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5 Ways to Keep Your Growing Business Lean and Mean

  • Jul 24, 2015 | Avalara

Like any other business, an ecommerce business is serious business. You won’t get rich quick launching one, but you will be broke fast if you don’t keep it streamlined from startup by using the proper tools and strategies to operate the enterprise.

In fact, you must build cost-saving strategies into your day-to-day operations from day one. But just because they save costs doesn’t mean they’re all going to be cheap. So, here are five tips for keeping your business lean and mean that can lead to ecommerce success if you properly execute them.

1. Use merchant services

You’ve chosen the right ecommerce platform, one that’s going to work for your business long-term. You’ve made sure it has all of the features you need to create a successful shopping experience for your customers. But, have you done the same kind of research and selected the best merchant services for your business?

Not doing so can lead to some costly fees, surcharges, and penalties. The wrong merchant service can put you in the red and compromise your personal credit. Carefully, research their costs and benefits before choosing one and start simple, if necessary, until you learn exactly what you need and what your business can afford.

2. Get tax and legal help

You must pay your sales and income taxes. So, use a sales tax payment management service and have a qualified accountant or CPA that specializes in sales tax review your returns quarterly. Also, attorney Dar’shun Kendrick, Esq./MBA of Kendrick Law Practice in Georgia recommends that you run your contracts by an attorney, especially partnership agreements.

He also advises you consult with a lawyer to establish an entity to protect your business. You can use a licensed private attorney or check out a site like Legal Hero. Remember, the cost of not investing in these services is higher than the investment if you get sued or end up with high sales tax-related fines and penalties.

3. Research and choose the right sources

The last thing you want is a reputation for selling low-quality, shoddy products because you’re sourcing from the wrong distributor. Carefully research the reputation, policies, practices, and costs of your wholesalers.

If you decide to go DIY, do substantial research on scalability, quality control, legality, and liability before you start selling your homemade goods. There are some DIY products you can’t sell online from some states without special permits, such as food. Know your state regulations and save yourself legal costs and troubles.

4. Pick the best shipping options

You want the products you sell to get to your customers on time and intact. You also want to make sure you offer good prices on shipping; remember that excessive shipping costs increase shopping cart abandonment rates.

So, thoroughly research shipping services for your particular type of products (since some shippers won’t ship art, food, or combustibles, for example) and both the point of origination and destination of the shipment. Also, don’t forget to factor in shipping materials and handling charges.

5. Streamline day-to-day operations

Kendrick recommends using free apps like Evernote, cloud drives, and other productivity apps. Make sure, too, you have the mobile versions of your customer relationship management (CRM) software, shipping services, ecommerce site dashboard, tax software, and social media accounts. You need those apps to market and run your business on the go.

Kendrick, who does a lot of online promotions, says “I spend time waiting in line or for appointments using these apps to run my law and marketing practice.” You can do the same with your ecommerce business and both save time and make money on the go.

If you do all of these things and get professional help where you need it, you’ll be running a lean, mean—and profitable—ecommerce business from the start.

Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Avalara Author Avalara
Avalara helps businesses of all sizes achieve compliance with transactional taxes, including VAT, sales and use, excise, communications, and other tax types through automation, education and support.