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DropShip Seller Tips: Grow your eBay Business with SWOT

 

Are you a robot?

When it comes to selling online, admit it. Sometimes you feel like a robot. You’re not quite sure why you have a brain but you vaguely recall that it has been used previously. Sourcing, photographing, researching, pricing, listing, responding, invoicing, packaging, shipping, tracking, accounting…and repeat. You do it over and over. Being busy is good because it should mean you’re selling a lot. But what happened to the daylight?

Are you focused on the right things to grow your business?

The problem, other than wishing you were in Hawaii on the beach with a Mai Tai, is that we often forget to take a “step back” and assess our business when we’re busy. Are there weaknesses that you just never get around to fixing? Was there an exciting opportunity that brought a sparkle to your eye sometime ago but the sparkle has now turned to bloodshot? There is an easy, fast solution. SWOT it! I know, sounds like marketing hokey-pokey. But it’s actually true (even though I am a marketing hokey-pokey practitioner.) Somehow hide away for a half hour, an hour, a couple hours and SWOT yourself. This has nothing to do with bug avoidance. SWOT = Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It’s not meant to replace more strategic business planning and analysis. But it is a simple process you can do to help identify immediate ways to improve your business. And it’s free! We know buyers like free shipping so why can’t sellers like free stuff too?

Get Started NOW!

Sorry to yell, a flashback to my mother yelling at me when I was a kid. Now I’m a procrastinating adult which means I yell at myself. But set aside some time today or tomorrow and do it.

1) Identify your goals as an online business. Do you have an annual profit goal? A monthly sales revenue target? Maybe you’re trying to become an eBay Top-rated seller?

2) Take a deep breath and let all of your strengths flow from your brain to a piece of paper. Perhaps you have a good product sourcing arrangement or a large customer list. Don’t filter what comes out, put it all on a piece of paper. Write fast and write everything that comes to your mind.

3) Do the same exercise for your weaknesses. No, don’t purposely try to have a shorter list to pump up your ego. Are you weak at marketing your business? Poor time management spending too much time on the wrong things? Not enough inventory space or poorly organized? Nothing is too big or too small to include. Be honest with yourself and write it all down.

4) Same thing for opportunities. Look outside of your business. What opportunities are there to help reach your goals? What about creating a social media presence? Finding new product offerings? Selling internationally?

5) Finally, write down the threats you see to achieving your goals. Is there a new competitor that’s growing more quickly than you? Does a poor accounting system and new tax laws threaten to overwhelm you in the new year? You should do this yourself without any other influences. But once you’re done, if you have others inside or outside your business who you think could provide a valuable perspective, have them do the same exercise. Don’t show them what you already wrote, let them come up with their own list. Then combine the lists.

Boiling The Ocean Rarely Increases the Temperature

I’ve tried. So pick one or two items out of your list that you think will have the biggest impact. DON’T try and do more than that initially. Break them down into specific tasks and put dates against those tasks. Instead of “Establish Social Media Presence”, break it down into:

1) Create a Facebook business page within 7 days,

2) create a Twitter account within 2 days,

3) follow 25 people on Twitter who have a similar selling interest as you 5 days later…and so on. Your odds of succeeding increase significantly and you’ll feel good taking each step. You can even ask someone else to be part of a “success group” by checking in on your progress regularly to hold you accountable.

Best success!

Chris Taylor

VP Marketing, Page Mage

eBay’s 2011 “Ecosystem Champion” award winner for supporting the eBay seller community. Page Mage (http://pagemage.com)

To download the complete guide, “Growing Your eBay Business with SWOT”, go to:

http://pagemage.com/billboards/guides.jsp

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