, and when you are selling products you need a good ecommerce site with shop front that’s appealing. If you are selling to customers you of course need something that’s very user friendly and easy on the eye. If you’re selling products to businesses, a good ecommerce for b2b site will be needed. Speak to a web designer and integrate this into your site, this is your chance to make a good impression on your customers so don’t be putting them off and making silly mistakes here. Having an app created is a good investment too, these days more sales are made on tablets and smartphones than on laptops and computers. As an entrepreneur, this is something you can’t afford to overlook. If you’re serious about business success, look into app designers to bring your vision to life.
Any business needs the correct kind of advertising to reach customers, and if you sell products you should be working with a marketing agency who specializes in these kinds of sales. Unless you’re an expert in this area it’s best to seek professional advice, you might have the best business in the world but without the right customers finding it you’re doomed to failure. If you’re selling products that might be of interest to other college students, you could try old fashioned marketing methods such as leaflets and flyers and distribute these yourself around your university. Otherwise a mixture of social media marketing, building backlinks and affiliate marketing online should yield good results. Writing a blog can help too, not only can this help to boost your website in search engines but you can also showcase your products. You could work with other bloggers and ask for a review post in return for a free product.
Selling products does come with some additional issues compared with solely working online, however even as a small biz whizz in your dorm room it’s a possibility. Think carefully about the logistics of each element and do your research, so that you can go inot your product selling business with your eyes open to avoid mistakes.
If you were to create a dorm room business selling physical items, what would you sell?